Year 5, Day 24: Beatsteaks’ “.limbo messiah”

Year 5, Day 24: Beatsteaks – .limbo messiah

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Track List

  1. As I Please
  2. Jane Became Insane
  3. Sharp, Cool & Collected
  4. Meantime
  5. Demons Galore
  6. Cut Off The Top
  7. Bad Brain
  8. She Was Great
  9. Soljanka
  10. Hail to the Freaks
  11. E-G-O

About the Album

.limbo messiah is the fifth studio album from German punk rock/alternative rock band, Beatsteaks. The album was released on April 2nd 2007 through Warner Music Group. The album released the European Top 100 Albums chart and peaked number 58 on the German Music Charts.

Thoughts on the Album

The Beatsteaks are one of the biggest names in German rock around. Hell, they are one of the biggest rock bands in Europe. A famous German rocker by the name of Farin Urlaub once asked, “How can you just sit down quietly with the Beatsteaks?” (rough English translation). The Beatsteaks may just be one of Germany’s and Europe’s best kept secrets. The album was released in 2007 throughout Europe, but took three years to reach our shores. But as a testament to just how great this album is, it sounds like a contemporary album.

I’ll admit that jumped around when it came to Beatsteaks albums. First starting off with Smack Smash, then going into Boombox, and finally arriving at .limbo messiah. Right from the get-go, the album opener As I Please, raises your eyebrows and makes you ask yourself, 1) “What the hell did I just listen to? and B) What have I been missing? It’sa track that cranks it up to 200 on the tempo. It’s a track that sets the bar high for the rest of the album, which is a great thing for an album opener to do. A great hard rock number that transitions into the second track…

Jane Became Insane. A cross-genre stomping track that has excellent vocals from frontman Arim Teutoburg-Weiss. Insanely catchy with a Schizophrenic guitar riff and a pre-chorus that sounds like it’s from a Rancid song. The drumming is what gives this song excellent flair. You can hear The Hives and some Queens of the Stone Age influences in this song, however light influences they are. Meantime is a track that could have been a massive smash hit if in the hands of someone like Dave Grohl and a massive music television friendly music video. Definitely a summer type song that is incredibly melodic. You can hear some Britpop mixed with some reggae and then punched out with easily accessible three-chord punk that permeates throughout the track. Meantime is a track that shines through melody, not force.

She Was Great, was a surprising find on this album for me. Given all the cross-genre splicing that the songs around this one do, this track is a revelation. With a simple and incredibly sexy bass line, some incredibly infectious falsetto vocals, and a great hook, it sounds like it could have been written in a post-Paul WellerThe Jam. The timeless hooks are what keeps this song with me at all times, enough when it came from out of nowhere.

Conclusion

“Wie kann man bei den Beatsteaks ruhig sitzen bleiben?!” Farin Urlaub sings on Die Ärzte‘s Unrockbar. The rough translation into English comes out to, “How can you just sit around quietly with the Beatsteaks?” And I have to agree with him. .limbo messiah is a hiding gem amidst a crowded sex of alternative rock and punk rock. An even more aggressive follow up to Smack Smash, this album had it’s home on the music app on my iPhone and probably won’t be evicted anytime soon. It’s an incredibly multifaceted album that crosses genres, but doesn’t lose any of it’s steam, heart, or feeling.

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My Top 10 Albums Listened To From 2016

This is something new I wanted to try starting this year. I wanted to do three top ten lists that outline my favorite items (songs, albums, artists) listened to from the past year.

This list, will be my favorite albums that I listened to this year. Each album listed will have a short explanation as to why it was my favorite. If the album was previously featured on here, I’ll link out to the review.

So let me get it started with…

Number 10: ¡Carajo! – Donots (2016)

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(Click here for the album review!)

It was a really good year for me when it came to my favorite bands releasing new albums. Number ten on the list is ¡Carajo! by German punk band, Donots. The album was an English language release of their tenth studio album,

From the album review:

Versatility, diversity, and rock… those are three words that you never expect to hear in the same sentence. But the Donots have created an album that is both versatile and diverse, but manages to keep a classic  punk rock sound.

