MP3: Kazakstan - Julien

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the first great release from the second half of 2006. I know there's lots more good stuff on the way from lots of established artists, but Kazakstan is the first I've heard that has really impressed me. The music came described as "experimental pop" and I think that's both good and bad. Bad because it sounds intimidating. Often the tag "experimental" also means difficult and that's most definitely not the case here. On the other hand, it's good because it dispels any notions you might have of this band being yet another rock band with guitars. The songwriting is rooted in folk/pop tradition - they'd probably all sound just fine on acoustic guitar - but like later-era Wilco, there's a lot more going on in the production and arrangements. Listen to "Julien", the song I've posted today. The verse riff is 100% quirky indierock, but then the chorus smacks you upside the head with a huge hook that will linger for days. But, as you'll note, the first chorus is only a teaser - the song retreats to a solo keyboard riff before offering up a completely different variation on the verse before really truly launching into the chorus again, this time with more power. It's a fantastic arrangement that shows off the band's tremendous skill and audacity. The band was also kind enough to answer a few questions, so they are also this week's featured profile piece: [click here]
So very highly recommended.

Kazakstan - Julien