Tuesday 27 November 2012

Quick Review: Nicoffeine

Ah, it's always good to explore new parts of Berlin's culture. Well, Neukölln isn't really unknown territory, but have you ever heard of the small basement place called Boom!? I hadn't, so I was pretty curious when someone gave me the flyer to Nicoffeine's show on Saturday there.

Nicoffeine is part of this late 90s till now West German noiserock scene around the (maybe) well-known label BluNoise and their mastermind Guido Lucas, who played in and recorded thousand of bands. To be honest, I only discovered Nicoffeine last year when they released their 4th album Lighthealer Stalking Flashplayer and I had missed them everytime they played in Berlin since. Argh!

So, I found myself in rural Neukölln in a fuzzy cliché party basement sitting on a comfy couch and missing out the opening act Grow Grow. The few things I remember were a powerfull bass sound and an overacting singer/guitar player. Nevermind.

Only a few people stayed when Nicoffeine started their set and it was loud. Screaming loud right from the beginning. A guitar, a bass and a drumset played by old dudes and I loved it instantly from the the first tune. Described as blend of noise, drone, no wave, sludge, psychedelia and avantgarde, they crossed every border. Their performance I reminded me strongly of Japanese act Les Rallizes Dénudés, with the feedback giving guitar, the pumping bass, and the jazzy drums. 

After finishing their set, we took our bikes home happy and with ringing ears and discussed the importance of Musikhaus Bading and the political issues of Futurism. The whole night was the best possible way of spending a Saturday night. 

Oh baby! U.S. Girls this Friday

I don't need another incentive to go to Monarch this Friday, really, I am excited enough as it is. But that ain't enough for Megan Remy, oh no. She has just released this self-directed video for "Slim Baby". Oh baby, oh yum!

Preview addition: Scritti Politti

Even though I have known about this gig for some time, we somehow missed adding it to the calendar and subsequently it did not make this week's preview. 

British left-wing post-punk band Scritti Politti are performing this Thursday at HAU1. I have been told that recent performances have been really good. And who really knows how many times they will return to Berlin in future. Head on over, enjoy one of their energetic performances, all the while getting a music history lesson on experimental post-punk and 80s synth pop and be able to say "yeah, sure I went to see Scritti Politti" to your grandchildren one day. I mean, they used to tour with Joy Division and Gang of Four but then played inspiration to so many big hair synth pop bands!

Monday 26 November 2012

Quick review: Zombie Zombie

Zombie Zombie - what a band! 

I am not even sure "band" is right term for this project, which really consists of an electronic music equipment nerd and two ridiculously talented drummers. The group looks like a bunch of jazz musicians, which I am sure they really are, like in real life. But they create dance music unlike any other. Of course you could loosely categorise it with !!! (Chk Chk Chk), Radio 4 or Battles. Or you could admit that they do a thing of their own that is unique.

What sounds great on record, is absolutely amazing live and the only way to truly experience their music. There are no pre-programmed parts played from a MacBook, while someone pushes a couple of keys with it. No sir! This is all created live, with tons of knobs and buttons and a joystick - yes, you read me right. Meanwhile, the two drummers go an a coordinated, coreographed drumming frenzy the way I have maybe only seen Foot Village manage to perform. It is not only hard to stand still - in fact nobody at Festsaal did - the performance is also extremely pleasing visually. 

To add to all this amazingness, Zombie Zombie have that certain French oh la la. Though I am absolutely aware of the cheesiness of this statement, I know no other way to describe it. Neat, arty, nerdy, anarchistic and cute. You know what I am saying. 

After my dip into the Wild Nothing gig earlier that night, Zombie Zombie managed to absolutely blow me away, make me shake vigorously and kicked my ass, all the while putting a smile on my face with their undeniable sense of humour. Magnificent!

Quick review: Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

I experienced a déjà-vu yesterday when the same crowd from that John Maus gig showed up Festsaal to give that same amount of admiration to Ariel Pink, yet again failed to actually celebrate (with) the band. It made me wonder where these people that you never see at gigs suddenly emerge from and seemingly spoil an otherwise amazing show for me.

Bitterness aside, Ariel Pink and his band was in top form and possibly at their best I have seen them to date. The show was well thought out, yet punk, with the entire performance being filmed on a camcorder and projected live on to the backdrop screen. In fact, the first two songs, the band played on stage, while Ariel Pink was only visible in projected from on the screen. And the impact when he then made his entrance for song three! Wow. He actually sang among the crowd most of the time, turning to the band in the same way as the audience. Alt-pop with a great sound in a punk setting for the people. It was grand!

