Tuesday, 30 November 2010

15 days to go

E x c i t e d

Review: Ty Segall

I came to this gig expecting some garage rock of the more mellow variety, with folk and blues influences. What I got was a wild punk rock show, garage music in its most raw state and some metal cover songs that catapulted me back to my teens. The crowd went crazy dancing, almost ecstatic. There was pogo dancing and even some stage diving. Oh, and yes, you may have guessed by now: he did bring a band. Fun.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Late Call: the Serious Matters tomorrow

There is a treat in store for all Brian Jonestown Massacre fans at 8mm Bar tomorrow. The Serious Matters, which is three people from the Massacre (Anton Newcombe, Matt Hollywood, Will Carruthers), are playing as part of 8mm Bar's 8th anniversary celebrations. If everything else in the calendar isn't gor you, this might be. The party will go deep into the night, with Anton Newcombe and others doing a DJ set.

Facebook event page

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Preview: the week ahead (29th Nov - 5th Dec)

And... relax.

We're leaving November behind. Of course, as live music nerds we are grateful for good gigs. And it's definitely helpful for the running of this blog when a lot of events take place. But boy, November was the craziest month this year, and I think we might just benefit from a bit less choice in December and also in January. So here is the start into the Christmas season.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart at Lido: You've got to like your indie-pop and you will love this group. Twee.
Ty Segall at West Germany: Californian fuzzy garage rock but with a dark folky side. Presumably on tour with a band, or without, I don't actually know. Might meet the crowd from The Strange Boys gig the other night.

Chris Garneau at Grüner Salon
: Mr Garneau reminds me a bit of film noir music. It also reminds me of poppier Black Heart Procession songs. Melancholic, deep and beautiful. Not for the lighthearted. The Cargovideo channel features lots of his piano performances for you to check out.
Munch Munch and Awesome Tapes From Africa at Marie-Antoinette: Munch Munch = Low fi pop the way we like it - quirky, cool and fun. Think Of Montreal taking away half their instruments and losing his production abilities. If that makes sense. Awesome Tapes From Africa = I know nothing about. Presumably, they like music from Africa. But maybe they don't. Either way, you are likely to meet me at this gig.
Trumans Water at Bang Bang Club: Anything from Portland, Oregon, catches my attention because it's got such a vibrant scene. Trumans Water fit right in. Noisy post-punk rock, a bit garage, a bit grunge, a bit post-HC. You get the picture. I think this will be a good gig and for lovers of Dischord records and the likes.

Siskiyou at NBI: Constellation Records is one of those labels I really admire as they stay so true to their choice in bands for their roster. And upkeep quality in a remarkable way. Canadians Siskiyou are just as wonderful as the rest of the bands on the label. Dreamy pop, slightly melancholic but then again happy and quirky. For fans of anything on Constellation or Elliot Smith or The Black Heart Procession (apologies for mentioning them twice today). See you at nbi on Thursday.

The Rural Alberta Advantage at Magnet Club
: Canadians in da house this week. These guys do indie-rock in the post-emo vein and for fans of The Promise Ring, etc.
Dead Kennedys cover song evening at Schokoladen: Who doesn't love a bunch of Dead Kennedys songs to get you into the weekend and rock out all your frustration you had with your boss this week? A nice line-up of Berlin local bands (check out the website), the sweetest venue in town and a crowd set to have fun, you should all flock to Schokoladen on Friday. This is going to be so much fun!

Rocky Votolato at Monarch: I am sure Rocky Votolato doesn't particularly appreciate always being mentioned in one line with his brother Cody, of Blood Brothers, Jaguar Love and Head Wound City fame, now with Telekinesis. Although they once had a band together, Waxwing, Rocky is far less subscribed to rock and way more on the country road. He plays meaningful singer-songer writer material à la Elliot Smith. Have a glass of something while you watch the madness of Kottbusser Tor and listen to Rocky's beautiful voice and guitar. Buy me a drink, too.
Worldtronics Mexico at Haus der Kulturen der Welt: HdKdW is staging an evening of dance music from Mexico as part of their Worldtronics Festival. I think this will broaden the musical horizons of many Berlinians and is worth your attendance. I am well intrigued. Check out the website.
The Indelicates and Juniper Leaf at Bang Bang Club
: The Indelicates = British pop band with British humour. Fun. Juniper Leaf = from London but sounds like American folk really. Sweet.

