Posts Tagged ‘City Slang’

Herman Dune : Interview x Tickets

07:00 PM

With Strange Moosic David-Ivar “Yaya” and “Cosmic” Néman Herman Dune have released a pop and folk album these days, that should quickly find a big listenership with its refreshing summer sound and fine lyrics. Most of the eight predecessor albums succeeded here, too, but this time it’s not self-evident, since the French-Swiss duo took its first proper break from touring and recording in more than ten(!) years. We’ve met the artists to speak with them about insights into your needs, travelling, the influence US-culture had on their work and filming a music video with Jon Hamm of Mad Men fame.

But first some additional information: currently Herman Dune are touring through Europe, playing for instance London tonight and on June 14 with Waters and Wye Oak at the City Slang Summer Slang “Strange Moosic” at Festsaal Kreuzberg, Berlin. We give away 2×2 tickets to the latter. As usual, the winners will be chosen random, but this time we kindly ask you to comment on our Facebook side. Good luck!


David, Néman, how is the blue yeti family doing?
DAVID-IVAR: They’re pretty good. Baby Blue is in the new video. They had exhibitions and so on. It’s big time at the Yetis.
NÉMAN: They’ve been to Texas and California, becoming real globetrotters.

The 2D graphics of the Strange Moosic cover artwork reminded me of video games as Farmville or Zoo Tycoon. What kind of games do you play or did use to?
D: Yes, it’s a Sim-City-kind-of thing, but I meant to draw a waffle house there. Anyway, I’m a big Nintendo fan, playing a lot of Mario Cart. But it’s nothing I would recommend, since I’ve been wasting quite a lot of time playing video games. I can be on Zoo Keeper, a great game, for two hours, but I could also write three songs during that time. And work is fun, when you are a writer, when you built choruses. But then again, if you hate your work, you might be better off playing video games.
N: I get excited with games very fast, but I don’t play it very long, don’t get addicted to.
D: Néman never had an addictive personality, which makes him protective for this and me. I know him for years and for instances he can smoke but doesn’t get addicted. I again have an addictive personality. When I started Super Mario World I had to finish it. It was hard, one of the best games ever. It drove me crazy.

So Neman, you don’t even have an addiction for the music itself?
N: It’s funny. When I visit my parents at their summer house in the mountains, it’s probably the only time and place I don’t need to listen to it. Usually I have records around me all the time and I buy a lot of them. Then just being outside, going climbing or swimming stops me from being addictive to music.

David mentioned, that you could write three songs in two hours, which also sounds like an addictive songwriting pace.
D: You never know. On some songs you can back a lot of times, try replacing this part or this rhyme, working on the melody. But some come very fast. You could have a sleepless night, being just with your guitar, feeling inspired.

The special circumstance about this record is, that it’s actually the first time ever you really took a break from touring and recording, before trying getting to the final album. Was it hard to come back to this circle?
D: No, it was fun. Coming back to something means that you really wanted and needed it, which you do not know before. It was great to take a break and feel the need to come back again, especially since we constantly played for such a long time. The break was a healthy choice.

It was also a self-test?
D: Music was never gone. I played everyday. But we needed to know, if going back to recording an album and really playing it out lot then was, what we really wanted. And for me it was always good, I wanted it.

Were you ever questioning your choice in the years, or better: the decade, of constant touring and recording before?
D: It was good all the way through. There were only a few times with us feeling tired, where I thought, I might better be a studio musician, have a dog and stay at home. Or being more a producer or songwriter instead of a performing musician.
N: It takes a lot of energy, but I never regretted it. The last ten years were the bests of my life and I hope they’ll last. I couldn’t imagine doing something else than playing music with my best friend, being on tour and meeting all that fun people. We are very lucky.
D: It’s a cool job, still a lot of work. The creative part takes a lot out of you. And most people I know might not say it directly, but I can sense it from how they talk, that the best years they had were in school or university. But for me every year has been better as the one before. I’m 44 now and there’s never been a year, where I wished to go back in time.