Spot Mr. Pink

They played for almost 1.5 hours and a large array of their material. He gave us all we wanted - now if people would have gone nearly as crazy as they did at Lovelite or Marie-Antoinette, this could have turned into this year's number one party. But somehow, that last spark that makes people lose their minds just didn't ignite. A great shame but, still, another fanstastic show at Festsaal - venue of the year, hands down!

Sunday 25 November 2012

Review: Deerhoof + Chris Cohen

Finally, a Deerhoof show again. I was looking forward to this for some time and even the fact that I didn't really get into their newest record did not bother me at all as I knew from previous shows that they're an awesome live band. And again, they confirmed that fact.

I arrived at Festsaal Kreuzberg just after Chris Cohen started to play, so I quickly made my way into a decently filled room to check him and his band out. I had not really listened to their stuff before, I just knew that he used to play guitar for Deerhoof for some time. What he played with his current band did not really impress me. It was very fluffy and catchy indie rock music and, for me, it was probably just that little bit too fluffy and catchy to be interesting. I would not exactly call it boring, but there was nothing that really struck me as interesting. I watched a couple of songs and although I could not really make out which band(s) their music reminded me of, I still had the feeling that it somehow sounded familiar the whole time.

After some time of rebuilding the stage awesomeness ensued. Deerhoof started to play and I immediately knew this would be more than good. The sound was great and the atmosphere in the audience was buzzing. 

I still have no idea how they do this, but Deerhoof manage to combine so many seemingly not combinable aspects and everything forms this entirely consistent thing in the end. There are these tiny and cute melodies combined with frantic drumming. There is Satomi Matsuzaki's high voice combined with mean and heavyily distorted guitar riffs. There are song parts that are noisy and dancy at the same time. And although every record they release sounds different to the ones they released before, it still sounds like Deerhoof in a way. 

Saturday 24 November 2012

Preview: the week ahead (26th Nov - 2nd Dec)

This week's preview is not quite as crazy as those of the past few weeks. It's not that there is too little to do in this town this week, far from it, but we have stuck to the gems in the calendar. With so man exciting events lately, we felt it was a good idea to go back to basics: gigs that get our hearts racing. Yup.

Plaided and Just Friends And Lovers at Schokoladen: Fettkakao is a label from Austria that has been making waves in the twee indie pop scene for a while. And both bands can be categorised in that genre. Think early Kill Rock Stars / K Records and some Austrian charme. Early night, as in Schokoladen.
Nick Waterhouse and The Allah-Las at Lido: Some good oldschool rock'n'roll and soul from Los Angeles native, songwriter, and producer Nick Waterhouse. However, it's The Allah-Las I am excited about on this bill. 60s inspired rock'n'pop à la early Rolling Stones. Definitely for fans of Strange Boys, etc, and very good. A treat. Unfortunately, the gig is sold out, so you may have to turn to Kleinanzeigen or show up hopeful to get in. I reckon The Allah-Las my be worth it.

Oh No! Yoko and BDYBLDNG at Tiefgrund: Mathcore meets indie rock when Canadians Oh No! Yoko play. Quirky and clever. Support from locals BDYBLDNG.
Toy at Comet Club: Definitely a strong contender for gig of the week, that is, if I wasn't so obsessed with U.S. Girls. Anyway, Toy, the British rock band, not the German pop one, don a 70s rock look but play indie rock the way indie rock should be and sounded in its hayday of 1993: Fuzzy, rhythmic and melodic, making shy boys sway while staring at the floor and extrovert girls dance wildly on the half-empty floor of the indie disco. Grunge revival - take a chunk of this! They are one of the best bands around at the moment. Regardless of whether you listened to Dinosaur Jr. too much in 1990 or if you were queuing to see Diiv for hours earlier this month, make sure you do the same to Toy.

Stanley Brinks at Schokoladen: Now here is an exciting gig we only found out about a few days ago. Safe to say, our hearts beat faster instantly. Stanley Brinks, of Herman Düne fame, is releasing his new album, celebrating it in style at Schokoladen (as in at 7 pm). Melancholic pop with clever lyrics that make you smile. Don't miss out! You could even be gig hopping, as I will when I treck over to...
Peaches and Jolly-Goods at Festsaal: The lady has been so busy with theatre productions and the likes, we actually haven't been treated to the teaches of Peaches in a gig setting in a while. It looks like it takes Missy Magazine to organise a party. I am a big fan, I am not going to deny that, and an admirer. This woman has done a lot for us females, realise it or not. And in such a dancable fashion. C'mon! Jolly-Goods should get a few people out to Kotti, too. And then there is the worthy cause of supporting Germany's only real women's magazine...

