Popcast - Current Music from Germany - Goethe-Institut Canada

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Current Music from Germany

Rock, pop, hiphop, electro: at the beginning of every month we shine our search beacon into the nation’s studios and clubs from Kiel up north to Weilheim way down south. Together with Zündfunk, Bavarian Radio’s scene magazine, we showcase the latest music by riveting off-the-charts bands. Pop made in Germany can also be downloaded here.

Pose DiaPose Dia © Pelle Buys

Current Issue

Popcast November 2023

with music by:

Pose Dia | R.i.O.
F.S.K. | Buback
All diese Gewalt | Glitterhouse Records
Isabelle Pabst | Isabelle Pabst
Spirit Fest | Morr Music
Author: Angie Portmann 
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Always getting closer to what we call our mind

Pose Dia "Ceiling"

Pose Dia © pelle buys Helena Ratka aka Pose Dia creates an alien atmosphere in her second album Simulate yourself, accompanied by poetic lyrics and abstract electro-pop. The dark-smoky spoken word vocals are underpinned by delicately melting melodies and innovative electro sound, which reveals Helena's activity as a DJ: she has been a resident at Hamburg's renowned Pudel Club for several years now. Together with Sophia Kennedy, she released the great album NOW under the name Shari Vari in 2019. Her work as a filmmaker and visual artist is also reflected in her musical productions: the music video for Feuer is reminiscent of apocalyptic science fiction scenes. 

Despite FSK FSK | © Katja Ruge the different main professions of the band members of F.S.K. aka Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle, art historian Hoffmann, writer Meinecke, visual artist Melián and photographer Petzi have remained loyal to the band, which has been playing with its original line-up since 1980. The discourse pop with a lot of wit and shrewdness also attracted attention outside Germany. John Peel declared F.S.K. his favorite German band, and so they were also one of the few bands from Germany to record a Peel session at the BBC. In their latest album, the title track Topsy Turvy describes just that – a topsy-turvy world with chaotic language images and sounds, as F.S.K. doesn't shy away from confusion and cultural ruptures.  

Max Rieger Max Rieger | © Erik Weiss Three years after the release of his last album Andere, Max Rieger aka All diese Gewalt is back on November 10 with a new album Alles ist nur Übergang. In Max's solo project, his softer side comes out: while he is usually a guitarist and singer for die Nerven on the big stage, his own productions sound rather quiet and poetic. Max Rieger is also successful outside the limelight and earned the title of the German Rick Rubin with soundtracks to movies like Berlin Alexanderplatz and productions for Drangsal, Ilgen Nur and Mia Morgen.  


​​​​​​​Weißt du grade, wer du bist?

Isabelle Pabst, “Alice”

Isabelle Pabst Isabelle Pabst | © Relja Vukelić Cologne-based musician Isabelle Pabst has enjoyed spending time in the water, or more precisely underwater, since her childhood vacations in Croatia. When diving, she can relax, concentrate on her thoughts and block out all the hustle and bustle. Thus, water is not only present on the cover of her new album Als die Stille aus der Zeit fiel, but also in the mystical, calm and experimental sounds of her music. Her songs create a mysterious, nocturnal atmosphere, the individual tracks of which the self-proclaimed perfectionist recorded, sometimes dozens of times, over countless nights until she was finally satisfied. 

Spirit Fest Spirit Fest | © Andreas Staebler Spirit Fest is a 'supergroup', formed by artists Markus and Micha Acher (The Notwist), Mat Fowler and the bands Tenniscoats and Aloa Input. The Japanese avant-psychedelic folk duo Tenniscoats discovered Acher during a tour of Japan and were immediately smitten by their sonic cosmos. They gathered at Munich's Alien Disko Festival in 2016 and decided to embark on the joint project. On their now released fourth album the different characters of the transnational group come to the fore: the English and Japanese song lyrics are underlined with melancholic, supernatural and comforting tones, guitar pop gently embellished with piano and electronics. A gem of spun folk-pop. 

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Text: Laura Stretz

Popcast October 2023

with music by:

Die Türen | Staatsakt
Erregung öffentlicher Erregung | Schlappvogel Records
Berliner Doom | Berliner Doom
Chilly Gonzalez | Gentle Threat LTD
Artur & Vanessa | Wagram Berlin
Author: Angie Portmann 
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr


Alles in die Luft sprengen!

[Blow it all up!]
Die Türen, "Grunewald is Burning"

Die Türen Die Türen | © Gabriele Summen By German standards, with members like Maurice Summen, Chris Imler and Andreas Spechtl (Ja Panik), Die Türen can be called a supergroup. The band, which is also a record company called staatsakt - the best, or let's say diplomatically one of the best labels in the country - now in the music business for 20 years recently announced its sixth album with Kapitalismus Blues Band. As the name and the accompanying video release Grunewald is Burning (see below) suggest, Die Türen here celebrate the apocalypse with their typical laconic humor full of enthusiasm. Edgy and full of funky No Wave energy cast in nervous AI-generated snippets, this is a worthy harbinger and another masterpiece from Türen/staatsakt.

Erregung Öffentlicher Erregung Erregung Öffentlicher Erregung | © Robin Hinsch Also in an apocalyptic mood are Erregung öffentlicher Erregung on Speisekammer des Weltendes, their second album. Their straightforward post punk, a perfect revival of the "Neue Deutsche Welle" of the 1980s, is reminiscent, not least lyrically, of the band Ideal, at that time the biggest superstars of the young German music scene. Singer and lyricist Anja Kasten shows herself in absolute top form, whether it's about French food or her hair. Skillfully and with a lot of sarcastic humor, EöE use the everyday as a vehicle for the exploration of larger contemporary issues.

