30 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Despite having been recently added to Berlin Current's illustrious roster, signifying the project as pushing the boundaries of the city's current musical landscape, not too much is known about the people behind Born In Flamez. Conceptualised as 'transhuman' and making arrangements for a post-gender future, Born In Flamez' utopian vision sits comfortably among projects like The Knife, Perera Elsewhere (who is featured on the EP), or, perhaps the most striking resemblance, Planningtorock. There's tangible evidence that there is a human ultimately responsible for the sounds we hear, but the point is, of course, that it shouldn't matter: all this could have come from someone, or indeed something, else instead. It just so happens that it didn't. The current physical embodiment of Born In Flamez, that particular person hiding behind a mask, is arbitrary, so to speak. Fittingly, "Polymorphous", the title track of BIF's debut EP, was allegedly conceived in the aftermath of a DJ gig at one of the highly notorious GEGEN events at Kit Kat Club, likely the closest thing to a post-human experience Berlin has to offer. Staying pointedly coherent, the visualisation of "Polymorphous" emphatically rejects notions of determinable human nature, resorting to abstract iterations of what could have once been evocative of objects found in a human world. Something strange to come.
The Polymorphous EP is due October 13 via UnReaL Audio. Pre-order the release's physical version – a limited edition etched glass pyramid, no less – now over here. Born In Flamez will be part of Berlin Current's delegation to MUTEK.MX in Mexico City from October 23 to 25.
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08 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Ever since the release of his superb Cruise Forever on London imprint Public Information in 2012, New York via San Francisco producer Austin Cesear has become one of the spearheads of the lo-fi undercurrent within contemporary dance music, consistently following up his acclaimed debut with a cassette on Opal Tapes and a 12" on Anthony Naples' Proibito Records. Against this backdrop, the most striking thing about "La Paloma", the first track of his upsoming mini album West Side – with which the artist returns to PI, is not so much the music itself. Cesear's work is still muffled, analogue, distorted techno, albeit now with added bleakness that would fit well on Berghain's main floor on a Sunday night. Rather, it's the juxtaposition of this established sonic formular with director Paul Clipson's crisp, cool and alienating impressions of nocturnal urban landscapes that so oddly yet perfectly work against each other, creating a mesmerizing, druggy experience.
West Side is out September 29 on Public Information.
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03 Sep 2014 — Henning Lahmann
While we had to admit to be mildly irritated by their name, The Quietus thinks of Girl Band as "Dublin's finest exponents of hulking, screech-laced noise rock", and who were we to argue with London's finest analysts of contemporary dude rock? Right. There's a brand new video for the band's latest single "De Bom Bom", which we called fresh and angry and aimless, and while avoiding the word "rock" like the plague, we did say noise and forceful and revolt and put all these words into one single sentence, which now makes us seem like the palest imitation of the London lads' mighty wordsmiths; so the joke's really on us, basically. Anyway, what we wanted to point out originally was that the release of said video is only too fitting, as Girl Band are coming to town this Saturday, September 6, more precisely to the wonderful ACUD in Mitte, and the whole thing is presented and warmly recommended by, who would have thunk, No Fear Of Pop. So come by, if only in order to punch us in the face while we're providing pre- and post-show DJ mimicry, playing music that will probably feature noise, but certainly no rock.
Ignore what we just said and check out the event details right here.
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26 Aug 2014 — Henning Lahmann
There are quite a few, actually a lot, things to say about Mirage – and avid followers of this publication should be able to recognise the musician from three other past projects that were all written about on No Fear Of Pop. For now however, suffice it to refer to this post about the artist, written by Olde English Spelling Bee's Todd Ledford, to provide you with some of the context that you might or might not find necessary. That aside, what we have here is without doubt one of the most talented pop musicians of the past years, even though despite what others are saying, of course this LA native is not 19 anymore – and his name is not Robin Nydal, either. But really, who cares about the detail if the melody is so compelling. Watch the brand new video for "Do You Remember", a song from Mirage's proper debut album Blood For The Return. Highly recommended stuff.
Blood For The Return is out digitally via Olde English Spelling Bee and Weird World, with a proper vinyl release following in October.
