by James Glazebrook
Feeling nostalgic? Listen to the Best of Berlin 2012 here.
Feeling nostalgic? Listen to the Best of Berlin 2012 here.
It’s (nearly) Christmaaaaaaassssssss! überlin favourite Phon.o is providing the calm before the seasonal storm with this 36 minute (!) edit of Wham! crimbo classic “Last Christmas”. Download it for free now and save it for when your family really start to get on your nerves. Headphones on – Happy Christmas y’all!
As well as being a handy reminder for anyone starting to learn German, The/Das are an awesome side project from two-thirds of local heroes Bodi Bill. If the above listen to profile whets your appetite for what we’re going to lazily dub “the (die?) German Junior Boys”, you can dig deeper into the band’s emotronic vibes over on their SoundCloud. To warm these cold, dark nights we’ve pulled out their November (2012) mixtape, which includes such tastemaker box-tickers as Daphni, Kollektiv Turmstrasse and Four Tet’s soaring “Love Cry”. Auditory Glühwein:
I’ll admit that I don’t know the first thing about this artist, except that they’re based in Berlin and have produced a track called “First Snow”. I’d guess that MRKL is Angela Merkel’s musical project, but I just can’t imagine her producing Prefuse 73-meets-Air-meets-Jackson and his Computer Band cliphoptronica. If it is Angie, she gets my vote!
Brrrr! If we were smart Berliners we would have already booked our flights to Brazil this winter. But aren’t that clever or that rich – and neither are you – so lets have Mr President take us there.
When “Coco Jamboo” hit the UK top ten (and number 1 in pretty much the rest of Europe), we had no idea that it was made in Germany. In fact, we only learned that when we read the draft version our own book! From What I Know About Germans:
After all, Germans embrace one hit wonders. Royalties from German radio single-handedly keep the singers the rest of the world wants to forget in rent money.
Enjoy this sonic Sunny Delight, and if you’re in need of more help shaking off the (upcoming) winter blues, look no further: How to Survive a Berlin Winter.
As 2013 draws to a close and the darker months approach, metal bands retreat from the blinding lights of summer package tours and cloak themselves in wintery pitch blackness. This Sunday the younger generation creeps into Neukölln for an evening of metal and fringes.
Joining metalcore legends Bring Me The Horizon on their latest European trek are pre-pubescent pit merchants Pierce the Veil.
Photo by Alie Krohn
Consisting of bros (in the genetic sense) Vic and Mike Fuentes, plus Tony Perry and Jaime Preciado, these Californian lads have released three albums since their inception in 2007. Third LP Collide With The Sky was released last summer, became ridiculously massive everywhere ever and featured überlin’s Beard Of The Year™ Jason letlive. Butler on the face-melting jam “Tangled in the Great Escape”:
There are still tickets available for BMTH+PTV on the Internet and in those neat ticket vendors you see dotted around Berlin. The show is 8pm this Sunday 1st December at Huxleys Neue Welt, Hasenheide 107-113, 10967 Berlin.
Here at überlin, we love a good Scottish accent. It’s just one of the reasons that our all-time favourite rock bands include Idlewild, Biffy Clyro and now, Milwalkie. Lazy (and regionally insensitive) comparisons aside, Aberdonian brothers Matthew David Morris and Steve Morris – and token German Jan Pfennig – distinguish themselves with a taste for epic atmospherics and shimmering, slightly-shoegaze melodies.
We’re stoked that Milwalkie gave us the exclusive to new video “Land” (above), which features singer Matt walking Verve-style through the streets of Berlin, encountering the people and places who’ve made the band feel at home here. They were also good enough to record this interview, which explains how the brothers arrived in Berlin, what they think of the indie scene here, and some tips for places to explore and, more importantly, get coffee! Enjoy this video Berlin Portrait, check out Milwalkie on Facebook and buy ”Land” on iTunes.
A lot of the time, my job as a blog editor involves trying to tease out the “Berlin connection” of the people pitching me, and working out what makes them different to the other artists piling up in my inbox. Thankfully, Jim Hickey took care of all this when he sent me a copy of his wonderful Railings EP and told me about his unique expat experience:
I’m Maltese/American, spent many summers in LA as a kid which was definitely a big influence on my life, as was spending the rest of the time on a small rock in the Mediterranean. I’ve always had an obsessive relationship with music, it started out with some old Pink Floyd tapes which I would listen to over and over for hours and when I started playing guitar it was a strictly day-and-night thing, played pretty much all the time. Started playing in bands at 15, live at 16 and doing live and studio session work at 17. Went on tour for the first time at 18 in Germany as a session guitarist for a local act (played all sorts of unsavoury radio festivals but also opened for Elton John at Bielefeld Stadium – a rather dubious honour), fell in love with Berlin and decided to move here ASAP. As soon as the tour ended I moved to England which didn’t last long and from there I moved to Berlin (at 19, I’m 26 now, I’ve been here nearly eight years).
The Berlin electronic underground scene was the next huge influence and at this point I started to play with synths and drum machines more and more. I was the live sound mixer at an (illegal) electro club (called Eel Pie – it got forcibly shut down) where the underground scene gathered to shuffle. The place was in an office block and when the offices closed for the weekend we let loose. Mixed some great indie/electro acts there, mostly under the radar stuff, like Robots in Disguise, ANIAETLEPROGRAMMEUR, Gebrüder Teichmann and Juri Gagarin. This experience changed a lot really, just being immersed in the scene and being around these acts that were creating this unbelievable new music had a huge influence on me and my approach to making music. At the same time I started to get involved in the gallery scene and got to know many of the amazing artists working and in refuge in Berlin. In effect this changed my approach to working creatively and helped to free up any insecurities about doing stuff people might not understand or be able to appreciate.
Some of the music I’m listening to at the moment is Chromatics (or any of Johnny Jewel’s projects for that matter), Errors (really, really good), D33J, James Blake (of course…), Factory Floor, Egyptian Hip Hop, Vondelpark and Space Dimension Controller (those last three are all R&S artists, Blake started there too). I like Anticon records stuff, UNO NYC, alternative/ experimental electronic music and any 80s electro funk but also hazy indie stuff with reverb drenched guitars like Beach House or Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti.
My Railings EP was written, recorded and produced by me at home (except drums which I did at another studio). I’ve been writing and collecting ideas over the past few years, just creating my own sound and this is the first release from this collection of songs.
Listen to and download Railings at jim-hickey.com.
Phew! What a crazy weekend. Here’s some nice chilled out music to help ease you into the week. Mara Simpson is an English expat living in Berlin, inspired by fellow countrymen Zero 7 and Cinematic Orchestra, and singer-songwriter icon Janis Joplin. Check out her single “Fine Lines”, which is released on November 11th, and “The Lion and the Nomad”, recorded at the obligatory rooftop concert. If you like what you hear, catch Simpson live at Kugelbahn in Wedding on November 15th, or follow her on Facebook for more updates.
Right now, I’m heavy into East Berlin’s queen of post-punk, Nina Hagen - particularly her 1982 masterpiece Nunsexmonkrock. Listen to the album in full below, or read this great Dangerous Minds article about “The greatest (and weirdest) unsung masterpiece of the postpunk era”.