Berliner Doom Berliner Doom | © Delia Baum Straightforward, angry No Wave Punk comes from the trio Berliner Doom, whose debut album Wer das hört ist Doom with 12 songs and lasting just 8 minutes - some are not even 30 seconds long. Every idea, musically as well as lyrically, is briefly outlined and then the song is already over. The band obviously doesn't make any detours or compromises, and that's perfectly fine.

Je vous French Kiss
Avec la langue de Molière

Chilly Gonzales, "French Kiss"

Chilly Gonzales Chilly Gonzales | © Anka Canadian citizen of the world Jason Beck aka Chilly Gonzalez currently calls Cologne his home, but on his new album French Kiss he gives himself a Francophile air. No wonder, since he recently lived in Paris for several years. The gifted pianist and songwriter has put together a collection of whimsical to romantic neo-chansons that you'll have a chance to hear live here in Montreal, by the way. He will be a guest at the Théâtre Rialto in mid-October. However, one should hurry up to get tickets - two of the three planned shows are already sold out.

Artur & Vanessa Artur & Vanessa | © Martin Lamberty The many-headed (we counted 8) Artur & Vanessa emerged from a literature project. Moritz Krämer and Francesco Wilking from the band Die Höchste Eisenbahn sent each other pieces of text back and forth, and after some time had to realize that the story of the two protagonists, (surprise...) Artur and Vanessa, who meet their end by a hair in an amusement park, is more suitable for a concept album than for a book. After a short search, a supergroup with members of CATT, AnnenMayCantereit and others came together and turned the whimsical story into an opulent, dreamy, beautiful pop album with a lot of soul.


Popcast September 2023

With music by:

Enji | Squama
Vincent von Flieger | Ghost Palace
Skuff Barbie | 365xx
LOBSTERBOMB | Duchessbox
Wareika | Ornaments
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Everything is going wrong
But I really love this song

Lobsterbomb, "I Love This Song"

Enji Enji | © Hanne Kaunicnik Mongolian jazz singer Enji recorded her third album Ulaan in Unterföhring's Mastermix Studio for the unique Munich-based Squama label. As with the previous album Ursgal, the predominantly quiet compositions combine traditional Mongolian music, language and storytelling with contemporary folk and jazz. On this release, she expands her trio to include two Brazilian musicians on clarinet and drums, who enrich the stylistic spectrum in surprising and fascinating ways. An extraordinary work full of beauty and sublimity. 

Vincent von Flieger Vincent von Flieger | © Aurelie Raidron The electronic folk of Vincent von Flieger has magical qualities. On their second album Mechanisms of Maximalism, the quartet from Nuremberg mix charming singer-songwriter compositions with subtle pads of alienated brass, ethereal choirs, bony acoustic-electronic percussion and various stringed instruments. The eleven songs, which take the band a total of just 38 minutes to complete, seem to hit their mark exactly, with everything seeming well thought out and precisely executed. A small, easily underestimated masterpiece that will hopefully still be appreciated by discerning listeners.

Diese Stimme Kapital

[This voice Capital]
Skuff Barbie, "Meine Freunde, eure Feinde"

Skuff Barbie Skuff Barbie | © Katharina Töws The musical world of Skuff Barbie from Münster can be admired on her debut album Passiflora, recently released on the famed 365XX label. With her German-language dancehall with hip-hop and R&B influences, she is an exceptional phenomenon in the German music landscape, and she fills this role with enormous self-confidence and great artistic competence. Her greatest asset, as is also evidenced in Meine Freunde, Eure Feinde (My Friends, Your Enemies), is her voice, which seems to float effortlessly through the short and varied tracks, making the mixture of different musical styles her very own. 

Lobsterbomb Lobsterbomb | © Sophia Giesecke Old school Garage rock is the trademark of the Berlin trio Lobsterbomb. Sleek two-and-a-half minute songs are featured on their debut album Look Out, which has just been released - in red vinyl mind you. The short straightforward songs with often more shouted than sung lyrics about the band's wild party life, the scratchy guitars and the furious drums stick to the ears well. It would be a mistake to dismiss the three as a fun retro band - behind the colorful facade lies an exciting artistic counter-design to the currently rather conformist pop landscape, which is worth taking seriously. 

Wareika Wareika | © Signe Reibisch From Hamburg in northern Germany comes the trio Wareika, whose sprawling, spun downbeat numbers seem like an echo of summers past. As if the guitar improvisations heard all their lives on southern European beaches had been stowed in snippets into a sampler, to  be skillfully reassembled years later, on Tizinabi, next to soft bass drums, pianos and other found objects from the electronic music box. And as it should be, in addition to the individual tracks, there is the album mix, because the project is based on the quite credible Berlin afterhours label Ornaments. 

Popcast August 2023

With music by:

JJ Whitefield | Madlib Invazion Music Library Series
Kosmo Kint | Toy Tonics
Palila | Devil Duck
Sepalot | Eskapaden
V.A. 365 XX Vol. 1 | 365xx
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr
JJ Whitefield © Stefanos Notopoulos JJ Whitefield © Stefanos Notopoulos Over the past two decades, JJ Whitefield has worked across several sub-genres as a guitarist, producer and bandleader. The productions of the innovator in the experimental kraut, deep funk and neo jazz scene are of timeless quality. He has been an obsessive record collector since his teenage years. Now he reaches a new level with his kraut-jazz debut for Kyptox Music: the new German label aims to show what's going on in the growing neo-jazz underground and manages to combine Ethiopian jazz with psychedelic funk.

Welcome to the groove religion
Come join the groove religion
Leave your problems at the groove religion
Things get better at the groove religion

Kosmo Kint, "Groove Religion"

Kosmo Kint © Max Popisil Kosmo Kint © Max Popisil Kosmo Kint writes songs that change the usual sorrowful narrative of singers within the genre of soul-driven dance music: addressing life lessons with a humorous perspective and focusing on the simple things. Born and raised in New York, Kosmo Kint attended prestigious art and music colleges and has shared the stage as a background singer with the likes of Elton John, Alicia Keys and Winton Marsalis. In 2016, Kosmo left NYC and moved to the creative melting pot of Berlin, where he still resides today. Together with the Toy Tonics crew, he combines his sensibility for American R&B, soul and hip-hop with the group's signature warm disco and house sound.