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Volksbühne
: Need I say anything? I don't think so. Long awaited gig by the one and only Mr Jon Spencer. I am just assuming people reading this blog are nerdy enough about music to know about Jon Spencer.

PS: I will no longer link the venues in the posts but will instead start a venue link section on the right hand side of the blog. Just FYI.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Review: The Strange Boys

Cute Cute Cute!
I know this is not how you should describe a serious artistic project. And yet, I want to take this group home with me and keep them as pets. They could play for me when I wake up in the mornings and when I go to bed at night.

Seriously though, what a night! The Strange boys didn't actually start playing until quarter to mignight, on a Wednesday. Spirits were a bit low by the time they began their set and there was actually nobody in front of the stage. People had kind of gone half asleep at that point. One song played, everybody was clapping, dancing, shouting, excited. It was that easy for the Texans to kick off a party at White Trash's.

And that party lasted until over an hour later when after the last song people refused to let the band go without an encore even though they had explained beforehand that no encores were to be played since they had already extended the set and "we just turn very bad if we keep playing and we want to look good". And good they looked.

So what was it about The Strange Boys that everybody fell in love with them the instance they hit the stage? How did they seduce us despite having a blue harp and a saxophone as part of their instrumentation? (As an anecdote: Some saxophone player on the radio the other day commented that he himself doesn't actually like the sound of the saxophone. That tells you something). The secret lies in a) their personalities - you just want to be best friends with them, b) in singer Ryan Sambol's voice and technique (how does he do that?) and c) in the saxophone player, yes, the saxophone.
Jenna Thornhill-DeWitt, a former member of Mika Miko (yum!) knows to use her instrument to enhance the music, give it a je-ne-sais-quoi without doing that show off solo saxophone business that so many saxophone players tend to do.

The Strange Boys basically play garage rock, strongly influenced by blues and country as well as punk, but add those little above mentioned features to give it a twist. This sounds good on record but really comes into effect live when you feel transported into the 1960s and the energy people used to feel when listing to new exciting young American sounds
. Wonderful and all-consuming. I expected a chilled evening, I got a dance party.

Are you still listening to the first Kings Of Leon album? Stuck on The Thrills? Start living, start listening to The Strange Boys!

Amsterdam Acoustics

I can recommend the following YouTube link to all lovers of live music. I discovered this today when researching material for my post about The Strange Boys. It's basically a channel on which bands of all sorts of background play their songs acoustically in the beatiful setting of Amsterdam.


A few gems in there.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Review: Telekinesis + Tar... Feathers

It has started to snow. Last night. Seriously. And maybe the cold East wind and the start of the yuck season kept people in their heated homes. Lovelite wasn't as filled as I would have thought given all the media attention that Telekinesis have attracted in recent months. But we did have a decent audience, enough to have a jig and, at least in part, up for it.

My great hopes for this live gig were unforunately not met. I love the recordings played on the radio, Cody Votolato has joined the band (the Blood Brothers being one of my favourite bands of all time) and the radio interview on MotorFM in the afternoon made me really look forward to the evening. And it was nice. Nice American college rock. Not as pop as on record but not rocking enough to surprise. The songwriting skills and experience of this nice Seattle trio just didn't transport live. Telekinesis were sweet, and the audience enjoyed it, but it's not an event I will remember for a long time.

