Current Music from Germany

Popcast Mai 2024: Su Yono Su Yono © Toni Hasselmann

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.

Current Issue in the regional magazine of the Goethe-Instituts of North America, "Gegenüber".


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Previous issues

Popcast March 2024

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

Popcast February 2024

This Month with music by:

Golden diskó ship | karaoke kalk
Ja, Panik | Bureau B
Kreidler | Bureau B
Toechter | Morr Music
Zahn | Crazysane Records

Author: Angie Portmann
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

I’m lost baby I’m lost
Post War, post punk and double crossed

Kreidler, “Loisaida Sisters” (feat. Khan of Finland)

A new Golden Diskó Ship album is like a new book by a favorite author. You can always trust the exuberant creativity of mastermind Theresa Stroetges, but what exactly she mixes together in her universe, delineated by the coordinates of electronic music on the one hand and pop on the other, is once again a surprise on Oval Sound Patch. It has become catchy, and anyone who is not yet familiar with her work will find this a good starting point. It's an album about moving forward, change and the future. Although she hasn't lost the playfulness of her earlier albums (this is the fifth), these new six lovingly composed tracks feel mature and anthemic. An album like a bundle of sunshine.
© Karaoke Kalk
© Karaoke Kalk

The return of rock! After the relatively experimental comeback album Die Gruppe, which was a rather introverted, contemplative story, Ja, Panik show on Don't Play With The Rich Kids that they can still play guitar riffs, shouted slogans, organs and brass sections. The quartet around the Viennese all-round artist Andreas Spechtl is in excellent form and looks to the future. The mocking view of a destroyed world has given way to a pleasant fighting spirit, as the antifa anthem Fascism is Invisible (Why Not You) proves, for example. It's great that they’re still around.

Weißt du, da kämpft
wer eintausend Kämpfe in mir drin
Keinen einzigen kann
ich gewinnen

[You know, someone is fighting
a thousand battles inside me
I can't win a single one]
Ja, Panik, “Kung Fu Fighter”

Kreidler | © Kreidler/Pafundi
On Twists (A Visitor Arrives), Kreidler's decades of work on the blurred boundaries of minimal postmodern pop, kraut dub and upbeat man-machine groove conclude another stage of their journey into the interior of music. Like the Well-Oiled Machine so beautifully described by Golden Diskó Ship, the album goes on a journey without an exact destination and with changing tempos; they don't tell scandalous stories, but tell of conditions, paths and ideas. It's all about the journey!
© Morr Music
© Morr Music

toechter | © Camille Blake
Toechter have always been a little different. But with their second album, they have succeeded in emancipating their narrow chamber pop concept to create their very own design of beautiful pop music full of enraptured melodies, echoing voices and a sky full of violins. Katrine Grarup Elbo, Lisa Marie Vogel and Marie-Claire Schlameus once again use their string instruments (violin, viola, cello) as the starting point for the compositions on Epic Wonder, but this is less obvious in the final mix and leads to a much more balanced, mature and elaborate overall impression of their work.

Zahn | © Lupus Lindemann
Overlong, instrumental compositions that work towards a brilliant denouement in epic breadth are the trademark of Berlin post-noise rockers Zahn. The trio, led by Einstürzende Neubauten tour keyboardist Felix Gebhard, show less of the bone-dry math metal of their debut on their second album Adria, instead focusing on versatility, from the dabs of surf guitar to the ever-present walls of keyboards that lend the highly structured tracks an emotionality that sets them apart from the competition.