A very vivid theme on the new record are the road trip experiences, in “Ah Hears Strange Moosic”, “Be A Doll And Take My Heart”, “Just Like Summer”, “Lay Your Head On My Chest”. Did you keep on travelling during the break?
D: Now that you say it, it might have been a Freudian will to go back on tour again or my way to sing and write like Willie Nelson. Driving is cool, man. With words or melodies for instance, it’s a great way to come up with new ones. And even when not being on tour I love to just drive somewhere.

Without a destination?
D: Sometimes with one, sometimes it’s less important than the way to get there. I’m not talking about taking planes here, because that’s never fun for me. It’s stress, like being on a bus for ten hours.
N: Airports are the worst. But driving or being on a boat or train is a good way getting somewhere.

What kind of car do you drive? Is it a vintage one as in the video?
D: I would love to drive such an old Chevy, a Malibu was the best car I ever drove, but I used to have an Honda. Now on tour, we drive Mercedes or Volkswagen vans.

The Chevrolet is an American icon, Strange Moosic was recorded in Portland, Baltimore. What influence did this country and the road trips through it play for the creative process?
D: For me, America and the United States are very important. My culture comes from there. I love going there, speaking English with the American people, seeing the landscape, driving through Missouri or California. When we are in the US we always have fun and everyone’s nice to us. I feel home, especially since it’s the birthplace of rock’n’roll, it brings up memories to certain songs.

Could please trace such moment back with us?
D: Venice, Los Angeles, makes me think of Orson Welles’ Touch of Evil, which was shot there. Or I think about the Doors, who lived there. And New York… Everything between Woody Allen, Seinfeld, Bob Dylan comes up. I just feels good coming to Chicago imagining Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters have played there before you.

I think, you somehow recreate at least the American vibe of the 1950ies in your song “Monument Park”. On the other hand, you sing in the opener “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”, “every new band sounds like I heard them before.” Was that meant to be ironic?
D: It probably is. We like using vintage gear, my guitar for instance is from 1954. But we like the sounds, we don’t want to reproduce anything.
N: Even the synthesizers we use are vintage by now.

There a two points on the new record, where you describe nature as a miracle. Where does this interest come from?
D: It’s been brought to my attention by reading books. Everything was seen as a miracle there. Just the fact, that nature is so beautiful, is a miracle itself. Why do people spend a lifetime waiting for a miracle, when you could realise, that everything around you is one? The blowing wind for instance.

Herman Dune : Tell Me Something I Don’t Know (Video)

Who had the idea to pick Jon Hamm for the video of “Tell Me Something I Don’t Know”?
D: When I wrote the script, I already wanted a comedian to play the driver. This would work best, because it would be silent, since it’s a music video, and I wanted that person to be funny, to have strong facial expressions. First I thought, it would be totally funny to get Laura David into that car. But then, when working on the script, (our director) Toben (Seymour) thought of Jon Hamm – not because of Mad Men but because of 30 Rocks, where he’s very funny. He is a great face and as a big Hitchcock fan, I think, he has something of Cary Grant or James Stewart, these classic kind of men. It was a great idea, but I didn’t expect it to happen, since he was too famous. But Toben just asked him and he said Yes.

Could Jon give you some dating advices?
D: Are you suggesting that we need such?

Not that in particular, so let’s say, maybe you could exchange tips instead.
D: He was definitely a magnet with the girls. But he’s very handsome for real, not as other actors who are way smaller in real life than they appear in the movies. He’s tall and super strong, looks good, has a very male voice. But that’s no actual tip, looking good. Anyway, if I would be a girl, I would probably find him attractive. I know my girlfriend does. I don’t want to talk about his private life, but from what he told us he doesn’t seem to be a second Jack Nicholson, but haves a rather steady love life instead.

Back to the Yeties, which are very hairy monsters. I wonder, if there’s any connection between David’s long beard and their hair?
D: I’ve been drawing this character for a very long time now and most of it it was an alter ego, an image of myself. When I saw myself in my dreams, I was the Blue Yeti, so that’s how I used to draw it, in visions and dream-like sceneries. But in the new video it’s his son, Baby Blue Yeti, which would be my-dream-self’s child. I don’t think, it looks anything like me, but it’s a cool little guy.

The last time you’ve been to Germany your beard was twice the size it has now. How did that change the Yeti?
D: When you are on tour, you are not shaving or trimming your beard because of the time it takes.

