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Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Deny All

Review of Bettie Serveert’s Pharmacy Of Love

Photo By Phil HarderPhil HarderDid anyone see this coming? I certainly didn’t. This question, of course, is only relevant to those of a certain age/era for whom the name, “Bettie Serveert” still means something. To everyone else: get off my lawn.

Aside for the unfamiliar: the Betties were the Netherlands’ finest rock export since Golden Earring and a staple of ’90s college rock with three albums on Matador full of crunchy guitar pop and Carol Van Dijk’s expressive vocals. Entering the 21st century, they explored side projects and released records less frequently and on a variety of labels. The best of them was 2000’s Private Suit, which seemed to usher in a new era of maturity and elegance for the band – different, sure, but excellent. Subsequent releases were more scattershot affairs, however, with their share of high points but lacking in cohesion and direction. It was a good run, but fans – this one, at least – figured their best was behind them.

At least until their new album Pharmacy Of Love, due out in North American March 23, arrived in my mailbox and promptly knocked me on my ass. Opening track “Deny All” is not the work of a band lacking purpose or phoning it in. Fast, loud and focused, it’s the sound of a band re-energized and rocking harder than they even did in their youth and sets the tone for the rest of the record. And there’s no over-compensation here, no sense they’re trying to prove they can still keep up with the kids – they simply are, and easily. Best of all, as thrilling as Pharmacy is on a visceral level, all of the best Bettie signature moves are in place – Peter Visser’s guitar lines weave, lurch and bite while Van Dijk’s voice has arguably never sounded better nor her melodies more memorable. I didn’t realize how much I missed Bettie Serveert until I got them back.

Pharmacy Of Love was released in January in Europe and is due out on March 23, with rumours of live North American dates to follow. They haven’t been back here since 2005 and that show at The Horseshoe was all kinds of awesome, even in support of a weaker record. Pharmacy Of Love live? Yes, please.

MP3: Bettie Serveert – “Semaphore”
MP3: Bettie Serveert – “The Pharmacy”
Video: Bettie Serveert – “Deny All”
MySpace: Bettie Serveert

Filter talks to Jonsi about his solo ambitions. His album Go is out March 23 and he plays the Sound Academy April 30 and May 1.

Aux.tv Q&As Under Byen about their new album Alt Er Tabt, out April 6.

Features in Time and The Wall Street Journal are a pretty good sign the mainstream has taken note of Joanna Newsom. She plays The Phoenix on March 13.

NPR has a World Cafe session with St. Vincent.

eMusic talks to Holly Miranda.

DCist and Encore have interviews with Patterson Hood of Drive-By Truckers, whose new record The Big To-Do hits next week. “Zip City” showed up on shuffle on my iPhone the other day, and my anticipation for this record increased exponentially. They have two dates at Lee’s Palace on April 6 and 7.

Spinner talks to My Morning Jacket drummer Patrick Hallahan about their M.O. for choosing cover songs.

Pitchfork has details on the new album from Band Of Horses, entitled Infinite Arms and due out May 18. That gives you a month to learn all the songs by heart before they play the Toronto Islands Concert on June 19.

Also playing the Toronto Islands Concert are Beach House, who have a complete show in Brooklyn available to stream at Baeble Music as well as a video interview. CokeMachineGlow also has a chat.

Spinner, The AV Club and The Boston Globe talk to Rogue Wave.

The Line Of Best Fit, American Songwriter and NPR have feature interviews with Spoon. They’re at the Sound Academy on March 29.

Venice Is Sinking have announced details about their next album – Sand & Lines: The Georgia Theatre Sessions is due out June 15 and will showcase the band live, off the floor, with just two mics and no overdubs.

MP3: Venice Is Sinking – “Falls City”

Spinner talks to Minipop.

The Los Angeles Times has an interview and MPR an interview and streamable session with Phantogram. They’re at Supermarket on March 12 as part of Canadian Musicfest.

Also all over Canadian Musicfest are The Uglysuit, with two official festival shows next week – an acoustic gig at the Library Bar in the Royal York on March 11 and a fully plugged-in set at Lee’s Palace on March 12. The Brock Press has an interview with the Oklahoman collective.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs assemble a playlist for The Guardian.

OK Go will be at the Mod Club on April 23, hoping that their fans find them as entertaining live as they do on YouTube.

Video: OK Go – “This Too Shall Pass”

And know what I want for my birthday? High Violet. Yes. Just wait.

By : Frank Yang at 8:27 am
Category: General

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post6 Responses.
  1. Adam K. says:

    Oh man, what can that mystery link at the bottom of the post be? New National, mayhaps?

  2. stytzer says:

    High Violet = “kind of got the best thing ever in my inbox. And no, I can’t tell you about it.”?

  3. Frank Yang says:

    no comment

    :)

  4. Adam K. says:

    I figure it’s got to be either Arcade Fire or the National… I’ve seen some hypothesizing that it’s MBV, but that’s more than a long shot.

  5. thomaus says:

    The 4-track EP ‘Deny All’ is up on eMusic now if one can’t wait for the Bettie Serveert album.

    Didn’t you used to be anti-Shuffle? I’ve gotten addicted to Genius playlists myself.

  6. Frank Yang says:

    highviolet.com is updated.

    It’s the name of the new National album.

    What I’ve heard from it is AWESOME.