Maybe the choice of opening band didn't help. I'm a great admirer of Tar... Feathers, a Swedish three-piece that partly resides in Berlin. Musically definitely rooted in 80s and 90s guitar music, but with a constant bass drum beat, it's their ability to push a song just that little bit further the longer they play it. With that I mean, their songs are fairly long but still hold your attention, instrumented with a guitar, a bass guitar, half a drum set and an iPod, as well as a nice medium high voice. Over the past three years, I have watched them perform three times, and I guess last night was the least strong of those performances, but it was still wonderful to see them play. They usually feed a lot on the audience and if you can, check them out next time they perform.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

we miss out

Scott McCloud (not the cartoonist), original member of Girls Against Boys, is on a solo tour through Europe with his project Paramount Styles and for some reason, he is not playing in Berlin. Sniff. I wouldn't mind a bit of that:

too much too much - additions this week

Giant Sand are playing tomorrow at Lido and don't feature this in my way too long week preview. That's because there is just so much this week that I keep missing events. But if you like Tom Waits and that sort of thing, you should probably attend this gig.

I also missed off my preview that Helmet are gracing Berlin with a visit at SO36 tomorrow. Oh brother, did I used to be obsessed with that band!! I will go and see The Strange Boys tomorrow because I always prefer young new talent to old guys doing it again but if you haven't seen Helmet yet or feel like awesomeness for its sake, head to SO36 tomorrow.

Here is my favourite song of theirs and what Beavis and Butthead think about it.

Klaxons, one of my favourite dance bands, are playing Astra on Friday. I kind of ignore the existence of Astra, with exceptions, and therefore didn't pay too much attention to this but really, Klaxons are wonderful and were really ground breaking with their first album. So many bands have since adapted that dance-rock-disco-sound. Consider.

Speaking of danceable rock: Freddy Famous are also playing on Friday, this time at Cortina Bob. Absolutely for fans for Electric Six. Here is what to expect live.

And finally, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt is staging an Africa inspired evening featuring musicians from Mali to Cuba. AfroCubism fits in nicely with all that African inspired indie and jazz music that is so popular at the moment. I highly recommend this. Ticket prices vary.

Let's hang tomorrow

Makes you want to hang out. Let's all hang out with The Strange Boys tomorrow at White Trash Fast Food!

Review: Joan of Arc + Love of Everything

OK, I admit it: my expectations for Joan of Arc were always going to be too high. Joan of Arc - musical love of my late teens and early twens. Joan of Arc - poster on my wall when I was already way too old to have band posters on the bedroom wall. Tim Kinsella - subject of girl fantasies.

So despite Baths being in town last night, despite DD/MM/YYYY hitting Berlin again, I headed over to Bang Bang Club to see Kinsella & Co play. I made the right choice.

Unfortunately, I missed local heroes mOck, but I am sure they played their post-HC 90s sound beatifully as I have seen them a few times before. You should check them out next time they play, if you are into 90s guitar music. You'll appreciate them.

Love Of Everything is actually the current bass player of Joan of Arc, Bobby Burg, with a drummer. They had already commenced when I arrived and I stumbled into their set but was immediately soaked in the atmosphere. Mr Burg is a very smiley lad who captures the audience with his personal presence as much as his voice which is a bit reminiscent of the late John Lennon. The voice, mind you, not the music. Their sound is pretty standard 90s post everything indie, but with sweet lyrics and yeah, that voice. Very sweet.

It appeared Bobby Burg was well aware that people had come to see Joan of Arc, not Love of Everything, as he referred a couple of times to the fact that Joan of Arc weren't to take long before their set. He is in Joan of Arc after all. And indeed, I was almost a tad nervous before JOA came onstage.

