Rode Pruik 10" vinyl by COOLHAVEN got some reviews

Our recent release Rode Pruik/COOLHAVEN (DOB090) had some reviews you should check on the web or just read it below the links.
Also recently they promoted their album at Gifgrond, Tilburg, which turned out to be a fruitful festivity. Straight from Thai with a hoteldebotel too dinges. Check here:
https://yeahiknowitsucks.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/gifgrond-62-the-legendary-party-report/
Rotterdam’s Coolhaven are a breezy, clever act that just keep on keeping on; making music for the sake of making music. That might sound patronising but I genuinely mean it as a compliment. Coolhaven are in love with pop and use it as a vehicle to get up to all sorts of mischief. They’ve made some great records (a favourite of mine is Strømblocque Phantasiën) produced cod-operas about Friedrich Nietzsche, dressed up in C18th attire and generally mucked about on the fringes of both the cultural sector and the international underground pop scene for years. Though they might not like me saying this a lot of their music is playful in a very Dutch manner, ever-so-slightly self-effacing and clever but always fun. Unsurprisingly, there is a distinct whiff of Rotterdam in their sound: an “up-for-it” air, sometimes abrasive but earthy and quick-witted. The band (Lukas Simonis, Hajo Doorn and Peter Fengler) know the underground music history of their city like few others and this latest record is one that celebrates two very distinctive and brilliant parts of it: the punk and gabber scenes.

I presume this mini LP’s title Rode Pruik (red wig) refers to Coolhaven giving these old staples a new chance to scrub up and shine. Given we’re dealing with Rondos this means “ART”. And, in keeping with the Rondos legend, we get a potted history of Rotterdam in relation to its alternative culture courtesy of the cartoon character Biggo; a pig in a suit created by Rondo’s singer Johannes van der Weert. The fabulous cartoon that is part of this release is a strong visual reminder that the antsy artshock created by this legendary band went far beyond music. As well as making their raw committed punk the band made some incredibly prescient art during their short life; notorious amongst other things for parading a cardboard German tank through Rotterdam’s centre.

But, but, but… Covering the Rondos in their own back yard? They’ve got a nerve, those urban artholes. I can feel the angry vibrations of sensitive record collector types clutching their (original) copy of Black and White Statement and groaning whilst wiping their brow with a copy of Racket. I must say, though, that Coolhaven capture Rondos’ energy and purpose brilliantly here. The original gritty, white hot growls are given a demented chamber pop twist; and it works surprisingly well; as enthusiasm and a genuine love shines through. These re-assemblings are surely the audio equivalent of souped-up drag racers – low-slung, cruising down the West Blaak, windows down and beatbox shuddering and shaking against the backseat window. In fact (and maybe whisper it) the goggle-eyed take on King Kong’s Penismay actually be better than the original. It’s certainly more refreshing and the humour is well to the fore.

Rondo’s songs are like T34s in any case, they are tough, flexible and can be repaired and reassembled for any cultural campaign. Thankfully Coolhaven have sensed this and don’t fall prey to the temptation of treating these venerable originals with kid gloves. And anyway, these are different times. Weirdly these covers sound very British; at times they sound like London underground weirdo band UNIT during their (brilliant) “Chinese phase”; albeit a UNIT who can really play their instruments. Or even Howl in the Typewriter. I Don’t Like the Rastamanis a fabulously loose run out, a musical Heath Robinson held together by string and sticky tape. And the all-too-short I Got No Time sounds like it wants to morph into a bedroom take on Harmonia’s Watussi, or a mid-seventies Gong outtake from Radio Gnome. Again it’s great and adds a very appealing colour tint to the stentorian original.

The other act covered, the mysterious Tandstickorshocks, get similar treatment. Kill For Peace and Religion II are gabbered to within an inch of their life. Side two eventually melts into the sort of rusty and sticky chemical rave the city is famous for.