Palila © duffé Palila © duffé Palila used to be the name of the finch-billed species of Hawaiian honeycreeper bird – and is now the one that singer, songwriter and guitarist Matthias "Mattze" Schwettmann and bassist Christoph Kirchner chose for their joint band when they formed it in 2019. With Try To Fail Again, the Hamburg-based band released the second single from their album Mind My Mind, which was released in May.
The single is about how it's okay to fail. Between all the gloom of the content, the sound is carried by comforting harmony and buoyancy: the soundtrack of a temporary happiness and an independent indie rock hit.

Your bus is late again
While you’re yelling at some guy
Who rides his bike on the wrong side of the road.

Palila, "Try To Fail Again"

Sepalot © Christian Brecheis Sepalot © Christian Brecheis When DJ Sepalot plays in a club, it guarantees not only a full house, but also a musical firework, free of artistic constraints. With a wild mixture of hip hop, jazz, soul and funk, he has been blazing a trail of enthusiasm since the early nineties. On his solo debut album, he gave nine AC/DC classics a new, electric coat of paint and – at the invitation of the Goethe-Institut – went on an extensive tour of the Middle East. In the process, he never lost touch with himself, always DJing between his countless projects and never allowing himself to be pigeonholed musically.

Mariybu & Skuff Barbie © 365XX Mariybu & Skuff Barbie © 365XX 365XX is born in 2020 – at a moment when all signs point to change and there is finally more debate about diversity in front of and behind the stage. It is the first music label in Germany to give a platform exclusively to female, transperson and non-binary artists. Besides the artist Die P already featured here on the Popcast, a total of seven other artists are represented on the Vol. 1 record – and each of them is unique. The musical range could hardly be wider: from dancehall-influenced R&B to electro-rap to feminist battlerap, it's all there. Author, music promoter and founder Lina Burghausen has teamed up with the German offshoot of the Pias record label for this. Together, they could fill a gap that exists not only in the local rap landscape, but in the entire, still patriarchal music industry.

Text: Regina Lang


Previous issues

Popcast July 2023

with music by:

Die Benjamins | Tomatenplatten
Brandt Brauer Frick | Because Music
Erobique | A-Sexy Records
Kapa Tult | Ladies & Ladys
G. Rag/Zelig Implosion Deluxxe | Gutfeeling Records
Author: Angie Portmann
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Die Benjamins | © Helen Sobiralski Die Benjamins | © Helen Sobiralski "Die Benjamins" is the name of the new supergroup formed around singer Annette Benjamin of Hans-A-Plast. Drangsal, whose real name is Max Gruber, got the group together. The result is an almost intergenerational project in which both experienced and new artists benefit from each other. As different as the worlds that collide are, the result is unique: between playful post-punk and glittering pop, a unifying love of music and friendship flows through this project.

Liebe weiß, dass ich dir fehle, weil ich nie, nie, nie aufgebe.

Die Benjamins, "Aus Liebe"

Brandt Brauer Frick | © Antonio Pedro & Megan Courtis Brandt Brauer Frick | © Antonio Pedro & Megan Courtis Combining electronic dance music with new classical music – that was the goal when Brandt Brauer Frick formed in Wiesbaden in 2008. The band had their first gig directly in the world-famous Berlin techno club Berghain – with a completely acoustic show. The sound, characterized by unusual timbres and bass lines, is produced by real instruments, without the help of computers or drum machines. This bridge from new music to jazz leads primarily to a kind of techno, which has much more to offer on a rhythmic level than is usual in this genre.

Du sammelst Plastik, ich sammle Meilen

Kapa Tult, "Priority Lane"

Kapa Tult | © Leo Zwiebel Kapa Tult | © Leo Zwiebel The music of Kapa Tult is aimed at “all those who restlessly oscillate between everyday life and revolt”, hence there are so many things that the band from Leipzig does not like: They turn against every convention and tell about the climate crisis and the beauty ideals of the mother, but also of the postponement of psychotherapy and embarrassing date-like ice cream meetings. A perfect concert evening for people who have not yet made themselves too comfortable in their row house!

Erobique | © Yvonne Schmerdermann Erobique | © Yvonne Schmerdermann
He has been performing under the name Erobique since 1997 and is thus anything but new to show business. However he is not only experienced on stage: He worked as a theater composer and musician on many German stages and even composed the film music for “Die fremde Familie” by Stefan Krohmer. Carsten Meyer, as he is known by his real name, has not gone out of fashion. Quite the opposite: he still inspires especially the young generation at his performances at parties, clubs and manages to animate a whole festival to dance with his improvised and unconventional disco music.

G.Rag / Zelig Implosion Deluxxe | © Severine Kapoti G.Rag / Zelig Implosion Deluxxe | © Severine Kapoti G.Rag aka Andreas Staebler is a guitarist, singer and producer. With his friend Zelig he founded the G.Rag / Zelig Implosion in 2014. Later they were joined by Prof. Deluxxe with his synth box. A simple and reduced concept, which is reflected in the music: rude NoWave between punk and noise. Now comes already their fourth album “Komm Schwimmen” (“Come swimming”).  It is not just about a water activity, but an illegal concert, the subsequent confrontation with the state power and all the things that are then said given the fact of raised tempers.

