Tag: Berlin Germany

New Video: JOVM Mainstays The KVB Offers a Glimpse Into Our Dystopian Future

Currently based out of Manchester, UK, the acclaimed shoegazers and JOVM mainstay outfit The KVB initially started in 2010 as the solo recording project of founder, singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Wood. Wood released a series of limited cassette an vinyl releases as a solo recording project; but by 2011, vocalist, keyboardist and visual artist Kat Day joined the project.

In the decade since Day joined the project, The KVB have released several critically applauded albums and EPs through a number of different labels before signing to Geoff Barrow‘s Invada Records,who released 2018’s Only Now Forever. Interestingly, each of the duo’s acclaimed releases saw them crafting a sound simultaneously inspired by The Jesus and Mary Chain and Cabaret Voltaire; however, with each subsequent effort, the band has managed to streamline their sound.

Through extensive touring across the European Union, the UK, China, Russia and Japan, the duo have amassed a devoted fanbase globally. Now, as you may recall during the pandemic, Day and Wood relocated from Berlin to Manchester to work on their sixth album, the Andy Savors-produced Unity. Slated for a November 26, 2021 release through Invada Records, the duo’s sixth album will reportedly represent a new and exciting development in their sonic development: Through the album’s ten songs, the duo pull together their trademark components, radiant guitars, textured synths and an near for a moody, brooding melody paired with a renewed dynamism.

Interestingly, the initial writing sessions for their forthcoming album took place in Spain during early 2019, where the duo found influence from the “half built luxury villas, still unfinished from the crash in 2008. There was something eerie and beautiful about the desolate landscapes and concrete in the sunshine,” the band says in press notes. While their sound and approach has always been informed by what seems like our inevitable dystopian future, there is also more of a rapturous release to the material. Thematically, the album combines double meanings and there’s a sleight of hand present.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “World on Fire,” a single that found the duo continuing to refine their sound: Starting with burst of drum machine, the song was centered around buzzing and slashing power chords, shimmering and arpeggiated synths, a relentless motorik groove and a euphoric hook paired with the duo’s breathy boy-girl harmonies. Sonically, the track — to my ears, at least — found the duo pushing the boundaries of shoegaze in a similar fashion to Lightfoils, BLACKSTONE RNGRS and others while giving their sound a gauzy, New Order-like sheen. 

“Unité,” Unity‘s latest single may arguably be their most dance floor friendly track of their growing catalog: Centered around thumping beats, shimmering synth arpeggios, and a relentlessly hypnotic, motorik groove paired with Kat Day’s ethereal deadpan delivery, “Unité” sounds as though it could have easily been part of the Trans Europe Express or Man Machine sessions. The duo explains that the new single is “a homage to our time living in Berlin, with the pounding kick drum and grinding electronics.” Te song is a perfect example of the Manchester-based duo meshing dark and light sensibilities in a seamless fashion: while being a euphoric club banger, the song references urbanization and its dystopian potential.

The recently released video is set in a dystopian future, much like that in Minority Report, in which the viewer is inundated by advertisements and screens.

New Video: Princess Century (Maya Postepski) Releases a Swooning and Propulsive Banger

Maya Postepski is an acclaimed Canadian DJ, producer and songwriter, known for her feature-length film scores, global DJ gigs and her work collaborating with Austra, Peaches and JOVM mainstay TR/ST. Postepski is also a solo artist and creative mastermind behind Princess Century, a recording project that thematically and sonically is committed to submersion rather than submission.

anticipated sophomore album s u r r e n d e r reportedly finds the acclaimed Canadian DJ, producer and songwriter breaking away from the purely instrumental sound and approach that initially won her acclaim — by showcasing her own lyrics and vocal performances. The process, as Postepski readily admits has been at times nerve-wracking and uneasy: “It’s like opening up my diary and saying, ‘Have a look, there’s a lot of weird shit in there,’” she laughs. “I’ve always been hiding in the back behind a band or behind a singer,” she continues. “It’s my first step into a more vulnerable and exposed place, which I’m finally okay with for the first time in my adult life. I guess I stopped caring about being shy or being insecure, or hiding who I am. I don’t like to be in the limelight, but life is short and I guess I should share who I am eventually.”

