Thursday, August 31, 2006

I Am a Deep Sea Diver With My Fins, and Underneath Your Currents I Do Swim

(If you are out tonight come to Dr. Pong, Eberswalder Str 21. i'm djing from 11 + celebrating my 1 year Berlinniversary! Yay!)

It's quite fitting that the coat of arms for Berlin depicts a grizzly bear because when Grizzly Bear themselves took to the stage here last Tuesday night with such ease and comfort, it was like watching them in their natural habitat.

The gig started a little shakily due to some technical problems, but it was nothing that an impromptu Hot Chip cover and some sellotape couldn't fix. Hearing "Boy From School" get the Grizzly Bear treatment more than made up for the glitch in the switches. The band themselves come across as a warm and fuzzy bunch, like cuddly teddy bears that you want to bring along on your picnic, rather than ferocious attacking animals that want to have you for their picnic.
I was fairly rooted to the spot in wonderment and happiness because this was a really great gig. The ferocity that their band name suggests is found in the pounding drums and vicious guitar riffs that work so well with their dreamy vocals and thoughtful instrumentation. And how those drums are pounded! It was beyond awesome watching Christopher Bear (yes! yay!) pounding those skins. Sometimes it was like being blasted by a sound wave. At this show, it sounded like they band were working a much heavier sound than last time, when they played in WestGermany. Except of course on dreamy numbers like "the Knife". My oh my is that song the best thing ever. Like Ed said, "sometimes we rock, sometimes we don't". The contrast of two lead vocalists develops a deep richness through their psychedelic rock. Their lyrics are eerie and haunting with melodies to match, all of it flowing so well in the shape-shifting song structures like "Deep Sea Diver" and "On a Neck On a Spit".
They remind me of Mercury Rev and the Beach Boys, and some comparisons made by others include the Who.

This video made by Blogotheque is JUST SO GOOD.

Check out Gregory Nolan's photography. In particular that batch of backstage Black Wire backstage snaps! New drummer!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

...The Saddest Song, It Breaks My Heart To Sing Along

A Camera Obscura show is a special thing. Never mind the queue, or the long wait for them to come onstage (the long wait which came after the awful drivel of a support band) or anything else that might have been an attempt by whatever dark forces there are in the world that try to get in the way of having a fun time. With a trumpet, more vocals please and a laughing, smiling Traceyanne Camera Obscura were able to transcend the dark forces and put on their bittersweet show.

I mean, it's a good thing there was a queue! Lots of people came out to see them! In the rain! So many in fact that they said they were nervous! Kenny grabbed the microphone, and unable to look any of the crowd in the eye said "er, sorry we're a bit nervous, we didnae think it would be so..busy!" (in a terribly charming Scottish accent, my favourite.)
They didn't elaborate too much on why the technical problems....but Traceyanne said the British press have taken to calling them "Shambles Obscura", and that, "well, ha ha we deserve it."

About a year and a half ago they played in the Sugar Club in Dublin. At the time i was completely smitten with "Teenager", my only clear memory from that gig is that one song. This time around it was much, much different. I remember the whole show! I just don't know the names, i'm bad like that.

They tweaked the set list to accomodate some rowdy fans who were shouting song titles at them, not including "Books for Girls", which they had planned to play. So it got scrapped and they played another dancey little number. People were shuffling about in the soft glow of Lido and the feeling in the air was "don't go, Camera Obscura!" They played two encores, though Traceyanne was slightly admonishing when she said "We don't normally play two. Now away wi' ye!" Ok so she didn't really say "now away wi' ye!" But i cant seem to remember anythin she did say that will allow me to unleash my Irvine Welsh writin' skillz. Sorry.

Also Scottish and my favourite is ROBBIE! I'm excited for a London update.

dinnae miss:

Grizzly Bear in Lido this TUESDAY. tickets are 10.50. More than a steal.
Final Fantasy, El Perro del Mar + more at Festsaal Kreuzberg, 29 September.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Ease On Over, Look at the Places That You Left Behind

Erase Errata are coming to Berlin. This! Makes! Me! Happy! They are on a pretty long tour, looks to be starting from tomorrow. They are doing lots of the dates with the Gossip in America and when they come here they are sharing the night with Les Georges Leningrad!

un cadeau.