Text: Regina Lang

Popcast June 2023

This Month with music by:

Joyce Muniz | Joyce Muniz Music
Daniel Haaksman | Man Recordings
Raz Ohara | Denature Records
Angela Aux | Inselgruppe
MD Pallavi & Andi Otto | Pingipung
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Aptly n Joyce Muniz Joyce Muniz | © Katja Ruge amed Zeitkapsel (time capsule), this second Lockdown-penned album from Brazilian-born Berlin-based DJ Joyce Muniz, traces some of the stages of her career. Remarkable here is her sense for the best moments of electro-house of the 2000’s and her audible joy in the big party. Her calendar then reads like it should - from Berlin to Ibiza to Australia and back to Vienna, where she lived in the 1990s. And that's just June, summer hasn't even really started yet.

Esta es la Rumba
La Rumba de la Bruja
La Bruja que te embruja
La Bruja del Volcán

Daniel Haaksman, "Bruja" ft. MALAGÜERA + Los Bulldozer

Daniel Haaksman Daniel Haaksman | © Man Recordings Daniel Haaksman, author, musician and label owner is passionate about South American, especially Brazilian, rhythms. And he pursues this passion so consistently that his releases are never even slightly reminiscent of rainy Berlin. He even offers numerous Brazilian musicians a platform for their international releases. But it is much more than music for the beach vacation. The masterful combination of cultures, the showy production of Latin American styles like Funk Carioca (renamed Baile Funk by Haaksman), Soca or Cumbia, but also African sounds like on his compilation African Fabrics, are important contributions not only to the German music landscape.
© Man Recordings
Raz Ohara Raz Ohara | © Cristobal Rey Raz Ohara is not a rocker. But that's pretty much the only categorization that comes to mind for him, his lovingly compiled song collages are too multi-layered, in which, it is said, he also likes to sample himself. Often a simple wall piano carries the harmonies next to his very close recorded voice and on his new album Tyrants, jazz also increasingly plays a role. With so much analog charm, it's surprising to look at his catalog, which is largely dominated by electronic collaborations. This new album, on the other hand, harkens back to his work with the Odd Orchestra, which allowed him to live out his love of the singer/songwriter genre, and pleases with its well-balanced mix of melancholy and transfiguration.

Angela Aux Angela Aux | © Milena Wojhan Instinctive Travels on the Paths of Space and Time, the new album by Munich-based author, poet, musician and studied political scientist Angela Aux, comes as a trilogy, flanked by a science fiction novel and a play (Introduction To The Future Self, premiered last year at the Munich Kammerspiele). But even on its own, the Weird Folk of the bassist and singer of the Munich band Aloa Input is worth listening to. His sprawling sci-fi narrative of an alien with existential questions about the universe is a smooth work produced with airiness and unending gentleness that uses synth slides and melodic string arcs to paint a comforting future where the questions of humanity can be resolved for the good of all - aliens and non-aliens.

Let the ships of the mind sail, dear clouds and stars

MD Pallavi & Andi Otto, "Prayer To The Cloud"

The classical Hindustani singer MD Pallavi from Bangalore & the Hamburg composer and DJ Andi Otto have entered into a very special collaboration. After they met at a theater performance in Berlin and started making music together during a residency in India, a very fruitful year-long artistic collaboration developed. Songs for Broken Ships reveals a vision of electronic pop music woven from two very different backgrounds, influenced by Pallavi's poems recited in the Indian language Kannada and Otto's eclectic production, which you could sometimes call slow house, sometimes folktronica. In the process, the intercultural work develops an intense beauty in which the stories of the poems become musical narratives.

Popcast May 2023

with music by:

Robocop Kraus | Tapete Records
Hendrik Otremba | Trocadero
Doc Sleep | Tartelet
Kid Empress | Frische Luft
Jungstötter | Pias
Author: Angie Portmann 
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Everything in me is new and light like air
Every thing is freed
It is new and free of care

Jungstötter, "Air"

The Robocop Kraus The Robocop Kraus | © David Häuser Nuremberg's Robocop Kraus, veterans of German alternative pop, are back. Their new album Smile blows like a fresh wind through the room, sometimes driving like a 1960s garage band, sometimes reduced and mischievous with light-hearted synthesizer lines, and then again generously padded with warm, friendly Westcoast borrowings. What sets this band apart is their unerring sense of humorous observation: the album is full of small and big stories that validate the musical expression. The best album yet from a clever band. Here, for example, in Devo mode:

Hendrik Otremba Hendrik Otremba | © Kat Kaufmann Hendrik Otremba is the singer of the band Messer and has just released his first solo album. The painter, author and lecturer (etc.) understands music as one of his equally coexisting forms of expression; an idea may well become a painting, a novel or simply a song. His album Riskantes Manöver (Risky Maneuver), however, as the name suggests, takes some risks: The poems performed are full of mysterious hints and cryptic half-sentences, and are sometimes sung in a trembling voice, sometimes shouted or whispered. With all the theatricality, it is at times open to question whether he is actually serious. Musically, however, the work is flawless and explores the most diverse expressions of dark genres from industrial brutality to deep chanson.

Doc Sleep Doc Sleep | © Lindsey Dodge Melissa Maristuen aka Doc Sleep is a lot more modest. As a label owner, the Berlin native is usually busy with the careers of others. But now she has delivered Birds (in my mind anyway), her debut album. Roughly classifiable as ambient techno, the strength of her music is evident in its subtlety, but also its mutability. One thing always applies, though – time never seems to matter, and even when a breakbeat pierces through the dreamlike sequences, the compositions remain grounded, creating the comforting feeling of witnessing a timeless masterpiece.

As far as I can tell, everyone loves you with your silly heart, your pretty smile

Kid Empress, "Forever Young"

Kid Empress Kid Empress | © Manuel Vescoli Kid Empress from the creative posse of the Frische Luft label are first noticed for their consistent artwork, which reveals a preference for abstract acrylic paintings. Musically, however, they show themselves more open. They consistently subordinate the choice of arrangements to their compositions, which succeeds above all because the members have studied jazz together. However, jazz does not play a major role with Kid Empress; similar to the US band Midlake, the quartet prefers to turn to the alternative pop universe.