I Will Deny is a giant arena rocker. If you happen to see their performance at Rock am Ring last year, they played a version of Ich mach nicht mehr mit with two other drummers … this song is meant to be played live in front of thousands of people.

No Part of It, is a track that was written about the current refugee crisis throughout Germany and the rest of Europe. Much like Die Ärzte‘s Schrei nach Liebe, it is an anti-fascist/anti-Nazi anthem… It’s got this dance-punk vibe to it only with heavy and roaring guitars and a soaring. I found myself shouting along to the message of the song.

Number Nine: We Were Here – BOY (2015)

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(Click here for the album review!)

As I’ve said in multiple album reviews on here before, I love diversity in my music. I love contrast. I love versatility. More so contrast. This is why I love BOY’s We Were Here. The album provides much needed change of pace and contrast in my playlists that I listen to. I also have a thing for female singers, and Valeska Steiner’s voice is both breathtaking and stunning. Her vocal range is every bit impressive. Compared to the band’s first album, Mutual Friends, the album is more subdued, but is every bit as good as it. The first track grips you and doesn’t let go, giving you a sense of the journey that the duo BOY have been through.

From the album review:

We Were Here is an excellent sophomore album and perfect follow up to their debut Mutual FriendsWe Were Here is an ambitious and charming album that finds it impossible and unnecessary to follow in it’s predecessor’s path.

Number Eight: This Could be a Possibility – Valencia (2005)

(Click here for the album review!)

Loud and local. That’s how I roll sometimes. Valencia was one the bands I listened to so much in high school. So much so I wore out the first CD I ever bought… a copy of Valencia‘s 2005, This Could Be a Possibility. It as my favorite song from the band: Tenth Street. The band was pop punk at it’s finest, and man did I love this album. Each song has that catchy and melodic, yet edgy pop-punk feel to it without it going into too much of mainstream pop-rock.

From the album review:

It’s every easy to dismiss Valencia as just another pop-punk, pop-rock, or emo band. But This Could Be A Possibility is a slick and well-crafted debut. The album is full of soaring choruses, crunchy guitar riffs which harmonize when needed, as well as filled with poppy hooks….

At roughly 33 minutes long, it could be the most fun you’ve ever listen to from a local band.

Number Seven: Music @ Work – The Tragically Hip (2000)

As a friend once told me, “Brian, when it comes to Canadian bands, you need two separate iPods for your Rush and your The Tragically Hip albums…” Well he wasn’t wrong. I listened the hell out of The Tragically Hip‘s Music @ Work. The eponymous track, Music at Work, is the ultimate disgruntled worker’s anthem. The lyrics of the tracks on here are odd and cryptic, yet give a view into the human condition. The album is a work of consistency and the old adage, “less is more”.

Number Six: From Caplan to Belsize – Muncie Girls (2016)

Once again, I struck gold within Spotify’s “suggested songs”. And man does From Caplan to Belsize from Muncie Girls hit a home run. The album is filled with smart lyrics and catchy indie-punk tracks. The album has excellent songwriting, excellent dynamics, and overall catchy quips within the songs. It’s a solid debut album. The album is full of variety while remaining consistent with the sound the band has made from previous smaller releases.

Number Five: Get Lost, Find Yourself – Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! (2015)

Another one of the rare finds from within the “suggestions” that Spotify offers. One listen to the third track,  The Other Line, from French pop-punk band, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!‘s Get Lost, Find Yourself, and I was instantly hooked. Tracks like Playing DeadSet it Straight, as well as The Other Line remind us just how fun pop-punk can be. It’s just one of awesome albums to rock out to.

Number Four: Boombox – Beatsteaks (2011)

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(Click here for the album review!)

Once again, another German punk band sneak their way into my most listened to albums for the year. The Beatsteaks, much like the Donots, are veterans of German punk rock. Though Beatsteaks, to me, have always been closer to alternative rock. But I digress. One of my favorite songs from their album Boombox, is Milk & Honey. It’s one of my favorite songs ever.

From the album review:

Milk & Honey. Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß’s vocals on the track are perfect […] Maybe it’s because the song […] is a slightly more gentler side of the band. It’s guitar riffs are solid, the vocals are sharp and crisp, the bass bounces nicely, and piano riffs are excellent.