Popcast January 2024

This Month with music by:

A08 | Compost Records
Mary Ocher | Underground Institute
Bernadette LaHengst | Trikont
Beirut | Pompeii Records
Oum Shatt | Wanda Y
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

I’m weak, weaker, weaker, strong
I’m close, closer, closer, far

Oum Shatt, "Play"

A08 | © Hans Raabe, Dirk Leyers
Mentioning the term "A8" to a German evokes the image of one of the most important east-west axes in the country the famous, but also notorious for its accident-prone nature, Autobahn No. 8. However, the name A08, the first project we present in the Popcast of the new year, is not inspired from its Autobahn namesake, despite the Berlin duo's unmistakable connecting element, but is an abbreviation of their predecessor project Africaine 808. The reference works nonetheless. Dirk Leyer and DJ Nomad work with artists from Ghana, Colombia, Kenya and Germany to bring their electronic world music project to life. The resulting mixture of reggae, jazz, Caribbean folklore and electro, which has now been released on the Munich-based downbeat label Compost under the title Waiting for Zion, impresses with its versatility, which at the same time represents its weakness at album length: A08 are best enjoyed when each track is considered on its own merits.

Mary Ocher
Mary Ocher | © Boris Eldagsen
Avant-pop artist Mary Ocher can look back on an extremely remarkable and varied discography, and on her latest album Approaching Singularity: Music For The End Of Time she consistently turns to electronic music. The artist, who grew up in Tel Aviv and has been based in Berlin for many years, has produced an accompanying essay to accompany the apocalyptic title of her work, in which she reflects on the future of humanity in a world shaken by authoritarian tendencies, political extremes and proliferating technologies. Her strong and polarizing voice engages in debates about authority, identity and conflict, allowing her visions of a better future to transcend her music.

Bernadette LaHengst
Bernadette LaHengst | © Christiane Stephan
On Visionäre Leere, the "dissident pop musician" Bernadette LaHengst also deals with forward-looking issues. Climate and structural change, war and politics are just as much topics as her own mother-daughter relationship. On her new single Gib' mir meine Zukunft zurück (Give me back my future), she leaves the vocal refrain to her 19-year-old daughter Elle Mae (Hengst). The result is another of the optimistic, combative pop anthems that Bernadette LaHengst has been known for since she entered the German music scene in the early 90s as the singer and guitarist of the Hamburg pop band Die Braut Haut ins Auge. Almost single-handedly, LaHengst has composed, recorded and produced her soulful pop so competently that one can forgive her some lyrical weaknesses and cringy rap interludes. It is however doubtful whether the Vox Apache travel guitar proudly displayed on the press photos can even be heard on the album; more than in previous productions, musical perfection seems to have been the goal.

And we had so many plans
Leap from the sill, see where we land

Beirut, "So Many Plans"

Beirut | © Lina Gaißer
Santa Fe (NM)'s Zack Condon aka Beirut, now based in Berlin, has been a good address for indie folk with elements of world music and jazz since 2006. When he rented an island in Hadsel, Norway, in 2019 in search of peace and quiet, he discovered a "pump organ" in the house he was renting, which became the inspiration for the sound of his new production. Back in Berlin, he had to go into lockdown due to the pandemic and was able to finish producing the album named (and named after) Hadsel in peace and quiet and, as with his first album almost 20 years ago, all by himself in the tried-and-tested DYI manner. Needless to say, it turned out great, full of contemplative calm and the beautiful organic sounds of instruments from the artist's extraordinary collection as well as his wonderful signature bariton.

Oum Shatt
Oum Shatt | © St. Pete
The German supergroup Oum Shatt are announcing big things, six years after the release of their fantastic debut Gulag Orkestra. American surf, Greek rembetiko, no wave and various oriental influences are the cornerstones of their new songs, which will be released on January 26. Led by the mantra-like vocal passages of singer and songwriter Jonas Poppe and the at time wild percussion from drummer Chris Imler, they once again create their very own sound despite the diverse influences. A strong start to a year that will most certainly not be an easy one.