Well, they started their set with a couple of songs that didn't impress anyone I don't think. Just fuzzy guitar indie-rock. Where is the math? Where is the jazz? I read people's faces: I wasn't the only one who was disappointed. Whether this was a coincidence or a clever trick - we'll never know. But after a little joke from Mr Kinsella, a Sean Penn in his young years lookalike, the Joan of Arc as we know it emerged. A beat, jazzy guitar sounds, sudden turns within the songs, improvisation and still indie-rocking all along. And as the set progressed, the band amazed the audience more and more with complex and danceable sounds as well as their witty words and jokes. Finally, as an encore, they even played a song from the first album. The set had gone from "really, this is it?" to "oh my, please don't ever stop playing!". The only slight disappointment I like to mention is the fact that they had chosen to tour in a classic drums/2 guitars/bass formation - the special effects à la Effectron, Vibraphone or Wurlitzer were definitely missing a little.

So yes, my expectations were probably too high but Joan of Arc were actually able to meet them. How about that.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Preview: the upcoming week (21st to 28th Nov)

Whoa! Recovering from this week? Ready for the next?

I'm not actually mentioning the City Slang 20 gig because noone I know can afford to pay €50 for it. The same goes for Gorillaz. But there is other good stuff going on, too.
The Drums at Maria am Ostbahnhof: When I picked up my ticket for No Age/Abe Vigoda at KOKA36, there was a line of people all waiting to buy The Drums tickets. Hype. Therefore, I have no idea whether this gig is sold out or not. But if it isn't, head over to Maria where this indie boyband will play Manchester sound à la Factory Records. It's recycled but it's good.
Tokyo Sex Destruction at Comet Club: BCore is a very sweet label from Barcelona, Spain, which is still fairly unknown cross-border but whose artists make it over every now and so often. Tonight is such a night. Tokyo Sex Destruction will definitely appeal to fans of Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (and probably fans of the Rolling Stones, too). Indie, Soul and Punk mixed into one.
Hans Unstern at Sophiensaele: Jazzy, improvised, sometimes quiet, sometimes noisy, music accompanied by German lyrics, more spoken than sung. You will love this, especially if you like the label Thrill Jockey or used to be a Blumfeld fan. Recommended.

Monday - Sigh. Another day on which it's near impossible to decide on the event to attend. All the bands draw a similar audience as well. I want to see them all. Can't we have a spontaneous festival and move the three gigs together??
Baths and Touchy Mob at Lovelite: Baths do that current dreamy pop genre so well. Reptitive melodies, at times a bit psychedelic, choral singing, but all underlined with a beat to dance, too. This is highly recommended.
dd/mm/yyyy & Action Beat at Marie-Antoinette: spazz math rock that goes into digestible indie pop at intervals, and into noise at other times. Extremely good and very danceable. Also, the Canadians' last Berlin performance convinced us all very much. This is also highly recommenced.
Joan of Arc and Love Of Everything at Bang Bang Club: Joan of Arc (the band that is) is one of the big loves of my life. Their first record was a constant companion for me for many years and I still listen to it very regular these days. Risen from the ashes of Cap'n Jazz, Tim Kinsella took a far more brave and experimental route than the other Cap'n Jazz follow-up group The Promise Ring
. There are clear Jazz influences in Joan of Arc's music but mostly, they play intellectual pop pearls which are so well supported by Tim Kinsella's voice. At some point they switched label from Jadetree to Polyvinyl and those two labels will give you a very good idea of what to expect, if you are not yet familiar with Joan of Arc. This is where you will meet me on Monday.
In other news, Youth Brigade, thee Youth Brigade, play Wild At Heart. If you are more the old school punk rock type.

Telekinesis and Tar... Feathers at Lovelite: Gig of the week I reckon. Telekinesis from Seattle = Indie-Pop at its best. Tar... Feathers, Swedes that like to hang out in Berlin, = slightly more experimental indie-pop, very fun live. Highly recommended and meet you there, yeah?
Seabear at Lido: Beautiful Icelandic folky pop pearls. You liked Villagers? You will like this.

