Category Archives: reviews

Rotation: Bang Gang

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Sitting, staring, waiting for the first tones of the song “The Sin Is Near” of the new record of Barði Jóhannsson alias Bang Gang, who was already working together with JB Dunckel from Air and Keren Ann and their projects Starwalker and Lady & Bird. Dark clouds are passing by, pushing the heaven near to the ground. Goosebumbs all over, the feeling of being not alone, a cold shower is passing the room. And this is how “The Sin Is Near” feels like, a bit dark, creepy but extremely present. No surprise, Bloodgroup was helping out with that creepyness. There couldn’t be a better beginning after the great “Something Wrong”, the last “Ghosts From The Past” and after years of working for several movie soundtracks for „De Toutes Nos Forces“ and “Would You Rather”. And after seven years of collecting feelings, moments, ideas and thoughts.

And all this feelings, moments, ideas and thoughts found a good home on “The Wolves Are Whispering” (released 19.6. via Bang ehf. / Alive), between strings, synthie-pianos and popsounds. Sometimes the coldish voice of Samaris singer Jofriður Ákadottir is crossing the hallway. She is almost breathing life into the dark rooms, she is whispering and everything is getting bigger, like a cathedral. She is taking your hand, coming very close to your face and singing “I can feel your heartdache under your surface”. You can feel the words healing in the silence. And then there are songs like “Wait By The Lake”, “My Special One” or “A Lonely Bird” (with Keren Ann) – softly, fragile and begging for listening and following Barði into the feelings and thoughts.

The end is marked with the unbelievable intense and beautiful song “We Will Never Get Along”. And here we go again: Goosebumbs, the cold shower is sneaking through the room, the song is building up and breaking out in the middle, it is sinister but in the beautiful way. “I am here with you even you are hiding somewhere else” – hello elfes, welcome to my home.

Barði has collected the best and also most sad thoughts, moments and feelings to create “The Wolves Are Whispering” and indeed made the best follow up for “Ghosts From The Past”. Still breathtaking, skinscratching and heartbreaking.

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Haldern Pop 2015…be true – not better

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Just one month to go until the great and cozy Haldern Pop Festival is taking place at the fields and gras grounds of the tiny village in the west part of Germany, just few kilometers away from the border to the Netherlands. And also not far away is the Autobahn, but there is Autobahn everywhere in Germany. So, in a few weeks there will enter around 7000 guests the gates of Haldern to have three (13. – 15. august) days full of best music, hopefully sun and a lot of love. Love for the short ways from the campsite to the festival area, love for sitting in the gras in the beergarden, love for the morning coffee, love for the heat in the famous Spiegeltent, love for the big diversity of food and drinks and of course much much much love for great bands.

And there are many to explore, and to fall for in the end. Here are some of them:

SOAK from Ireland. She is not 20 yet, she is writing about her growing up things (listen to her album “Before We Forgot How To Dream”), just as we all went through it. So you find a lot of feelings, strangenes and weirdful thoughts which are guided by sensible singer-songwriter sounds and a special voice. She could be the little sister of Cat Power. This will not be the last time you heard from her!

AnnenMayKantereit from Germany. Yeah, it’s in german but beside that, the voice is a wonder. This guys are young and the singer sounds like an old wise man. Dusty and rough and empathic with no doubt about their talent.

Kiasmos from Iceland. No less than piano artist Ólafur Arnalds is having this project with his friend Janus Jasmusse from Bloodgroup. The piano is still there but combined with some beats and poppy sound effects. Very chilly and dancy and dark and happy and everything you need and expect from icelandic electronic music.

Father John Misty from the United States. Maybe since ages an american folk singer-songwriter, but for some time also the drummer of Fleet Foxes. J. Tillman was also touring with Damien Jurado. All of that sounds like a good thing, huh?! So, go and listen to his kind of self destroying and self ironying songs!

