BELGIAN NUGGETS 90s-00S VOLUME 2.

Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2.

Label: Mayway Records.

Just six months after Mayway Records released Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 1 to widespread critical acclaim, Tony Vandenbogaerde’s label returns with the much-anticipated  followup Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 which will be released on the ‘25th’ of 2018. Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 is another lovingly curated compilation, and just like the first instalment in the series, there’s hidden gems galore awaiting discovery on a compilation that features a tantalising taste of the Belgian music scene during the nineties and noughties. That comes as no surprise, as Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2, was also compiled by Tony Vandenbogaerde, who nine years ago, bought a collection of CDs that eventually led to him founding his own record label and starting a compilation series.

The story began in 2009, when Tony Vandenbogaerde heard an announcement that  VRT, the Belgian public service broadcaster, was selling off a large quantity of CDs from its record library. These were the CDs that record labels and hopeful artists had sent to VRT each and every day, in the hope that they would find their way onto the radio station’s playlist. However, only a few found their way onto the playlist, while the remainder languished unloved in VRT’s record library until the day they would be rescued by a local record collector. 

That day came not long after Tony Vandenbogaerde, the future founder of Mayway Records and compiler of the Belgian Nuggets compilation series saw VRT’s advert and decided to investigate. He was a lifelong music fan, and was interested in securing what was a huge and comprehensive collection of CDs. Unfortunately, Tony Vandenbogaerde wasn’t the only person interested in this enviable and impressive collection of CDs, and a number of other buyers were waiting to  pounce.

Fortunately, Tony Vandenbogaerde triumphed and secured this vast collection of CDs, which they soon discovered gave him a comprehensive overview of Belgian music during the nineties and noughties. Now that Tony Vandenbogaerde had secured this comprehensive collection of CDs, the next step for his was to work out what to do with them? This wasn’t the type of collection that would fit in a few Ikea cabinets.

After some thought, Tony Vandenbogaerde decided to make a career out the collection of music he had just bought. “I decided to make a living of it and began to sell them on eBay and Discogs. That was my full-time job for like 5-6 years. But whilst doing that, I discovered a lot of great Belgian music and the idea to do something with that, became to form in my head. In the beginning of this year I decided to do it and start a record label, and thus began the compilation series Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s.”

The label that Tony Vandenbogaerde founded was Mayway Records, which released Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 1 on the ‘17th’ of November 2017. It featured twenty tracks, ranging from long-forgotten singles to B-Sides, album tracks and even the occasional demo. When Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 1 was released, it was to widespread critical acclaim with critics singing the praise of this lovingly curated compilation, and hoping that Volume 2 would follow.

Tony Vandenbogaerde isn’t the type of man to let the grass grow under his feet, and was soon compiling Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 with the assistance of Geert Huys and Vincent Matten. The trio dug deep into the music that Tony Vandenbogaerde had bought back in 2009, looking for oft-overlooked singles, tracks from EPs and albums released during the nineties and noughties. Eventually, the trio settled on twenty tracks including contributions from Barbie Bangkok, Simi Nah, Dead Man Ray, The Germans, Confuse The Cat, Black Shark, Sugar Kane, Paper Fox, Red Elmo, Party At Vanzetti’s, The Basics and Mauro Pawlowski and The Grooms. They’re just a few of the delights on Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2, but what are the highlights?

Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 opens with Barbie Bangkok’s New Friend which is a track from their EP Oh My God which was released on the Kinky Star label. It’s a hard rocking and blistering fusion of alt-rock, electronic and psych rock with a nod to post rockers Radiohead. Hooks certainly haven’t been spared on a track that sets the bar high for the rest of the compilation.

Simi Nah was born in Nice, in the south of France, but moved to Paris to follow her dream of becoming a fashion designer. Paris was also where Simi Nah’s musical career began. After that, she moved to Holland and Belgium, and in 2004 embarked upon a solo career. By then, she had already been a member of The Chicks, Coma and Praga Khan. Later in 2004, Simi Nah released her debut album Cherchez La Femme on the Mostiko label and one of the highlights of the albums Je Joue Le Jeu In Génu which is an irresistible  electro pop gem.

In 2011, Piano Club released their Ain’t No Mountain High EP on the JauneOrange label. The standout track on the EP was Across The Street, which features a vocal from Catherine De Biasio, who  delivers an ethereal vocal that seems to have been inspired by Liz Fraser of the Cocteau Twins. Catherine De Biasio’s plays a starring role in this dreamy, melodic and memorable slice of synth pop which is one of the highlights of Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2.