But you don’t trim the Yeti, do you?
D: Actually they did, when they made the puppet. They took very long hair for it and even had to cut to make it look like the drawings. It’s the same hair everywhere, it’s just trimmed very short around the eyes etc to make a face appear. There was a hair stylist on the set just for Jon, but sometimes he was also styling the Yeti.

Did it turn into a little hair-attention-battle between the two?
D: I think, the Yeti just won.

Herman Dune : Tell Me Something I Don’t Know

Herman Dune live:
Monday, June 6th: LONDON UK at Xoyo
Tuesday, June 7th: AMSTERDAM NL at Paradiso
Wednesday, June 8th: BRUXELLES BL at La Maison Des Musiques
Thursday, June 9th: PARIS FRANCE at LE TRIANON
Tuesday, June 14th: BERLIN D at Festsaal Kreuzberg
Wednesday, June 15th: VIENNA Austria at Chelsea
Thursday, June 16th: GAMBETTOLA IT at Tressessanta Club
Saturday, June 18th: LUZERN Switzerland Festival B side
Thursday, June 30th: EGERSUND Norway Vidfestival
Saturday, July 2nd: CAEN / HEROUVILLE, FR Festival Beauregard
Tuesday, July 5th: CALVI CORSICA at Calvi On The Rocks
Thursday, July 7th: LIÈGE BL at Festival Des Ardentes
Saturday, July 9th: TOURS FR Festival Terre Du Son
Friday, July 15th: BENICASSIM FIB Spain
Wednesday, July 20th: GENT BL at Boomtown
Saturday, July 23rd: METZ FR at Centre George Pompidou

Dear Reader : MONKEY

01:15 PM


And suddenly she was on her own: When a letter now opens with Dear Reader, it’s Cherilyn MacNeil only signing, since Darryl Tor is as not a member of the band anymore as  South-African Johannesburg is its home base. MacNeil has moved on and to Berlin. Maybe one could have spared the press text’s subliminal retaliation as the first foretase of her new album Idealistic Animals completely (and positively) speaks for itself.

“MONKEY (You Can Go Home)” was recorded with the rest of the to be released on September 2 via City Slang (check their new website) full-length with Fritz Brückner in East-German Leipzig, where Dear Reader already played live with their debut Replace With With Funny in 2009 and Katrin Huth shot the above photo (see the complete gallery of the gig here). Back then, support came from the band Band Ramona Falls of Brent Knopf, who recently left his home band Menomena as well and now produced Idealistic Animals. The mix was done in Portland, a local shape-note choir and musicians from three different continents contributed.

Respectively dramatic (and darker) in comparision to its predecessor the album comes around. The ark concept not only unites the creatives, but also man and animals, which represent the single tracks – a similar imagery was recently used by iamamiwhoami among others. Congruously “MONKEY” focuses on what it takes to be great. And in this context the cooperation between MacNeils and Knopf stands out as great, recognising his ideas in the rich instrumentation and the Menomena-like shattering end of the song.

Dear Reader : MONKEY (You Can Go Home Now) (Download)

Dear Reader Idealistic Animals
1. FOX (Take Your Chances)
2. MONKEY (You Can Go Home)
3. MOLE (Mole)
4. EARTHWORM (All Hail Our Ailing Mother)
5. GIRAFFE (What’s Wrong With Us)
6. MAN (Idealistic Animals)
7. CAMEL (Not Black or White but Camel)
8. WHALE (BooHoo)
9. BEAR (Young’s Done In)
10. ELEPHANT (Hearter)
11. KITE (Soon We’ll Light Up)

Waters : For The One

12:11 AM

A few weeks ago, Californian folk band Port O’Brien announced its disbandment, now singer Van Pierszalowski, formerly also part of the Morning Benders, wages a new start with Waters, a project, he appears to be working on for quite a while already. If you visited Germany’s Immergut Festival last Saturday, you may have been lucky to watch his first official show. Now the debut album Out In The Light shall soon arise through the labels TBD (USA) and City Slang (Europa), the latter also released all Port O’Brien records.

Pierszalowski wrote the (expected) twelve there-compiled songs over a three month stay in New York City, but formed Waters with his new band mates, “multi instrumentalist” Nikolai Haukeland and drummer Zygmunt Ko?niewski, in his home of choice, Norwegian Oslo. (The dog above seems to be a part-time member only.) Eventually, the album got recorded in Dallas, Texas, with John Congleton, who also recently produced Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! (as we reported).

