Because Tall Ships is their support band on Nada Surf’s tour through Germany, Austria and Austria. You often hear people moaning about support bands and how useless they are. Well, I can tell you that you want to see the support this time - they are an amazing live experience. I know I am almost too late to tell you about this tour but sickness got in my way.
After two EPs Tall Ships have just released their début album “Everything Touches”. Once more they have created Math Rock hymns at the finest - it’s complex, occasionally playful melodies, it’s controlled chaos and sound explosions and some rock guitars. What I like is their liability to scientific bits in their lyrics and the pictures they use in them. You can already find this tendency in titles like “Phosphorescence”, “Murmurations” or “Ode To Ancestors”. Behind those titles one will find songs about love with wonderful lines such as „Because within you every particle is perfect, and your beating heart is the sum of many working parts. You are a triumph of natural selection, every mutation leading to your perfection…“.
I love the final and most epic song “Murmurations”. The song seems to reflect life up to a certain part. In the beginning you can hear something that sound like echo of the baby’s heart (you know when they check that of a pregnant), the blithy childhood and slowly growing up and the the wild years as a young adult. And the you find love, settle down a bit become calmer and in the end - as the children voice my suggests - start a family. It’s just amazing how Tall Ships build this song up layer by layer up to the climax and then collapse. Just beautiful.
With “Books” and “Ode To Ancestors” they have reworked two older songs. They brought both songs to the next level. They have grown a lot since their self titled EP and “There Is Nothing But Chemistry” without changing their sound too much. I think their sound became more organic, more like a whole than every before. When you watch them live, they are a bit greater in every way. It is simply impressive how they create their songs live with just the three of them. They all play everything that is on stage. They rotate so much on stage that you could get dizzy.
Here is their newest video for “Gallop”:
And a bit of Nada Surf just in case you don’t know them either or if you have forgotten how they sound. It’s „Waiting For Something“ from their current album “The Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy”:
Tour dates of Nada Surf and Tall Ships:
10.11 Karlstorbahnhof, Heidelberg (D)
11.11 Bahnhof Fischbach, Friedrichshafen (D)
12.11 Hirsch,Nürnberg (D)
13.11 Rosenhof, Osnabrück (D)
14.11 C-Club, Berlin (D)
15.11 Meier Music Hall, Braunschweig (D)
16.11 Jazzhaus,Freiburg (D)
17.11 Zeche, Bochum (D)
Nada Surf http://www.nadasurf.com
Tall Ships http://www.wearetallships.co.uk/
Berlin is a city full of artists, full of musicians, so it is no wonder that I occasionally discover new and awesome music just by talking to people after a concert. A couple of weeks ago I have met new Berliner Jesper Madsen after a wonderful concert of Dad Rocks!. And that is how I learned about Echo Me - the musical project of Madsen. He moved from beautiful Copenhagen to Berlin when he is signed to Für Records, a Berlin based German/Danish record label for is upcoming self titled album “Echo Me”. It is not his first release. Last year he released folky versions of songs of a punk rock band called The Freudian Slip which sound lovely but completely different from Madsens upcoming debut album “Echo Me” and from the music The Freudian Slip actually makes (which is how things like this should be done).
Madsen wrote a bunch of partly really catchy kind of Folk tunes which are more than just Folk tunes. It seems that every song has influences from other genres and some come with a bit of weirdness. It is a very eclectic album that allows the listener to discover new little sounds and twists with every listen. One of the most catchiest songs on this album is certainly “Left By The Fire” (watch the video below). In this song he combines a drum driven melody with some “I am easy going” whistling and lyrics about someone who just seemed ruin everything. It is followed by “The Actor & The Play” which was and still is a bit confusing - it took me a half of the song and a closed browser to realise that all the disturbing sound actually belongs to the song. It’s a bit like Madsen doesn’t want you to sink into the softness of its melody, as if he wants you to be aware of the reality. I don’t know - I may need a hundred more listens and actually asking him.
The interlude of “The Memory” reminds me of an unsettling western… it may also be because of the guns which are displayed in the booklet next to the lyrics*. And when I am listening to “Packing My Stuff” I get a certain Country feel and not only because he wrote lines like "Packing My Stuff I’m Heading/My Own Way/I’m Getting Off This Train/Camping Outside You Better Stay Away/At Least For Today”. No, it is also because he uses acoustic guitars, labsteel guitar, Banjo and a lot of harmonica. And the way he sings fits just perfectly to that song.