Initially, Bones which is taken from The Germans’ 2008 album Elf Shot Lane Witch album, sounds as it’s been influenced and inspired by Radiohead’s post rock classic OK Computer, and especially Karma Police. Soon, this changes and a quite beautiful and sometimes progressive and futuristic indie ballad unfolds.

The Deepest Blue is a track from Confuse The Cat’s 2008 album We Can Do It, which was released in 2008 on Zealrecords. It’s also a fist-pumping post punk anthem in waiting that is another welcome addition to Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2.

Garage rockers Black Shark turn the amp up to eleven and kick loose on the Brighter Than Glass, which is the title-track to their 2007 EP. It’s an explosive track with blistering guitars to the fore on Brighter Than Glass, which is a reminder of what garage rock used to sound like during the genre’s glory days.

Perfect pop describes Sugar Kane’s Birdsong which is taken from then Birdsongs EP which was released in 1999. Birdsong with its wistful, rueful vocal, capricious guitars and samples of birdsong is another beautiful ballad and a truly underrated song.

When Delavega recorded their eponymous EP which was released on the Draaischijf label in 2004, it featured the carefully crafted soundscape Nostalgia, which was described as the soundtrack to an imaginary movie. That comes as no surprise, as Nostalgia is atmospheric and has a cinematic sound that is rich in imagery. It sounds as the inspiration for the track has come from Moby and to some extent Air and 4Hero.

De Legende was a collaboration between Elvis Peeters and Geert Corbeels whose raison d’être was to produce cerebral and theatrical pop music. In 1993, De Legende released the mini album Ten Dans which was released by Donor Publishing. One of the highlights was Ten Dans which is a fusion of art rock, new wave and synth pop and gave De Legende a surprise hit single. 

Red Elmo first came to the attention of Belgian music fans in the late-nineties, and by 2006 they had released the album Eyrie. It featured And In Your Head, which is a carefully crafted multilayered track which features a reaping saxophone, wistful piano and a rueful vocal from Charlotte Nuytens who steals the show and plays a leading role in the song’s success.

A year after becoming the first band to release a singe on the Kinky Star label, De Bossen’s track G-Shirt featured on the Girl Collection compilation. It’s an über edgy and jittery slice of garage rock that will be appreciated by connoisseurs of the genre.

I Wanna Lay My Head featured on garage blues band Party At Vanzetti’s Extended Play EP which was released on Bone Marrow Records in 1991. From the get-go, it sounds as if vocalist Bart Vanneste is channeling the spirit of Iggy Pop as he struts and swaggers his way through this fusion of alt-rock, punk and garage blues. Sadly, Party At Vanzetti’s only released one more single and a mini album before Bart Vanneste decided to concentrate on his career as alternative comedian. That was a great shame as Party At Vanzetti’s were a talented band, and proof of that is I Wanna Lay My Head.

The Basics released Psychosomatic Heartcrush as a single on Boom! Records in 1998. It’s a real find from the band who combine two bass guitars, a cello and snarling vocal as they combine surf, punk and rock ’n’ roll during a song that brings to mind The Cramps.

Closing Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 is The Unreachable which is a track from Mauro Pawlowski and The Grooms’ Black Europa album which was released on 2004. It’s a seven minute epic where elements of indie rock, improv and post rock melt into one. Sadly, the Black Europa album wasn’t a commercial success and nowadays, is long forgotten, that is apart from a small coterie of appreciative record buyers. However, this underrated and oft-overlooked epic is a great way to end Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2.

Sometimes, it’s hard to surpass the first volume of a critically acclaimed compilation, but Tony Vandenbogaerde has managed to do this on Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 which will be which released on the ‘25th’ of 2018 by Mayway Records. Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 which features singles, B-Sides and tracks from albums and EPs looks back at what’s now regarded as a golden period for Belgian music. 

During the nineties and noughties, Belgium had such a diverse and vibrant music scene which is documented on Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2. It features artists and bands from towns and cities across Belgium who were creating an eclectic selection of music. This includes alt-rock, electronica, electro, garage rock, indie rock, post punk and synth pop. There were also bands recording post rock, rock ’n’ roll and surf music during the period that Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 covers. These genres are all represented on Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2 which is a lovingly curated compilation.

Rather than choosing the familiar songs that feature on other compilations, the compilers have dug deep and have struck musical gold several times, discovering oft-overlooked anthems,  hook-laden perfect pop and hidden gems galore awaiting discovery on the lovingly curated Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2, which is a compilation that belongs in any self-respecting record collection.

Belgian Nuggets 90s-00s Volume 2.

 

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