Berlin is hot and sticky and I totally understand if you have been spending most of your days at home with the shutters closed. But fear not, your summer is about to change. Pop-Kultur is on the horizon!
The annual festival takes place from 15.08.-17.08. and lays its focus on giving up and coming international artists a platform to showcase their music on the one hand and on the other presents lectures hold by industry professionals, ranging from introducing the basics of A&R to a workshop on feminist memes. It was long overdue for us to give you an insight into what the rest of Europe has been up to music wise anyways and despite popular belief, quality indie/alternative music is not limited to the UK. The following acts have been fueling my heart with new hope and new misery, so let’s introduce.
First down the line is DRANGSAL.
Drangsal, or less intimidating simply Max Gruber, is someone that undeterredly does whatever he feels like doing, whether it’s a German follow up to the English debut album or initiating a campaign in order to send him to the Eurovision Song Contest 2019 as Germany’s representative. He likes to provoke and polarise while taking himself too seriously and others seemingly not at all.
Although his releases sound polished to the bone, balancing on the verge of being overproduced, he is yet able to easily maintain authenticity within. Tiptoeing through new wave, rock and pop, he receives an insane amount of references to popular 80s acts. Turning his back on these, he built a strong image around himself, depicting his music and showing off pure finesse through his lyrics, which are simultaneously paired with a few side blows (“Ich hab den Kopf voll Pflastersteine, weil du nie kapierst was ich meine”/ My head is full of bricks because you never understand what I mean”)- kicking you in the guts while you’re smirking.
If there’s one act you should take a chance on, it’s him.
On that note, a quick briefing on his side project “Die Mausis” with Stella Sommer (Die Heiterkeit). What started out to be more fun and games than anything else, the duo turned their beautifully profound tunes (“Was kann ein Mausi dafür?”/ What can a mousie do for it?) into serious business. With an EP release on their back, they are set to play their first ever show at Pop-Kultur. Definitely not to miss.
The Austrian music scene has been making quite a name for itself, spilling over with hot newcomers. One of them being girl band Dives. The trio finds their composure within sweet indie pop and garage, effortlessly fusing these styles. Youth with all of its pains and joys are a reoccurring theme. They remove the label of youth only being enjoyable in retrospect but make it out to be something that is despite its challenges something to relish, right now. Their simple but catchy guitar lines will leave you at ease, dipping your summer in the colourful daze you’ve been longing for.
True, punk was never reeaally gone but nevertheless: it’s having a comeback.
While bands such as Shame and Idles are paving the way in England “Die Nerven” are churning the rabble with their post-punk, noise-rock over here (trying to not tread on Max Rieger’s feet). The band released their fourth album “Fake” earlier this year and made it their mission to challenge whatever.
Belting out “immer nur dagegen, aber gegen was?” ((You’re) always raging against, but against what?) or “Lass alles los, gib alles frei, nichts bleibt” (Let go of everything, release everything, nothing stays) they tackle the dense ways of society, so if you do want to revolt, I suggest you to it to the soundtrack provided by these guys.
Whether you’re keen on seeing a specific act (which by the way, you should be after reading this post) or not, the festival holds a lot of opportunities to dip into the workings of the music industry and will for sure make it worth your while.