Music & concerts

New harvest

Utrecht regularly produces some true musical gems. From folk and post-punk to blues and hip-hop: five recent, home-grown albums.

Cape Sleep

Video Days

After seven long years, whispering folkie Kim Janssen has released a new album with a brand-new band. The band name is not the only thing that’s changed (from Kim Janssen to Cape Sleep); the sound is also different. The tranquil, pastoral Indie folk of the past has evolved into a more exuberant, almost poppy sound, with influences from the synthetic music of the 1980s and the soft rock of the 70s. His understated vocals and cleverly constructed songs are, however, the same. Video Days will get Kim Janssen fans through the next few years, although let’s hope it won’t be seven again!

Kaspar Baum

World Wide Willow

World Wide Willow is the second album released by the Utrecht band Kaspar Baum, formed a few years ago around Erny Green. The singer-songwriter is well-known in the local music world, as he’s already released quite a few albums in his own name. He’s also the frontman of Joy Division Undercover, a tribute that plays cover versions of, you’ve guessed it, Joy Division hits. Influences from this band can be heard on World Wide Willow, and they’ve clearly also listened to The Cure, The Sound and Fontaines DC. The eight mature, consistent songs on this album testify to the skills and experience of these four musicians.


photo: Pasqual Amade


Kind aan zee

This is a great title for a rap album (translates as Child at sea), which couldn’t be more different from your standard hip-hop. Igor (Herder) is definitely rapping, but the young Utrecht Conservatorium student has given the songs a classical arrangement. He produced all of them himself, and fellow-student and violinist Noah Hassler-Forest came up with the string scores. The cellos (played by Laurence Gaudreaux and Joshua Herwig) give Kind aan Zee a ‘modern chamber music’ vibe. There’s no discernible musical direction: you hear discrete pop, funk and jazz. Kyteman Hiphop Orchestra was an important source of inspiration for Igor. Hardly surprising when you consider that Colin Benders’ father is his manager. The theme of this album is: ‘An attempt to uphold the ability to astonish.’

The Maureens

Everyone Smiles

Surprise: the new album by the Utrecht band The Maureens was released under a Madrid-based record label. For the past ten years, the band has been one of Utrecht’s best-kept secrets, producing fairly low-key, but nonetheless ear-catching, traditional west-coast pop with slick harmonised vocals and jangling guitars. Points of reference include The Beatles, Big Star, The Posies and Daryll Ann. The Maureens’ songs feature melancholic undertones, so this album is particularly suitable for those long, dreary days.

Five Dollar Shake

Bigger heart

Five Dollar Shake presented their debut album in a sold-out Helling at the beginning of this year. They’re a relatively new band, but they’ve already built up solid live reputation. Their blues songs are direct and well-grounded, with a swinging Hammond organ. The powerful, soulful voice of the singer, Lucinda Legaspi, switches smoothly between blues, rock, soul and ballads. Or as the band would say: ‘That’s a pretty fuckin’ good shake!’

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