U.S. Girls & Slim Twig at Monarch: Gig of the week. Read my review from two years ago and find out why I love this artist. Also, the new album on Fat Cat is so incredibly good, I absolutely cannot wait to witness the new material live. For fans of Austra, CocoRosie, John Maus, Jeans Wilder. A cannot miss kinda thing. Slim Twig is the perfect collaboration, too. See you there! 

The Chameleons Vox play Magnet again: This reincarnation of the Chameleons is pretty close to the original band from the 80s. I saw their last show at Magnet and I was very impressed, take your chance to hear these amazing songs live! Without the Chameleons, bands like Interpol, Editors and comparable would either never have existed or at least not sound the way they do.
Sven Kacirek and Piano Interrupted at Radialsystem V: Sven Kacirek is a drummer and percussionist who could loosely be categorised as jazz, however, he has collaborated with Kenian musicians, among other projects, and endeavours to progress his sound continuously. Very impressive. Piano Interrupted is one of those "it does exactly what it says on the tin" kind of cases. It is melancholic jazz piano, very beautiful, interrupted by other elements of the trio. Meet Norman there for an evening of amazingness.

Friday 23 November 2012

Line-up change tonight at M-A

Y'all, E.D. Sedwick's flight was cancelled and the band will not be playing at Marie-Antoinette tonight. However, Crime are still going to perform and are well worthy your attention. Also, Butterclock has been found as replacement act and should please the dance-hungry among you. See you later!

Thursday 22 November 2012

Quick review: Wild Nothing + Grey Television

I successfully gig hopped again the other night, going to see Wild Nothing at White Trash before heading to Festsaal for Zombie Zombie. This seems to become a regular occurence in my life. This town can really kill you.

White Trash was packed, I mean absolutely rammed. It may have been the fullest I have seen it for a gig. There is clearly a buzz surrounding Wild Nothing, and as I have previously mentioned, I believe it's deserved. 

But first things first: Grey Television, locals to Berlins with an ambition, played a full set of Notwist and Radiohead inspired music, accompanied by seaside projections. It was a very relaxing affair, which got the audience excited and at ease at the same time. During the crescendos of some of their songs, it did get a little close to melodramatic bands like Coldplay for me. However, this makes them more commercially digestible and might just work in their favour. It is interesting to see where they will head with this.

Note to DJ: AC/DC absolutely rocks but an entire album is not the appropriate soundtrack for a packed Wild Nothing gig. 

Wild Nothing, a name so often mentioned in music nerd circles, is actually a relatively young man, who looks like your typical college lecture attendant. You would never guess that this young gentleman writes the most encompassing pop songs, heavily influenced by independent wave music of the 80s and indie pop music of the 90s. Every song is instantly recognisable yet not boring and draws you in. The record has been a firm favourite of mine of over a year now - I just cannot get enough of it. Live, a band in tow, it sounded exactly like the record but maybe lacked energy a little. I attribute this to a packed White Trash, which is the perfect setting for Wavves or Thee Oh Sees but definitely struggled to paint the adequate setting for dream pop à la Wild Nothing. Still, I really enjoyed his voice, as I always do. 

I made my exit early to get to Festsaal, just in time for Zombie Zombie...

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Review: Moon Duo (again) + Camera

I often take the longest over reviews of concerts that I really liked. It seems paradox but maybe it is because I want to do those reviews extra well in order to pay adequate tribute to the performance. It has been a couple of weeks again since Moon Duo played at HAU1 but I am still inspired by it.

Sure, I have praised Moon Duo before and extensively on this blog. There is a teenager in me that still has favourite bands, like Health, and like Moon Duo. What exactly attracts me to those bands is of course the music, but also the imagery and coolness factor. There - I have said it out loud. And really, it doesn't get much cooler than Moon Duo. 

So far, I have only seen Ripley Johnson's musical projects at Festsaal. Both Wooden Shjips and Moon Duo have passed through Festsaal regularly. It was therefore surprising to hear that Moon Duo had been booked into HAU, itself newly refurbished after a summer break. On that note, HAU did not look any different to me really, but I suppose it takes some real effort to keep it just the way it is, which is beautiful. I wish I could make my flat look like HAU, with its combination of dark wood panelling, Art Deco lighting and modern art. But that's a topic for an interior design blog and maybe beside the point here.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Quick review: Gossip + Austra

I went to Velodrom for the first time the other night. What a building in architectual terms! Darn impressive. The bill featured Gossip and Austra - a mighty double bill I was not going to miss for the world.

