Don't Trust Scarred Survivors

Daily paper NRC.Next (15/03/06):
4/5 stars
"The course is wayward but still accessible"
"Although the term indie (for: independent) tends to loose its meaning after the mega-success of indie-bands like Franz Ferdinand and Artic Monkeys, there are still bands around that want to take an independent stand. Guitarband Zoppo from Amsterdam follows its own course with music that is, within all its waywardness, surprisingly accessible.
Their fourth album "Don't Trust Scarred Survivors" follows along the lines of edgy guitarmusic of Joy Division, Sonic Youth, Pavement and Dutch examples as Mecano and The Ex.
Exceptional about Zoppo is that, despite the lo-fi-ish megaphone vocals and piercing guitars, they reach a level of emotional expressiveness that since the heydays of Radiohead as a guitarrockband hasn't been heard this strong.
Here you won't find casual three-chord songs on fantreeguitars, but carefully fitting parts of two string-fetishists (Cees van Appeldoorn and Arjan Tuin), who take there whole collection of guitars to gigs and to the Next To Jaap Studio of their supergrooving bassplayer Corno Zwetsloot, because for every song they need a different tuning and soundcolours.
Because of that 'Don't Trust....." has a great variety in passionate songs full of compelling rhythms and an atmosphere pregnant of disaster."

Dutch magazine OOR (15/03/06):
"In a way we step in a timemachine direction towards the heydays of American cultbands as Seam, Sebadoh, Unwound and not least Polvo. So we also talk about intelligent noiserock, in a melancholic setting, wistful lyrics and guitarparts according to the Sonic Youth commandments: dissonant, crossing, layered, perfectly capable to create thick threatening clouds over the songs and give the drums an elbow to the side. It's not the dynamics that do the job, but the nice voice of Van Appeldoorn, the beautiful vocal-melodies and, point taken, the so prettily recorded guitars that one would swear recorder in charge/bassist Corno Zwetsloot has been on a study-tour to the cellars of Steve Albini."

8weekly webzine (17/03/06):
"Layered dissonant perfection"
"High time for a bit of new spirit. It was more than worth the waiting, because the beautiful album Don’t Trust Scarred Survivors has got that fiery element without doubt. From layered-ness to discordance, from tension to that musical recalcitration: it's got everything.
People, a fantastic record has been risen from Dutch soil.
Polvo is one of Zoppo's examples, but Zoppo at the same token has the against-the-grain sound of bands like Unwound and Sonic Youth. It's eleven perfect songs that all have a different touch and are ingeniously crafted.
The eruptions are pretty, but utmost controlled. The band shows its might and owns the creation. Awesome."

Dutch webzine KindaMuzik (28/04/06):
"Zoppo has made a first class album. A level that could be of use for a lot of youngsters. Timeless quality music that deserves all attention, but probably won't get."

LiveXS (28/04/06):
"Personaly I consider former album Les Aumonts one of the best, if not THE best Dutch album of the last five years. The melancholy and desolate atmosphere that shined from the edgy indierocksongs, combined with the intimite voice of singer Cees van Appeldoorn didn't bring Zoppo a broader audience, but gained them quite some respect in underground circles and with the press. As good and catchy as that this album is not, but nevertheless still beautiful it is. This album you spin at home when you're alone and want to lock yourself out from all the bullshit around. More words I don't need."

Vido Liber on the Subjectivisten website (15/03/06):
"Don't Trust Scarred Survivors" is spinning overtime at Vido's home. The album grows and grows and grows...."

Jan-Willem Broek on the Subjectivisten website (15/03/06):
"With every new cd of Zoppo the band shows a new unique sound, which results in for everyone a different classic. For one person the second "Belgian Style Pop", full of electronics, pop and postrock, will be the standard, others will appreciate highly the more noisy third "Les Aumonts".
No matter which Zoppo you love, the red thread is always that beautiful melancholy that wanders around in the songs.
After five years they're back with "Don’t Trust Scarred Survivors", an interpretation of a lyric line from the Polvo song "Tragic Carpet Ride". Whether you can trust these scarred survivors or not, you know for sure they always will be different.
With squeaking guitars they start the cd and rapidly they create a sound that would make Sonic Youth jealous. Quietness follows, but they strike with melancholic beauty. This way they vary with loud and soft songs over the total cd, keeping as always melancholy high up. Amongst other things this effect is strongend by Cees van Appeldoorn's beautiful voice that penetrates deep into your body.
The songs are compact, fresh and in your face. with that they combine the best of themselves with elements of Sonic Youth, New Wet Kojak, Pixies, Idaho and The Fall. Besides Cees van Appeldoorn also Arjan Tuin (guitar), Ineke Duivenvoorde (organ, samples), Corno Zwetsloot (bass, guitar) and Paul van der Maas (drums) are in the party. In one of the most beautiful songs "Get Over Cute" Asta Cat (ex-Zoppo, ex-Seesaw) can be heard as guestsinger.
It's a catchy rock album that creeps under your flesh. Five years after their latest cd they again show in a wayward way to be able to make music that does matter".