Jungstötter Jungstötter | © Clemens Schmiedbauer Hardly any other album has been so long and eagerly awaited as the one by Fabian Altstötter aka (haha) Jungstötter. His debut album Love Is, released in 2019, established the baritone as a German Scott Walker, whose opulent yet thoughtful orchestral arrangements and atmospheric lyricism added a previously unknown facet to German music history. His tasteful pathos and the comforting seriousness of his delivery have stayed with him: One Star picks up where its predecessor left off. The long, quiet compositions reconcile for the long wait and develop a magical pull from which there is hardly any escape. At the same time, it is more homogeneous and accessible than the debut album, which will no doubt help the album's commercial success.

Popcast April 2023

Niels Frevert | © Dennis Dirksen Niels Frevert | © Dennis Dirksen

with music by:

Feh | Trikont
Cava | Buback
Niels Frevert | Grönland Records
Tristan Brusch | Four Music/Tautorat Tonträger
Zoe Mc Pherson | SFX
Author: Angie Portmann 
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr
FEH: Julia Fehenberger, Oliver da Coll Wrage, Manuel da Coll FEH | © Gerald von Foris The trip hop of the 90s is back - but in a new guise: With their album Right on Song, the trio FEH from Bavaria delivers a special debut. Bassist Oliver da Coll Wrage and drummer Manuel da Coll might be known to many as (ex-)members of the Bavarian pop-brass band LaBrassBanda. But if you expect lederhosen and dialect from FEH, you're dead wrong: The trio around singer Julia Fehenberger delivers casually elegant trip hop, sometimes more minimalist and sometimes more soulful. Impressive - not least because of Fehenberger's trained voice, which seems to glide effortlessly over the arrangements of her band colleagues.

Tristan Brusch Tristan Brusch | © Rebecca Kraemer Songwriter Tristan Brusch has arrived at madness (German: Am Wahn), but has by no means gone crazy with his latest album. As a tightrope walk between chanson and pop music paired with a lot of drama, the same takes us back to the France of the sixties. As with the great French chansonniers, a certain portion of heartbreak must not be missing with Brusch. Thus, his latest album depicts the facets of toxic love relationships. Cigarette smoke and red wine can literally be smelled, while Brusch's voice floats clearly above string arrangements and melancholic piano and guitar sounds.

Just because I’m not a man I cannot be objective, I can’t control my feelings, I am just a casualty in your fucking life

CAVA, "Touch my skin"

CAVA: Peppi Ahrens and Mela Schulz CAVA | © Anna Wyszomierska Named after the Spanish sparkling wine, the Berlin duo CAVA shows itself on its debut album Damage Control just as lively as its pearly namesake. Guitarist Peppi Ahrens and drummer Mela Schulz deliver garage-punk like it is written in the book with catchy melodies, defiant lyrics and a lot of feedback. Every now and then a breeze of feminism and capitalism criticism resonates. No surprise, since the duo finds its inspiration among other things in the Riot Girrrl movement. The music of CAVA is energetic and also with the release of the album it could not go fast enough: Damage Control they have already released on their own in Berlin, before they came to their Hamburg label Buback.

Niels Frevert Niels Frevert | © Dennis Dirksen With his now seventh album, Nordlicht Niels Frevert is already one of the "old hands" of the German pop landscape. Pseudopoesie follows his album Putzlicht released in 2019 and, unlike the title suggests, is by no means "pseudopoetic". In the usual Frevert manner, words are twisted and turned, words such as "washbasin edge" are unceremoniously converted into a song title and a person can also sometimes be "fluttery like flutter tape". Like Putzlicht, Pseudopoesie is clearly more danceable compared to earlier albums, which can be seen in titles like Fremd in der Welt or Kristallpalast. Frevert's new producer Tim Tautorat, who is best known for his collaborations with German pop acts such as AnnenMayKantereit, Provinz and Faber, probably also played a part in this.

Ich sing' in einem Käfig, in dem der Algorithmus nicht greift

[I sing in a cage where the algorithm does not take hold] Niels Frevert, "Fremd in der Welt"

Zoë McPherson Zoë McPherson | © Lucie Rox From the Netherlands to Kazakhstan to Uganda, Zoë McPherson's creative output as a DJ, performer and multimedia artist has taken her to many different countries. Her latest album, Pitch Blender, is steeped in experimental techno and was released through her own label, SFX, which McPherson co-founded with Alessandra Leone. SFX is not only a label, but also aims to be a platform for audiovisual arts and provide space for experimentation and creativity. McPherson likes to try things out and this preference can also be felt on Pitch Blender.

Popcast März 2023

With music by:

Harmonious Thelonious | Bureau B
Gemma Ray | Bronze Rat Records
PASCOW | Rookie Records & Kidnap Music
Mira Mann | Euphorie Records
Sam Goku | Permanent Vacation
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon 
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Harmonious Thelonious Harmonious Thelonious | © Foto Schiko Stefan Schwander has carved out a very special niche for himself in recent years as Harmonious Thelonious, mixing African, South American and Middle Eastern rhythms with minimalist electronics. On his new album Cheapo Sounds, he turns his back on all that. Reduced to a single instrument, the Monomachine synthesizer by the Swedish company Elektron, which appeared about a decade ago (and is by no means cheap), he has created a collection of song sketches reduced to a few tracks. These seem extremely brittle at times, but develop a hypnotic magic that is hard to resist.