Another song that impress me with its weirdness is “Darkest Hour”. The Hit organ and the whistling give it some kind of funfair feeling - not the “modern” funfair but the ones where you could see the strongest men of the word, women with beards, the miraculous elixir of Dr. Whateverhisnamewas and other travelling performers…but it doesn’t sound like gypsy music actually.
With “Write Me Back” Jesper Madsen goes a bit more Rock. I basically like this song because I am a woman who happens to wonder every once in a while why certain people wouldn’t write me back - however because of the lines "Those Were The Words/That I Last Heard Coming From Your Mouth" the song becomes a bit creepy for someone who watched too many CSI and Criminal Minds episodes. So, maybe it is actually good that they won’t get back on me…
However, as I quite enjoy weirdness of any kind, I very much enjoy listening to this album as it provides the the good and interesting kind of weirdness - not the weird weirdness where one struggles to get any kind of connection to it. Another thing that I really like is that despite he explores some many different sides, he always sounds effortless and he always adjusts his singing to the certain topic and style. And the album still sounds like one piece and not a collection of randomly chosen sounds and genres. The album doesn’t make me wonder if he “still” has to find his own style - he has found it in the diversity.
The self titled album “Echo Me” will be released on the 19. October and is available digitally on iTunes already. And now watch the video for “Left From the Fire”:
Tour dates (where as far as I heard Madsen will bring a full band with him):
19.10.2012 DE-Berlin, Antje Oeklesund (Release Party)
24.10.2012 DE-Hildesheim, VEB Club
25.10.2012 DE-Goetingen, Heimathafen im Pool
26.10.2012 DE-Wuppertal, Bürgerbahnhof “Endstation Sehnsucht”
04.11.2012 NL-Groningen, Melodica Festival
09.11.2012 NL-Amsterdam, Skek
11.11.2012 NL-Rotterdam, Le Vagabond
16.11.2012 DK-Aarhus, Vestergade 58
17.11.2012 DK-Kopenhagen, Huset i Magstræde
23.11.2012 DE-Dresden, Ostpol (PPZK Songwriterfestival)
24.11.2012 DE-Stutgart, Café Galao
06.12.2012 FR-Paris, Pop In
17.12.2012 DE-Hamburg, Stellwerk
18.12.2012 DE-Hannover, Glocksee
20.12.2012 DE-Berlin, Aufsturz
21.12.2012 DE-Weimar, Kasseturm
While everyone is talking about Amanda Palmer, we could as well check out the project Brian Viglione’s called Gentlemen & Assassins. I have listened to both records a lot in the last days as I have been writing about them for the German online magazine FastForward. I don’t want to compare the two albums, I just save some time by writing about both in the same blog post.
It’s amazing what Amanda Palmer archived with the Kickstarter campaign - I mean she got almost 1.2 million dollar for her new record and her creativity is amazing. However, I just have a problem with the new record “Theatre Is Evil”. I find it a tad boring and the reason is quite simple: whenever I listen to it, I try to figure out where I have heard the melody of the song before and that happens with almost with every song. I know, I know, it’s about the lyrics and what she says between the lines but if the sound of a song can’t catch me, it is most often very difficult to keep listening to it more than once. She is around in some 80’s influenced music and Pop, Punk, Rock and a bit of Classic here and there. Well, the introduction may give a hint towards this. It reminds of something of the time of the Cabaret.
The first few songs “The Killing Type”, “Do It With A Rockstar” and “Want It Back” are actually pretty catchy. I really like the little reference to Mackie Messer of Brechts “Dreigroschenoper” in “The Killing Type”- one sign of Palmers love of German literature. “Want It Back” reminds me of some Tegan and Sara song. One of the songs I find most difficult to listen to is “Grown Man Cry” - it just reminds of a really bad 80’s ballad - one of those kinds which you don’t even want to listen to on the radio anymore. Not even the lyrics are helping me out there. The following song “Trout Heart Replica” is one of my most favourites. It a beautiful song, I love the piano and string arrangements. Beautiful has to be seen relatively as it sounds very chased and unsettled. Superficially seen it is a song that criticise mass fish keeping and their killing. Funnily the one animal that some “vegetarians” still eat and which living conditions are just as worse as the conditions for other animals but they are less cute or something but that’s a different story. You can fully sink into the song and then the instrumental piece “A Grand Theft Intermission” will jolt you out of your thoughts. After this intermission it continues like beforehand. Well, the album is build like a theatre piece - stirring parts alternate with softer melodies (like “The Bed Song”) and end in an ultimate climax. For “Olly Olly Oxen Free” they use the whole wall of sound they have to offer and eventually you will be released into silence.
