Focus On: The Netherlands, with Antillectual

Antillectual

In the first of our country-themed features, we find out about what hidden musical gems the Netherlands has to offer, with the help of technical punk trio Antillectual.

One of Holland’s more illustrious punk bands, Antillectual are a relentless gigging machine, having clocked up over 700 shows in the nine years they have been together. In that time they have toured with Propagandhi and Boy Sets Fire and have played as far and wide as Russia and Brazil.

Their music is aggressive yet melodic, with face-melting riffs and passionate sing-a-long moments in equal measure. Lyrically, the band cover a range of human rights and activism-related topics, much like their Canadian kindred spirits.

We spoke to singer and guitarist Willem to find out what other Dutch bands deserve our attention, and why.

Before introducing five underrated or relatively new bands from Holland who are doing really well and touring across Europe, I want to emphasise that there are tons more new bands popping up in Holland. Maybe not all of them tour abroad, but they’re all worth checking out.

Dead Giveaway (our drummer Riekus’ new band), Kids’ Crusade, The Minority, Through the Struggle, Call It Off and The Lowest Standard all deserve honorable mentions.

The 101’s

The 101’s have been around for a couple of years now but have lately changed their style from punk ‘n’ roll to a bit more melodic and poppy sounding vibe. Over the last few years they have played a lot of shows in Holland and more and more abroad. On March 14 they will release a new album Europe-wide with help from our mutual friends in White Russian Records (NL) and No Reason Records (ITA). More touring will follow I’m sure.

Sweet Empire

Last December we had the pleasure of touring the UK together with Sweet Empire. Next to being a great band they are the most friendly guys ever and host a lot of awesome shows in the Amsterdam area of Holland through North Empire Bookings. Sweet Empire is often characterized as the Dutch Descendents, with a Face to Face twist to it – works for me. These guys are working on their second full length at the moment – it’s coming out later this year through Shield Recordings.

Harsh Realms

Another young band. They have only released a 7″ with just two songs, but they have played all over the Netherlands and have started touring across the border. Harsh Realms plays a catchy, gruff, orgcore type of punk. They are another band from the province of Brabant in the Netherlands, a very fruitful area for punk rock bands. After releasing only two songs they promised to present a full-length album in 2014; really looking forward to that one.

The Road Home

A band based around two talented brothers. The Road Home has been labeled the Dutch Gaslight Anthem, which is an understandable qualification. They have released two EPs so far, and have managed to get some national airplay through those, which has led to a lot of shows in the Netherlands. But they don’t limit themselves to our tiny country, and are broadening their focus all over Europe, touring from east to west, north to south.

Smash The Statues

I’m not a big fan of band reunions. I love to see bands who have an urge to be an active band, spread their music and message. And usually reuniting bands don’t have that spark. On the other hand I wouldn’t want to have missed out on the last Hot Water Music record, or any of the shows I have seen of the reunited Boysetsfire. When Smash The Statues broke up, that was a loss for the Dutch scene. They are as close as brothers to us as one can be (quite literally) and we have played many many shows together. I guess you can say we operate in the same field, melodic punk rock/hardcore with a political message, but STS leans a bit more towards the hardcore side with a little more straight ahead sound to it. They are working on a new release as we speak; it’s good to have them back!

Make sure you check out www.antillectual.com for gig dates, music, videos and more.

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