Dark summer, absurd sex, heart infatuation and definitive veto

The sounds of a questionable future

 By Benjamin Smith

New Year’s resolutions are lies, people. Lies! Are you really going to lose weight, quit smoking and become brilliant? No. You are going to stay fat and gross and stupid. Yet you can start 2013 on a slightly improved foot simply by trying something new this January. It could be anything: a new hobby, such as scrotum collecting, or a new experience, such as dying. Whatever honks your horn! For those of you who feel the need to take baby steps, I recommend spending time with one of these new (or fairly new) albums. More pleasant than scrotums, less dangerous than death. Enjoy!


Artist: Tone Bardo Therapy

Album: Mirrors Placed In Front Of Me

Label: HENK

Release Date: December 2012

Country: The Netherlands

Website: www.henkrecordings.com

Perfect For: Hot-ass yoga moms

What is the sound of one hand clapping? I have no idea. I also have no idea what Mirrors Placed In Front Of Me sounds like. At times it smacks of “world music” produced by Pink Floyd’s David Gilmour, while at other moments it suggests ancient alien funk. (Is there a difference?) Regardless, Tone Bardo Therapy – aka producer Ion Ludwig – takes listeners along a lulling river ride featuring minimalistic guitar licks, gentle electronica and mild hip-hop. Beneath the easy-listening surface shines substance of a spiritual nature, clearly alluded to in some of the song titles: “Paramita Sutra Chant,” “Music For The Dying,” “Breath Limitation.” Not every track is a revelation, but a few stick in the mind, especially “In The Year,” which is both embarrassingly absurd and surprisingly sexy. Should George Harrison be reborn as a porn star, this tune will surely resound from the heavens. (You’ve been warned.) Reflective, progressive, cosmic.


Artist: VETO

Album: Sinus

Label: RCA/Sony Music

Release Date: September 2012

Country: Denmark

Website: vetonet.dk

Perfect For: Shy Vikings

There are certain things musicians must never do. Topping the list: never name your band VETO; never name an EP Sinus; never employ a singer named “Troels” and whatever you do, for the love of god, never employ a drummer named “Mads.” Christ, you’d think this five-piece hailed from Dayton, the way they piss on common sense. (I kid. Kind of.) Surprisingly, VETO’s new six-song collection of Euro-pop and alternative rock is pretty decent – at least in an early Coldplay/Killers way. “Four To The Floor” may seem destined to play over the closing credits of a documentary about a bearded bartender, but the synth-based “Upwards” wakes one up like a strong cup of Danish kaffe and the dramatic, slow burning “Filter” is freaking fantastic. Most of Sinus is far better than anything else on American radio right now. Still, I would advise skipping the closer, “Show Me Where You Go.” It might be about a toilet.


Artist: GOLD

Album: Interbellum

Label: Ván Records

Release Date: December 2012

Country: The Netherlands

Website: www.thebandGOLD.com

Perfect For: Big biker chicks

To paraphrase “The Great Gatsby” narrator, Nick Carraway: In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing a band,” he told me, “just remember that they probably deserve it.” Excellent advice, indeed. GOLD is horrible. I should have known I would hate them; I usually flee from songs titled “Love, The Magician” and “Medicine Man.” The Heart infatuation surprised me, though, as did the detail that singer Milena Eva can’t actually sing; at best, she tries to sound “tough” or “rockish.” And I’ll let GOLD’s lyrical genius speak for itself: “What goes around comes around/That’s what I believe.” Well, I believe this is shit. Interbellum’s only saving grace is the unintentional entertainment that fifth track “Dreams” provides; its by-the-book glam guitar solo will make one laugh out loud. Butt rock bewilderment.


Artist: M-JO

Album: Feeling Changes

Label: Eign Beheer

Release Date: December 2012

Country: The Netherlands

Website: m-jo.bandcamp.com

Perfect For: Hellishly obnoxious hipsters

An air of obscurity is rare and refreshing in modern music. The artist known as M-JO, who sometimes plays with backing band the Jesus Herb, does not seem to strive for mass appeal. Rather, he records obliquely lo-fi memories. Stumbling on one of his songs by accident, you might think it a lost gem from the 1960s – a bluesy pop-rock sing-along. Feeling Changes’s opener, “Peter,” boasts a groovy flute solo, whereas the Syd Barrett-ish “Lazy Sunday” includes a line that could sum up the Summer of Love’s darker side: “I feel like a child lost inside myself.” M-JO is no great shakes as a vocalist, yet a singer doesn’t have to be John Lennon when his stuff glows with such basement charm. The Gem City would embrace this enigma with open arms if he were to perform at South Park Tavern. However, part of me relishes the realization that I won’t ever see him live. We need more – not less – mystery in our oversaturated age.

Reach DCP freelance writer Benjamin Smith at BenjaminSmith@DaytonCityPaper.com

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