Archiv für März 2012

No Nebraska + Apostrophe

Poplars and Rocks proudly presents again after a long while: No Nebraska. The sympatico american-french three-piece that started growing out of hard german soil is still around, special as ever and right now back on tour with Apostrophe, like No Nebraska a conglomerate of different nationalities and members from various bands that found each other in Berlin. The first time we had the honour to stage No Nebraska was in 2007 at the then newly opened Bang Bang Club, this one as so many places in this town long ceased being, band and host are still going, proving the real nature of art and dedication, no less than the art of grave survivalism. Quite typically, fifty percent of the four bands that night officially still roll. A year later, No Nebraska played again, this time at Trickster with Don Vito, for our humble unofficial fifth year of survival that no one knew of. The beautiful tiny, that night over-packed cellar still exists, so do again the fifty percent of the four acts officially that at least I know of. This time the arms are opened to us by another dedicated advocate of his trade that is music and who threw himself into the risk of survivalism and newly opened a moist cellar at Ostkreuz that stands out like a last village within a heavily changing surrounding of a dead plastic and concrete city vision that is the once pretty old train station and which we thus like to celebrate and to support. But so far places are still getting more popular down there as long as they are allowed, and we hope Tiefgrund may outlive the shallowness going on above ground. Or we see him solo at Madame Claude again. We for a moment are lucky to have got out there for a night to live out the love for drums, making a statement for tolerance, where neighbours are not obstructing it yet. No Nebraska, who are Jaime, Chris, and Gildas, consist of drums, guitar and, classically, bass. But that we speak here of a bass clarinet makes it slightly special. But even without pointing out the speciality, No Nebraska’s songs are still unique and lovely, cross-breeding the edgy roughness of Fugazi with the charming playfulness of Deerhoof, drawing a line between post-rock and folk-jazz. The band had some underground releases so far: after Serves: 6 in 2006, Aloha in 2007, after people leaving to different places and leaving Jaime back in Berlin with other side projects, their so far last album Generalisation came out in 2011. Not only are the first two already brilliant examples of the punk-that-meets-humour attitude, developing from „Barack Obama“ and „Zidane“ on Serves to lighter and more complex „Der Amboß“ or „Sanitäter“ on Aloha, embracing with post-punkishness and hardcore jazz the innocence of a children’s seventies tv series, but their CDs also come in beautiful hand-made sleeves, adding vegetarian recipes or dried blossoms. There are a few songs for free download from their latest CD on their homepage, of which we „Norwegen Dir“ love to share with you:

Just sweet. Come and support! An unknown band you maybe should have heard (of) plus another one, pure underground, DIY, and post. „Why should we sing when we can shout, why should we stand when we can dance?“

This friday, march 23rd, 10pm, at Tiefgrund, Laskerstrasse 5, admission between 3 and six euro, bring yourself! On decks Raving Mad Carlos.

The wonderful screenprint poster by our favourite print maker Damien Tran, who also plays in Grand Predateur. The album cover used for the header was made by Shoxxx, as mentioned lately… Check them out!

Tonia Reeh + Justine Electra

This month Poplars and Rocks brings to Madame Claude high-class in miniature environment: Tonia Reeh and Justine Electra as live package – two extraordinary women solo on piano.

Tonia Reeh is not even known to her local Berlin audience that much under her own name yet: more known Tonia Reeh became under her alter ego Monotekktoni, under which she had been around for years in the underground. But her „electronic ego“ had to share also with her „indie ego“: bands Tonia was guitar player in and singer include Das Zuckende Vakuum, that later evolved into Masonne, beside the other punk indie outfit Jagoda. After having toured and played with these bands and projects extensively in small clubs for a decade, Tonia’s life changed with getting kids and realising that she had another part of herself neglected for too long: The „acoustic ego“, the solo, intrumentally reduced and emotionally condensed song on piano. It makes herself wonder that she brought so late the attention to it, as Tonia Reeh is a classically trained piano player, which is rare in the pop world and which she better forgot when dedicating herself to punk. Or electronics. As Monotekktoni the singer and performer acts solo too: a small woman standing in the middle of a big stage behind an even bigger table of pedals and effects, and a sound big enough to suggest a studio full of producers and a wall to fill the largest club rather than a subversive cellar. When I saw Monotekktoni live the first time some years ago I thought hadn‘t she been german and come out at a time where credibility still meant never to sell oneself to the dumb masses, Monotekktoni surely would have made her way up and be counted next to the big names of internationally adopted children of this city such as Peaches or Planningtorock. But Berlin was always ignorant to its own offspring. Now Tonia Reeh got tired of the over-orchestrated noise and rid of her shyness to play stripped down to only voice and keys. All the intensity of feeling lies naked between near silence and the next tormented outburst. After her last records as Monotekktoni (all out on Sinnbus records) her first album as Tonia Reeh has just been released a few months ago: „Boykiller“. Out on Clouds Hill records, a Hamburg label, run beside others by Chris von Rautenkranz (producer of Die Sterne, Blumfeld) and Thies Mynther (Stella, Phantom/Ghost). A strong woman’s album that not vainly aims at taking a pretentious pose as a vamp, but one that tells through up and downs how it is to kill the boy inside every woman, and to finally surrender, peaceful and yet still uncomfortable. „Freak out, come down“: The single „Boykiller“ is a masterpiece of a song, a delight of skilled craft and rough, unadorned vulnerability, that doesn‘t leave the eccentricity far behind. Tonia Reeh should easily be named in one line with Amanda Palmer or Tori Amos if you want. She makes it into several categories. And should get the attention she deserves.

Justine Electra is also none to be nailed down to one personality and successively one musical direction. Justine Electra belongs to the vast army of adopted children of this town, without who the town would not be the same. Originally from Melbourne, Justine lives for years in Berlin, deviding her time between house-techno DJ (recently also as „DJ Save the Animals“) and singer songwriter who combines folk-romanticism with R‘n'B. In 2006 she released her first album „Soft Rock“ on City Slang (now home of Norman Palm beside many others), which had with „Fancy Robots“ a single out that might still count as her biggest hit so far, musically settled somewhere between KD Lang or Feist. Justine Electra worked with Tarwater, Schneider TM and sang on Jens Friebe’s last album, nonetheless she has a big oeuvre consisting of plenty of playful electronica of which most is officially unreleased (but to be listened to on soundcloud for instance). She recently started playing live again with a full band, her next single is long awaited for the end of this month, out now on her new home Haute Areal (that houses already Mary Ocher or Doctorella). This time, solo on piano with maybe some backing tracks – expect the experiment, and maybe some of her new material too.

Come down and support two fantastic female artists who are worth your whole ear and full attention, and of who much more is going to be expected in the near future – for a donating euro: we like to give the chance to everyone! This friday, March 2nd, 9pm, at Madame Claude, Lübbener Strasse 19, Berlin-Kreuzberg.

On decks Rad Spin Rotate Club, for more girls as DJs.