December 2023

This Month with music by:

Hotel Rimini | Eigenproduktion
Kiki Bohemia | Blankrecords
Boozoo Bajou | Pilotton
Teichmann & Söhne | Altin Village & Mine
Author: Ralf Summer
Speaker (English): David Creedon
Speaker Female Voice-Overs (English): Louise Hollamby Kühr

Doch was vor mir liegt
Ist meine eigene Einsamkeit
Und ich denke manchmal,
dass wir auseinander gehen
liegt doch auch daran,
dass wir uns so gut verstehen

[But what lies before me
Is my own loneliness
And I sometimes think
that we are going apart
is also because
we understand each other so well]
Ostzonensuppenwürfelmachenkrebs, "Von Haus aus allein"

Ostzonensuppenwürfelmachenkrebs | © Simone Scardovelli
Ostzonensuppenwürfelmachenkrebs was a headline of the mother ship of the German yellow press, the Bild newspaper, and then, in 1991, and then became, with a name signaling a certain tendency towards irony, one of the first bands of the just burgeoning so-called "Hamburg School", the German answer to lo-fi and Generation X, and brought to light a number of very interesting bands, of which the Ostzonensuppenwürfel were one of the first and most interesting. Now, on the 25th anniversary of the release of their fifth and last album Leichte Teile, Kleiner Rock from 1998, the Hamburg label Tapete is putting them back in the spotlight and releasing the vinyl version of the album, which was only released on CD at the time. An absolutely indispensable part of young German music history! 
© L'age d'or
© L'age d'or
Hotel Rimini
Hotel Rimini | © Max Threlfall
From Leipzig come Hotel Rimini, who have just released their first album Allein unter Möbeln. The sextet's introverted German-language chansons are written for high-contrast arrangements with classical string instruments such as violin, cello and double bass as well as the typical band instruments piano, guitar and drums. The pugnacious melancholy of singer Julius Förster's lyrics, which deal with modern personal phenomena such as feigned idealism or artificial self-expression, are the contemporary element of the timeless songs and lends them relevance for today’s pop culture.  

The world is full of lonely people
Afraid to make the first move
It’s the hardest part

Kiki Bohemia "Lonely People"

Kiki Bohemia
Kiki Bohemia | © Tobias Vethake
Kiki Bohemia, whose real name is Karla Wenzel, took a proud 15 years to follow up her fantastic debut album All the Beautiful. But the wait was worth it. The Berlin native's psychedelic folk miniatures have retained their morbid gloom, but now seem more mature and sophisticated. Only rarely do synthesizer arpeggios break through the atmospheric surfaces, and percussion is largely absent on Those Are Not Songs; instead, Kiki Bohemia gives herself plenty of room for great melodies and her sometimes very intimate, direct and then again grandiose and distanced vocals, such as on the extremely successful cover version of Nico's Frozen Warning.  
© Hotel Rimini
© Hotel Rimini

 Boozoo Bajou
Boozoo Bajou | © Horst Schäfer
They have appeared on 300 compilations, sold over 100,000 albums and have been in the business for almost 30 years. Everyone has probably heard a song by Boozoo Bajou but doesn't necessarily remember it, too fleeting are the relaxed sound-textures of the duo from Munich. Wrongly so: unlike many rather colorless downbeat productions, their relaxed electronic sound, tinged with elements of blues, jazz, soul and Latin, contains a multitude of tasteful references to a broad spectrum of pop culture, such as the frequent touch of dub techno, which lends the works tension and prevents them from slipping into irrelevance. 
Teichmann & Söhne (ohne Vater)
Teichmann & Söhne (sons, without father) | © Lost on earth
On their new album Flow, the Teichmann brothers have teamed up with their father and, as Teichmann & Söhne, provide proof that cross-generational projects can work without clichés. The album was created from recordings of rehearsal sessions between 2012 and 2022, in which the improvisational power of their father, jazz musician Uli, meets the dub techniques and modular synthesizer sounds of the two younger Teichmanns Andi and Hannes. However, things were not always so harmonious in the family - in their younger years, Andi and Hannes rebelled against their father's jazzy free spirit and founded a punk band, followed by straightforward techno productions, for example for the Cologne-based Kompakt label, for which the Teichmann brothers have become known. But now the generations are coming together and delivering a convincing example of how excitingly different approaches to artistic creation can complement each other. 

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. 

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 | © 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 | © 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 | © 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 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 © 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 © 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 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 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

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
© 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 | © 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 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 | © 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  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 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 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 / 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 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 | © 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.

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