First made-available song, “For The One”, comes around as straight and catchy US rock, highly energised. Van here (probably autobiographically tries leaving all made (and bad) experiences behind, while waiting for the one. Download it below and if you want to listen to it (and other) songs live, you can meet Waters as support act of their label mates Wye Oak very soon all over (Western) Europe. In the meanwhile, you can also take a look on the very young Van, who scored his first blog post newspaper article at the age of six.

Waters : For The One (Download) [via]

Waters live (with Wye Oak):
07.06. Amsterdam, Paradiso
08.06. Ghent, Vooruit
09.06. Hamburg, Molotow
10.06. Gronigen, Vera
11.06. Munich, Atomic Cafe
12.06. Vienna, Chelsea Club
13.06. Frankfurt, Sinkkasten
14.06. Berlin, Festsaal Kreuzberg
16.06. London, Hoxton Bar & Grill

PHOTO: Amber Chavez

Barbara Panther : Empire (Lorn Remix)

07:32 PM

Empire” by Berlin-based singer Barbara Panther was surely one of the most unconventional singles of the last year, being huge and claustrophobic at the same time. But when Lorn puts his remix on the track in far-away Milwaukee, you shouldn’t expect radio streamlining from the uprising producer. Quite the opposite, he let’s the empire shake and quake like an awaking Titan. The Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder-artist has just released a 38-track-strong free compilation, which you can download here. Panther’s Matthew-Herbert-produced debut album will be put out by City Slang on June 3. See the poetic artwork above and the track list below. A video for the song “Moonlight People” will follow soon.

Barbara Panther : Empire (Lorn Remix) (Download)

Barbara Panther : Empire

Lorn : Until There Is No End

Lorn : Tomorrow

01 Rise Up
02 Moonlight People
03 Unchained
04 Voodoo
05 Wizzard
06 Empire
07 A Last Dance
08 Oh Captain
09 Dizzy
10 Ride to the Source

Stream : Altrice : Stem (Caribou remixes)

06:38 PM

Pivontingly and slowly the track pushes up and up, spreads itself until shortly after minute in the original song title and its simple chorus raises for the first. What follows in the next two minutes is just a beautiful sonic catharsis, as beautifully put together as a Swiss clockwork. “Only What You Gave Me”, the remix-contest-winning rework of Caribou‘s magnificent “Sun” by Altrice alias Arizona based talent Mike Sadatmousavi, was indeed able to capture and reflect its original’s beauty, letting it shine in new light.

So Dan Snaith should have been really confident when he gave Sadatmousavi the stems of complete album Swim‘s tracks to create the remix album Stem. And he shouldn’t be disappointed now, when Merge and City Slang release it today (for now only as download).

Stem keeps the high creative and production level of throughout its nine songs. Whether “Abe” (of the anyway indestructible “Bowls”), the now mellow ambient tune “Modern Song” (“Found Out”) or the perfect sacral dream “We Are Not Forever” (“Leave House”) as the album’s new best song: They are all unique and a good match for their audio parents.

And the good news don’t run out, since Oneohtrix Point Never got confirmed as second support act besides Emeralds for the Caribou & Friends concert in Berlin – tickets are selling fast at the moment.

Altrice : Strem [Original titles of the here re-mixed Caribou tracks]
1. Siphon Away [Odessa]
2. Only What You Gave Me [Sun]
3. Peace Of Minds [Kaili]
4. Modern Song [Found Out]
5. Abe [Bowls]
6. We Are Not Forever [Leave House]
7. House Feels Empty [Hannibal]
8. Elsa [Lalibela]
9. The Man [Jamelia]

Kraut & Raven : The City Slang Disco

01:43 PM

Since yesterday we can officially say: Happy birthday City Slang, we wish you all the best for your twentieth anniversary! Although the first of the thre celebration gigs at Berlin’s Admiralspalast took place with Calexico and Get Well Soon, but sadly without The Notwist yesterday, since Micha Acher badly injured his knee. However, the City Slang crew was super quick to organise a replacement date for January 27 at Huxley’s, free to all ticket owners (see all details and find out how to register for this here) and there are still the shows with Menomena, Tortoise and Broken Social Scene tonight and Alexi Murdoch, Yo La Tengo and Lambchop tomorrow plus a another very special and boozy must-go event.

