All posts by polinomdivision

Poli, 23, Civil Engineering student.

On tour: A Place To Bury Strangers

The New York based trio are famous for their unique variation of shoegaze, space rock, psych, wave, noise and post-punk music that creates a heavy atmospheric thunderstorm of sounds during their live performances. Well, being a part of A Place To Bury Strangers is also quite a risky job. Ackermann (guitar/vocals), Lunadon (bass guitar) and Gonzalez (drums) prefer to play in dark and foggy venues. So that’s why being smashed against the face by one’s own bass or guitar is not an unusual experience during concerts, claims Lunadon, the bassist of APTBS. Well, he should know it best since he had this incident once. ‘You can palpably feel the danger in the music,’ he claims, adding, ‘Like it’s going to fall apart at any moment and the players doing it are so in the moment they don’t give a shit about anything else. They’re just going for it (…).’

The band was originally formed by David Goffan and Tim Gregorio in 2002. Some time later the nowadays primary songwriter, guitarist and vocalist, Oliver Ackermann, joined the project after leaving his previous group, Skywave. APTBS went through many changes in the beginning of their existing. The band members were about to ‘come and go’. After releasing three different EPs in 2006 the trio recorded their first LP one year later. The vocals on this one are very suppressed and haunting in the manner of The KVB and Screen Vinyl Image. The whole impression that this production causes while being played is of a noise-thunderstorm though some moments of quiet are present too with songs such as ‘The Falling Sun’. Supporting gigs of bands like The Brian Jonestown Massacre or The Jesus and Mary Chain were the next success of the newly established band.

                        (One of the goodies from the self-titled first release)

Publishing ‘Exploding Head’ in 2009 the band remained true to their style of noise shower sounds adding some more catchy songs like ‘I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart’ to the repertoire. The next long player ‘Worship’ (2012) was mixed in a slightly different way. The vocals were more dominant and clearer than on the previous ones. Some Black Rebel Motorcycle Club influence was definitely visible too. Coming to the latest release of theirs, ‘Transfixiation’ (2015), you can find all of the previous variations of their style on this most recent one. There are songs like ‘I will die’ that totally sound like from the first record but also some like ‘Deeper’ that have this ‘The Brian Jonestown Massacre’ – touch in them.

 (Female vocals meets the noisy version of The Fresh & Onlys)

These guys are currently on tour, so take the chance to see & feel this intense post-rock-shower experience. The last German date is on the 27th of April in Hamburg.

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Ariel Pink: Then & Now

First of all: The official band’s name used to be ‘Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti’ but now it’s simplified to ‘Ariel Pink’ and it’s not only the work that has gained the main man behind the project, Ariel Marcus Rosenberg, a large amount of followers. Also his attitude, that is said to be very difficult to handle, has put him into the role of a living legend of the independent music industry nowadays. Luckily I had the opportunity of seeing him twice  (2012 + 2015) in both collaborations. The music of his is still recognizable as ‘his very own, amazingly made, weird, avantgarde, 80s-influenced something’ though his most recent material is more suitable for the masses than it used to be. Well, but not just the way of making songs & another name are the new additives of Ariel’s career. Also his stage presence has changed a lot throughout the years. Talking only about his live performance I might actually have seen different bands both times.

                                                        (Clever made weirdo-pop)

When I arrived at the Prinzenbar (17th of November 2012) I immediately saw Ariel. He was much shorter than I expected him to be plus super skinny and very introverted. Typical of this small-venue concert attitude he passed me by like there was nothing special about it. The following gig was pure magic. Ariel was quite a shy performer but very certain with some impressive singing skills as well. The music he produced on stage wasn’t very danceable but it was more than enjoyable. The atmosphere in total that his band created during the gig was unreal. You got carried away so easily teetering to the vibes of music, thinking about nothing.  When they had finished playing, ‘Pale Blue Eyes’ by The Velvet Underground came out of the stereo. It was more than a perfect transition to the holiness that had just taken place in the comfy sold out venue.