As expected she delivers a lot to think about but the melodies are way too familiar. That is the reason why I can’t really enjoy the album: I miss some interesting and innovative melodies to underline the lyrics to catch my interest for longer. It’s the lyrics that lift the album from mediocrity but if you just listen to it in passing, it’s really not more than mediocrity. You can download a free or pay as much as you like version of it, find lots of tour dates all around the world and information on how you can join her on stage on her website: http://www.amandapalmer.net.
As I already said Gentlemen & Assassins have their first album out. Next to Brian Viglione the band consists of two of my favourite musicians: Sxip Shirey and Elyas Khan. The album “Mother Says We’re innocent” is without a doubt one of the most interesting and fascinating albums the year had to offer until now. The reason is relatively easy, it’s the combination of very unique musicians who create a one of a kind sound. It is almost rare to find such a one of a kind band these days.
For those who haven’t read all the words I have already written about Sxip Shirey: he create music out of things that make noise like glass bowls with marbles, bells, penny whistles, guitars with paper clips and so on. And not only he creates music but he creates stories and landscapes and such. Adding Elyas and Brian to this picture sets it into a Rock Folk Punk frame. Another thing that is very difficult to describe is Elyas voice. Still. I have seen him so often and listened to his music so much and yet I lack words that could jsut nearly fit. Someone once said he sounds like “melted fucking chocolate over bourbon” and that kind of fits. Also, I always thought that you can hear all his roots in his voice. You can hear London, New York, India, Punk and all of that. In addition to singing many of the songs, he also plays bass or guitar.
What you can still hear is a reference to former times when it fits like in “Grandpa Charlie”. The music fits the title, it sounds like when our Grandparents were still young. “I Live In New York City” is an older song of Sxip, sounds like New York and with the band it is converted into a Rock version. “Istanbul” draws a picture of the city which even works when you have never been there. It kind of shows a traditional and a modern side of the city which seem to be in conflict with but still can exist next to each other. Some of older songs of Nervous Cabaret, Elyas band, got a new paintjob as well. What I like about Elyas lyrics is that he has his very own way to put what is going on in the world in his own words.
The album just never ceases to amaze me - it’s thought provoking and at the same time a pleasure to listen to and you can also dance if you want to. If you fancy watching them you have the chance today and the day after tomorrow in Berlin. Brian won’t be there but therefore Romain Vincente will join them for the drums:
20. September, Wild at Heart
22. September, Knochenbox
Last but not least an impression of G&A live:
Thank you for reading,
So, I am a little late to this party but as I like to say: better late then never. Everyone Everywhere have appeared in my life a couple of weeks or months ago but in the blurry times I had, I just missed them. Their album was released a couple of weeks ago by Big Scary Monster Records. They make Indie*rock. It’s quite a lot of fun to listen to them as they make me tapping my feet and nodding my head in the rhythm of their songs. They sound american, but since they are from Philadelphia it is a natural thing. My favourite song is “I feel exhausted” - I do feel it even if it is for other reasons but isn’t it good to know others are exhausted, too. Even if they probably mean being in a relationship which is not working anymore. And not my situation. However, it is an fun little album.
A hilarious video for one of their songs called “Queen Mary II”:
They are on a huge tour of which only the last few dates are left (sorry) - judging from their sound on the album the gigs should be fun:
01.09 Germany, Offenbach, Hafen 2
02.09 Germany, Hamburg, Rote Flora
03.09 Denmark, Copenhagen, Musikcafeen
04.09 Sweden, Stockholm, Lava
05.09 Norway, Oslo, Mir
06.09 Denmark, Kolding, Rehearsal Space
07.09 Germany, Berlin, Marie-Antoinette
08.09 Germany, Chemnitz, AJZ
09.09 Czeh Republic, Prague, Klub 007
If you fancy hearing the whole album and watch men** sleeping, I can just recommend the video below:
Thank you for reading,
* I know, I know, “Indie” is not a genre for some but “Metal” hasn’t been a genre 70 years ago as well and in German “Rock” is the word for “skirt” - do you see what I want to tell you? Times change and so we develop new descriptions for things/music where we have no better way to pin it down.