Furthermore go and find out about Delta Rae, dEUS, Die Sonne, Intergalactic Lovers and Alcoholic Faith Mission! But all of the Line-Up is worth it to give an ear and a heart! All of this loveable musicians here:

Alcoholic Faith Mission (DK) – AnnenMayKantereit (DE) – Bear’s Den (UK) – Benjamin Booker (US)
Bernd Begemann & Die Befreiung (DE) – Bilderbuch (AT) – Big Sixes (UK) – Cantus Domus (DE)
Courtney Barnett (AUS) – Curtis Harding (US) – Dan Deacon (US) – Delta Rae (US) – dEUS (BE)
Die Sonne (DE) – DMA’s (AUS) – Dotan (NL) – Douglas Dare (UK) – Family Of The Year (US)
Father John Misty (US) – Frances (UK) – Freddie Dickson & The Guard (UK) – Grandbrothers (DE)
Heisskalt (DE) – Ibeyi (FR/CU) – Iceage (DK) – Intergalactic Lovers (BE) – Johann Sebastian Bach (DE)
Kapok (NL) – Kate Tempest (UK) – Kiasmos (IS) – Kiko King & Creativemaze (DE) – LÅPSLEY (UK) Laura Marling (UK) – Liam Ó Maonlai & Peter O’Toole (Hothouse Flowers) (IRL) – Low Roar (IS)
Magnus (BE) – Mammút (IS) – Marcus Wiebusch (DE) – Mark Geary feat. Grainne Hunt (IRL)
Nils Frahm (DE) – Olli Schulz (DE) – Public Service Broadcasting (UK) – Puts Marie (CH) – Rae Morris (UK) – Savages (UK) – Soak (IRL) – Someday Jacob (DE) – stargaze & André de Ridder (DE)
Steve Gunn (US) – Sunset Sons (UK) – Terra Profonda (HU) – The Bronze Medal (UK) – The Districts (US) – The Slow Show (UK) – The War on Drugs (US) – Tour of Tours (DE/NL/US) – Tor Miller (US) – Tora (AUS) – Viet Cong (CAN) – Villagers (IRL) – White Fence (US) – Woods of Birnam (DE)

These bands are well choosed from the Haldern Pop team, which are doing their heart job since 1984. There is no doubt about this heart thing. It will win in the end. Always! At least every year at the gras grounds of Haldern. BE TRUE – NOT BETTER!

Haldern Pop Festival
13 – 14. august
Sold out!
(but there is always a chance to catch a fair priced ticket even if it is sold out…go and try the ticket market at their homepage or the FairVerkauf group on Facebook)

Rotation: Love A

Love A_Jagd und Hund_CoverHere we go again spreading a lot of love with Love A. As I tried to remember when the second album “Irgendwie” of Love A hit the stores I realised that already two years passed. It doesn’t feel like! The truth is, there is still this craving for moving legs, shaking arms and heads when I listen to the first seconds of their new songs of “Jagd und Hund” (released 27.3. via Rookie Records, booking via Audiolith). And I am still craving for perpetuate their lyrics on walls, cut them into the bark or ink them on my skin. It would all worth it!

As “Irgendwie” was an album full of Hits Hits Hits, “Jagd und Hund” takes a step backwards from Indiedisco without loosing the brain fucking hooklines, without  loosing the rage of getting older, wiser or just without loosing the craving for a sick world. You can feel the pain, the hope, the desperation, the rage and aversion. You can read it in lines like:

Ihre Narben werden heilen mit der Zeit, die kalte Angst im Nacken bleibt gleich. […] Die Knie und das Hirn vom Hoffen weich” (Song 1 “Lose Your Illusion”)

Wenn man sie kennt, kann man getrost die Regeln brechen. Weil die meisten doof sind, fällts uns gar nciht schwer. Nur wer mal aufgestanden ist, der darf sich setzen und darum bleiben hier so viele Stühle leer.” (Song 4 “100.000 Stühle leer”)

