Marble Sounds

Sometimes Belgium is the butt of jokes…I guess because it is such a small country and so confusing to many and also seems a by-word for European bureaucracy.

I could sing the praises now and elaborate on the diverse landscape, the friendly people, the cartoons, the architecture and ooooh, the food, never mind the beers. And do not even get me started on chocolate.

But of course this is a music blog and I dare you to give me a country that size with so many musicians…(yeah, alright, Ireland and Wales, you’re not competing here:-))

Many get it confused but Jacques Brel is as Belgian as pommes frites, even though he did flee to Paris. (Which reminds me to highly recommend the small, but beautiful Jacques Brel Museum in Brussels to you!)

My first interview ever as a shy teenager was with Luc van Acker, enfant terrible of the Belgian music scene, later with The Revolting Cocks. And what a lovely man he is – sorry to ruin your bad reputation here, Luc.

There followed many, many bands after him, that went on the whole unnoticed outside Belgium – shame! Then came dEUS and thankfully changed that.

Before this becomes a novel, remind me, I wanted to tell you about Marble Sounds.

When their beauty of a song “Leave a light on” earwormed itself into our ears, souls and hearts in the cold winter time of 2013, they had landed. Last year they still had day jobs though, however, their jobs are all to do with music and media. Else and with families it would not be possible to do what they do.

Such as releasing two albums (Nice Is Good & Dear Me, Look Up), touring relentlessly, collaborating with other musicians and working on a new album (yippee!) as well as having toured China (sic!) last autumn and last but not least building up a huge fanbase all over the globe (ah, the merits of the internet).

Some facts about Marble Sounds:

Marble Sounds are Pieter Van Dessel – vox, guitar, keys; Gianni Marzo – guitar, vox; Frederik Bastiaensen – bass; Johan De Coster – drums and  Brecht Plasschaert -keyboards.

They hail from the Flemish region in Belgium and are based in Brussels.

You can find out more on their website which also leads you to their up-to-date Facebook page.

Now, they call what they do simply pop but let me rephrase that to indie pop ranging from the very delicate to the outright rocking! Their albums are sheer listening pleasure and yes, they are a brill live band, too.

Their songs stand the test of repeated and intense listening because they are layered very nicely and the lyrics are profound and melancholic. So, there you have it in a nutshell.

Sure, I could blather on, but why don’t you just listen to an interview I did with Pieter Van Dessel in the lashing rain in the beautiful Ardennes at the wonderful La Truite Magique Festival (I wonder if his shoes ever survived the muck) for which I would like to sincerely thank him again.

Here’s the interview (excuse my shouting, there was a soundcheck going on in the background):

And I am not going to leave without some music by Marble Sounds of course!

The famous “Leave a light on”


And my favourite rocker is not available online, so I’ll give you “Dance Clarence Dance”

If you want to see and hear the original “Marble Sounds”: It is a work of art, a sculpture in Musical Instruments Museum in Brussels.

And that’s it from me, good night, and leave a light on!

Twin Oaks

Some days I am deeply thankful for the internet…even though it many times contradicts its original purpose which to me is to save time. Gratefulness sets in when a band like Twin Oaks gets in contact with me.

Twin Oaks does sonically what an image of twin oaks conjures in me…lightness and strongness, brightness and darkness, feeling cozy and overwhelmed, all at the same time.

Lauren Brown and Aaron Domingo set out as a folk duo in Los Angeles. They have, however, expanded to create a grander atmosphere (be not mistaken: Atmosphere with capital A, but the instrumentation is still minimalistic). They joined up with multi-instrumentalist Louis Bernal and later with drummer Rhyan Riesgo.

Last year saw the release of mini-album “The Lion’s Den” which was well received and correctly so. For me it is an album that I cannot get enough of and it suits many moods and seasons.

So I am very happy to announce that Twin Oaks have a debut full album in the making from which a couple of songs are already available.

Find the Twin Oaks in all the usual places and their website: and Facebook
page: www.facebook/twinoaksmusic

Now, let the music speak and, yes, this music is eloquent!

This is the stunning “Find A Way”

And this is a new song of the forthcoming album: “Animal” – intoxicating!

All We Are

All I am today is very tired but it was well worth it. Yesterday I went to see All We Are perform in Cologne, Germany. (Yeah, I know, that joke is as tired as me).

The gig experience was a short (the support group had cancelled) but very impressive one, as Guro (bass), Luis (guitar) and Richards (drums) create a very full sound. The energy flowed from the very first moment in Studio 672. And the songs (mostly from their self-titled debut album after two EPs) are beautiful, the harmonies take you higher, Guro’s voice is something else and then there’s the rhythm…I think the “psychedelic boogie” description really hits it on the spot. You cannot draw many comparisons which, I agree with them, is a good thing.

That groove is new to All We Are’s music. They had always wanted to make music people can move to but did not know how to. After all, when they started out in 2011, all three played guitars. Hard to believe that Guro is fairly new to playing bass and Richard to playing drums, then.

For those in the media who find All We Are’s album very slick…actually, it was not all in the production as the band can reproduce that sound very easily on stage and this without cheating.

As you can see, I was truly impressed and I was not the only one. They were well received in Cologne and I urge you to go out and see them play live and also enjoy their debut album.

I will give you a wee taster here of their album. Most of you will already be acquainted with ‘Keep me alive’ but there is so much more good stuff on their album (All We Are on Domino Records). Like that:

It has been mentioned a gazillion times that they are a truly international band, but first and foremost they regards themselves as a Liverpool band. What they praise as the virtues of Liverpool, All We Are themselves exude, too: They are a really friendly and funny bunch and it was an honour to have an interview with them!

Oh yes, I have an interview for you here. So without much further ado (and because I might do later but am in no state to do now: without typing the interview now) I will give you a link to the interview for your enjoyment.I will also play the interview on the Offbeat show next Thursday, 8-10pm, and there will be music by All We Are of course.

Find All We Are on their website or for their Facebook page, click links above.

Folk from London Part 4 Claudia Heidegger

I know, I know, this was going to be three-parter on the London folk scene or rather a pick from the wide range of artists that thrive there. But of course there is a good reason to extend this mini-series and her name is Claudia Heidegger. When she contacted me and elaborated how she likes to tackle heavy subjects and above all religion and spirituality, I was, I confess, a little, overwhelmed. But this is no evangelist, far from it.

Claudia Heidegger actually had a problem with institutionalised religion and apart from her private experiences, she recognises correctly how much grief religion and faith can cause in this world and yet there could be a place for spirituality.

This and other subjects she would like to discuss without prejudices, without aggression and to be true to the meaning of folk music, what better medium is there? Was folk music not the simple (and by that I do not mean simple-minded) people’s newspaper, detailing, commenting on and passing on, everything that went on in a locality?

Claudia Heidegger writes a good-looking and interesting blog, too, which makes me a wee bit ashamed to mention her in such a short post. Find it on her website Also find her on Bandcamp, Twitter, Soundcloud etc.

I dare not go into knowledgeable detail about her musical side. Here’s a woman that knows her stuff! She played several instruments at an early age, was classically trained in Austria (where she is originally from), travelled with her band which broke up in Ireland and has lived in London since.

The music is fragile, delicate, a beautiful voice hovering above it and for me represents another side of folk music which is why this became a four-parter and there you have it.

Well, not quite, there are some songs to listen to, of course. Her EP The Other Side was released in 2013 and Claudia is currently working on a full-length album.

I find this very beautiful: The Other Side


This is one of her latest haunting songs – What I am to you

I will be off to a gig tomorrow, but I will update you on that on Saturday and even might bring you a little interview with “All We Are”. See you then!