The album’s material was written between Narva, an Eastern Estonia town, near the Russian border; a tent in the Moroccan portion of the Sahara Desert without internet; and Berlin, where she became a resident at Riverside Studios. Postepski recorded the album in her room at the studio while Brazilian artist Julia Borelli engineered the album in her own space at the studio. s u r r e n d e r’s title refers not to a white flag or a towel being thrown but a surrounding of the self to everything around it. Fueled by the philosophy of “Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final,” the album’s 12 songs thematically sees Postepski guiding the listener to though a maze of pure, unbridled emotion: the end result is material that’s rich and visceral yet offers healing through dancing your pain away.

Inspired by Steve Reich, Róisín Murphy and Jorja Chalmer, the forthcoming 12-song album is centered around a minimalist aesthetic that emphasizes the use of repetition. “It’s sort of this minimalistic, pattern-based music,” Postepski says. “I play drums and synths, so those are my worlds. I’m obsessed with finding these beautiful landscapes with synthesizers and drum machines.”

“Still The Same,” s u r r e n d e r’s latest single is a dance floor friendly track punctuated with a desperately unfulfilled and swooning yearning, evoked through pulsating synth arpeggios, skittering beats and Postepski’s ethereal vocals. The song’s narrator repeatedly tells its love object “You’re still the same/But I need you now/I need you more again . . .” “‘Still the Same’ embodies the mix of emotions that arise at the end of a relationship,” the acclaimed acclaimed Canadian DJ, producer and songwriter explains. “The longing and frustration, hopelessness and desire fused into a confusing cocktail. The inescapable need to feel held and seen by the one you were closest to, but can no longer reach, then pretending it’s all ok by going out on the town in a desperate attempt for connection.”

orgeously shot fever dream of longing, nostalgia, desire, loss and frustration between a couple on the brink of a heartbreaking split — but seen from the nagging perspective of hindsight.

New Video: Berlin’s IRYS Returns with a Sultry New Bop

IRYS is an emerging, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and producer, who specializes in what she describes as dark electro pop with a note of retro and synth wave. She released her first single earlier this and currently has plans to release one single a month throughout the rest of the year. 

her sultry vocals over a slick and modern production featuring shimmering synth arpeggios, skittering twitter and woofer rocking beats and a propulsive bass line to create a mid-tempo track that reminded me — to my ears, at least — of Version 2.0 Garbage.

IRYS’ latest single “Warriors” prominently features her sultry vocals over a darkly seductive and atmospheric production featuring skittering beats, layers of synth arpeggios, buzzing bass synths paired with an infectiously anthemic hook. And while continuing a run of slickly produced pop “Warriors” sees IRYS expanding upon her sound — there’s still clear elements of Version 2.0-era Garbage but the new single may be the most dance floor friendly of her growing catalog.

The recently released video continues an ongoing collaboration with VI productions: the video is split between footage of the rising Berlin-based artist vamping and looking seductive while shot with dreamy filters — and computerized landscapes.

New Video: Peaches Collaborator Saskia Hahn and New Band The Heartways Release an Anthemic Ode to Joshua Tree National Park

Berlin-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Saskia Hahn started her music career in the mid 2000s as a member of the power pop/rock act Sweet Machine, a band widely hailed in her hometown for their distinctive style — and for Hahn’s stage presence. Hahn and her band caught the attention of acclaimed electro-clash artist and gender-equality activist Peaches, who recruited Hahn and the members of Sweet Machine as a her touring band for a two-and-a-half run, which ended with a live recording session with Dave Catching and Edmund Monsef at Rancho De La Luna Studio in Joshua Tree, CA.

After five years of the rock ‘n’ roll life, Hahn took time off from music and devoted herself to mixed media visual art — painting, screen printing and installations. Her work was exhibited in galleries in Berlin, NYC, Sydney, London, and Zurich — and interestingly enough, that period found Hahn rediscovered her love of music, as well as a new approach. Inspired, she decided to not only write the songs but to produce them herself. Leading her new band The Heartways, she released the band’s debut single “Maybe” last year.