Elektron MonoMachine Elektron MonoMachine | © Elektron
Sam Goku Sam Goku | © Sam Goku Techno and leftfield house mark the work of Munich Dj and producer Sam Goku. While gigs in some of Europe's most famous clubs and his eclectic set at the last edition of the UK's Secret Garden Party made him international, he has never stopped honing his skills as a mixer and selector, as well as a producer. Which you can clearly hear in the new material, harbingers of his now-released second album Things We See When We Look Closer.


Wir laufen nebeneinander 1,5 Meter Abstand

[We walk side by side 1.5 meters apart]
Mira Mann, "Abschied"


Mira Mann Mira Mann | © Rosanna Graf Laid back, reflective, abstract and poetic, this is how Mira Mann's debut album weich can be described. The artist, who works as a writer for the cultural magazine Das Wetter and the Süddeutsche Zeitung, among others, speaks her cool reflections to bony, largely electronic and often lyric sound. The tempo is moderate throughout, no sound too much, you can feel how much thought went into the production. Attentive Popcast listeners will recognize in her one of the founding members of Munich post-punk band Candelilla, whose second album was produced by none other than Steve Albini. A fantastic work.

And we will never sympathize with these iron jaws
Until the coast is clear – hide
Grow stronger

Gemma Ray, "Be Still"

Gemma Ray Gemma Ray | © Fredrik Kinbom
Gemma Ray & The Death Bell Gang is an edgy experiment in cinematic electronica, in some ways a departure from her usual smooth pop-noir. But Death Bell Gang also mixes the sad and the evil with tenderness and longing, and there's always a bell resonating somewhere. The British-born Berliner-by-choice already looks back on a multitude of releases, but also shows herself refreshing and curious on this latest work.

Pascow Pascow | © Simon Gelbert Pascow, the already more than 20 years old punk project of the brothers Alex and Ollo Thomé from the contemplative Rhineland, belong to the very stable scene of German-language punk rock, which, however, hardly finds a hearing outside the German-speaking territory. But in Germany all the more - their last album entered the top 50 of the album charts on its release in 2019. Nevertheless, they are miles away from the mainstream - according to their own statement, they have become rather harder than softer over the years.

Popcast February 2023

This Month with music by:

DJ Gigola | Live From Earth Klub
Dobrawa Czocher | Modern Recordings
Power Plush | Beton Klunker Tonträger
Yosa Peit | Firerecords
Wildes | Kommando-84
Author: Angie Portmann
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Haven’t you heard of gravity?
It’s making it hard to move forward, let me say
It’s holding us close to the places
In which we live, in which we stay.

Power Plush, "Heavenly"

Power Plush Power Plush | © Janine Kuehn Eastern Germany is often in the news for all the wrong reasons. Brain drain, right-wing radicalism, stagnation are the most common associations found in the media. Yet it's easy to overlook how vibrant the music scene is in cities whose populations are gradually being rejuvenated by eastern Germany's excellent universities. Chemnitz, for example, also has a vibrant subculture, and the four-piece indie pop troupe Power Plush is the best proof of that. Coping Fantasies features a young band that has not only been able to gain plenty of live experience in the area for years, but also won "Best Newcomer" at last year's VUT Awards.

Yosa Peit Yosa Peit | © Sinistra Ging The fantastic Yosa Peit, whose album Phyton was released last November, sees music as a flawless space. Throughout the album's tracks, one senses a free spirit, a desire to experiment, and an absence of fear. The minimal funkiness of her tracks, the multitude of sometimes strange instruments, the clicking of distant hi-hats are a rarely refreshing listening experience. It is fitting that, in addition to her artistic activities, she organizes workshops for girls and non-binary people under the project name Error Music, where musical technique can be tried out with an open mind and free of expectations.

Heute bin ich eingeladen auf einer Party in der City

Today I am invited to a party in the City.
Wildes, "Leger in Schwarz"

Wildes Wildes | © Rosanna Graf Electroclash, but also Neue Deutsche Welle retro feelings come up with the Munich duo Wildes. The track presented here, the opener of their debut album Klischee is a simply held electropop number with supercooled vocals and breezy criticism of capitalism. Live, the pair from Zurich and Munich have been present mostly in their hometowns, supporting Germany's indie rock heroes Die Nerven and Tocotronic, among others.

DJ Gigola DJ Gigola | © Neven Allgeier "We live in an age of recycling," says Pauline Schulz aka DJ Gigola in an interview with German music magazine Groove, and there is talk of different influences and openness, the funny DJ Gigola and the serious Paulina, of pop and techno, trance, hip-hop and club culture. But what seems exciting, surprising and clever in an extended live set, condensed to track length becomes a challenge that doesn't always succeed. On Fluid Meditations, however, her debut album, she works with spoken passages consisting of mediations, which gives the tracks an extra dose of originality.

With her debut solo album Dreamscapes, Polish cellist Dobrawa Czocher expands the boundaries of neoclassical music with electronic sounds, masterfully layered atmospheres, but always lagging behind the various string tracks. The album always remains firmly anchored in classical music, but effectively potentiates the meditative mood of the spiraling tracks. As the album title suggests, the content is supposed to be about the world of dreams and their role for the unconscious, but outside of this esoteric theme, it offers an extremely grounded, appealing and competently and sophisticatedly arranged gem.

Popcast January 2023

This Month with music by:

Die P365xx
Tom LiwaTom Liwa
Pole | Mute
ZuckerKrokant Music
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Die P Die P | © Daniel Reineke Over a year ago, we introduced a “new” artist on these pages, who was at the time still unknown to most. That has changed a bit in the meantime: From the hip-hop scene of the former German capital Bonn, Die P has already developed a loyal fanbase since 2017, and now, after a brilliant performance at the Splash Festival, they are going into the next round with a new business environment. Last year's second EP was already released on the 365XX label, which exclusively signs acts identifying as female. Label boss Lina Burghausen also runs the popular blog 365 Female MCs, whose name says it all: for a year, a new female musician was featured every day.