Three years later (11th of March 2015) I saw him in Berlin presenting his current record ‘Pom Pom’. This time he played a pretty big venue, the Postbahnhof. His stage appearance wasn’t recognizeable compared to the last time. He was very natural without having any self-consciousness or shy kind of behaviour towards the audience. Grabbing his hair like every two minutes, smoking a ton of cigarettes, pulling at his clothes almost all of the time, making lots of speeches and jokes during the performance. Also the atmosphere during the concert felt more like a big circus event. The songs he picked out this time were very danceable and the musicians very entertaining. Well, not only Ariel was quite in focus but also his drummer, who was half-naked during the whole set acting super goofy. The most impressive thing about the performance though was the great quality of the music. It’s not easy playing songs with such an amount of rhythm changes and so many ideas put in just 2-3 min. but they managed it in the most skilled way.


(Latest release by the two. Well she is so him. Great imitation job!)

After leaving the Berlin gig I felt like something was missing for me. I guess it was the small venue. The intimacy was definitely not present, it was more like an opulent entertainment program this time, which is also absolutely alright but just not my cup of tea. The different stage behavior of Ariel was the big surprise of the evening though. For me it was an amazing progress of him. Well, it would have been even better if he had acted this way three years back. But yes, sometimes you can’t have it all.

 

Live tip: The Asteroid #4 + Pike Mumborn & The Jams @ Indra, Hamburg, 02/10/14

Some time ago a new music promotion organization settled in Hamburg. Known as ‘The Hamburg Tea Party’ it takes inspiration from the Boston Tea Party club, where The Velvet Underground often played in the late sixties and early seventies. After bringing bands like The Underground Youth, Girls Names or Holy Wave to Hamburg it’s now The Asteroid #4’s turn, who already played at Austin Psych Fest, Liverpool Psych Fest, Reverence Valada and Levitation France this year, to show up in the city of the harbour, Golden Pudel Club and a guy called Heinz Strunk.

The fivepiece from Northern California, The Asteroid #4, were founded in the late 90’s. Since then the guys haven’t been lazy. Eight LPs, rarity releases, multiple singles but also side projects were among their publishings. Their musical style can be described as a mixture of genres like Psychedelic, Krautrock, Shoegaze, Folk and also 70s Cosmic Country Rock. Named after Vesta, the brightest asteroid in the solar system, it is a reference to Spacemen 3, the legendary UK band which The Asteroid #4 repeatedly names as an influence.

After their debut record ‘Introducing’, released in 1998, gained such an amazing feedback by being called an ‘uncommonly original and innovative space-rock album’ a tour with the shoegaze/psychedelic brains, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, followed. Later they also were featered on ‘Overthrow’, the single brought out by the percussionist of TBJM. Speaking of legendary cooperations it’s impossible not to mention that the frontman of Asteroid #4, Ryan Van Kriedt, is also a member of Dead Skeletons, a leading visual and philosophical group.

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(C):http://www.asteroid4.com/

Publishing record after record A4 were trying many new things and musical styles. Influnced by The Byrds they even laid their hands on country rock. The result of their progress both in songwriting but also as a band that isn’t scared of risks can be heard on their third longplayer ‘Honeyspot’. 2006 release ‘An Amazing Dream’ was also a continuation of their progress and a definition of their own style, critics say. A long journey later A4 dropped a new self-titled LP this year, which was released on Bad Vibrations records. Hear one of the goodies of this one right here:

+ Visualize the progress by listening to Asteroid #4’s discography:

http://theasteroidno4.bandcamp.com/

The pioneers, The Asteroid #4, are supported by a local and new established band, Pike Mumborn & The Jams, who were formed, among others, by former members of The Hair (Hamburg based band). These guys, who are influenced by such all-timers as The Sonics or Led Zeppelin but also the nowadays excellent Night Beats, are the latest discovery of the Hamburg psychedelic-garage scene . Though they’ve only been existing for about a month, by now they have already played a bunch of gigs, among them supporting the local garage geniuses, Sick Hyenas.

+ Convince yourself, these guys must have been born in another decade:

http://pikemumbornandthejams.bandcamp.com/releases

Well this gonna be truly a psychedelic experience.

If you cannot make it to the Hamburg show on October 2nd, you can also catch The Asteroid #4 at Bang Bang Club in Berlin on October 3rd feat. Spindrift, Tau and a Fat White Family DJ set.