The Heartways full-length debut album Damaged Goods will be released later this year. The album’s second single “By Your Side” is an a decidedly 120 Minutes-era MTV alt rock-like track centered around Hahn’s expressive yet ethereal vocals, a motorik groove and a rousingly anthemic hook. And while the song — to my ears, at least — brings PJ Harvey to mind, the song is a love song that superficially seems address to a person but is actually a swooning and awe-inspired love letter to a particular place — Joshua Tree National Park. “I tried to capture the moment of falling in love with this amazing place,” Hahn says in press notes. “I’d heard so much about it but never quite understood the deep feelings my ‘desert family’ had for that particular patch of land―until it stole my heart too! I was walking through the desert on an off-day during the “I Feel Cream” world tour with Peaches. We’d just played at Pappy & Harriet’s the night before, and it suddenly struck me. I realized the desert’s incredible beauty and fell totally in awe with it. It was such a powerful and magical moment that I can never forget and will always be thankful for.”

Of course, because of pandemic-related restrictions, Hahn couldn’t be in the desert for the filming of the video; however, the video employs gorgeous Joshua Tree footage filmed by filmmaker Will Stockwell superimposed in the background. Robin Thomson, the video’s Director of Photography and Editor contributes a dreamy and trippy feel to the overall proceedings.

New Video: Berlin-based DJ and Producer Dan Curtin Releases a Trippy Visual for Hypnotic “Soul System”

American-born, Berlin-based producer and DJ Dan Curtin released his latest effort Soul System EP through Sound of Berlin earlier this year. Meshing elements of several different electronic music genres and sub-genres, ranging from house, funk, […]

Live Footage: Alice Phoebe Lou Performs “Only When I”

Acclaimed Cape Town-born, Berlin,-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and JOVM mainstay  Alice Phoebe Lou grew up in an intensely creative home: her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teenager, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based artist taught herself guitar.

When she was 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. Armed with an acoustic guitar, a young Lou met some of the city’s buskers and street performers, eventually learning poi dancing from some of them. After completing her studies, she returned to Europe, first settling in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer.

Some time later, she relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker — and for a fiercely punk rock-like DIY approach to her career. With the release of her self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based JOVM mainstay began to receive national and international attention that led to a number of performances at  TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.

2016’s Orbit was a critical success, leading to Lou earning a Best Female Artist nomination at that year’s German Critics’ Awards. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, she wound up playing at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California — and she appeared on bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone. Lou need the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. Those Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that additional shows had to be added to her tour schedule in 2017.

In 2018, the live version of “She” amassed over four million views on YouTube, and was featured in Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story — before the studio version of the single had been recorded or released. She then spent the bulk of the year working on the material, which would eventually comprise her sophomore album, 2019’s Noah Georgeson-produced Paper Castles. According to Lou, the album was “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”

The recently released Glow is the highly-anticipated follow-up to Paper Castles, and the album’s material may arguably be the most raw and personal her growing catalog. The material which finds Lou frequently delivering lyrics in a old school, jazzy croon paired with scuzzy guitars, sauntering and strutting bass grooves and mesmerizing piano sequences finds Lou being unafraid to be vulnerable and yearning while embracing songwriting as her truest, most honest form of expression. “I used to feel quite self-conscious about writing love songs,” the acclaimed JOVM mainstay says in press notes,” but now I like the idea that your music can be a friend to someone, and make them feel as though they’re being related to. This album simply poured out of my heart and my subconscious, and there was no stopping the lovestruck nature of them. Sometimes love, love lost and the ways in which these matters of the heart affect us, are the most relatable feelings in the world.”

Much like the rest of us, last year brought challenges both personally and as an artist for Lou. “I spent more time alone than I ever had,” she shares. “I shaved may head. Had an ego death. Fell in love. Had my heart broken. I was a raw little mess. And that was what I wrote about.”

And to celebrate the album’s release, the acclaimed singer/songwriter released a self-directed bit of live footage of her and her backing band performing the slow-burning and hushed “Only When I.” Nodding at Quiet Storm soul, the song, which is centered around Lou’s plaintive and ethereal crooning, twinkling keys, atmospheric synths and a strutting bass line is a heartbreaking and familiar admission of the lovesick and lonely — and full of desperate longing for companionship and that touch of someone you can’t get back.

