I’ve got to admit it, globalization in some particular cases has its indisputable charm. You can’t take a piss at Melbourne without somebody notice it at Juneau and with a proper Facebook/Buttbook profile you might have you’re mandatory “fifteen seconds of shame”…
The Amsterdams are not some Dutch guys as you might believe, they are from Bucharest, Romania and playing a sort of very Brit indie pop/rock. Back in 2005 when the band was founded they sounds more like Kaiser Chiefs, meanwhile they lost along the way their punk after-taste rawness and scratchiness, their sound becomes more smoother, radio and consumer friendly. “Electromagnetica” is the band’s second album, released on 31 March 2011 and since 1st April is available also as free digital download at the band’s official web site.
“We weren’t actually fond of the hard, garage, underground, chemical elements or funeral-like names, so we thought that the best we could do was to choose a name that would’ve express the idea of free spirit, in all of its aspects, which is why Amsterdams came up really naturally. The is because people had to know that we were those Amsterdams… The only ones!” – said Andrei HaÈ›egan about the beginnings of the band and how they decide it to pick their name.
The Amsterdams played their first gig in 2006, in Big Mamou Club at Bucharest. That summer, Vlad Stoica and Dan Olaru left the band due to musical divergences, and formed a new band, called The Guillotines. Olaru was replaced by Augustin Nicolae, and shortly after the band was joined by guitarist Ovidiu Bejan. During the following months, The Amsterdams struggled hard to find a new drummer, working with no less than thirteen people and finding the perfect drummer to fit in, seems to remains a major issue for the band.
Next year, the band recorded two songs, “Taking Care Of Anna” and “Fireworks”. “Taking Care Of Anna” was aired on a local radio station, 89FM, while “Fireworks” was included on a compilation called “The Next Dog Desert Island Selection”, produced by Roadrunner Music. Later that year, they were invited to play at the third edition of UnderLondon2 Festival, in Bucharest. They were also part of the line-up for Stufstock 5 Festival, which featured The Dandy Warhols as headliners. Their performance impressed the American band, and made Courtney Taylor-Taylor to dedicate them the song “Country Leaver”, while calling them “the best Romanian band”.
Following the release of their first EP called “Automatic”, which featured four songs, The Amsterdams played at Europa Vox Festival, in France and after this performance they went to London for a gig in Dublin Castle Club. “Suffering And Surfing” and “Petrolize All Mice” were broadcasted on several local radio stations, like Cambridge University Radio and at BBC6 Music and the EP was promoted in the United Kingdom.
In the summer of 2008, the band was invited to several festivals, such as Peninsula, B’Estfest and Stufstock, this time on the main stage, with Apocalyptica and Air Traffic.
On May 22, 2009, The Amsterdams released their first studio album, called “Adolessons”. The album was produced, distributed and edited by the band, under the name of their own label, Post Pop Records.
Following an invitation from The Blog Parties, in September 2009, the band performed two gigs in two cities from Holland, Utrecht (Ekko Club) and Amsterdam (Winston Club).
In October, The Amsterdams and The Mono Jacks played as opening acts for the Canadian band Handsome Furs in Control Club, Bucharest. Impressed by their performance, the lead singer of Handsome Furs, Dan Boeckner agreed to collaborate with them on a song. Initially called “Burial Ground For Two” which would later appear on their second studio album under the name “This Burial Ground’s For Two”.
At the beginning of 2010, The Amsterdams had their first national tour, Home And Dry Tour 2010 while they performed in several cities from the north-east of Romania and also in ChiÅŸinÄƒu, Moldova.
In May, The Amsterdams were invited to tour with the Canadian band Wolf Parade as opening act and they performed in Budapest, Prague, Salzburg, Bologna and Torino. In July, they opened for The Cranberries concert in Bucharest.
At the beginning of 2011, The Amsterdams finished the recording of their second studio album, Electromagnetica. In February, a month before the official release, the band went in the UK to promote the new material. One of the new songs, “Coalmine”, had been previously aired at BBC6 Music.
The official release of Electromagnetica took place on March 31, at Kulturhaus Club, Bucharest. The release concert had Hot Casandra and Sophisticated Lemons performing as opening acts and featured Electric Brother (the producer of Electromagnetica) and Vlad Stoica as guests. The name of the album comes from Electromagnetica, a factory in Bucharest, inside of which the band has the rehearsal room.
We’ve got 10 songs, the guys delivering quite catchy themes, a nice mixture of indie rock and pop with subtle, radio-friendly approach. Best moments are “Coalmine”, “Apologies” and “This Burial Ground’s for Two”, and this is a quite ok indie release, smooth and relaxing.