Oct 21 at Festsaal, Kreuzberg. Skalitzer Str.134.

They are visiting Paris, and also Cork.

Oct 19 The Hub, Dublin.
Oct 20 Pine Lodge, Cork!!!!
Oct 25 Point Ephemere, Paris.

"Thank God ye're coming to Ireland. I'll see ye for the Dublin and Cork dates. Now I can plan my holidays." - a nice comment on their myspace page.

They're even going to Australia.

Erase Errata dot com

I knew Peaches was gonna have a full band with her this time. But i didnt really think about who it'd be. Well how bout J.D Samson! On keytar! And sequencing! This girl is having a pretty f-ing cool year. She's in one of the best funtime bands already. Then she gets to be serenaded by Senior (see below) and now is goin' on tour with Peaches. That video might just be the best thing of 2006, and probably ever. Drumming for Peaches is Samantha Maloney, swit swoo!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

...Would You Go Along With Someone Like Me?

i knew it was Victora Bergsman from the Concretes singin' along.

..and the REAL video:

Peter Bjorn and John are coming to Berlin!

They will be in Magnet on September 14th (with Little Man Tate)


Thanks to Shane for introducin' me.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Can You Cut, I Can Cut, 'Cause I'm a Rough Gem

It's always the best gigs that are the hardest to talk about.


Here goes nothing.

See, about two weeks ago, Islands came to Berlin to play in Bastard. This band has a history that is a bit mad really. Having the founders of the Unicorns in the line up and a list of pals including Regine and Win no doubt helped to attract the big crowd that turned up, and ensured an exciting and happy buzz in the air as we hung about in anticipation. The instruments waiting onstage were glimmering gently in the soft glow from the array of beautiful antique lights: saxaphone sexy bass clarinet, several violins, oboe, lots of guitars, and hidden in the back, drums.


The band took to the stage, making a wave through the crowd as they walked through, shaking tambourines. It was like the end of year class show. One of my friends there that evening said the band's lineup looks like a pretty typical slice of Canadian life. The seven Islanders reached for their instruments with solemnity and mischief. I think the human body makes the beautiful shape when it's held in position to play the violin. Also its quite beautiful to see someone playing the violin maintaining the correct posture while somehow letting go to the music, in an insane jitterbug fashion. The only girl in the band, Kate Perkins and brothers Alex and Sebastian Chow who all played the violin so impressively that night had all the best moves, definitely.

Islands are not twee and i like them for that. The doo-doo's and Hawaii-esque pop sounds belie the dark lyrical content and deeply talented musicianship which this group has.

They've had some really pretty t shirts deigned especially for their european tour by Rebecca Turbow. Swoon, thud.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I like Powers.
I liked them when I saw them playing in Trickster a couple of months ago, when the sound was quite bad..and some other disadvantageous elements were affecting their performance, so to speak. ROCK N ROLL!..Anyway, I love their onstage dynamic: Paul facing away from the crowd, concentrating wholly on his guitar; Jessica determinedly working the moog and Joe, he's like a whip on the drums. On Saturday after we saw them play, a friend pointed out how she likes Paul and Jessica's aura of calm on either side of the stage, facing slightly inwards so they frame the centrepiece that is Joe.


They were the first band on the Moshi Moshi stage which was inside a barn? of sorts...It's been four months since i first saw them play, and it's really great to see how much progress their live performance has made. Their music is dark and raw and menacing, but also jangly and making you want to dance. They certainly have a big sound for a 3-piece. When Jessica sings its hard to make out the words. It's like she's singing in some kind of alien language, which certainly contributes to the air of mystery and intrigue the band exudes when onstage. They seem to play as if only for themselves. Jessica's voice seems more confident and much stronger - she has been moonlighting for IAMX, it seems like it's been a good experience for her. Check her out in the vid for "President".
real Berliners may be jaded with their native city, but Powers are another example of expatriots who have come to Berlin and found the inspiration to make really good music. An englishman, an irishman and an american girl walk into a bar..nyard...

Their 7 inch is the first release on 8MM Records. White vinyl, yo:
A. Battery B. Butcher's Arms
6 EUROs + shipping.

Powers' space
8MM Bar
Joe Dilworth.
Moshi Moshi