Here in the US we’re in the midst of a big weekend holiday, the biggest of the summer in normal times, and in this time also a celebration of release from covid bondage, though whether it’s anything more than a temporary furlough remains to be seen. But here at NCS I pride myself on observing no holidays, only hangovers. And since I don’t have one today I decided to get a head start on what has turned out to be a two-part edition of this column.
What I’ve chosen for Part 1 are four songs from forthcoming albums, and one from an album that’s been out for five months. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed all of them. Though Part 2 isn’t written yet, what I have in mind is a selection of recent new full releases. Barring a hangover, it will arrive in the usual spot on Sunday.
To begin, I decided to celebrate a different incidence of independence than the one our holiday here commemorates. To explain, I’ll summarize the historical background, which I learned from investigating the Dutch lyrics to this opening song, “Verheft het Vaandel” (“Raise the Banner” in English), by the Flemish band Gotmoor.