It was exciting to see Austra perform on such a large stage, in this type of surrounding. And it was heartwarming to witness the fantastic reception they were getting. Gossip fans are not your typical indie music supporters and I was weary of how they may treat our Canadian starlets. But all was well. Austra gave a sterling performance, as always may I add, and the crowd understood and cheered them on. The new Austra songs are definitely a little more mellow, but with that voice she could be doing sea shanties and it would be amazing.

Gossip did what Gossip do. I was a fan from day one and have never ceased to be one. Their songs are so well-written, their energy is always positive, they have the most kick-ass drummer if I ever knew one, and Beth Ditto is Beth Ditto, one of the best entertainers of our era. I know I may sound a little over the top here, but I honestly believe that Gossip have an entertaining quality of past times that you don't find often in modern bands. They are modern but they know what their audience want and they give it to them, all the while staying true to their ideals. And really, short of Lady Gaga, not many big acts support gay rights and change people's perception on gender issues the way that Gossip do.

I did feel the audience was incredibly reserved compared to past Gossip gigs I have been to (as in 5 past gigs). They sure made Beth work for her money - she was cracking jokes, animating the audience, singing her heart out. It may have been the people that showed up and it may just have been the venue, too. As grand as it is architectually (and oh I do want to go watch the cycling there!), the lighting and set-up make it very un-fun.

Anyhoo, what an experience over all. I even, unexpectedly, met some friends in the huge bowl of Velodrom. A trip.

Monday 19 November 2012

Friday night party competition with E.D. Sedgwick & Crime

Howdy y'all! Friday night is party night and we are going to dance away to disco starlets E.D. Sedgwick and Crime. Please join us!

Tell us by end of day this Thursday, 22 November, your best disco tune, we mean D.I.S.C.O., as in the dead members of the Bee Gees turning in their graves, but maybe with guitars, and you could win 2 tickets to E.D. Sedgwick's and Crime's performances at Marie-Antoinette this Friday, 23 November 2012. You should know the email address to your luck by now: win at the craze dot de

Preview: the week ahead (19th - 25th Nov)

The last few grey and foggy days have actually pleased me. Sure, I would much rather sit in the sun. But the melancholy that comes with autumn greyness is so deeply engrained in Northern and Central European culture, it is comforting in a way. Soundtrack your autumn evenings with some of these gigs around town:

Chicaloyoh, Alahuta and Indias Indios at Loophole: We seldomly reprint the press kit but this one sounds so good, I thought I would just copy / paste. "Chicaloyoh is the Alice Dourlen solo project, a music between soundscape exploration and intimate contemplation. Chicaloyoh is a mix of guitar, keyboards and percussions from distant and various horizon. Chicaloyoh is a one woman band that will attract those who like the priestesses singings of Inca Ore or Zola Jesus. Chicaloyoh has a collaboration with High Wolf called Woodoo Mount Sister, and toured with him this year." Good support, too!

Evan Dando and Juliana Hatfield at Roter Salon: Evan Dando, singer and guitarist for the Lemonheads, plays solo shows quite often and he's also not a rare visitor of Berlin for his performances. So chances are quite high that you might have already seen him before. If not, Roter Salon is probably a more than decent location and Evan Dando is definitely worth watching live. Juliana Hatfield has been musically busy for quite a long time and has been a collaborator with Evan Dando throughout all those years. She plays folky indie acoustic tunes nowadays.

Former Selves and Tidal at Loophole: Loophole is establishing itself as a very interesting venue for experimental and out-of-the-ordinary music, pleasing a crowd that is hungry for something new, innovative and different. Tonight promises to be another wonderful music spectacle: Former Selves mix various sounds and samples into earpleasing compositions, that, despite being experimental and quirky, are not hard to digest. Kinda think old cartoon classics when the madness really kicks off and the music goes frantic one minute and then melancholy the next. Recommended!

The Soft Moon and Dracula Lewis at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Gig of the week? Maybe. There certainly is a buzz around town pertaining this gig. The Soft Moon are right now touring to present their newest record. They play heavily 80s influenced dark synthi indie pop. Not unlike the "goth" parts of the Cure or Tuxedomoon or newer bands like the Vanishing. Dracula Lewis fits quite nicely to that, it's a bit more electronic and a bit weirder but also has this 80s goth feeling to it. 