The overall verdict is that Rode Pruik is a very very enjoyable record and one that’s been on almost constant rotation chez nous. Actually it’s how I want de Kift to sound instead of the overly sentimental cabaret they knock out. And it whets the appetite for the next round of cultural vandalism. What crime will Coolhaven commit next? A chamber pop take on KIEM? A Lee Towers opera? A new take on You’ll Never Walk Alone for the legions of Feyenoord knuckledraggers? We await with baited breath.
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Vital Weekly
 
COOLHAVEN – RODE PRUIK (10” plus book by De Player)

There is a lot to say about this, but let me start with a small private story. A few years a book was 
published about a local punk band, The Bips, and in it I read that their drummer (in various moments 
of the time span of this band the same guy, but not always) spend time doing dance music at one point 
in the early 90s. That was a shock for me to read, as being a former class mate of this drummer, I would 
never have expected this leather jacket boy to be interested in techno music, but he was quoted saying 
that techno and acid at that time had the same impact as independent punk records some twelve years 
earlier. Of course it was something I could have known but perhaps never fully realized. When I later 
on saw the record covers of Rotterdam’s Termination Source on Youtube I realized that these cartoon 
styled covers have their roots in the world of punk music; actually mostly like that of fellow citizens 
Rondos. That ties in punk and hard-core techno music, but also the whole ethos of  ‘here’s three chords 
now form a band’, which you could also translate as ‘here’s a three-o-three now make a dance record’.  
More than acid or house, hard-core techno was all about simple musical ideas and perhaps the big 
difference was that in the mid-90s the political aspect wasn’t as strong as in the late 70s.
    The Rondos existed for a short period of time, in the late 70s, in Rotterdam, formed in art-school. 
They wanted to graduate as a collective and posed as die-hard communists. They had a record label, 
King Kong Records, published books on the history of the left-wing movement, as well as comic books, 
and a massively influential fanzine, Raket. I really recommend getting the double CD that they released 
a decade ago that compiles all of their works, as well as a live recording. They weren’t a hard-core punk 
band per se, not 1,2,3,4, and let’s go a bit faster, but more inspired by the arty-end of punk, Wire, Gang 
Of Four or even PIL. In their slipstream an even more stripped down punk band, Tändstickorshocks, 
made one 7”, with quite simplistic punk songs (‘To Hell With Shell’, ‘Religion’, ‘School Army Working 
Dying’) that probably required a lot less than three chords.
    With all the reunions, re-issues and whatever, you could wonder if there is any relevance in 2017 
for this? You bet there is. Brexit, Trump, asylum seekers, information wars, Putin, real wars, capitalism, 
populism, me too, drone wars: there is a lot wrong in this world, and ‘punk’ could still be relevant. When 
Trump got elected I read quite a bit of ‘now I am starting my punk band’ bragging, but fail to see any 
materializing. Such are the times as well; talk is easy. Coolhaven, a Rotterdam trio of Hajo, Peter and 
Lukas, are musicians that actually very well know how play their instruments, and too old and too wise 
(perhaps) to be ‘punks 2017’, but they are serious pranksters, taking all sorts of musical influences in 
their musical/theatrical work and here they explore the connection punk and gabber. They perform 
five songs by Rondos and two by Tändstickorshocks, using mainly synthesizers and drum machines 
(and a bit of guitar), next to vocals, as influenced by the gabber scene from the 90s. Of course they are 
far too musical to pull off a real gabber record (this ain’t no Paul Elstak record), but the simplistic 
‘Religion II’ (by the Tändstickorshocks), is spread out over the entire B-side and has a great hard beat 
minimal edge to it, repeating the two tones of the original over and over. Six songs are on the other 
side, and Coolhaven deliver a much better version of the Rondos’ ‘King Kong’s Penis’ than the band did 
originally. If you know the originals as well as I do you easily recognize from the first tones what the 
songs are. The only thing that could have been stronger, I guess, was the selection of songs. I was never 
a fan of ‘I Don’t Like The Rastaman’ for instance, and was thinking that one option could have been to 
choose songs that belonged together more, say all about ‘fascism’ or ‘religion’.
    This record comes with a 10” sized comic as made by Johannes van de Weert, the original singer in 
the Rondos, who back then was already drawing comic books of the adventures of ‘Red Rat’ and how he 
was mangled by the trinity of religion, state and capital. This time the book is about The Netherlands in 
the 70s, the rise of punk, of squatters, Rondos, left-wing thinking and dada, and about Coolhaven 
(nothing about gabbers unfortunately, but maybe he doesn’t know much about that?). This is an 
excellent product, I’d say. It all makes perfectly sense; especially now! (FdW)
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Popunie
Enige tijd geleden presenteerde Coolhaven hun mini album Rode Pruik op een hilarische avond in Worm in Rotterdam. Coolhaven klinkt Rotterdams en dat is het ook. Dit avant-garde collectief bestaat uit Hajo Doorn, vooral bekend van de alternatieve club Worm, Lukas Simonis, bekend van o.a. Dull Schicksall en Peter Fengler. De laatste is onder andere bekend van het runnen van het heerlijk eigenzinnige The Player, een workspace voor geluid en kunst in Rotterdam-Zuid. Coolhaven timmert niet alleen aan de weg, maar zaagt, boort, schuurt en vijlt daar ook aan. Muziek, geluid of kunst? Maakt niet uit. Deze keer vergreep men zich aan de muziek van de Rondos en Tändstickorshocks.