While their old punk intensity may or may not be fully present on this album, the catchy choruses and riffs are bountiful. This album is a straightforward rocker, that’s no-nonsense. It’s a delightfully dirty, raw, rowdy, and gripping album.

Number Three: Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshau – Die Toten Hosen (1988)

Third German punk band on here… and this time it is the “godfathers” of German punk. Ein Kleines Bisschen Horrorshau by Die Toten Hosen, is one of the quintessential German punk albums. It’s also the quintessential Die Toten Hosen album. This album was creatively written and the lyrics are imaginative.

The opening and closing songs are excellent Hier kommt Alex (Here comes Alex), starts off with snippet of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. BEETHOVEN. This album is a concept album based on the film A Clockwork Orange. I mean seriously, how many bands can even pull off something like this? The ending track, Bye, Bye Alex is pretty much structurally and musically similar to the opening track, Hier kommt Alex. Overall it is a excellent album, especially if you have read and seen A Clockwork Orange.  It’s even better if you understand German.

Number two: Afraid of Heights – Billy Talent (2016)

I awaited this album for awhile. Canadian punk band Billy Talent, never disappoints. Their fifth album picks up where Dead Silence left off. Their fifth album, Afraid of Heights captures the essence of previous Billy Talent releases… from the catchy anthems of Billy Talent III, and III to the gravity and headiness of Dead Silence The centerpiece of the album besides the tracks, February Winds, Horses & Chariots, and This is Our War is the two part Afraid of Heights. Part one, the single version and the second track of the album hits home on conquering fears and taking a step into the unknown. The second part of Afraid of Heights, the reprise (and final track), is punctuated by an extremely uplifting guitar solo and closes out the album beautifully.

Number One: Morning Report – Arkells (2016)

Here we are, we’ve arrived at our final destination… number one. This was a no-brainer. I’ve worn out my CD copy of Arkells‘ 2016 release, Morning Report. It’s got so many different feelings and sounds to it, it might actually hurt the album. But it doesn’t. These different sounds and styles add layers of versatility; there is no one set, specific tone to any of the tracks. For me, some of the defining moments on the album are: Private School, Making Due, and My Heart’s Always Yours. Max Kerman, frontman for the band, has a voice that’s like a shape-shifter. Going from an almost gospel rock on Drake’s Dad to the jam that is Private School. While its a bit of a departure from previous work, I couldn’t say enough about this album… but I’ll save that for a later date.

Conclusion

There you have it my top 10 albums that I listened to from the past year. I would love to hear about your top 10 albums that you listened to in the past year. Here’s to an excellent 2017!

Year 4, Day 10: Beatsteaks – Boombox

Veteran German punk rockers, Beatsteaks break out the alt rock jams on Boombox

Year 4, Day 10: Beatsteaks – Boombox 

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Track List

  1. Fix It
  2. Milk & Honey
  3. Cheap Comments
  4. Let’s See
  5. Bullets from Another Dimension
  6. Under a Clear Blue Sky
  7. Access Adrenalin
  8. Behaviour
  9. Automatic
  10. Alright
  11. House on Fire

About the Album

Boombox is the sixth studio album from veteran German punk band, Beatsteaks. The album was released through Warner Music Group on January 28th 2011. The album peaked at number one on the German music charts.

Thoughts on the Album

When it comes to artists and bands across the pond in Europe, I am always late to the game discovering them. I usually discover them through video games like Rock Band, Guitar Hero, NHL, or in one case, MVP Baseball. I love the Beatsteaks. They are veterans of the German punk scene and can flat out rock. This is evident on their sixth studio release, Boombox.

One of my favorite songs ever… of all time is from this album. It’s second track, Milk & Honey. Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß’s vocals on the track are perfect, considering English is his second language. Maybe it’s because the song, while not even bothering to hide any (un)ironic references to “cool cats”, is a slightly more gentler side of the band. It’s guitar riffs are solid, the vocals are sharp and crisp, the bass bounces nicely, and piano riffs are excellent.

That said, the album is “marketed” as a punk album, but it is more of a punk album that dabbles in other styles. It’s straightforward, gritty rock and roll. It is pure raw rock that has a catchy edge, much in the vein of The White Stripes, but based in old-fashioned hard rock.