Bobby Conn at Bang Bang Club: Funky, funky. At times noisy. Jon Spencer and Quintron fans will get their share just as much as fans of Of Montreal or Mahjongg (since one of those guys is on tour with Mr Conn). Dance.
Milosh and Lucky Paul at Kaffee Burger: relaxed somewhat ambient pop music and possibly a nice chilled evening with a glass of something. Good for a date, too.
Bye Bye Bicycle and Navet at Grüner Salon: If you like pop music, the way it has been produced since the 80s, Sweden should be your mecca. And indeed these bands come from Sweden and do just that.
Smoke Fairies at Comet Club: These girls play guitar based music the way it was known in the late 1960s. Beautiful.
The Strange Boys at White Trash Fast Food: I somehow missed this in my listing originally, I think this is a short-notice date. What a great band! Folky but rocking, kinda Rolling Stones. Meet me at White Trash on Wednesday.


Mutate Now! at Dazzle Danzclub: If you like Devo or Man Or Astroman, go to this. Well fun.
Veracrash at White Trash Fast Food: good metal, screamo, psychedelic influenced rock that reminds me of a lot of early Gravity label stuff. This is promising stuff and you may meet me here.

Peter Broderick at hbc: Berlin local Mr Broderick does the ambient and singer-songwriter thing beautifully and should mesmerize a few that night. Like.
Phonoboy at Roter Salon: German Electro pop rock in English and French and sweet at that.

João Orecchia + Zachov at hbc: I seldomly trust MySpace descriptions but Electroacustic/Experimental/Live Electronics is actually very fitting. Hit hbc to chill a bit before you hit your night out.

Chromeo at Maria am Ostbahnhof: D I S C O pop they way they do it in New York. This is mega dance music.
The Pyramids and Volcano The Bear at Volksbühne: Distorted ambient sounds and the perfect relaxed and intellectual way to end the weekend and prepare for the week ahead. Jazzy, too.

To end this longest of all previews, here is a classic that may sway you towards Joan Of Arc on Monday.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Review: Vampire Weekend

First things first: It's uncool to like Vampire Weekend so only uncool people attend a Vampire Weekend show. Astra Kulturhaus is no fun (when you're small). Vampire Weekend have played far too many gigs, festivals and promotional events to possibly still like playing those songs. You may wonder whether this gig ever stood a chance of being good and whether this review can possibly put a positive spin on something so obviously destined to suck.

But there are a lot of buts to this: But uncool people have more fun at gigs. But C-Halle is even worse than Astra. But they are really good at playing those songs.

And this is really the main point that can be made for Vampire Weekend: they play the songs flawlessly and hit the notes every time. They didn't give the impression that they enjoyed themselves doing so particularly and they certainly didn't try to vary the songs live or to add a show or effects. They simply played their songs the way they sound recorded. Normally, this would bore me endlessly. However, because Vampire Weekend are very good songwriters I could just enjoy seeing the band perform these little pieces of musical genius.

Everything else was unnecessary or annoying: a light show that was designed for the Rolling Stones, the audience clapping along as if they had just arrived from Oktoberfest, Astra with its stupid pillars in the wrong places, a ticket price of € 28 (though I didn't pay because I had won my ticket).

But, above all, I really enjoyed myself and I will remain a fan. That makes me uncool.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Review: Screaming Females + Sissters

Do you remember Circus Lupus? I remember being played their record for the first time in some bedroom in some countryside conservative parents' home. I was sufficiently impressed. Their spazzy sound was new to this 17-year-old. That was in 1995. If I remember correctly that is.

Tonight, I was reminded of Circus Lupus and what it felt like to hear or see a band like that in the mid-90s. I was surprised, it was loud, it was rhythmic at the same time.

Sissters are a two-piece from Berlin who have only just started to perform in recent months but have already been on tour with Des Ark. The classic guitar-drums-formation knows how to catch the audience's attention. Rhythmic familiar passages are interrupted by experimental sound intervals that ensure you don't get too used to one thing, don't get bored. The performance was solid and impressive and I overheard someone in the audience call the group "the best band in Berlin at the moment".