Twee epische groepen uit de Rotterdamse old-school punk scene van eind jaren ’70, begin jaren ’80. Muziek dus. Of antimuziek. Coolhaven heeft een hele gave cross-over gemaakt van old school Rotterdamse punk en gabber en daar een superleuke 10 inch plaat van weten te bakken. De Rotterdamse humor spat ervanaf. Rondos klassiekers als King Kong’s Penis,  A Waltz en System van de Rondos stuiteren voorbij, afgewisseld met de wat meer downtempo zoals het no-wave achtige Kill For Peace, oorspronkelijk van de beruchte band Tändstickorshocks. Over die band, of vooral eigenlijk de gitarist Pinkel, is in 1982 nog een gave film gemaakt door Mildred van Leeuwaarden en Dick Rijneke met als titel Pinkel.

Een ander aspect van deze release is kunst. Of antikunst. Het vinyl is verpakt in een hele bijzondere hoes, met daarin opgenomen een stripboek, gemaakt door de ex-zanger van de Rondos, Johannes van der Weert. Hij is één van de oorspronkelijke leden van de Rondos en o.a. bekend als tekenaar van de activistische strip Red Rat die al begin jaren tachtig werd uitgegeven door het Rode Wig collectief en daarvoor nog door zijn werk in het fanzine Raket. Dit collectief werd opgericht door de Rondos, waarvan de leden destijds toch wel de enfant terribles waren van de Kunstacademie. Kunst (of antikunst), muziek (of antimuziek) waren belangrijke pijlers van het Rode Wig collectief. In het monumentale ‘Huize Schoonderloo’, een gekraakt pand in Delfshaven, werd gewoond en gewerkt.

Er was een drukkerij gevestigd, een oefenruimte voor bands, een studio en ook nog een winkel gevestigd met punkplaten, buttons, kunst en fanzines.  De beide, hier gecoverde bands maakten daar ook onderdeel van uit. En nu dus een eerbetoon op vinyl en stripboek en gelukkig met de Rode Wig humor. Die humor was er oorspronkelijk ook al, alleen hadden volgens mij niet veel mensen dat door…  Het mini album Rode Pruik is o.a. te koop bij De Player in Rotterdam Zuid. Ook te bestellen bij de betere platenzaak, de plaat is namelijk kortgeleden ook opgepikt door de distributie.
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RODE PRUIK

Coolhaven's 10 inch vinyl release ‘RODE PRUIK’, with covers of de Rondo's and combined with a 24 page comic book-style artwork by De Rondos' Johannes van de Weert. 

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