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29 Jul 2014 — Henning Lahmann
Here's a thing I did not know: TWINS apparently stands for "That Which Is Not Said", for all of you with a special affinity witty acronyms. What is being said though, and what I did know already, is that TWINS is the most recent guise of Atlanta cultural mainstay Matt Weiner, probably known to most of our readers as the genius behind Featureless Ghost. Yet like to many other artists across the Atlantic, Weiner has started gravitating towards the 'floor, and thankfully none of EDM-related provenance. Instead, TWINS delivers strictly the most classic acidic grooves – House with a capital 'H' indeed. His upcoming Cold Gemini 12" contains four tracks of freakishly assertive bangers, with opener "Creepsick (Believe the Floor)" providing a standout moment with its motorik sample and heavily filtered lead. The accompanying video is aptly analogue and psychedelic; as if you had needed further incentive to drop a pill. Watch it exclusively below.
The Cold Gemini EP is out in mid-August via Clan Destine's beat friendly subdivision Traxx. Pre-order now over here.
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05 Jul 2014 — Henry Schiller
“Waving Steps” is a mirage; the Vehicle Blues B-side (from his just-released 7”) has the focus-too-hard-and-it-disappears beauty of a waterfall a mile high that appears suddenly in the middle of the sahara. Recalling the first Real Estate LP as well as more foundational shoegaze influences, the reverb-drenched guitar and Gabe Holcombe’s effervescent vocals seem to wave goodbye at the same time as they welcome you in for a bear hug. The video for “Waving Steps” is composed of grainy, home video style footage that looks like it could be decades old. There are shots of several people walking around a park, leaning over a bridge, sitting, smoking, always mugging for the camera. These are intercut with shots of flowers, gently vibrating to the stiff hum of the ancient camera.
Watch the video for "Waving Steps" below, and check out our interview with Vehicle Blues’ Gabe Holcombe from earlier this week here.
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03 Jul 2014 — Lukas Dubro
In most of his songs, the voice of Berlin-based folk musician Allie is hardly more than a whisper. Of course, folk musicians prefer quiet over loud. And yet, a singer who does the same with such persistency as Allie is hard to find. On all three albums that the singer has released via bandcamp over the past years, he constantly explored the different ways of whispering in your ear, always giving his music a special aura.
But what's that all about? The whisper could be understood as an invitation to come closer. Or maybe a response to modern media, where everyone and everything is shouting at you all the time. The true reason, however, seems to be a lot simpler then that: Allie just likes to sing quietly. This is what the musician used to say about himself on his Facebook page. Another proof for his love for pulled back sounds is given on his bandcamp account where he names Easter being one if his "greatest influences". The music of their last album The Softest Hard, one might say, is the musical synonyme for ultimate softness.
In the new video for his song "Speed Boat Ride", you'll find a Easter reference, too. The fur dog being the main character of the video is listening to their track "Pillo" in his car in the beginning of the clip. Even though the style of the video is fitting to the melancholy that is very present in Allie's work, the song "Speed Boat Ride" taken by itself is an unusual piece: You hear a loud rock guitar and drums. And more than that, a voice which is a little more then only a whisper.
Allie's latest album Uncanny Valley is available via bandcamp.
He's playing some festivals this summer:
07/11/14 Waldstock Festival, Pegnitz
07/19/14 Woody Bash @ Knust, Hamburg
08/01/14 Küchwaldrauschen Festival, Chemnitz
09/13/14 10 Jahre Quartett Booking Festival, Berlin
10/09/14 Aaltra, Chemnitz
10/18/14 King Georg, Cologne
11/22/14 Café NUN, Karlsruhe
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01 Jul 2014 — Johanne Swanson
It seems the last couple years have been marked not only by awkward celebrity cultural appropriation and racist consequence, but also a public calling-out of their problematic nature. Thanks to Swedish dream pop duo JJ--no longer lower-cased jj--and the release of their newest single and music video “All White Everything”, we have apt demonstration of vexed racial implications outside of the mainstream sphere.
“All White Everything” takes place beyond reality in a sterile psych ward. Religious themes are heavy. “Let us pray,” singer Elin Kastlander opens, but what follows is nothing stale or ritual. The world is one of monochrome creep filled with white bodies who are even injected by needle with white goop that leaks out of their ears. The chorus, "All white everything, from my face to my wings…from my face to my sins," is epic and expelled like a warning. In structure and melody the song is compelling, perhaps JJ’s best work to date.
Still, the creepiest facet lies in their rendering of whiteness as pureness, a trope that perpetuates white supremacy. Placed in the context of JJ’s R&B influence and collaborators like Ne-Yo, whiteness from face to wings and the construct of a world without brown bodies is uncomfortable and misguided at best. Find the video for “All White Everything” and a horrific trailer for their new album V below. V is out August 19th on Secretly Canadian/Sincerely Yours.
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