Screaming Females suprised me - positively. I hadn't seen them live before but on record I liked them. Liked, not loved. I expected a good gig but not a revelation. But a revelation it was. The rhythm section (drums and bass) was very solid and played catchy rhythms that made people dance while the front woman, a small lady in a long black dress, played guitar soli and almost ate the microphone when singing and grunting to the songs. It was noisy and poppy, catchy and experimental at the same time.

I left with a smile - it just felt like 1995. It just felt like Circus Lupus.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Tonight: Sreaming Females, Sissters, The Dufrenes

In case you didn't know (I wasn't aware myself), Screaming Females are being supported by locals Sissters and The Dufrenes tonight. See you later!

Preview: the upcoming week (15th to 19st Nov)

OMG! What a week ahead. I've been knowing this for months but now that I am listing it all into one post - oh boy! For obvious reasons I will keep it as short as possible. I'm also only previewing the week up to Friday. Then I'll do a City Slang Fest special in a separate post and start next week with Sunday. Let's dance and go wild this week!!

Crystal Castles at C-Club: Canadian bloke and girl who are in love with their old Atari computer, Atari Teenage Riot and Health. Very danceable with a punky edge. Support by Male Bonding. Sold-out by the way.
Villagers at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Very beautiful singer-songwriter material from Ireland. On Domino. Highly recommended! Check out the video I posted recently.

Nina Nastasia at nbi: A real woman. A husky voice. Singer-songwriter of the good variety.

The Hundred In The Hands at Berghain: Disco pop from New York. May appeal to those who went to Crystal Castles on Monday. But beware: no punky edge here.
Wild Nothing and Jeremy Jay at Marie-Antoinette: Beautiful indie-pop that makes you sway and may have done so last time they were over and played Bang Bang Club. A very current Brooklyn sound if you know what I mean. Jeremy Jay is pop that reminds me of Bowie in the 80s. Go to this gig and be early. You will not regret it.
The School at Bang Bang Club: A Welsh chanteuse with pop tunes that will whoo fans of Belle And Sebastian for sure!
Death Sentance: Panda! and Bronze at Chez Jacki: Experimental Noise and psychedelic/ambient sounds and very worth your attendance, too.

Thursday is mad.
Les Savy Fav (US) and Sky Larkin (UK) and Cloud Nothings (US) at Festsaal Kreuzberg: A post-HC indie rock fiesta. This gig has been talk of the town for months. You should go to this if you are yet undecided on which of the 5 gigs to attend tonight.
Los Explosivos at White Trash Fast Food: Old school rock'n'roll garage punk rock from Mexico. Grease that hair and check out what the kids in Mexico are up to!
Vampire Weekend at Astra Kulturhaus: For fans of Paul Simon's Graceland album, university pop or just for those who fancy Ezra Koenig. I happen to have a spare ticket for this one, so leave a comment on this blog post and I may take you along.
Rival Schools and
Wavves at Lido: Walter Schreifels' long-term project that sounds nothing like Gorilla Biscuits or Quicksand, or his solo pursuits for that matter, but you can tell the roots anyway. Oddly, Wavves have been added to the bill (and will no longer perform at Comet Club). Wavves rock my world everytime I see them live, so this might be worth it for their performance alone.
Prince Rama at Marie-Antoinette: Highly anticipated gig by this Brooklyn based group. Psychedelic sounds of the highest order. But what did you expect from a band from Brooklyn with this name?

!!! at Festsaal Kreuzberg: I used to be crazy about this band. Dance music played with instruments traditionally used in rock music. Amazing. Then, last time they played in Berlin I was so disappointed by their performance that I actually left early. I like to think that they had a bad night and that this time they will amaze everyone they way they used to.
Civil Civic at Magnet: Indie-pop with fuzzy guitars, danceable tunes, no vocals. Mid-nineties style. I've got great hope for this duo from London. You should probably go see them this time round before they are hyped even more. BTW, they are playing with another couple of bands, Theophilus London and Panda People, the former performs chilled out hip hop from Brooklyn, the latter are from Erlangen and play disco pop at its digestible. A very mixed evening at Magnet.

