This is the Polish sound

We’ve invited many acts from all over the globe to perform at OFF FESTIVAL KATOWICE 2010, but a glance at the thirteen picks below should be enough to convince anyone that we’re not about to be KO’d by our foreign guests. We might not even go down for the count…

Their gloomy, trance-inducing alternative rock can be both dreamy and noisy, at once romantic and garage-sounding. They’ve toured Poland and Germany, and have released three records independently. Their latest album, titled “16”, is a highly refined and unique combination of music, words, and images.

This avant-hip-hop group from Poznań have successfully transplanted the kind of sound you would expect from a band on Anticon’s roster — rock instruments, a rapacious sound, heavy beats, and original lyrics. These winners of the Jarocin festival competition have released two albums — “Plenum” and “NP” — and given many concerts, garnering rave reviews.

Potty Umbrella
The musicians of Something Like Elvis and Tissura Ani joined forces in 2003 to form Potty Umbrella, a band whose music is an unclassifiable blend of rock sounds, jazz rhythms, and trance. To date, they’ve produced several great albums, a radio show based on Stanisław Wyspiański’s “Akropolis,” and have done a 25(!) date tour of Canada with NoMeansNo.

We Call It A Sound
They call it a sound, but we call it one of the most important Polish debuts of the year! This foursome of friends from Wolsztyn recorded an album quietly, in the privacy of their own home, melting beautiful, melancholy melodies into intricate arrangements based on rich sound textures. In a perfect world, Top 40 pop would sound just this. But there are no perfect worlds, so listen to “Animated” at home and come see We Call It A Sound live on stage.

Hotel Kosmos
Founded in 2003 by Polish language majors studying in Toruń, this band’s style evolved from straightforward punk to psychedelic post-rock trance. Hotel Kosmos’ debut “Wszystkie stary kobiety miasta” was produced by Grzegorz Kaźmierczak, the vocalist of Variete, and was released in 2008. Since then, a trumpet has been added to the group’s instrumentarium, while their music has grown even more indescribable and dreamy.

Newest Zealand
Boris Dejnarowicz’s new, or should we say newest, project (after playing in the indie-rock band The Car Is On Fire and his solo minimal album “Divertimento”) is an exceptional one that features the crème de la crème of the young Polish alternative scene. The album, due to be released this fall, was made with the help of a range of musicians, including Furia Futrzaków, Afro Kolektyw, Mitch & Mitch, Kolorofon, Muchy, Renton, and The Car Is On Fire. At live performances, the group is joined by the album’s producer Peter Bergstrand and the band Excessive Machine.

Tin Pan Alley
Make no mistake: despite their name — a reference to mediocre, radio-friendly music — this quartet from Bydgoszcz actually has very little in common with commercial pop. Their loud garage rock will be right up the alley of fans of American bands in the vein of Pavement and Sonic Youth. They recently debuted with the album “Palm Waves.”

Paula i Karol
The warm, pondering sounds of alt-country aren’t exactly a Polish specialty, making us all the happier to welcome Paula i Karol onto the scene, and onto the stage at the OFF Festival. The band remained a duet for some time, but Polish-Canadian Paula Bialski (vocals, violin, keyboard) and Karol Strzemieczny (vocals, guitar), also a member of Stan Miłości i Zaufania and Naiv, have welcomed Igor Nikoforow (drums, melodica, and a few other objects) from the band Stwory into their ranks, and it’s worked out for the better. Give their debut EP “Goodnight Warsaw” a listen and find out for yourself.

Ed Wood
A side project by Bydgoszcz band Tin Pan Alley. Their music is heavy and chaotic, and they sound sloppy, but they’ve got that special something, and they claim to have even more of “it” live. Possible even too much. They’ve just finished recording their debut album, produced by Michał Kupicz (Indigo Tree, among others). The title of their album will be “Anal Animal.” We’re assuming that Chopin was not a major source of inspiration here.

A trio from Głogów that came out of nowhere with their self-published EP “In Progress” and an excellent full-length debut “Ex-Internal” (2009), produced by Maciej Cieślak (Ścianka, Cieślak i Księżniczki). Their music is harsh, determined, loud, and reminiscent of shoe-gaze classics as well as the more recent accomplishments by the leading names in post-metal, with their wall of guitar accompanied by the neurotic, hypnotic voice of Daniel Paluszek.

Bipolar Bears
A project by a duo from Wrocław who share common ideas about music despite their completely different backgrounds. Szymon [d’] Danis played in the bands CO.IN and Fate Unknown, producing heavy, industrial, metal sounds, while Kuba Mitoraj used to play jazz, funk, and acoustic guitar. Their debut album “Interpolar Link” is a bridge connecting rock expression and experimental electronics. Bipolar Bears’ music is so rich and vast that you might as well try to list what’s not  on the album.

A group from Sopot that was formed in Norway but plays American music, inspired mostly by post-rock experimentation and the psychedelic melancholy of freak folk. Kyst works with such Polish alternative scene names as Maciej Cieślak (who produced their album), Macio Moretti, and Tomasz Ziętek (Pink Freud). Following shows played in Poland and abroad (including Berlin and Prague), Kyst released a debut album titled “Cotton Touch” on their self-founded label Gingerbread Records.

Let the Boy Decide
This Ostrzeszów band was formed in 2003 and released their excellent debut “Counting the Red Stars” two years later, after which they unexpectedly went on hiatus. Fortunately, the band recently changed its mind and has now come back with the exquisite “Like the Earth Lie the Sun Like the Ocean in the Night” to explore the vast, sleepy edges of post-rock and folk.

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