Dutch E-zne Musicfrom (25/04/06):
"After three/four spinnings the oysters open and a chain of pearls is waiting. The fourth Zoppo turns out, especially when it comes down to the underlying groundness, a first class listening trip. So many exciting and beautiful things are happening at the base of the in itself already strong songs that one is not easily done with listening.
We applaud Zoppo, as stubborn in style and attitude as they are and still getting better all the time.
With this 5-some every longplayer is a new fresh adventure. Deep respect!"

UK Zine Vanity Project (25/04/06):
"4th LP from the Amsterdam quintet. It is a sharp, fizzing record of skuzzy alt.rock dynamite, the brazen, stubborn attitude of pre-‘Ok Computer’ Radiohead coming through. ‘Too Cool To Care’ has a tunnel-pipe post-rock calm, dark splendour. Their music has the deep clouding feel of Joy Division but allied to a genuinely inventive new-form of lo-fi scuzz. ‘There’s One At Every Party’ sways through the battering, whining guitar noise, while ‘Wrong Way Round’ rolling on a melancholic but chiming melody. We’re in Editors/Interpol territory with this, but done with a gritty panache. Skif"

Serbia and Montenegro radio programme THE POWER OF THE WITCHES (25/04/06):
I like shoegazing. And I hate Sonic Youth. I don’t like shoegazing as much as I did. And I don’t hate Sonic Youth as much as I did. Zoppo remind me of SY’s late early career (that’s Evol or Sister) with filtered approach of new semi-shoegazers like Radio Dept. I like when people are feeling sad and can transform the feeling into bursting guitars. Into a firework of bursting guitars. Zoppo are from Netherlands. Or Holland. Or Amsterdam. It’d be funny to be at their concerts holding a girl’s hand and feeling the bits and pieces of eternity being blown away. I like Zoppo cause its our childhood that bares all the autenticity of our lives. And it’s worth being sad about it when it’s gone. And they remind me about it. And that’s why I like them. And I never said everything’s alright with me."


Les Aumonts
UK E-zine "Diskant" about "Les Aumonts": "Some music from my maternal country now with Zoppo on Amsterdam's Transformed Dreams label. With Les Aumonts they've managed to cover a lot of ground. The title track has a good grasp of dreamy landcape building with a hint of menace and picks out all the best bits of Hood and Reynolds and melds them into something very pretty indeed. Zoppo Is Finished has the same mournful minor key melodies that make Suckle so depressingly great and Starlight Starbright has a joyful jangly feel with all the corners rubbed smooth. Chick With The Leak and Flashlight have distorted vocals set against inventive rock guitar and by now I'm getting very impressed. Effective tuneful rock that I can imagine would be a good travelling companion. Go find". about 'Les Aumonts': 'Dass von unseren Nachbarn aus Holland immer wieder gute Independentmusik kommt, wissen wir ja spätestens seit Herman Brood, Bettie Serveert oder Claw Boys Claw. Zoppo, das sind 4 Männer und eine Dame, kommen aus Amsterdam und wollen nun, nachdem sie in den Beneluxstaaten schon für Aufsehen gesorgt haben, auch den deutschen Musikmarkt erobern. Und mit Les Aumonts haben sie eine nahezu unschlagbare Waffe geschmiedet, mit der sie auf ihrem Siegeszug locker bestehen können. Denn dieses Album besticht durch seine schräge und kreative Gitarren-Popmusik in der Tradition von dEUS, Sonic Youth, Velvet Underground oder Motorpsycho. Und wer sich jetzt angesprochen fühlt, kann diese Platte ruhigen Gewissens ungehört kaufen... '

Pennyblackmusic-The Magazine about 'Les Aumonts': 'The first few times that I played (and loved) this album, I'd pulled the stereo out and disconnected one of the wires imagine my joy when I found there was a whole other speaker full of sound just at the end of the play button. Sound wise the reference points are varied and just distant enough to make you think before waving. But I spose Versus, the Valentines and Lou Barlows aching vocals with the overlooked brilliance of Jason Lowensteins music are in the same area code. The dulcet picked guitars are never overplayed or forced; they just sit back on top of the washes of strings and feedback while a subtle percussive flow ebbs in and out. Each track is so translucent and open it seems strange that theres so little space for unnecessary clutter, and even though it's beautifully ordered for me there's still stand out moments, the drum sounds on 'Zoppo', the hushed boy /girl vocal on 'Starlight Starbright' that makes you melt, and Im sure 'Flashback' rips a lyric from XTC's 'Senses Working Overtime'.
The sleeve has a picture of summer (do they fade or was it just the chemicals they used in the 70's ?).You can almost smell the hazy warmth and taste the electricity of summer thunderstorms; this is definitely the soundtrack of new and hopeless love.'