Impériuex is a mysterious Turkish-Bulgarian, Berlin-based electronic music artist and producer, who developed and honed a sound influenced by both his Turkish roots and by the Sofia underground electronic music scene.

Last year, the mysterious and emerging Bulgarian-born, Berlin-based began working on his latest EP Modus Operandi in Bulgaria and continued working on the EP as he relocated to Berlin. As Impérieux explains in press notes, his relocation and adjustment to life in Berlin was a melancholic time: dealing with the prerequisite culture shock and new language would be challenging for most people — before a pandemic that has changed just about everything. Partially inspired by his feelings of isolation and alienation, and Murukami’s novels, Modus Operandi‘s material is dark, brooding, surreal and at times simplistic.

The EP’s latest single “Terra Incognito” is a percussive and sensual bit of deep house, centered around shimmering hi-hats, glitchy synths, enormous brass and a propulsive, motorik groove that will recall Between Two Selves-era Octo Octa — but while possessing a gentle urgency that will make you move your body.


Super Besse — Minsk-based Alex Sinica (bass) and Minsk-born and Berlin-based Maksim Kulsha (vocals) — supported their first two albums, 2015’s 63610 and 2017’s La Nuit with tours across the European Union, Russia and China, which helped the duo establish a reputation as a rising act on the international post-punk scene. Adding to a growing profile, “Holod” appears in the film Hotel Mumbai.

Last year’s Un Reve, which was recorded in Minsk and Berlin, found the duo moving towards a dance floor friendly, techno-influenced sound featuring rapid-fire beats, shimmering synth arpeggios and motorik grooves paired with a punk/post-punk ethos.

Riga, Latvia-based label I Love You Records, Super Besse’s long-time label will be releasing a remix album of Un Reve material this year. St. Petersburg-based electronic duo Wolfstream was recruited to remix Un Reve single “Ozhog.” The album version is a dance floor friendly take on post-punk centered around stuttering and skittering beats, an angular bass lines and shimmering and looping guitars — and although the song’s lyrics are sung in Russian, “Ozhog” manages to bring P.I.L. and New Orderr to mind. Interestingly, the Wolfstream remix manages to subtly reimagine the song as a trance house banger with a muscular thump with layered synth arpeggios replacing the guitar solos while retaining the angular bass line and skittering beats of the original.

Live Footage: HAERTS Performs “For The Sky” on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert”

Throughout the course of this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering JOVM mainstays HAERTS. Tracing their origins back to a budding high school romance in Munich, the acclaimed indie pop act have evolved as its founding (and core) duo — Nini Fabi (vocals) and Benny Gebert (keys, guitar) — have evolved: HAERTS was formed when the duo met their now-former bandmates while studying at Berklee College of Music. Upon graduation, the quintet relocated to Brooklyn, where they quickly built up a profile and released their major label, self-titled, Jean-Philip Grobler-produced. full-length debut.

After a series of lineup changes in which the band’s founding duo has remained, Fabi and Gebert relocated to the woods of Upstate New York, where they worked on and released their sophomore album, 2018’s New Compassion. Since the release of New Compassion, Fabi and Gebert have embraced their early international roots by splitting their time between Berlin and New York — and during that same period, they have been fueled by a renewed spirit of collaboration with musicians and visual artists they’ve long admired including Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and Julian Klincewicz, who they worked with on POWER/LAND.

As you may recall, the duo’s third album Dream Nationis slated for a March 12, 2021 release, and the album’s material is reportedly marked by a sense of urgent intensity: Fabi and Gebert wrote the album over the course of about a month — and as soon as they finished, they recorded most of the album with their touring band during a week-long, live recording session in New York. Then they went to Los Angeles, where they put the finishing touches on the album and collaborated with Ed Droste on the album’s first single “For the Sky.” (I’ll be getting to that one in a little bit.)

Sonically, Dream Nation will continue to draw their long-held comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and First Aid Kit, but with subtle nods at Portishead and Lamb. “We went into the studio without setting limits or parameters other than that we wanted to make a record that moves you emotionally and physically,” Fabi and Gebert explain. “We wanted it to feel like an invitation into the strange and fantastical night time world, like the songs they play just before the lights come on, when the party is almost over, and the polish is gone.”

