Fr.U.N.T. Music

Album Review: “Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death!” by Amour Obscur

AO Adrian Buckmaster 300x200 Album Review: Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death! by Amour Obscur

photo by Adrian Buckmaster

There was a time in Germany, from 1918 to 1933, where Berlin shone as the crown jewel of European culture and intellect. Art, music, theater, philosophy, and science all flourished during this period, from Dada to Futurism in the new art of motion pictures to New Objectivity to the rise of our understanding of quantum mechanics. It was an era of decadence and the modern age, cabaret and Bauhaus, zeppelins and cocktails, and burlesque.

It was called Weimar, after the German republic that had been established, and was a time of unprecedented social freedom, a brief hedonistic interlude between the horrors of World War I and the atrocities to come.

Amour Obscur magically, magnificently reflects this forgotten time and place with their musical artistry, and it’s simply amazing.

The band formed in 2009 around the nucleus of Dee Dee Vega (vocals) and Matt Dallow (accordion) and has evolved over the years into a dynamic, raucous sideshow with a multitude of influences. This is definitely a band that you can’t categorize or label.

I had an idea of what to expect from this band; I’m not unfamiliar with music that claims inspiration from sources such as burlesque and cabaret, with Romani- and circus-inspired instrumentation.

What I wasn’t expecting was a band that was so good that the music grabbed me by the hand and dragged me onto the dance floor for the ride of my life.

For the most part, the songs on the album are fast-paced, high-energy anthems to wine, women and whiskey. The music slows down for numbers like The Band Drinks For Free (the main reason most people join bands, to be honest) and Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death (title from a Weimar era poem). Berlin also evokes a jazzy Big Band feel, with heavy klezmer and Romani influences.

Dee Dee Vega’s voice is powerful, almost symphonic in nature, and it weaves through the music and anchors it. Listening to the music is different from seeing it performed, but you can still get a sense of her theatricality and dark energy from the songs. The musicianship is top notch, the production values are high, and the album flows easily.

It was impossible to pick out my favorites, because I found myself loving all of the songs, which is rare. Usually there’s one or two songs on an album that doesn’t click, but not this time. I also have to point out that Amour Obscur has a cover of Soft Cell’s Tainted Love and it’s absolutely stunning.

After listening to Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death (on repeat, for a while), I came away with two hard facts. One is that this is simply an amazing band, creating unique and enjoyable music. And two, I desperately want to see this band live. I’m pretty sure that the album only captures a fraction of the verve and exhilaration of their live performance.

My overall recommendation: buy the album, follow them on your social media of choice, catch them live, and buy them a drink. After all, the band drinks for free!

Standout tracks: all of them
12 tracks, 37:00
Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death! dropped October 18, 2014 and is available on iTunes, Amazon.com, and CD Baby.

The full band consists of Dee Dee Vega (Vocals), Matt Dallow (Accordion), Yoni Benshlomo (Upright Bass), Jeremy Kroger (Drums, Percussion), Julian Evans (Trumpet), Sebastian Isler (Trombone), and Jeff Paris (Trumpet).

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by cardiac_in_overdrive (@cardiac_ovrdrv)

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Album Review: Berlin, Your Dance Partner Is Death! by Amour Obscur
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Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection “The Mood Box”

RusticMoodBox 510x171 Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box

If you were unsure of what to get me for Christmas, this is it!

Order HERE!

Friends that really know me, know that the Rustic Overtones is just about my all-time favorite band. Nearly 20 years ago I attended a show at the late Valentines underground beer joint and music club in Albany, NY. I was there to see a friend’s band Conehead Buddha and Rustic Overtones were the opening act. Now the show was heavily attended but just like many local shows no one was there to see the opening act, in fact the crowd really didn’t even enter the building until after the Overtones played. They had absolutely no idea what they have just missed out on but for the few of us that were smart enough to show them support knew that everyone else had just ignorantly passed up an epic performance. At this show I purchased the newly released album “Long Division” and this became my soundtrack for the next two decades.

In 2002 I went on therusticovertones.com only to read “Rustic Overtones are Dead”. My heart was broken, the band had broken up.

In the summer of 2003, I went on vacation and when I returned my Long Division cd was missing. I searched high and low and also online to attempt to purchase my all-time favorite album but with very little success. In fact during this time I found a copy that was being sold for $75.00, which I almost purchased, unfortunately I couldn’t justify not having all of my rent money to my roommates at the time. In 2005 Dave Gutter and Jon Roods’ new band Paranoid Social Club played on the second stage at Albany’s Tulip Festival and I approached the band to ask Dave if he could point me in the direction of being able to find a copy of Long Division. Dave responded “I don’t even have a copy”. Whether that was true or he was just trying to focus on PSC and not the break up of his former band I realized the hunt would be a tough one. Shortly after, I went on a Rustic Overtones tribute myspace page and I put out the message that I was in dire need of this album. A complete stranger, a young woman from Virginia (I believe) sent me the album in the mail. I lost her information but if she will come forward or if someone can identify her I feel the need to thank her again. I am complete again.

Rustic1 510x278 Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box

Great news came when the band reunited in 2007.

 

 

 

 

 

So I mentioned how the first time I seen Rustic Overtones in Albany the crowd was scarce never having heard of them but that had certainly changed over the years with the support of 102.7 WEQX the band had gained popularity in the Capital Region of New York. In fact in 2008 Rustic headlined Tulip Fest on the main stage. This event had approximately 80,000-100,000 attendees.

Rustic Overtones has had their successes and their hard times like many bands. Over the years they have done songs with notable acts from David Bowie to Naughty By Nature. To me they are huge rock stars like the Rolling Stones or the Beatles, to the rest of their diehard fans we know just how undeniable their sound is. For those that have yet to enlightened, there is still time.

This is why I am so excited about the 20 year anniversary collection “Mood Swings”. We are talking 68 tracks on 4 discs.  Below is Dave Gutter’s description of the Mood Swings box set.

“Blame it on My ADD”

Disc 1 will be “The Soft Box” a mix of the more chill, balladeer moments of Rustic’s nine albums. These songs were sprinkled through their albums and represent a softer sound that was rarely incorporated in their live show. Many of these songs began as low-fi outtakes or interludes but the “Soft Box” plays them as a showcase of a songwriting and production style that was a beautiful anomaly among the rest of their catalogue.

Disc 2 will be titled “The Fire Box” and is the band at their most fiery, hard edged moments. Recurring themes of fire and explosions became the dialogue to Rustic’s most cacophonous soundtracks. This disc is the Rustic tracks that are darker in both composition and theme, and show Rustic’s punk and electronic influence.

Disc 3 is “The Pop Box” plays out like a greatest hits (or misses) collection. The pop gems, crowd faves, show stoppers etc. Upbeat and unashamed, these are the songs that defined Rustic on commercial and college radio. When you’re in the mood for some extra cheese.

Disc 4 “The Fan Box” is live bootlegs, television and radio appearances, covers and unreleased demos. This disc also has Rustic live at XM satellite radio in it’s entirety, which went down in history as the first ever concert to be broadcast by satellite radio…. ever.

The “Mood Box CD Release Party” is set for Dec 31, 2014 at The State Theatre in Portland Maine. Order Tickets Here!

 

 

 

 

 

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  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box
  • wp socializer sprite mask 32px Rustic Overtones 20th Anniversary Collection The Mood Box