Thursday, 11 November 2010


It appears that the Vampire Weekend gig has been moved to Astra. I am assuming presales for C-Halle haven't been great.

Who knows where everyone will end up on official "confusing day for live music" in Berlin on 18th November...

Monday, 8 November 2010


As far as I was informed, Wavves are playing at Comet Club and Rival Schools are playing at Lido on 18th November. And if you look at each club's website, this is what it still looks like. However, lastfm and ticket sales points like KOKA36 promote the gig as being Rival Schools and Wavves at Lido. It may just be that Wavves are playing two gigs in one night or that they merged the two events but Comet Club haven't updated their listings. I will stay on track with this one and keep you posted.

As if that day wasn't already confusing enough as it is....

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Preview: the week ahead (8th-14th Nov)

It's another choc full week ahead. And there is something for everyone in there. Whatever takes your fancy, this week has got it covered.

Monday: Austin Lucas is coming back to Berlin, this time to Lovelite. The last time I saw him at now defunct Lokal, I never wanted him to stop singing. His country-infused guitar tunes and voice are mesmerising and stick out in the vast landscape that is the singer-songwriter world. Strongly recommended.

Tuesday: When word first spread that people from Refused were forming another band, the online community got very excited. Until they heard AC4 that was. It's not arty. It's not clever. It sounds nothing like Refused. Instead AC4 play fun old school punk rock and HC and display a sense of humour at that. You are bound to enjoy yourself with these four friends at Cortina Bob.
You will find a strong contrast to the old school HC party that is AC4, if you venture a few metres to Festsaal Kreuzberg where Zola Jesus, Xiu Xiu and Former Ghosts are performing. All three play music to dream to, in very diverse ways. Zola Jesus, a lady from Los Angeles, uses an electronic back drop to display her amazing voice against. Xiu Xiu, a Kill Rock Stars protegée, are a two-piece who use the voice as an instrument in its own right to make their experimental pop music stick out. Their performance is highly anticipated and I for one can't wait. Former Ghosts are the least known of the three American bands visiting Festsaal Kreuzberg tonight but they are likely to please the audience when they play their slightly dark, electronic pop music for fans of The Notwist and Casiotone For The Painfully Alone.
And, if that wasn't enough, there is another gig on Tuesday, this time at Bang Bang Club: I Like Trains categorise their music as "melodramatic popular song" on MySpace. And that tells you all. In best British tradition, you get pop with melodramtic singing and instrumental passages that make any indie kid sway. It's not new but well done.

On Thursday you're likely to meet me at Marie-Antoinette: Gary War is back in town and brings along Lazer Crystal. Gary War supported Child Abuse at West Germany last time and Child Abuse were slacking off promoters across Europe and their performance was mediocre. All of this made Gary War look very good. And he is. Gary War creates music that is danceable (think 80s keyboards), relaxed and the man likes a performance. But it's Lazer Crystal I'm getting in a frenzy about. Everything about their music screams DANCE and GO WILD - think Devo on 45. The combination of the two bands promises a dance night.
Alternatively, you could head over to Bang Bang Club and check out local French people Ania Et Le Programmeur who play dark noisy dance music.

Friday: Use Your Fucking Headphones are a German band very much inspired by British pop, and fairly good at that. Indie pop kids will get their medicine at this one at Bang Bang Club.
If you are feeling more arty and chilled out, there is a vernissage at Café CK, which includes a live set by Saigon Lovers, a band made of three Swedish Berlin residents who put their heart into electronic music. Event page on Facebook.

