Archiv für Februar 2012

Oberhofer

It’s hard these days to have the peace of mind and tranquility to listen to music. But then why be distracted by the fact that the world hasn‘t seen as many violent conflicts as we have right now since the end of WWII. From time to time you have to take your time and a time out. In 2009 I was surely still roaming the internet to look for what could be played in public! Music mags? Na, never. Blogs? No. TV? What’s that? Internet pages by accident? Perfect! So I came across this site called better propaganda, thinking better and propaganda sounds like my type. Unfortunately then – you are confronted with the all-too-much of our present days – too much music for instance; if ten years ago most people were in bands, then today everone is, which wouldn‘t be a problem yet, on the contrary, one of the great things of our current society and its proof of progression that links back to the days of our greatgrandparents when everyone did music too, but the problem being everyone can (and thinks he has to) spread everything he does to everyone, which also in many aspects rather counts to the blessings, as long as you can choose and still find your stuff between all the rubbish, which in the end then is only the curse for the industry who wishes you wouldn‘t find anything anymore at all, but theirs. So, to cut a short thought even shorter, how do you pick music if it’s not by your friend and also otherwise you have never heard of it? Listening to everything? Impossible in reference to the literally uncountable amount and impossible in reference to not ruining your brain with too much bad stuff. So, yes, it might be possible, although it has nothing to do with the music, that unfortunately image and name might have some impact, as little as your name and your looks might have to do with your personality. Still where do you keep hanging? In that case I was going alphabetically through the collection and stumbled across Oberhofer. Not very original, a german surname, and yet such a funny one, and even more funny that (awkwardly enough) it rang a bell, as something with Oberhofer in the title was until twenty years ago used to propagate the worst kind of music called Volksmusikschlager, this kind of apparent traditional, yet new tunes that make some people in the US for instance still think Germany is Bavaria and it never changed, and that was above all in East Germany. But luckily, people might get reborn, but they change. The way via the vast sceneries of the western shores of North America can be of help. I thought „wow“ when I finally clicked on his demos. There was something fresh and quite his own, unstrained and talented. When I put on „I could go“ or „Away from you“ I remember the question (and how rarely does this happen) was put: Is this Animal Collective? I found the similarity not really given, but it was obvious that Oberhofer like others at the same time and age, who, sometimes after evidently early socialization with hip hop, were the first who got the fruits of the success of Animal Collective early enough to be influenced in their approach, in a sense of a broader liberty towards experimental structure and sound without abondoning the audibility (And I remember mentioning in humble respect this to AC, when getting back an expression of bewilderment, like: „We aren‘t that old, are we?“ Never mind, time flows by quick these days.); there is more pop in Oberhofer. So much more that he kind of quickly meanwhile got discovered by the mainstream industries and plays tonight his first (I think) Berlin show, and too much for me to having to go hearing songs about the problems of a male twenty-one year old and see the according audience, if there should be any ever in the first place; not to annoy the artist, but not to diminish the pleasure of the listener either. Surely, there is more to be expected from this guy and hopefully he won‘t get spoiled too soon, so I wait until he plays a more underground place and not a british music mag night. I asked him over back then, but that might have never got him out of the subculture angle. In 2009 Oberhofer was still sending out his first EP with handmade covers to whoever wanted it from his hundred myspace friends. When I asked why I haven‘t received any, he told me his house in Tacoma had just burned down and he couldn‘t retrace the songs not to mention make any sleeves… the story of my life. Brad then moved to New York and became famous. His debut album „Time Capsules II“ (Glassnote) will be out March, April depending on the time zone you are in, produced by someone big, as they say, who did other big bands before, if they say so. You have to follow the rest of his story yourself, there are more, more or less talented people who need better propaganda, and I should take the time again and look through the net, as long as they still allow us to…

Here is from the up-coming album: „Heart“, playful and young as ever, more bombastic and more Avey Tare than before – lovely. For free download:

Vera Kropf + Kitty Solaris + Sarah Maguire

This month poplars and rocks welcomes at Madame Claude: three extraordinary women that give Berlin that cool feminine touch that makes this city so attractive to the world: Vera Kropf is the lead-singer of Vienna-based band Luise Pop. Vera meanwhile moved to Berlin, splitting her time between her old band, her solo appearances, as well as joining new projects, like the recent one Half Girl with members from the bands Britta and Jens Friebe. Luise Pop was started with two girls on guitar and keyboard, for some time joined by the frontman of Ja, Panik on drums, now grown to a four-piece with a new drummer and bass. Their first album The car, the ship, the train came out in 2009, now in January 2012 followed their second one: Time is a habit (Siluh records). Luise Pop lend a lot from the nineties riot girl attitude, but also recalling of the Berlin and Hamburg schools of lo-fi pop punk and their female representatives. They themselves would put their music somewhere between Patti Smith and James Dean. Vera’s singing dominates the songs, that are composed of a punkish carelessness, mixed with sensitive fragility.

Kitty Solaris is an old aquaintance. We had her many years ago the first time. One of the things that make Kitty great is just this fact, that she never yet made it the big headline, despite writing great songs, but follows impertubably her path as singer and songwriter, solo and with band, as promoter of the now sadly going to be evicted Schokoladen, and as founder of the label Solaris Empire, proving the total commitment to rock‘n'roll, by stretching her time between her own endavours and by supporting other musicians. After Future Air Hostess (2007) and My Home is My Disco (2009), produced with the help of Gordon Raphael, known for also having produced The Strokes or Regina Spektor, Kitty’s last album Golden Future Paris was released in 2011 on her label. Despite the soft voice and often very simple and poetic lyrics, that oscillate between sadness and light-heatedness, the music does not lack the pop-appeal and rock gesture. References in regard to Kitty are made to Patti Smith, again, Cat Power, or Scout Niblett. Most touching are Kitty’s songs when just played acoustic on guitar, as they evolved at home in her kitchen. Kitty offers Future Air Hostess as free download.

Sarah Maguire, originally from England, now for some time already settled in Berlin, started writing and learning her instruments at the home table too. Looking for musical support, she assembled a few musicians from bands such as The Michelles or I Am X, calling it The Golden Rule, but with members being split between projects and cities, she started playing live under her own name again, but not without partly supports: This time, as happened before here and there, Gordon Raphael will join on keys. Her first demo EP came out this January. Sarah sees her songs as sung stories, and loves to put herself between, of course again, Patti Smith and Jarvis Cocker.

Having already mentioned Gordon Raphael twice, I will not miss to mention him a third time: We had Gordon Raphael, originally from New York, but now resident of our city, the first time live in Berlin with his own musical output some years ago at Madame Claude. Meanwhile he had made a sound studio in Neukölln call his new home, travelled the world to produce more bands all over the place, and finally is back to show more of his own creative talents: We asked Gordon to play some of his favourite records, but being also involved with the visual arts, the night will also see some of Gordon’s rarely shown projections and films.
The rest on decks is covered by poplars and rocks as rad spin rotate club to cover everything left between philosophy pop and anti-matter frequencies.

MADAME CLAUDE, Friday, February 3rd, 9pm, Berlin, Lübbener Strasse 19. Admission: friendly donation.