Feeërieën is a free festival organised by the venerable Ancienne Belgique, and therefore a good opportunity to hear some music I don't know and would never seek out on my own.
The Bony King of Nowhere (myspace)
A soft, dragging voice and soft, dragging songs. The singer was affecting in a lullaby kind of way when he quietly pleaded "Let me sleep in your arms" and got a little Thom Yorke-ish when he fixated on "I taste my own blood," but the comparison ended there. Pretty enough, but the line between being low-key and having nothing happen was crossed fairly soon: all the songs were at the same tempo, built on similar plucked guitar riffs and had identical instrumental climaxes, with stuttering drum cascades. A bit of timbral variety was added when the female member of the four-piece sat behind a keyboard and produced long church organ tones, but the more energetic moments were spoiled by a horrendously inappropriate snare drum sound.
The Partchesz (myspace)
Better-known, as the female singer is from Laïs and the male singer/guitarist from Zita Swoon. They put on country singer accents and sang country songs, but it mostly felt hollow and irritated me, perhaps because I don't listen to country music. The first song swathed the tune in electronic buzzes, drum pads and a heavily reverbed guitar solo, which made it palatable, but further songs were more straight-forward, so we left midway through.