While if you are a fan of the Beatsteaks and have listened to their earlier stuff, you may or may not find the hardcore punk tunes. But you fill find tracks like Bullets from Another Dimension that channel the old frantic speed and riffs. While other tracks channel reggae-esque stylings with punk guitar riffs… so it is like ska, but without the bass section. Automatic, has hypnotic droning guitar texture to it which makes it sound almost mechanical and deliberate to a degree, but it’s in good effect.

Conclusion

Boombox builds on where their previous album (.limbo messiah) left off. And while their old punk intensity may or may not be fully present on this album, the catchy choruses and riffs are bountiful. This album is a straightforward rocker, that’s no-nonsense. It’s a delightfully* dirty, raw, rowdy, and gripping album.

(*I will never use the word “delightful” ever again, sorry.)

Year 3, Album 2: Smacking and Smashing Our Way into the Mainstream

Year 3, Album 2: Beatsteaks – Smack Smash

Tracklisting

  1. Big Attack
  2. Visions
  3. Ain’t Complaining
  4. Hello Joe
  5. Hand in Hand
  6. Monster
  7. Everything
  8. I Don’t Care As Long As You Sing
  9. Atomic Love
  10. Loyal to None
  11. What’s Coming Over You
  12. My Revolution

About the Album

Smacksmash is the fourth album release from German punk band, Beatsteaks. Released in 2004 through Epitaph Records, it aided in the band’s march into the mainstream as it was also released simultaneously on WEA (Warner Music Group). The album spawned major hits, I Don’t Care As Long As You SingHand in Hand, Hello Joe, and Atomic Love. The album has currently gone platinum (in 2008, four years after it’s release). The Beatsteaks consist of vocalist and guitarist Arnim Teutoburg-Weiß, guitarist Peter Baumann, guitarist Bernd Kurtzke, bassist Torsten Scholz, and drummer Thomas Götz.

Thoughts on the Album

Day 2 takes us all the way to Berlin, Germany. The Beatsteaks are (obviously) a German punk band. They have been performing since 1995. Today’s album is their 2004 release, Smacksmash (or Smack Smash). This album is often considered the band’s breakthrough album.

The Beatsteaks’ sound and style is a unique one: it’s a strange mix of rock, punk, hard rock, and pop punk. After a few listens, Smacksmash is a weird one. It’s like paint-by-numbers grew a mohawk and threw the paint everywhere. Essentially a typical Epitaph record, it combines the loud-quiet-loud, three chord, and tuneful punk of NoFX, some horns thrown in the mix a la Less Than Jake (see two albums by Less Than Jake here and here!), and some shouty and in-your-face sound like Agnostic Front. It combines all that with such enthusiasm and with a huge grin, that it is hard to hate this album.

The melodic bits of this album are tuneful, the shouty parts are loud, and the the horns are both well-rationed and skanking. Track 9, Atomic Love, is more of a pop-punk/pop-rock feel to it. The track channels it’s inner-Ramones style punk. It’s short, choppy, but quick paced… but almost to the point where it’s more pop than punk. Likewise, the Joe Strummer tribute Hello Joe, falls dangerously close to more pop than punk.

While the album is heavily influenced by The Clash, it maintains a sense of originality. The record seemingly flows excellent from track to track, even with their experimentation with slower songs. A perfect example of this is I Don’t Care As Long As You Sing. It’s a weird mix of pseudo-reggae and punk, but it manages to avoid becoming too contrived. I my opinion, I think this track almost commands you to start swaying along to it’s beat, driven by Torsten Scholz’s bassline. Hand in Hand, the opening number, is a very melodic and catchy tune.

Conclusion

It almost is what you would get if you mixed The Clash, Swedish rock and rollers: The Hives and D.O.L.L., and The Strokes, and the tradition punk sound of the Beatsteaks. There is something in this album for just about any lover of rock music. This album however suffers from what I call “studio-vs-live show” syndrome. The songs sound much better live than the studio versions. Of course, this is another band that sounds better live than studio. It’s strange like that. It’s a more rocking and rolling number than punk, but the album hit it’s listeners with anthemic tracks one after the other.