People talk about how great it is to have all this music accessible to us in today’s world, but they seldom actually talk about what that actually means. Yes, it’s great and astounding and majestic to be able to devour an entire band’s catalogue on a whim — something I take full advantage of — but to me, what’s great about how accessible music is today is being able to meet bands all across the globe and instantly immerse myself in their striking sound.
There’s plenty of times that I find myself amazed by this notion, like when a new band from Russia or even South Africa pop up on my radar, but when I came across VOLK‘s music for the first time, I found myself completely confounded and almost startled by how accessible music has truly become in this day and age.
VOLK is an American duo forging their way with a solid roots rock sound. Doesn’t sound too strange that I’d come across them except for the fact that the duo have been living abroad in Germany of all places for the past two years — pretty much the length of time VOLK has existed. Germany, people. Home of all things techno and synthpop. But VOLK’s doing it. They’re making new and great music while touring across the country and its neighbors, all the while exposing middle Europe to a sound that would absolutely kill at any festival here in America. News are they’re heading back to the states soon so hopefully they’ll get a chance to test out this theory.
Ten years ago, hell even five years ago, I doubt I’d ever come across VOLK and that fact slaps me in my face each time I listen to their music. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of their EP from last March, Boutique Western Swing Compositions, and it’s enjoyed a lengthy stay on my turntable since arriving in the mail. It’s an interesting collection of moderately sparse songs full of the strained relationship between Eleot Reich’s wonderful voice and Christopher Lowe’s dynamic guitar. The songs vary slightly in style, but listen close and you can pinpoint this internal conflict within the sound as it tries to reconcile its early 1900s aesthetic with its desire to be a full-on rock duo.
As great as that EP is (and the vinyl is still available here), I really want to draw attention to a new song from them that was released as a video shot by The Open Stage Berlin. “January” is a striking firecracker of a song that demands attention from the note one and might just be the best introduction to VOLK’s diligent sound. Scheming lyrics, driving beats, cocky guitar parts, and an energy that can be felt half a world away. It’s all on display here and it’s just fantastic.
Watch the video below and besides the fun song, pay close attention to Reich constantly trying to hide her smile. Even better, catch her smirk at the forty second mark right as Christopher’s launching into his guitar hook. With that type of playful live demeanor, it’s no wonder the sound is catching on in Germany.