Me again, allow me to pick up where I left off

Lina Burghausen

Tom Liwa Tom Liwa | © Saskia Lippold Without Tom Liwa, the German music scene would be significantly poorer. The former head of the wonderful Flowerpornoes is responsible for one of the most beautiful German-language albums ever with 1994's Red' nicht von Straßen, nicht von Zügen, and has continued in his tradition of folk-inspired poetic songs both with band and as a solo artist. Now he has released what he himself calls "another mature work", which shines with a new band and various great features.

Pole Pole | © Kai von Rabenau Another fixture in the German cultural landscape and known to Montrealers through his many visits to MUTEK, is Stefan Betke aka Pole. The master of the dubby techno sound is not only known as a music creator, but also as a cunning mastering engineer (Dubplates & Mastering) and label owner (~scape). With the just released Tempus, Pole has delivered another stylistically confident and technically sophisticated listening album that fits seamlessly into his oeuvre.

I like it when things are allowed to appear and develop in the moment. In the studio I have everything ready to go. I want to be able to start right away and see where it takes me.

Simon Popp in the webmagazine "15Questions"

Simon Popp Simon Popp | © Manuel Nieberle An interesting discovery is the Munich drummer Simon Popp, who on his now third album researches the possibilities of metal(lic) percussion. The result is a collection of complex and beautiful compositions. Light and dark, organic and synthetic sounds are the means by which Popp explores the limits of his instruments on Blizz. A fantastic discovery for fans of organic electronics, minimal percussion and instrumental music ranging from (quasi) jazz to neoclassical is the Squama label, also Munich-based.

Strike, strike


Zucker Zucker | © Nils Hansen Things are getting rougher with the Hamburg electropunks from Zucker. The queerfeminist duo Pola and Chris (aka Gigolo Tears) have already won over large sections of Hamburg's music celebrities, including Frank Spilker (Die Sterne), Sophia Kennedy and Stella Sommer, and are now finally opening up to the mainstream with their self-titled debut album. Their minimalist arranged 3-minute electro anthems have the potential to caramelize the alternative scene in Germany.

Popcast December 2022

This Month with music by:

Derya Yıldırım & Grup Şimşek | Les Disques Bongo Joe & Catapulte Records
Malva | Trikont
Mulay | Groenland
To Rococo Rot | Bureau B
What Are People For? | Alien Transistor
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Derya Yildirim & Grup Şimşek Derya Yildirim & Grup Şimşek | © Allegra Kortlang The Hamburg-based singer Derya Yildirim and her international Grup Şimşek are an absolute exception in the German musical landscape. Their traditional Anatolian folk, tracing her family’s Turkish roots, faces the difficult task of casting a respectful and authentic version of traditional music into a form relevant in the present. Thus, Dost 2 also features more experimental, psychedelic and funky sounds. This is how tradition can be fun.

© Bongo Joe Records
What Are People For? What Are People For? | © Enid Valu What are people actually good for? Anna McCarthy and Manuela Rzytki explore this existential question in their project, aptly named What Are People For? Humorous, poetic and political is how they want their upbeat, inventive raw tracks to be understood. The looped beats, mostly spoken (shouted) lyrics, and all sorts of analog electronics create an anarchistic energy that's hard to resist. The self-titled debut album of "dystopian dance music" is out now on Alien Transistor, the label of German indie rock heroes Notwist.

I’ve lived a thousand lives to get here
Failed a thousand tests
Tried my best, but this path takes as long
as my sins to confess

Mulay, "Ivory"

Mulay Mulay | © Shauna Summers After studying jazz at the ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem, Munich-born Mulay moved to Berlin, from where the gifted singer has since 2020 produced a series of releases that bode well for her future. The soulful R&B on Ivory effortlessly holds its own against even the strongest international competition, the confident compositions are absolutely flawlessly executed and the vocals at times seem to come from another world. The five tracks composed by Mulay himself meander effortlessly between contemplative ballad and experimental rhythm & blues.  Impressive.

© Trikont
Malva Malva | © privat Only 20 years old, Malva Scherer had to finish both her high school graduation and her first album, Das Grell in meinem Kopf, at home due to the pandemic. She and her partner-in-crime Quirin Ebnet had never performed until the album's release, but have had plenty of practice writing and producing breezy indie pop. Perhaps fittingly, Malva cites YouTube sensation Dodie Clark as an influence, but that shouldn't obscure the fact that she is a huge talent. While the album, in its variety, still seems a bit indecisive in places, the poetic melancholy that permeates all the work and, of course, the more than competent vocals are a perfect foundation for a successful career.

It was something new, something that sounded like it could only be done in Germany; and, as I discovered later, could only be done by guys who were born in the east of Germany in the days before the wall came down.

Daniel Miller (Mute Records) on To Rococo Rot

To Rococo Rot To Rococo Rot | © Wyndham Wallace John Peel Sessions are a rather rare accolade for bands from German lands. Stefan Schneider and Robert and Ronald Lippok made it as To Rococo Rot. Already in 1997 and 1999 the band was brought to London to present their unique playful sound. Not entirely without reason the term Krautrock comes into play again and again when describing the music, but that falls considerably short. The trio's hypnotic, trippy post-rock is tailor-made for these Peel sessions, whose release comes only after an inexplicable delay of over 20 years.