How I can celebrate 10.000+ followers (thank you!) better than writing a review about the new album of the band that made me start writing about music? I can’t think about a better way, so here comes a few thoughts about the second album from The Candle Thieves. It’s called “Balloons” and produced and mixed by Andy Hawkins. The album is going to be released soon (this time in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by Stargazer Records as well!) but as I am one of those pledge people I already have it here. “Ballons” is the second album of this 2-piece band from Peterborough, UK. The two brains behind this band are Scott McEwan and The Glock. They make Pop music - in the best possible way, not the plastic kind of music. The lyrics are always touching, sometimes utterly sad hidden behind a happy façade, sometimes completely sad and sometimes uplifting and a reminder of what is important, of love and always heartfelt. “A guilty pleasure for deep thinkers” is still a valid and quite possible one of the best descriptions for these two.
I have listened to this album back and forth, up and down, and as just love it as much as their first album “Sunshine And Other Misfortunes”. There was a time when I was a bit worried that it is impossible to write another album that is as touching as the first one and which is equally inspirational. It’s so good to know I was wrong to worry about that. “Balloons” goes straight for your heart.
My first favourite song was “The Weatherman” - the melody and everything. I think it’s about the downs of a relationship and that the stormiest times can go away again…hopefully. Well, and it just happens, like the weather, and not always there is someone to blame.
"The Rock & The Bug" makes me very sad in a way - it leaves me with such a helpless feeling. On the first listen, it wasn’t like that. It took me a few listens to get the lyrics - it’s good to have the protection, like a bug hiding under a rock, but at the same time, you just can’t move. You are limited in what you do. I know Scott is quite active when it comes to animal rights and has also released a compilation for this reason (called "Animals"). I guess the song is a testament to that feeling when you’re limited in your actions while wanting to change the whole world. To me the song captures this helpless felling so very good. I think "Light And Smoke" comes from the same source of inspiration. I think it’s a song written from the view of an animal, saved unlike his rescuer (not completely sure about it).
I also love “The Way The World Spins”. It seems like a homage to one of their big influences Mark Oliver Everett/The Eels. For me it seems like it because of the singing birds, the melody and even in the way the song is written and what it is about. But it is not just simple copy, it’s more taking what Everett does into the world of the Candle Thieves. And yes, it’s just exactly the way they say it: "You need love, when you wake yourself from a bad dream…" Kind of cheesy but true. I have thought that after waking up from nightmares in the middle of the night when being on my own.
"Balloons #3" is very serious… as well… there are 3 parts that form the song and there are three Balloon songs. "Balloon #1" is the first song of the album (without any words), ""Balloon #2" is on the "Happiness Blues EP" (2010) and is sort of about wanting to be different and the last part is about a few topics but basically about equality, about not being bullied at school for being different and about the hate against people of a different nationality but being born in "your" country. It’s very true and that is what makes the song so very sad.
On a more uplifting side (melody wise) is “Flowers For Peggy” and “We Won’t Ever Be Rich (But We Could Be Happy)”. The latter one seems like a part 2 of “We’re all Gonna Die (Have Fun)” and an outlook to what follows on the album (an allusion to “Ten Ton Digger” - that made me smile). It’s song number 3 from 11 - I am not following the order of the songs on the album.
It amazes and scares me every time how good The Candle Thieves are in writing down what is going on in my head and heart. It’s like I am an open book which they just happen to read and then wrote it down for everyone else to read (like in “Earthquakes” - another song, the thoughts in it and I like the “Australian” start). I mean there are of course parts or lines I can’t relate to but the in general it’s that way. That was exactly what made me fall on love with their first album and now it is still like that. However, I think they grew as well. In their music and the topics they write about. It seems they are more looking for what is happening around them this time. Basically I just wanted to say in a lot of words that I love this album!
If you want to see them live (and you want it, trust me), they are on tour with Darren Hayes in September:
21., The Sage, Newcastle
22., ABC, Glasgow
24., Indigo, o2 London
25., Symphony Hall, Birmingham
27., Vicar St, Dublin
28., Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
29., The Dome, Brighton
Thanks for reading,
P.S. I am still amazed that 10.000+ people are following me! Thank you for following me and thank you, tumblr, so much!