Announce self-titled debut album,
Due 1st February via Cargo Records Distribution
Listen to “Terrible” and “Non-fiction Writer”
“The laid back, soft-spoken Non-Fiction Writer and the more rocking Terrible are warm, bare-bones, know how to let loose a two-note or ragged solo, and just sound right.” – Brooklyn Vegan
“Rotterdam Talking Heads/Television enthusiasts jut out with a riveting chugger of blase threat and moral ambivalence.” — MOJO
“All hail the new Velvet Underground.” — Drowned in Sound
“A fresh delicacy and bedsit-poet romance is emerging from the misty ports of Rotterdam.” — Gigwise
Rotterdam’s Lewsberg announce the UK release of their debut self-titled album, due 1st February via Cargo Records Distribution. Originally self-released by the band in Holland back in April, the record organically picked up acclaim from writers at Mojo, Brooklyn Vegan, Bandcamp Daily, Under The Radar, Drowned in Sound, Gigwise, Louder Than War and more, with comparisons including Television, Talking Heads, Velvet Underground and Parquet Courts. Stream two lead singles, “Terrible” and “Non-fiction Writer” below:
“I’m about to do something terrible, I’m about to do something nice.” The first wordsLewsberg‘s singer Arie van Vliet sings – or rather: pronounces – on their debut album, summarise what this band is all about. No time for judgements, no need to separate the good from the bad. And it’s not just their lyrics: their music shows this same indifferent ‘take it or leave it’ attitude. Lewsberg avoids the reverbs and delays that a lot of bands drench their songs in nowadays, aiming to present their songs in the easiest, clearest and most direct way possible.
It’s so open-minded an approach, it’s worrying. That’s exactly why Rotterdam’s Lewsberg are one of the more interesting bands to come out of a city currently enjoying something of an alternative musical renaissance.
This album is about Rotterdam. The cover screams the nature of the Port City: practical, dour, constructed to work. The record itself starts with the recording of two great existentialist Rotterdam poets and wreckheads from the 20th century, C.B. Vaandragerand Frans Vogel. Inevitably the spirit of another Rotterdammer hangs over the band: the inspiration for their name, Robert Loesberg. A complicated character, writer of the brilliant and ‘difficult’ novel Enige defecten (Some Defects).
Despite being a world port, Rotterdam in many ways looks inwards, defines itself by a set of rules and attitudes that mean nothing to an outsider. In a similar way, Lewsberg seem to have defined a standard template for their music, defined by their own rules, without toeing the line or conforming to pop norms.
Take The Smile, a mid-tempo rocker made up of that thud, that bass rumble, that mind-shaking guitar-spaghetti and those ambiguous, deadpan lyrics, chewing away at your ideas of how we ‘should’ or ‘shouldn’t’ communicate with each other.
Or the slower, more subdued Carried Away, crafted from the simplest materials: two chords strummed on an electric guitar, a flutter of fuzzy melody notes, metronomic rim-taps and a dry, emotionless spoken-word narration by Van Vliet and bass player Shalita Dietrich. Lewsberg appear to have some views that give them a very balanced outlook on life. “To me, both a good feeling and bad feeling should be embraced, as they have same importance. Most of the lyrics in our songs reflect this in a way”, Van Vliet explains. Guitar player Michiel Klein adds: “Emotions are overrated.”
The record ends (Vicar’s Cross Pt. 2) as it begins (Vaan), with a circular riff that evokes a nursery rhyme. These notes evoke no time and somehow seal the listening experience off, making everything part of the whole. The feeling of the blank canvas. Year zero. A sort of personal existentialism, hermetically sealed, seemingly obvious, but only open to initiates or students of the subject. This is Lewsberg, from Rotterdam.
Those who dig the Velvet Underground, Galaxie 500 or that very early Modern Loverssound, will surely be drawn to this. As will fans of contemporary bands like Parquet Courts and Ought.
Lewsberg are Arie van Vliet (vocals, guitar), Michiel Klein (guitar), Shalita Dietrich (vocals, bass guitar), Dico Kruijsse (drums)