We Fucked A Flame Into Being – Warhaus
Maarten Devoldere – fellow frontman and co-founder of indie rock band Balthazar – has enlisted his muse Sylvie Kreusch from Soldier’s Heart to join him in new solo adventure Warhaus. Borrowing a line from D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover, the title of their debut – We Fucked A Flame Into Being – hints heavily at the smoldering tone that weaves through the tracks like some kind of sensual leitmotiv. Broody, electric and with a certain Leonard Cohen gravitas attached, their first single ‘The Good Lie’ is the perfect ambassador for this raspy debut album.
Echo – Bazart
Few would have predicted that Dutch lyrics and dreamy indie pop could go together like butter and toast. Still, the five young Bazart lads were the standout Belgian revelation making festival crowds swoon this summer. Audiences swayed to the longing ‘Tunnels’ and sensational ‘Koortsdroom’ in waves of melancholy and sultry synth sounds, until finally the culmination came time and again with the revelatory ‘Goud’ – the most successful Flemish single of all time thanks to its 45 weeks in the Top 10 of the Flemish Ultratop 50. With ‘Chaos’ they continue the victory lap of their highly anticipated debut album Echo, which was finally released earlier this September.
In Dreams – Hydrogen Sea
Before Hydrogen Sea’s full-fledged In Dreams there was 2014’s Court the Dark, a five-song rich LP that left Belgians hungry for more. It’s two years later and the musical baby of Brussels-based couple Birsen Uçar and PJ Seaux has proven well worth the wait. The album – tentatively being referred to as the best debut of the year – was mostly written in the wee hours by two self-professed night ravens. That other, quieter world is reflected in the inherent dreamlike qualities of Birsen’s siren voice, underscored by the cinematic, moody ambience set by PJ’s synth. The track ‘Beating Heart’ is making its way up the charts as we speak, with a psychedelic clip by Davy Evans to increase international allure.
‘The Game’ – Oscar and the Wolf
One of the first to ring in the electropop spring Belgium has found itself in for the past couple of years, Oscar and the Wolf returned from international adventures to steer the Pukkelpop festival to an ecstatic close in August. Part of the joy was ‘The Game,’ the recently dropped single in charge of opening Max Colombie and Co.’s hour-and-a-half oriental fairytale. Having been released only a few weeks earlier, the danceable track already had the crowd mouthing the words as if it were part of the band’s breakthrough album Strange Entity. ‘You look so good,’ a Colombie doused in silver glitter sang longingly into his microphone and the audience wholeheartedly agreed.
‘Eva Mendes’ – Ertebrekers
Champion of the West-Flemish dialect, Filip Kowlier entered the scene with a brand-new band this year and, listening to debut album Otel, it’s as if the fellows of Ertebrekers (or ‘Heartbreakers’) have been born to compose smooth grooves together. Effortlessly they rap and harmonize in that delicious accent that makes ‘g’s a near impossible, and ‘De Zji’ – about sandcastles, sun and sea – became the Flemish soundtrack of summer. The good vibes that their funky homage to actress Eva Mendes inspires should surely keep us warm until winter.
‘Butcher’s Boy’ – Amongster
Songsmiths Thomas Oosterlynck and Jasper Maekelberg have been busy bees since they made it to the finals of Studio Brussels’ ‘De Nieuwe Lichting’ two years ago as they’ve been working towards their debut album. After ‘Bright Life’ and ‘Teacher,’ the co-founders behind Amongster have now released ‘Butcher’s Boy.’ All hopeful melancholy and summery guitar themes, it’s a track entirely in character with a steadily growing band that fit in perfectly at the festivals this past summer.
‘Traveling Blind’ – Faces on TV
Another project by musical jack-of-all-trades Jasper Maekelberg, Faces on TV has been rising steadily through the ranks of respected Belgian bands. The title track of their debut album Traveling Blind came out at the end of May but isn’t nearly done with its prolonged stint on the Belgian radio thanks to its catchy refrain and rhythmic grooves. Key figure for the Ghent band’s clips is digital artist Victor van Rossem, who has outdone himself this time with a 360° video you can wonder around in at will.