Deerhoof at Festsaal Kreuzberg: Deerhoof are a truly unique band. They developed their own style between heavy rock parts and fragile tiny melodies, all carried by Satomi Matsuzaki's vocals. Their newest record just came out this year, so you can probably expect them to play a bunch of new songs. I'm totally looking forward to this, Deerhoof are an awesome live band and I'd even pay entry to watch Greg Saunier play drums alone for an hour.

Hammerhead and Nothing at Kastanienkeller: This is going to be insanely packed. Hammerhead don't play live that often so if you're planning to catch this "legend" of german punk/hardcore music live, make sure to be there on time.
Troy von Balthazar at Monarch: The eccentric of Hamburger Schule makes a cozy appearance at Monarch. And why not?
E.D. Sedgwick, Crime and Big Eater at Marie-Antoinette: This is going to be good! E.D. Sedgwick is Justin Moyer's newest band since Antelope, El Guapo and Supersystem aren't active anymore. Musically this is like a dancy mixture of Antelope and Chain and the Gang like 60s influences. Supporting them will be Crime, half Sissters and half Scream Club, they play 80s influenced queer punky electro music. We definitely mentioned them before a few times, you should know the deal. Also playing will be Big Eater, Berlin based new project of Al Burian and members of Syn Error. Watch out for our competition later today when you can win two tickets to the gig!

Nicoffeine at Boom, Thomasstr. 27: Brutal noise and good at it. Go on over to Boom on Saturday if you need your ass kicked.

Mac DeMarco and Each Other at Monarch: A weirdo pop matinée show. Be there for 4pm and dance the afternoon away with us to the offish pop tunes of Mac DeMarco, who will bring with him a fellow Montreal project Each Other. It will be swell and you may as well don your best tea dress for the occasion. Head on over to Festsaal for Ariel Pink afterwards, making it a night of it.
Do Make Say Think, Sandro Perri and Eric Chenaux at Lido: Canadian instrumental post-rock outfit Do Make Say Think, another fine classic Constellation band, return to Berlin and will most likely draw people into their world of dream sounds and guitar rhythms.
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti at Festsaal: Our favourite indie pop legend is transforming Festsaal to disco heaven for me this Sunday and I am happily taking him up on the offer. I can only recall good memories of Ariel Pink shows as they never fail to deliver on their promise of absolute wondfulness. See you there!

Thursday 15 November 2012

Review: Doomsday Student + Don Vito

Like singer Eric Paul's other band, The Chinese Stars, Arab On Radar are just one of those bands that are purely addictive. When you first listen to either band you think that they must be absolutely bonkers and you are not sure what to make of it. It's not really experimental, nor straight forward and there is this weirdo element you just cannot shake. But once you have induldged in these Skin Graft acts more than once you cannot stop. Sadly, The Chinese Stars never tour Europe and Arab On Radar split up. But did they? Some time ago, bei Roy were offered a concert by a group named Doomsday Student that nobody was familiar with - until they read the small print and found out that it was Arab On Radar with a new name. Needless to say, J. and I got overly excited and were anticipating this last gig of the season at bei Roy like no other.

Not only was this the last event of the season at bei Roy, it was also the first one that XNormanX, J. and I were all going to be at together. Therefore, when I was making my way from Astra, still high from watching the amazing Villagers, over to bei Roy, I was excited like a teenager on a first date: my two blog buddies, a compeitition winner, and one of my favourite bands were all waiting for me. And I was not going to come away heart-broken - that much I can tell you already.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Review: Volcano The Bear

So you guys, you think Death Grips or Moon Duo were the best live bands recently here in Berlin? Well, I have to disappoint you. UK's Volcano The Bear played last Sunday at Monarch and it was the best gig I've seen so far (well, I exaggerate a bit to make my point).

The night didn't start that promising. Church Car, a Berlin-based two expats group opened. Maybe I wasn't in the mood or I didn't get their humour, but their musical version of Chicago postrock and spoken word wasn't my cup of tea. I guess this was too much community theatre for a Sunday evening for me. Sorry.

Hmm, Volcano The Bear started exactly the same way, but it already clicked with the first tone. These guys are pros in what they do. Playing a wild and improvised blend of Jazz, Rock, Electronica. But after seeing them a couple of times and listening to their records I have to conclude that they are a live band! It is unbelievably funny to watch them play. Both, Daniel Padden and Aaron Moore are multi-instrumentlists. They don't show off, they just play every reachable instrument, horns, gongs, even a goblet. It is like Church Car theatre-like, absurd and weird, but it makes so much more sense. Too bad that an hour can pass so fast, when the performance is this enjoyable. In the end, a short encore was added to an already pefect gig.