Popcast November 2022

with music by:

Chuckamuck | bretford records
Die Nerven | Glitterhouse Records
Gaddafi Gals | 3-Headed Monster Posse
Lucrecia Dalt | RVNG
Mädness | Mädness
Author: Angie Portmann
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Die Nerven Die Nerven | © Lucia Berlanga Stuttgart noise group Die Nerven (one of the best band names ever – it means "The Nerves" and "They're getting on one's nerves" at the same time) returns with their version of a black album, their fifth. The cover is adorned with a black sheepdog on a black background, and things are similarly dark musically. It's an angry and uncomfortable work about a rapidly changing world in which one's privilege is recognized as finite and guilt-inducing. The band's singer and guitarist, master producer Max Rieger (All Diese Gewalt, Obstler) recorded the entire album live and without metronome to create the intensity appropriate to the seriousness of the world situation. It was released on the band's parent label, the great Glitterhouse Records, organizer of the Orange Blossom Festival, which one can only heartily advise German travelers to visit.
© Die Nerven/Glitterhouse
Gaddafi Gals Gaddafi Gals | © Marcel Moos And another trio in the November Popcast of the Goethe-Institut: Slimgirl Fat, Ebow and Walter p99 arke$tra are the funny named Gaddafi Gals. They've always been cool, but on Romeo Must Die, their new album , they've perfected their blend of R&B and rap. The result is an update of the sound of the 90s - soul, trip hop, rap in elegant futuristic disguise. In particular, the dominant vocals of Nalan Karacagil aka Slimgirl Fat reach a whole new level on Romeo Must Die. The sky is the limit for the Gals.
© RVNG Intl.

Lucrecia Dalt Lucrecia Dalt | © Erin Lang Colombian artist Lucrecia Dalt, a Berlin resident for ages, calls her album ¡Ay! a "space cast in clay: smoky, dimly lit, seductive and vaguely menacing". On her last album, at the time also featured on the Popcast, the beautiful Anticlines, electronic music still dominated. On ¡Ay!, however, there is a shift into more abstract, experimental music. Drums, trumpets, double bass and a very inventive selection of atmospheric samples accompany their ghostly interpretations of Latin American folklore. "Lounge music for the afterlife" is aptly stated on Apple Music.

Ein Gespräch gib’s vorher und
Ein Gespräch dann nochmal hinterher
Es geht um’s Tägliche
Doch das Tägliche fällt uns schwer

[A conversation before and
A conversation then again afterwards
It's about the daily
But the daily is difficult for us]
Chuckamuck, “UV Index”

Chuckamuck Chuckamuck | © Frederike Wetzels If Jacques Brel and Steven Malkmus were to give birth to triplets in Berlin, the result would be Chuckamuck. The eclectic garage-pop trio maintains a skillful balance of punk attitude and artful lo-fi folk, just as their "fathers" would have liked. On their new album with the enigmatic name beatles, the trio create coarsely crafted, free-spirited art in a world of their own, where there are only old apartments at 1970 prices and all dogs are at least 16 years old. Just like the band.
© Marco Döll
Mädness Mädness | © Robert Winter Marco Döll aka Mädness is the best kept secret of the German rap underground. Crime is not his thing, Mädness belongs to the down-to-earth, technically skilled German rappers whose timeless style has given the genre its own identity, far from imported trends. On Maggo lebt, the new EP, popcast listeners will find familiar features from Fatoni and the congenial Amewu.

Popcast October 2022

with music by:

The Düsseldorf Düsterboys | Staatsakt
Jens Friebe | Staatsakt
Oberst & Buchner | Heimlich
1000 Robota | Tapete Records
Ströme | Compost Records
Author: Angie Portmann
Speaker (English): David Creedon

Oberst & Buchner Oberst & Buchner | © Josef Pfeiffer The Viennese label Heimlich has taken up the cause of cross-border downbeats. Part of this collective is also the German-Austrian Dj and remixer duo Oberst & Buchner, who deliver a beautiful work with Marble Arch, whose synthesizer pads and elegant arpeggios are always consistently placed in the service of the composition. The result is a warm, timeless synthpop whose strongest moments happen in the instrumental tracks.

Ströme Ströme live | © Ströme Ströme work in a similar vein, although they rely entirely on analog technology and boast that they do not use computers at live performances. On their second album, the duo works with Franz Ferdinand founding member Nick MacCarthy on some tracks. However, this album also shows its strengths especially in the instrumental pieces.

Was kommt nach höher schneller weiter
Nichts mehr was noch Spaß macht

[What comes after higher faster further
Nothing more that is still fun]
1000 Robota "SCHMA"

1000 Robota 1000 Robota | © Tom Otte There was a huge hype around the Hamburg band 1000 Robota in the late nineties. The rough postpunk of the then teenagers (Hamburg Brennt) hit the nerve of the time, but after two albums it was enough, the band members pursued other plans. With their new album 3/3 the trio now suddenly reports back after more than 10 years, well matured and a bit calmer. The creative power has been preserved and as in the old days the spun lyrics are almost always performed by two voices, but the arrangements have become richer. If you like, you can order the vinyl from the label - the first 500 copies have been individually packaged by the band. Each cover art is unique.

Jens Friebe Jens Friebe | © Max Zerrahn The great Jens Friebe’s breezy pop numbers brighten up any gloomy moods.  Am Ende Aller Feiern (At The End of All Parties) there is no sullenness with Jens Friebe, but mischievous reflection of not always easy times, which were nevertheless worth living. Packed into an arrangement, whose complexity is only revealed to those who take the effort to listen closely.

There’s a gangster on my bed
With a hoodie on her head
She’s looking good
She’s looking fine

The Düsseldorf Düsterboys, "Gangster"

The Düsseldorf Düsterboys The Düsseldorf Düsterboys | © Katharina Geling In the same way as Jens Friebe is looking behind himself to assess the damage the Düsseldorf Düsterboys say of themselves that they make "music for the party after the party". In the spinnoff project of the hard-to-google International Music, Peter Rubel and Pedro Goncalves Crescenti celebrate the sound of the 1960s with ironic seriousness. Opulence, with noble acoustic guitars, sparingly woody percussion and airy flutes is what they do well. Who would have thought that the forgotten folk sound would be revived in the not exactly cosmopolitan city of Essen.


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