Wir bleiben dumm und klein und sprachlos , wir spielen das Gegenteil und das steht uns gut, krallen uns weiter fest am Tellerrand und schaun dem dahinter weiter zu. Wir machen Schulden, sammeln Herzen denn unsere Selbstzweifel lassen das zu.” (Song 10 “Regen Auf Rügen”)

And you can hear it in the remarkable voice of singer Jörkk. Since their first album “Eigentlich” they extended their sound from indiepunk to postpunk and wave, never lost the heart for great guitar pickings, never lost their attitude and pay homage to bands they like (“Alles was ich will ist, nichts mit dir zu tun haben”, “Nein nein, no way, wir tanzen nie wieder zu den falschen Liedern”). As if all this rage and resignation would not be enough, they end the album with the very clearly lines “Brennt alles nieder, fickt das System” / “Burn everything down, fuck the system”. Nothing more to say…

Guys, you made this difficult third step (since the third album is called a difficult task) and it is really hard to unlove you! So again and again and again: LOVE, EY!!!

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on tour:
28.03.15 Trier, Exhaus (Releaseparty)
02.04.15 Köln, Gebäude 9
03.04.15 Hamburg, Molotow
04.04.14 Bremen, Tower
05.04.15 Hannover, Bei Chez Heinz
24.04.15 Düsseldorf, Zakk
25.04.15 Kassel, Goldgrube
26.04.15 Berlin, SO36
28.04.15 Potsdam, Waschhaus
29.04.15 Leipzig, Moritzbastei
30.04.15 Heidelberg, Häll
01.05.15 Wiesbaden, Schlachthof (Kesselhaus)
02.05.15 Koblenz, Jam Club
23.05.15 Hünxe, Ruhrpottrodeo
29.05.15 Augsburg, Kantine
11.07.15 Theley, Skatepark (Volcano Festival)

Rotation: The Slow Show

TSS_white_water_artwork_front 2500pxTall dark towers are building up, candles burning while the piano sets in. The choir is opening the album “White Water” of the Manchester based band The Slow Show. When the first lines of “Dresden” pass your mind, you see yourself walking through the nighty roads of this beautiful city in the eastern part of germany, packed in a warm coat, the scarf blocking the cold. The sound of “White Water” is not a fluffy springy piece of music. But that really doesn’t matter.

After they selfpublished their first EP “Brother” in 2012, they got attention from the german Haldern Pop Festival and finally, after they played there last summer, Haldern Pop Recordings will release this dark pearl of music. And it seems to be the best place for them, as they will be accompanied by bands and musicians like All The Luck In The World, Alcoholic Faith Mission and Emanuel And The Fear.

“White Water” is a dark river, slowly floating, until it hits a dangerous spot with high massive walls out of violines, pianos and tragic but anthemic orchestra. Sometimes it’s just a peaceful stream. But there is always the dark sound of Rob Goodwin’s voice, who could be related to Matt Berninger of The National. This “White Water” is sometimes all about to suck people into it’s waves (“Brother”), about loss, last goodbyes, searching for the meaning of life, about growing old (“God Only Knows”), love (“Paint You Like A Rose”) and dancing on a “Bad Day”. And this is the most powerful beauty; finding the way through the world and keeping a dance in mind. Even if you are suffering spring fever, you should listen to this heavy but warm hearted, tender and carefully sound of emotional darkness.

You can find The Slow Shows “White Water” from 6th of march in your favourite record shops or order it here or in the Haldern Pop Shop.

on tour:
06.03.15 London, Hackney
21.05.15 Köln, Luxor
22.05.15 Haldern, Haldern Pop Bar
23.05.15 Dortmund, Way Back When Festival
24.05.15 Beverungen, Orange Blossom Festival
25.05.15 Hamburg, Prinzenbar
26.05.15 Berlin, Privatclub
27.05.15 Dresden, Beatpol
28.05.15 Vienna, Chelsea
29.05.15 München, Strom
31.05.15 Zürich, Papiersaal
04.06.15 Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
05.06.15 Nottingham, The Bodega Social Club
07.06.15 Bristol, Louisiana
08.06.15 Manchester, Manchester Gorilla