Berlin was the last stop on their tour. I hope they will return soon and you have to promise me to go see them play the next time. I think every guest from Sunday will tell you the same.


A sunny morning with Dead Skeletons

For those of you who missed Dead Skeletons' amazing gig at KaterHolzig, my number one contender for gig of the year, you can now listen to the entire full-length album on YT. It may make you cringe that you missed this, but I am certain they will be back before you know. Until then, take a load of this:

Sunday 11 November 2012

Preview: the week ahead (12th - 18th Nov)

What were we thinking when we started out with this blog? I think it went along the lines of "There are so many good gigs in this town and people don't even realise or appreciate it. We are going to dedicate some space to just that". We were probably not thinking "There are so many gigs in this town, we could spend our Sundays just listing them for the world to read". That is exactly what is happening. There are so many good and diverse live music happenings in Berlin this week, it is taking up a lot of our time just picking out the most bestest ones for you. Wild and exciting.

Here We Go Magic at Comet Club: HWGM are another fine Secretely Canadian product and they do indie-pop. There is no other way to describe it, even if I tried to be clever and music journalist intellectual about it. HWGM, however, create little pearls of songs that invoke emotions in you, like joy, ease or dreamy. You will like them, it's very hard not to.

Japanther and Die Eternias at Marie Antoinette: Japanther are rad! They play lo-fi garage punk tunes, not unlike bands like No Age or Thee Oh Sees. They're so much fun to watch live and I keep my last Japanther show at West Germany in good memory. Die Eternias play 60s influenced indie rock, sounds like a good mixture for that night.
Zechs Marquise at West Germany: A little instrumental metal math core gem at West Germany tonight. Stray from the known acts tonight and head to Kotti to have your mind blown by these dudes. Recommended.
Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction at Festsaal Kreuzberg: An alternative and experimental hip hop extravanganza. There is a lot of talk around town about this gig, and rightly so. This can only be amazing, with both acts being worth your attention, if you appreciate good hip hop at all. Don't miss out!

Doldrums, Blood Diamonds and Clay Hooves at Monarch: Doldrums are supporting Purity Ring at Berghain first, before pleasing the after party crowds at Monarch, with electronica wunderkind Blood Diamonds in tow. If you like your theatrical independent electro music, head to Kotti at 11 pm and dance the night away.  
Al Doum & the Faryds at Loophole: Experimental music, influenced by Arabic sounds and psychedelic imagery. Not for the easy listening crowd but mind-expanding for those interested in experimental music. Btw, they play again on Thursday, at Shangl Hangl, Schönstedtstrasse 14.

XRay Eyeballs at Monarch: Slowish garage rock with an old sound. Très cool and one that C* is excited about. It's a tough choice which gig to hit tonight.
Wild Nothing and Grey Television at White Trash: Sort of an odd location for this one I think. While White Trash usually hosts more trashy and rocky live acts, Wild Nothing do nothing like that. They play dreamy and very melodic indie pop. You can definitely hear their 80s pop influences, think of a more contemporary indie version of the Smiths. Grey Television add pretty nicely to that and if you missed their last showcase at a clothing store in Mitte some weeks ago, here's your next chance.
Zombie Zombie, Camera, Saroos and Eagle Boston at Festsaal Kreuzberg: C*'s gig of the week. So f**king excited to see Zombie Zombie live. Rhythmic electronic and drum heavy alt-dance music, dark in sense and with a coolness factor of a thousand. You may be into Battles, Liars, Civil Civic, Mi Ami or Health's remix albums - Zombie Zombie will suck you in. They are playing as part of the Polyhymnia Festival, with a solid line-up for show. See you there.


Otto von Schirach at Berghain: If you can take Berghain on a Friday night, this week might be a week worth trecking out there as the special guest is going to be Otto von Schirach, extrovert whacky one-man electronic music project with a faible for trash culture. His own website calls him a "dance music oddball". I saw OvS a few years ago in Brussels when he was supporting The Locust and actually featured Locust drummer Gabe Serbian in his show. There were masks, capes and adults only crazy dancing. Not to be missed, really. Excpect a Vice kinda crowd.
Great Lake Swimmers at BiNuu: This show got moved from Magnet to the nearby BiNuu. Great Lake Swimmers are definitely worth watching. They play folky indie singer songwriter music and somehow they have this ability to just write great songs. The perfect fall music!