Belgian magazine Gonzo Circus about Les Aumonts:"This cd is firm like a rock.Its the perfect balance between charming melancholy, varied pop,hold-back anger,strange experiments and dissonant outbursts.Who wont get goose-flesh hearing Zoppos finished is without soul, who doesn't consider Les Aumonts beautiful is out of senses. Absolute top!"

OOR magazine about Les Aumonts:"Belgian style pop was the title of their last album, and I still know what I thought : funny, such an ironical title, but there is absolutely a core of truth in it. Very distant from for example the dEUS-sound they never were. The same slumbering melancholy, the same tasty arranging, the same intimate atmosphere. Not to forget the same beautiful vocal-melodies that brought, when it comes down to tristesse, the most touching moments of Lou Barlow to mind. The same applies in general for Les Aumonts be it that the Sonic Youth-guitar is used a bit more and that the whole record sounds more consistent than the a bit too varied 'Belgian style pop'. Differences in shade, exactly. Because, whether they want it or not, leaning towards dEUS they still do-just listen to the violin-heated Zoppo is finished or the smashing The sky is full of it-and also their competence to drive a melody with superior finesse through bone and heart is still intact. Luckily. Great band".


Belgian Style Pop

MuzieKKrant (Belgian e-zine) about 'Belgian Style Pop': "The continuous thread is an intimate and melancholic atmosphere. A very well done record that fans of Sonic Youth, dEUS and Velvet Underground SHOULD take home"

"Let's not beat around the bush: zoppo are a discovery, struggling and coping with a desperate amount of beautiful melodies" (OOR about 'Belgian Style Pop')

"With Belgian Style Pop Zoppo prove that the level of Barlow and Pollard (in the best of their times) can be reached by a Dutch band as well" (Gonzo circus, Belgian magazine about 'Belgian Style Pop')

live reviews

Spanish E-zine Cielo Liquido about Zoppos gig at the Truck-festival (GB): "ZOPPO (TP TENT) 12:45 PM Cuarteto holands tremendo.Formacin clsica: batera, bajo, dos guitarras y voces. Graban en el sello Transformed dreams records de Amsterdam, una fenomenal etiqueta en la que tienen publicados ya varios Lps.Tanto en sus discos como en directo demuestran clase, energa, madurez, inteligencia, tienen grandes canciones y aportan novedosas estructuras.Las referencias ms cercanas podran ser Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, Pavement, y Seafood, por ejemplo.Fantstico grupo de verdad estos Zoppo."

Monthly for Dutch-Music-only-paper Fret about their W2, Den Bosch gig: "For the saviours of rock-n-roll you dont have to search across Dutch borders. Zoppo delivered with Les Aumonts a more than terrific record. And know how to translate it into a challenging live-set. Zoppo proves to belong to the guitar-pop of Holland. Whatever happened to my rock-n-roll. This is it."

VPRO-Radio 3FM-presenter Jaap Boots about Zoppo's live gig in his programme 'Club Lek': "Although the genre (wide, atmospheric postguitarrock-Sonic Youth, Slint, Sebadoh) has had it's period, I started believing in the importance of it again because Zoppo blew so much new life into it. Intensly, imploding and exploding, Zoppo proved they can rival with the best in Holland."

Free popmagazine LiveXS about the Zoppo gig at Doornroosje, Nijmegen (14/03/02): "Like on cd Zoppo knows very well how to create a balance between hold-back, fragile guitar-rock and widely floating noise. Squeaking and crackling guitars between the songs provide an hypnotic effect. During the final song Zoppo rock themselves and the audience once again to the bone, which makes you automatically long for more. But encores are boring, because gone means gone and one of Hollands best bands has understood that."

"It immediately shows that Zoppo rocks as never before. A fat blast with mainly beautifully, against each other whirling loud guitars"(Vera-krant).

"Great: Zoppo. These folks from Amsterdam showed why their album Belgian Style Pop got so many good reviews. Songs against the grain in which names like dEUS, Velvet Underground, Sonic Youth and Belle & Sebastian now and then crop up" (OOR about the Crossing Border Festival gig)

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