A 21st Century Velvet Underground
Lewsberg are a band who do things entirely on their own terms. Hailing from Rotterdam, a city famous for producing idiosyncratic artists and creative mavericks – they’re named after writer Robert Loesberg, a cult local author whose work was famously nihilistic and disillusioned – the four-piece eschew convention or any notion of what might be “fashionable”. “The idea was to start a rock band with really good songs, played very badly,” singer Arie van Vliet told NME last year, an approach that’s made them not just unique, but really, really brilliant.
Their lo-fi, arty, three-chord chugs have seen them compared to the likes of the Velvet Underground and Television, apt comparisons for a band zoned in on rhythm, lyrics, and finding beauty in the banal. Van Vliet sings about normal life and not fitting in – “most of my lyrics are about ordinary events or thoughts, which I think get too little attention” – while guitarist Michiel Klein specialises in what he calls “anti-solos” and scuzzy, choppy lines that snake insistently through their songs.
Such qualities made their self-titled debut one of the most underrated releases of 2019; the forthcoming In This House is even better, being a touch more assured and melodic, but every bit as enjoyable. “We like to keep things simple and straight-forward,” says van Vliet of their charming rumble, an approach that has thus far paid rich dividends. Laid-back and nonchalant, dead-pan and anachronistic – it shouldn’t work, and yet it gloriously does, on so many levels. Meet your new favourite guitar band.