Hundred Waters and Pacific Strings at Berghain's Kantine: This gig is the choice of our Puschen competition winner, which in turn got Puschen agency very excited. People are really behind Hundred Waters and it is not hard to see why. This group could go really far. Of course you never really know what a band is influenced by but I can hear Björk and CocoRosie in there just as much as classic American soul music. Very soulful with an undeniable beauty.
Singapore Sling, Wall Of Death and The Lucid Dream at White Trash: Singapore Sling fit nicely into the current wave of Neu! sounding bands, like Dead Skeletons. Interestingly, both bands are from Iceland. I am not quite sure what to expect of them live but if they are going to be just anywhere near as good as DS, then Saturday night at White Trash might turn out rather swell.  

Lætitia Sadier at Berghain's Kantine: Stereolab fans listen up! Stereolab's chanteuse and composer, Lætitia Sadier, is making an appearance in Berlin in support of her solo project. And it is one of those "if you like one, you like the other" kind of things. Very distinctly Stereolab. A relaxing Sunday evening with the wonderful voice of Miss Sadier. What else can you ask for?
Gossip and Austra at Velodrom: Have we gone completely gaga that we are now featuring Velodrom concerts? Well, as the case may be C* is very intrigued by Velodrom as a building. The reason for the feature is, however, that Gossip and Austra make such a fantastic double bill, how could we not mention that to you? Read C*'s Gossip and Austra reviews from earlier this year to understand why this is exciting. We would like to say "Meet C* there" but chances are that if you tried you could as well stay home and look for someone with the description of a hipster on Maybachufer on a Friday afternoon.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Today, make it an early night at HAU

Oh boy, I am so excited about Moon Duo and Camera later, I just can't hide it. And it's all early, so the fun can just continue with some crazy dancing somewhere in town afterwards. Make sure you have dinner at traditional German time (6pm) and make it to HAU1 at your earliest convenience if you don't want to miss both (!) bands tonight:

Timings for tonight are EARLY! and we like it that way

Doors 7pm
Camera 8pm 
Moon Duo 8:45pm

Meet me there, yeah yeah!!

Friday 9 November 2012

Yummy Crime

Mika Risiko (Sissters) has got a new two-piece project Crime. They are currently on tour with E.D. Sedgwick, stopping by Berlin's Marie-Antoinette on the 23rd of this month. Get yourself in the mood by watching the new video, which they premiered at Berlin's porn festival last month. No kiddin'!

Tuesday 6 November 2012

Big shot Ty Segall

Remember the fun Ty Segall show at West Germany in 2010, or the amazing one at Festsaal Kreuzberg this year? Well, he has now taken David Letterman's show apart in the same fashion. Rock'n'Roll.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Review: Death Grips

I went to see Death Grips play their first Berlin show ever a few days ago and it turned out to be a more than worthy introduction!

Festsaal Kreuzberg's show starting times seem to be a bit random lately. Some shows I visited recently started pretty early and on time. So when I went to Festsaal last Thursday, the doors weren't even open. Having to kill some time, I went to nearby West Germany first where some semi-interesting art exhibition opening took place. Death Grips' stage time was supposed to be 11.30pm so I had some time until the show eventually started. When I went back and hung around inside, two DJs were spinning some records and Festsaal filled more quickly than ever. There was a constant stream of audience coming in and the atmosphere swiftly got more and more excited and anticipating of what was supposed to happen.

Now Death Grips are at the moment not only hyped and featured throughout almost the whole music press, but they're also taking a huge part of their own to feed this hype. I don't mean that in a strictly negative sense at all. They are a band that speaks out about unacceptable conditions between record labels and artists. They also deal very openly on Facebook and Twitter with the conflict between themselves and their (now ex-) record label Epic, which drew the not so surprising consequence of dropping them from the label just at the day of this Berlin show. Apparently Epic didn't want to keep a band under contract that decided to leak their latest record for free on the internet without even letting them know in the first place and that published internal emails on Facebook. So Epic published a statement (read more about it on Pitchfork) in which they said "when marketing and publicity stunts trump the actual music, we must remind ourselves of our core values. To that end, effective immediately, we are working to dissolve our relationship with Death Grips."

Preview: the week ahead (5th - 11th Nov)

We are taking it relatively easy this week. Except for Saturday, when C* is going to lose it when Moon Duo and Camera will transform HAU into music heaven. Thursday and Sunday are worth your attention too. Check it out.

