Indies Scope 2012: To Have a Cowboy Heart
For the 30th birthday of record label Indies Scope, Brno Daily looks back at the history of this icon of the Brno music scene, revisiting a selection of the most significant releases from the label’s back catalogue. We are presenting one album every week, with commentary from co-founder Milan Páleš, who started the label with Miloš Gruber in 1990. Image: Courtesy of Indies Scope.
Continuing our retrospective series on key releases from the iconic Brno record label Indies Scope, Brno Daily is today going back to 2012…
The Context in 2012
Who runs the world? Girls. In 2012, women rule the world of music more than ever.
Garbage (“Not your kind of people”), Fiona Apple (“The Idler Wheel”), and Bat For Lashes (“The Haunted Man”) are among the artists returning after some years of silence.
Newcomers Purity Ring, the Edmonton-based duo of singer Megan James and multi-instrumentalist Corin Roddick, shoot directly into the charts with their first album “Shrines”, released on legendary Indie pop/electro label 4AD.
Grimes, aka Claire Elise Boucher, is releasing “Visions”, an album which places her straightaway on the shortlist of best female multi-producers of all time, according to Time magazine, the same year they ranked her among the 100 most influential people in the world…
Self-taught artists, multi-instrumentalist creators or simply singing talents at the edge of the underground are entering the mainstream world, like Lana del Rey with her breakthrough second LP “Born to die “, getting millions of streams around the world, or “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” by Nicki Minaj, slightly abandoning hip-hop for dance tracks…
But that year we couldn’t forget “good kid, m.A.A.d city” by Kendrick Lamar, the instant classic from a male MC in a new women’s world.
Meanwhile at Indies Scope
On their album “Kroskántry”, Brno band Poletíme? discovered within themselves a cowboy heart, and extended their unique banjo-punk style with a dash of country, or as they put it ‘kántry’. On their third studio album, they emphasize the humorous lyrics, straightforward, poetic, yet slightly vulgar. After the second album “Skupina dobře vypadajících mužů” (Band of good-looking men) the band left Brno’s clubs to grace the main stages of festivals, and with this album they confirmed their reputation as a joyful band, full of brisk rhythms and melodic choruses.
The album tells light stories about difficult or sad things, yet with a colorful and cheerful mood. Rudolf Brančovský admitted the inspiration of country music: “I just rediscovered for myself the long forgotten world of musical romanticism. I am sure that thanks to our rogue style, country music won’t be a dirty word for some people anymore. So we don’t say country on purpose, because we mean KÁNTRY!“ In addition to the classical instrumental formation we can also hear the rezofonic guitar of Martin Mikl, saxophone of Pavel Križovenský, and five-string banjo of the legendary banjo player Sváťa Kotas, founder of the bluegrass band Poutníci.
The band recorded again in Brno’s Studio G under the supervision of Jiří “Topol“ Novotný. Nevertheless, the resulting sound was a little bit different this time around compared to previous albums, as Brančovský explained. “What you hear on the new album is a consensus among three different approaches. One approach is me, as a supporter of the dirtiest sound possible, like at our concerts. Another is our sound engineer Topol, who, as a professional, tends to make everything clean and tuned. And the third element is the approach of Sváťa Kotas, a professional of the bluegrass & country sound. He looked at it from a totally different point of view. I would say that his contribution to the final sound of the album is essential.” The resulting 15 songs were completed with a video of the title song “Lokomotiva”, with illustrations by Rudolf Brančovský and animation by Jan Mikota.
Milan Páleš remembers
Rudolf Brančovský’s band started in Brno. They recorded the mega-hit “Lokomotiva” from their third album at Indies Scope, for which Jan Mikota made a video that has over a million views on YouTube and has been permanently included on the band’s concert playlist. I let the song, which I also liked a lot, grow on vinyl maxi-single in anticipation of success at the Womex trade fair, so there is only one copy of the LP in the world, which I handed over to the band just before they us for Supraphon.
Brno Daily reviews
15 songs with an average length of 3.30.
Once again, the artists on Indies Scope’s catalogue display a great capacity to delve into different musical genres than usual, in this case country-folk, and a perfectionism in trying to reach their greatest creative potential.
The ability to cross musical boundaries and be free in terms of production is a treasure in the modern music industry and should be always noticed.
This album is a real Country and Folk effort. The instruments used, banjos as an example, and the singing methods, often a chorus of many singers or a slowed-down track, signal the atmosphere of the West, a land of conquest made famous by movies, and a vast desert where anything could be created.
There are no peaks and troughs in this LP, more a constant atmosphere of the saloon bar and horse-riding in the wild, helped by lyrics speaking about daily life adventures in the manner the cowboys of old probably used to speak.
Even if we might not be able to find cowboys in Pardubice or Slovacko, I’m quite sure we can find some Czechs in the faraway lands of Utah or Texas…
More from this series:
- Indies Scope: The Last Five Years (Part 2)
- Indies Scope: The Last Five Years (Part 1)
- Indies Scope 2015: Gods and Goddesses
- Indies Scope 2014: From The Balkans With Love
- Indies Scope 2013: Flowers and Their Bees