Live: Warpaint in Hamburg (DE), 26.02.2014

‘You should definitely see Warpaint if you ever get a chance to. They are spreading such an unique mood during their performances.’ Things like these I was told many times by variuos people. But well, not just acquaintances of mine were so charmed by them, also they were pretty much hyped by the press from the beginning on since their first EP, Exquisite Corpse, was mixed by John Frusciante, the ex-boyfriend of one of the girls. AND the original drummer of them was the quite famous actress Shannyn Sossamon, the sister of the still current bass player in Warpaint, Jenny Lee Lindberg. So not just their music, also their personal lives and the band history were quite in focus of everyone’s attention since the day they were founded.

So there I was on a Wendsday evening on my way to Grünspan in Hamburg to see them, the glorious Warpaint. Arriving at the venue I was just right on time to see one lucky guy buying a ticket on the street to their sold-out show. His excitment about this was so huge that he just couldn’t stop thanking the girl who sold it to him. Considering the specific type of cigarette he was holding in his hand, his way of acting became more comprehensible but surely it was mostly because of Warpaint. I strongly believe so.

warpaint5
The threepiece from Liverpool were a quite good starter for the evening.

The support act of the evening was ‘All We Are’, a folk-indie band from Liverpool. I hadn’t checked them out before because I expected to see and to hear just one of these stereotypical indie bands who dress and sound all the same but well I was surprisingly proven wrong afterwards. Their sound was quite groovy, 80s type of groovyness. The voice of the drummer, who was also the second singer next to the bass player in the band, totally reminded me of Prince. Most of their songs were quite danceble, the quiet ones were pretty enjoyable too. Also they seemed to be a quite down to earth band with no stupid attitudes in the way they looked like or performed. Warpaint seemed also to be pretty fond of them and appeared on the balcony to watch them play.
The moment before Warpaint then finally appeared on stage everyone around me got quite excited. The guy next to me had come from Denmark just to see them play that night. Also I heard at least three people talking Russian around me, so who knows how many people traveled many kilometers just to see them perform. (Oh me, the spoiled new-Hamburger, who needed just 15 minutes by subway.) And then it happened: they appeared on stage. Just as charming as imagined and babe-ish as hell.

warpaint7
In the background: the projection of the cover of their latest record ‘Warpaint’.

Their set was a quite good mixture between new and old songs. I have to admit that I like their recent record a lot but still ‘The Fool’ remains my personally prefered LP of theirs. Though I was really looking forward to hearing ‘Hi’ and ‘Disco/Very’, which are my favourites from their recent self-titled work ‘Warpaint’. ‘Disco/Very’ was also the most danceable song of the night and the last one they played before the encore. My personal highlight of the evening was when the singer, Emily Kokal, appeared alone on the stage to play ‘Baby’. One of the most beautiful songs ever written and one of my personal favorites from their first LP.

Warpaint are not just great performers but also a looker on stage.
Warpaint are not just great performers but also a looker on stage.

After seeing them play for the first three to four minutes I could totally comprehend why everyone is so in love with their performing art. They are quite unique in the way they act on stage. They have their own personal attitude, no gestures that seem to be well-studied just for the show. Everything they do seems to come spontaneously as a reaction to the sound of their music, which is full of dreamy features and strong basslines that are, I guess, one of the keys to their success. They seemed to get lost in their own music, grooving to their own sounds and voices. Damn, the bass player has put the cutest dance moves on stage I have seen in a long time. Watching them I was thinking of forest fairies the whole time. The stage light and fog, the way they moved feeling every beat, the angel-like voice of Emily and the fact that they didn’t actually talk so much during the show made the whole atmosphere quite fairy-like. Just the wind machines that would make their hair fly around like in their video to ‘Elephants’ were missing. Surely the girls would have appreciated it a lot if it had been this way since it was hot like a sauna during the whole concert.

The bass player Jenny Lee Lindberg. A great dancer & a ful-time babe.
The bass player Jenny Lee Lindberg. A great dancer & a full-time babe.

One of the rare comments they made towards the audience was ‘Damn you are so good-looking’ and one of the other girls added ‘Aww’. Quite lame, yes, so no wonder no one responded to their statement. When they left the stage for the first time it was clear that they would come back – how could they be gone without playing their mega tune ‘Elephants’, which was also the last one of their set. They played it longer, jamming to make a good ending of an even better set but then they left the stage. Now for the last time.

I definitely don’t regret seeing them though they are not one of my favourite bands and also not quite cheap but well, it was worth it after all because of the great atmosphere they created during their performance. Yes, everything I was told proved to be true.

warpaint2.besser