Tonight, the official City Slang disco Kraut & Raven invites you to Cookies from 11pm on and has therefore organised a big bunch of support. Besides our friends of Local Suicide, the label’s own exclusive DJ combo Menomena vs. Le savy sev vs. Jan Schwarzkamp and more Berlin highlight DJs as Shir Khan and Jack Tennis (joining forces under the moniker of Jacki Khan), Coop and Reznik, there will be the busy bee and emcee of British rave culture, Mr  Erol Alkan. Also Ewan Pearson and Trevor Jackson are on the party’s bill so we expect to remember the last twenties years in all their glory (let’s blend out the lows for this weekend), but maybe not the last night.

By the way, a little side-note for your record / download collection: City Slang has re-issued the albums Hot Rail and Feast of Wire by Galexico as well as Neon Golden by The Notwist and Lambchop’s Nixon and Is a Woman plus lots of bonus material. Read more on this soon here. Also there’s a free remix compilation, which is available now through

Tu Fawning : I Know You Know

06:54 PM

We would like to kindly thank Portland quartet Tu Fawning! Thanking for stop linking the sight of an US-American backyard with a thick, pale and pretty choleric, red-haired boy, who’s either dressing up as a mad wizard, issuing calls for the founding of red-headed colonies or accursing M.I.A., South Park and the rest of the world.

From now, we’ll instead keep this beautiful little post-recessional ode in our minds, in which the male half (Joe Haege of 31Knots and Menomena tour member plus Toussaint Perrault) fail to proceed a modern sacrifice and the female counterpart (of Corrina Repp and Liza Rietz) telepathically and freely adapted from a German volkslied declares: instruments are free.

Already in 2008 a first EP called Scession was released, now January 2011 will mark the City Slang releases of the above single and Tu Fawning’s debut album Hearts on Hold (already out in the US since today), from which we can offer you another strong song, “The Felt Sense”, as free download below. European tourdates for next year will follow soon.

Tu Fawning : The Felt Sense [Download]

Barbara Panther : Empire EP

12:02 AM

She was the  “Snake” for Acid Washed, covered the Talking Heads with Kid606 and sang on tracks by Sneaky, Jahcoozi, the Rhythm Monks and T.Raumschmiere. Now Barbara Panther, a Berliner of choice, is taking her first proper solo step into the limelight, presenting her debut EP Empire on German super label City Slang. And no less than British sound magician Matthew Herbert took over the producing part to create flickering shapes of Klang with Panther, who already had a first, but apparently unsuccessful try-out with Moses Schneider (Beatsteaks, Tocotronic) last year.

Now, on Empire music, vocals and setting at first appear randomly constituted, before revealing themselves as conflicting with both, each other and their inner, when put under a closer, holistic view. There a beat bluntly drones, before getting distorted, metallically interlaced and, finally, thrown out of step within a clanking, buzzing, throbbing battle. In the meantime the singer enjoys her play with the words: instead of wah-wah-guitars Panther onomatopoeically sings, “I don’t care if that makes me a wa-wa-wa-witch!” Her voice tumbles, Herbert runs a riot on the volume control.

But here and there is always an almost disconcerting moment of warmness and lights in this wildly rooted mahogany undergrowth. Once as unwieldy perceived choruses suddenly becomes danceable.

Thereby the EP in even two respects turns into a (downright enjoyable) antithesis to the currently dominating ideal of modern pop, the (wo)man-machine.* Musically, in the above mentioned deconstruction of the technique, and lyrically, when Panther demands the return of nature’s reign in the title track or when she stylises Dr Frankenstein as the waker of the “evil in me” in the follow-up “Voodoo”. Thus an associational circle is closed, leading to Björk or Karin Dreijer-Andersson, of whom the Rwandan born artists’ inevitably multi-faceted voice reminds. It’s a hoarse child and a powerful in one, quite contrary to one’s expectations as Panther herself suggests in the press text, “I may also create a futuristic and mystic feeling because I’m black and the music doesn’t sound black at all.”