Acid Mother Temple & the Melting Paraiso U.F.O. and Idklang at Marie-Antoinette: Japanese experimental psychedelic guitar noise. Might blow some minds but you need to be into that kind of thing - it's going to be intense.

Geoff Farina at a random house somewhere in Berlin: This is actually sold out but you can try and get on a waiting list on Facebook. Karate's Mr. Farina performing with his beautiful folk guitar solo project.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at SO36: Two nights of post-rock magic at SO36. Though it is an odd choice of venue - last time I saw them, in 1999, they played in a church and I would have expected a similar setting this time - it will allow for intimacy. If you have never seen Godspeed, make sure that you do. There is not anything like it, with the band consisting of 8 people and an array of instrumentation, as well as a ninth member dedicated to visuals only, they are bound to give you a feast for the ears and eyes. If you can't make it on Thursday, they are playing again on Friday.
Grand Predateur, The Songs and Piss at Tiefgrund: Grand Predateur play rhythmic noise with metally kind of guitars. Good stuff and a treat for noise and garage fans. Rocking. Also check out Piss, some Berlin locals play pissed (who would've thought that?) punk.
Apparat at Berghain: Speaking of visual sound treats, Apparat also uses unsual and varied instrumentation, as well as electronics, for his ambient soundscapes and beautiful melancholic pop songs. A treat indeed.

Beach House and Holy Other at Astra: Dream pop duo Beach House take it to the relatively big stage with a headline gig at Astra. Of course it's sold out, so you may have to resort to Kleinanzeigen if you still want to go and haven't got a ticket yet. 
Man Meets Bear and Crystal Shipsss at Antje Öklesund: We have previewed Man Meets Bear before of course, an dream sound project to relax to. Crystal Shipsss, however, have not made it on to our blog before. Musically not far off Man Meets Bear, the high-pitched vocals and fuzzy guitar riffs let this one man project stand out. A nice evening for a quiet night out.
Oiro at about:blank: this is for you if you're into Hamburg style Deutschpunk in the vein of Dackelblut and Oma Hans.
Moon Duo and Camera at HAU1: C*'s gig of the week, if not month. My favourites are returning to town, playing at the newly refurbished Hebbel Am Ufer, with local-stars-taking-the-world Camera in tow. The new Moon Duo album is my album of the year, hands down. Read my praise for Moon Duo's Festsaal show last year and a review of their Lisbon performance to know more about this group. 

Volcano The Bear and Church Car at Monarch: Minimalistic experimental night at Monarch. The setting seems perfect - this could turn out good for those open to quirky sounds and arhythmic drumming.
Ringo Deathstarr at Comet: Indie schmindie alternative fuzzy guitar rock in the style of our favourite 90s grunge and indie bands. Very accessible but all the better for it. Nice. Also, you could just walk across the street from Bi Nuu if you didn't make it into DIIV but needed your guitar fix. Ringo Deathstarr tour cancelled (see comment below). 
DIIV and Parakeet at Bi Nuu: If indeed there is a grunge revival, then DIIV must be the band for it, albeit a little clean. Read my review from their amazing Monarch gig a couple of months back. Support from Yuck side project Parakeet. Let's see whether people will queue down the street again for this. Highly recommended but you may have to fight for your ticket.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Cat Power may cancel tour :(

Cat Power hast released a statement that indicates she may cancel her forthcoming tour, including the Berlin gig at Huxley's on 29 November:

"I may have to cancel my European tour due to bankruptcy and my health struggle with angioedema. I have not thrown in any towel, I am trying to figure out what best I can do. Heart broken. Worked so hard. Got sick day after 'Sun' came out and been struggling to keep all points of me in equilibrium: mind, spirit, body healthy centered and grounded. I am doing the best I can. I fucking love this planet. I refuse to give up. Though I may need to restratagize for my security and health"

Until then, here is a beautiful video from the latest album:

Review: Villagers

On occasion, it can pay off to be ambitious. When I decided I was first going to watch Villagers play at Astra Kulturhaus in Friedrichshain, before heading over to the deepest Neukölln to celebrate Doomsday Student at bei Roy, I was not fully convinced myself that this plan was achievable. But all worked out and all for the better.

Conor O'Brien, aka Villagers, has been on my live music wish list for some time. Regrettably, I was not able to attend his last Berlin performance at Festsaal Kreuzberg. With the new album coming out in the new year, determination to see him with the current set raged in me. Which is how I ended up going to a sold out Grizzly Bear gig and not hear a single song of Grizzly Bear.