It's another triple on Sunday: Rachel Grimes used to play in Rachel's (on Quarterstick) and has now started her solo career as a pianist with releasing her first record. In essence, this is classical piano music that will form pictures in your head: a running stream, walking through the woods, looking along a desert plain. Canadian Eric Chenaux is the other one on the bill and plays guitar folk like my parents did in the 70s. Both acts are not for the restless but those that look at life in wonder. at hbc.
It's a rockier affair at Bang Bang Club tonight: Screaming Females are indie rock music of the shake along variety, for fans of Sleater Kinney and Team Dresh.
Now if those weren't the options to end your week with, Yussuf Jerusalem may be your choice. A French indie band with a classic line-up whose sound reminds me of some of the current bands coming out of LA's The Smell but also of 70s rock à la The Doors. at West Germany.

To round this up, here is an Austin Lucas video, which should lead you to Lovelite tomorrow.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Review: No Age & Abe Vigoda

After I had bought my ticket 2 weeks ahead I was getting sufficiently excited about this evening. Deserved. This was nice - no positive surprise, just exactly what I expected and wanted.

Unfortunately, I was a bit late and missed half of Abe Vigoda's set. Their sound was a lot slower and deeper than I remembered them and less up beat. But they were solid and convincing, post rock as we appreciate it.

No Age quote Jawbreaker, The Ramones and Black Flag among their influences and came onstage with a Crass T-Shirt on. The band is being handled as Indie Stars but really, they play early 90s punk rock and convey the feeling so well. They rock, they charm and at the same time they are obviously just regular guys who like to play music. The audience supported the band, the band fed off this and some teenagers were pogo dancing. The ingredients for a fun night.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Preview: This week

Really, I ought to have done a preview for tonight alone but I've been too busy. So as a summary, you can say that with four desirable events going on tonight, chances are you are not at home. Instead you are either enjoying girls rocking at Festsaal (Warpaint), literature and art at a record shop (Aidan Baker at Bis Aufs Messer), Italian Blues Punk at West Germany (Movie Star Junkies) or cool 70s style rock at Bang Bang Club (Cave). All this today - the flavour of November.

So how is the rest of the week looking?

Tomorrow, two representatives of fabulous LA venue The Smell are coming to Festsaal Kreuzberg. I am of course referring to No Age and Abe Vigoda. Two-piece No Age are reminiscent of early to mid 90s lo-fi indie music and fresh at that. I just cannot wait to see them live after I missed last year's show (read my previous post). Abe Vigoda played in Berlin before as support for The Mae-Shi and I don't recall much of their set because The Mae-Shi blew me away completely and everything else just didn't matter. However, I have since really come to appreciate Abe Vigoda's music and have vowed to go see them again when they come to town and to pay attention this time. They play 80s influenced wavey music with dancy rhythms but also close to British indie music. Both bands appeal to fans of Wavves, by the way, and this is interesting because originally Wavves were quoted in the line-up but then dropped. They play later this month instead now.

On Wednesday, it's Archie Bronson Outfit's turn to ensure no date is open in November's calendar. They play at Magnet and again we're talking wavey and indie and dancy. Really, if you enjoyed Abe Vigoda on Tuesday, you may as well continue on Wednesday at Magnet.

No event in the calendar on Thursday?? Can this be??

West Germany is welcoming Picastro, beautiful melancholy music from Canada, on Friday. This would definitely appeal to fans of the first two albums of The Blackheart Procession but also listeners of French Chanson will appreciate Picastro.

We're meeting at Schokoladen on Saturday, when Des Ark stop by in Berlin. Aimée Argote and friends will make people dream with finest singer-songwriter material and a beautiful voice. Auxes play melodic punk rock that should provide rhythm for the restless. Finally, local heroes Sissters have been supporting Des Ark on several dates on this tour and will do so at Schokoladen, too. Be early as it is going to be very full and you want to make sure you get in.

The week comes to an end with Beach Fossils on Sunday. Another group playing sweet indie pop from Brooklyn, NY. This will definitely get you relaxed into the new week.

And to pick out a highlight for you, here is a No Age video you may enjoy. See you around town!