Recently Fabi and Gebert were on Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where they performed a gorgeous, acoustic version of Dream Nation’s first single “For the Sky,” a song that as Nini Fabi explained in press notes “came from a dream I had when I first found out that I was pregnant, which was the catalyst and beginning of writing new music.” Naturally, the acoustic version finds HAERTS stripping the layers of the studio version to leave the studs and beams — Fabi’s soaring vocals and the song’s heartfelt, lived-in lyricism.

The live footage was shot in a paradisal backyard and features HAERTS’ core duo with their gurgling, new baby. And admittedly while the live version of the song is just gorgeous, there are few things that I find myself drawn to:

This family is so adorable. They radiate love and happiness.
The kid is absolutely in love with mom’s voice.
Imagine this child being told that they inspired an album and its first single before they were even here; that mom shot a video for that same song, pregnant with you; and when you were finally here, they performed the song on Colbert with you in her lap.

Throughout the course of this site’s decade-plus history, I’ve spilled copious amounts of virtual ink covering JOVM mainstays HAERTS. Tracing their origins back to a budding high school romance in Munich, the acclaimed indie pop act have evolved as its founding (and core) duo — Nini Fabi (vocals) and Benny Gebert (keys, guitar) — have evolved: HAERTS was formed when the duo met their now-former bandmates while studying at Berklee College of Music. And upon graduation, the quintet relocated to Brooklyn, where they quickly built up a profile and released their major label, self-titled, Jean-Philip Grobler-produced. full-length debut. 

After a series of lineup changes, the JOVM mainstays settled to its current lineup — its founding and core duo — and relocated to the Upstate New York woods, where they wrote and recorded their sophomore album, 2018’s New Compassion. Since the release of New Compassion, Fabi and Gebert have fully embraced their multi-national roots by splitting time between Berlin and New York. Around the same time, the duo have found themselves fueled by a renewed spirit of collaboration with artists and visual artists they’ve long admired, including Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste and Julian Klincewicz, who they worked with on POWER/LAND

As you may recall, the duo’s third album Dream Nation is slated for a March 12, 2021 release, and reportedly the album’s material is marked by a sense of urgent intensity: Fabi and Gebert wrote the album over the course of about a month — and as soon as they finished, they recorded most of the album with their touring band during a week-long, live recording session in New York. Then they went to Los Angeles, where they put the finishing touches on the album and collaborated with Ed Droste on the album’s first single “For the Sky.”

Sonically, Dream Nation will continue to draw their long-held comparisons to Fleetwood Mac and First Aid Kit, but with subtle nods at Portishead and Lamb. “We went into the studio without setting limits or parameters other than that we wanted to make a record that moves you emotionally and physically,” Fabi and Gebert explain. “We wanted it to feel like an invitation into the strange and fantastical night time world, like the songs they play just before the lights come on, when the party is almost over, and the polish is gone.”

I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles:

  • The aforementioned “For the Sky.” Prominently featuring Fabi’s gorgeous vocals, shimmering guitars, persistent drumming, a soaring hook and a guest spot from Grizzly Bear’s Ed Droste, “For the Sky” continues a run of carefully crafted pop centered around lived-in lyricism.
  • It’s Too Late” is a glistening, hook-driven pop confection that sonically — to my ears, at least — is a slick synthesis of Fleetwood Mac, Shuggie OtisAvalon-era Roxy Music.

“Shivering,” Dream Nation’s latest single is centered around an arpeggiated organ groove, stuttering four-on-the-floor, a shimmering guitar solo, jazz funk and disco vibes and Fabi’s gorgeous and plaintive vocals. But just under the sinuous, dance floor friendly surface, there’s something much darker — with the song subtly evoking the desperate attempt to get one’s quickly racing mind in check.

“The song came from this organ groove Benny came up with and the onomatopoeic quality of the word ‘Shivering’ itself,” HAERTS’ Fabi explains in press notes. “It’s about the obsession and attraction of the things which give us anxiety and disturb us. In a way it’s our soundtrack to a panic attack.”