Amsterdam’s Klangstof balances emotive, post-rock soundscapes with the trappings of today’s prevalent indie pop aesthetic: soulful vocal melodies, warped synth arpeggios and the occasional mid-tempo backbeat that makes the music danceable while remaining infinitely chill. It’s the kind of music you imagine hearing on a rainy day in one of Portland’s new ground-level condo coffee shops that’s all glass, white tile and unpolished wood.
Close Eyes to Exit, the band’s debut release, came out last year on Mind of a Genius Records. The LA label boasts a small, impressive roster of forward-thinking, genre-bending R&B and hip-hop artists with which Klangstof’s slick aesthetic fits well. In a relatively short time, the band has been successful in opening doors to a pretty bright future. This year, they’re touring with The Flaming Lips and making the major festival rounds at Coachella, Bonnaroo and Sasquatch. Not too shabby for a young band from the Netherlands.
All things considered, the band’s commercial success makes sense. They’re hitting a lot of pleasure points for the electro arena set, while also appealing to the more chilled-out reaches of the indie pop spectrum. At times the anthemic electronics come off as a little played out, but Koen van de Wardt’s vocals ground the sound, carrying a level of authenticity and apparent catharsis that keeps the music human. Indeed, some of the best moments on Close Eyes to Exit come when the sleek electronics give way to ghostly reverberations and de Wardt’s pensive vocals take center stage. Those moments when the dust settles best embody the band’s name, a combination of “klang,” the Norwegian word for reverberation, and “stof,” Dutch for dust.
Klangstof opens for The Flaming Lips at Roseland Theater on May 12, one of five dates they’ll play in the Pacific Northwest. If enormous festivals are more your speed, you and a few thousand of your friends can also catch them at Sasquatch on May 27.»