Well, surely there has been more than one other black non-soul-or-R’n’B artists in pop history, but indirectly this observation is underlined by the media and her own label’s inability to put her unconventional live performances into other words than the repetitive comparison to Grace Jones. Anyway, Barbara Panther and her band’s new set-up can be seen live this Friday at the highly recommendable Berlin Festival and throughout the whole November and early December as support act of Caribou.

As first preview for this can already be watched in Woof-Wan-Bau-directed video to “Empire”. The beginning of 2011 shall then see the release 13-song-strong debut album taking place. So the “Last Dance”, for which Panther and Herbert ask us to at the Empire‘s end, apparently won’t be the last.

Empire will be released digitally on September 10 via City Slang.

Barbara Panther Empire EP track list:

01 Empire

02 Voodoo

03 Deeper Purple
04 A Last Dance

Barbara Panther live:
10.09. Berlin Festival – Flughafen Tempelhof, Berlin
14.10. Club Gargar-in, Moscow (Russia)
08.11. Feierwerk, Munich
14.11. Central Theater, Leipzig
15.11. Uebel & Gefährlich, Hamburg
16.11. Enjoy Jazz Festival, Heidelberg
29.11. Gloria, Cologne
04.12. Fluc, Vienna (Austria)
05.12. Mounsonturm, Frankfurt a.M.

*See Wibke Wetzker’s essay “Menschmaschinnen” (German only) in the Spex #328 for a proper introduction.

Menomena anno 2010

02:53 PM

They may never had their huge commercial breakthrough, but undoubtful an artistic one. Although Brent Knopf”s, Danny Seim’s and Justin Harris’ third record as Menomena, their 2007er work Friend And Foe, almost got lost in the numerous, little fantastic worlds created by its rightly Grammy-nominated cover artwork.

Now, the release of their fourth album Mines via Cityslang (release dates: 27.07. USA, 31.07. Germany, 02.08. UK/Europe) marks Menomena’s return. Again packed with etherially heady, versatilely orchastred nocturnal visions, this full-length comes with a stereoscopic 3D cover – an opalescent birthday gift by the band for its celebrate, which will be celebrating Cityslang’s 20th anniversary this year.

Alas, the work will find its way on the European stages not before this autumn, but the next two weeks will see the band making a few exceptions from this playing an exclusive showcase at Berlin’s HAU2 this Thursday (June 3rd) plus a small warm-up show at Sweat! Club, Leipzig, on Tuesday (June 1st), gigs in London, Paris and Amsterdam and a festival appearance at Swiss B-Sides Festival.

To give everyone a little foretaste, Menomena have made the cinematic, put-into-music suburban nightmare, that is the Mines track “Five Little Rooms”, available for free download (see below). Comment by the band: “It’s either the best or the worst song we’ve ever written; you decide!”.

Mines Titelliste:

Menomena live 2010:
01.06. Sweat!, Leipzig, Germany Info
03.06. HAU2, Berlin, Germany Info
05.06. Fleche D’Or, Paris, France
07.06. Hoxton Square Bar, London, UK Info
09.06. Studio 80, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
12.06. B-Sides Festival, Lucerne, Schwitzerland


03:50 PM

Sensory overload á la HEALTH: We’ve never heard our favourite L.A. rockers like this! And by that we mean electronic, trance-like and not genuine, but almost danceable! We have the new, surprising single “USA Boys” of the band and one might could have rapped over its instrumental, but instead Jake’s voice is other-worldly floating afar from every aggression over it.

The whole piece got recorded at NIN mastermind Trent Reznor’s home studio and mixed by legendary Alan Moulder (the producer of U2’s Pop as well as of the Jesus and the Mary Chain, the very same Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins). And it was worth it!

HEALTH “USA Boys” [Download]

“USA Boys” will officially released on the second HEALTH remix album Disco2 on June 22 via Lovepump United (North America) and on June 25 (Germany) and July 6 (UK & rest of europe) via City Slang. See the complete track list and more downloads here. Too, last weekend we introduced HEALTH’s new Eric-Wareheim-directed We Are Water video to you and don’t miss the band on their current European tour including gigs in London and Berlin. We’ve got a full preview for it with all dates here.