Summertime

Dear friends,

it’s been a while. Blogging is like writing a diary, I’ve learned at last: When you are in the midst of experiencing those things worth writing about, there is simply no time to write. I’ve had those kind of eventful times, so I guess not blogging is a good thing after all.

Anyway, I would want to share some things with you (right now I have a few days of idleness to spare): MUSIC.

I cannot stop being impressed by the wealth of amazing music that already exists in this world and it overwhelms me even more to stumble upon all the tunes that have only just been in the making. Here are my top three albums of the moment:

  1. TOVE STYRKE – Kiddo Like her EP (and the song Borderline, which I am somehow still obsessed with), this album is full of brilliance. Surely the songs are not complex, but as far as danceble, upbeat, fun music goes, this is pure gold. This is my favourite at the moment:
  2. VILLAGERS – Darling Arithmetic Very very different from the catchy sounds of Tove, but equally mesmerizing: These people manage to go deep without quite touching on the profound, which I value in music. My favourite continues to be ‘Courage‘, here’s a live version:
  3. COURTNEY BARNETT – sometimes i sit and think, and sometimes i just sit This quirky lady to me is the 2015 equivalent of Patti Smith. She is sassy and poetic but doesn’t fail to touch onto the everyday feels we all know. Here’s a taste (it’s quite a slow one, this one, don’t be fooled):

Enjoy the music! Hope you like it

B x

Well My Left Hand’s Free

A band’s second album is a big hurdle, I dare to say. Especially when the debut album has rocked the reviews and created a major fan base, expectations for the next albums are high. Many bands simply don’t make it. The second album is what makes a good band a great band. The xx, for example, did not make it. Nothing’s lost yet, but you know.

The expectations, generally, are mixed. We loved that first album. We know the words to all the songs, we have danced to the remixes and we want something similar. We want an album just like this. But also not. We also want something different, we want the band to evolve, grow.

Alt-J has done it. Their new album is similar enough to remind us that we love them, but they were brave enough to go further. “Left Hand Free” is perfect proof of that.

B x

Komm wir gehn’, komm wir gehn’…

Dear friends, today is the day. I have to admit, usually I despise music in German. And I have a point: a lot of it is just horrifically horrid. Yet, here we are, and I am sharing with you guys a song that I have grown to love. In German.

At first, I didn’t like it. There are really corny rap sequences that I still don’t appreciate as such, but the song has grown on me with every homemade stereo it blasted from at German festivals, inexplicably linked to the taste of beer and that shabby but gorgeous open air music feeling. For a few summers this has been the song playing on repeat in my head when I stumble-danced back to my tent after a long night of singing and dancing and drinking. That opening still makes me perk up. Dis my jam.

I’m putting your hopes up. It is a shabby song. But so good. Here’s the original and the translation of the chorus:

Do you want to take drugs with me?
It’ll rain red roses then.
That’s how I saw it on TV
Do you want to take drugs with me?

Come, come let’s go.
Come let’s go down the drain together.
Come, cos a wreck is a place
Where a treasure’s hiding.

Also I found this amazing remix by Robin Schulz that doesn’t have all the corny verses, only the first part of the chorus (sadly also not the catchy guitar thingy playing in the background).

B x

Radio Times

There’s a song by P!nk (I like to spell people’s names right) that says “count your blessings now”. Now, this song is outdated in the way that it hasn’t quite acquired the status of a classic jam, but it is also way too old to be called ‘new’. So exacty the kind of spong that they never play on the radio. You would think so. My friends, I have news for you: German radios defy all conventions. If they like a song, they just keep playing it, for years and years. Until now I have had an ambivalent opinion about it (after all they seemed to keep playing exactly the songs you did not want to remember from an era), but I think I am now ready to embrace it.

In the UK, I always found it hard to find a radio station that I could listen too for a longer period of time. Don’t get me wrong, there are some excellent stations there, but they just don’t have the qualities that my homemade playlists had: Variety, most of all. If I listened to BBC Radio 1, I was always exposed to super hip music, Radio 6 played extremely alternative and indie music 24/7. Now, I think even Australia’s Triple J, which I just adore, could be improved by a more diverse repertoire. I must admit, they are doing it pretty damn good already, with rap music (the good kind) alternating with pop tunes followed by alternative rock. But, you know, how about inserting some 80s tunes into the mix? Or the best of the last twenty years? Okay, I can’t help it, here is my list of the top 10 songs that I’d like to hear on Triple J, jumbled in between their usual mix:

  1. Toploader – Dancing In The Moonlight
  2. Nelly Furtado – Promiscuous
  3. Men At Work – Down Under
  4. 50 Cent – In Da Club
  5. Jlo – Jenny From The Block (or was it ‘Da Block’?)
  6. Foreigner – Cold As Ice
  7. Toto – Africa
  8. Anything by Blondie or the Bee Gees
  9. Anything by Britney, The Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield, Shakira, Backstreet Boys or Sean Paul (remember that guy?!)
  10. Steve Miller Band – Abracadabra

So here I am, counting my blessings. One of them is definitely the defiant manner of German radios, playing all the gems (and everything else that couldn’t exactly be described as such).

B x

I’m Borderline Happy And I’m Borderline Sad

There’s this song that I’m obsessed with. It is just SO GOOD. I’ve been listening to it on repeat for more that an hour (my flatmate must be a bit creeped out…).

How can I describe it. It is just so happy. It’s the kind of song that you want to listen to while driving or cycling. It’s the song you want to dance to in a bar. It’s a song that forces a smile on your face and is destined be end up stuck in your head for the next few days. It’s the song that makes you turn up the radio’s volume. It’s the song you want the guy with the guitar to play when you sit around the dying bonfire at the end of a party.

Here it is:

I stumbled upon it on Triple J’s Hit List which is just brilliant (you can also follow it on Spotify, it gets updated regularly), and because I have decided to do a music feature very very soon (yah, that promised editorial calendar is still very much non-existent) I thought maybe it would be a good thing to start practising. Turns out writing about music isn’t that easy.

Happy listening!

B x

Keeping Up With… Music

And on and on we go on this journey through the cultural highlights of my life. Today’s topic: Music! In particular: How to keep up with contemporary music! Yay! So, here we go:

I love music. Really, really do. My problem: There is just SO MUCH music out there. When and where am I meant to listen to all of that, make up my mind about whether I like it or not AND the listen to it repeatedly (learn all the words, go to the artist’s gigs, become a wholehearted fan,…). It just seems impossible. And this is just music. Music is probably the most low-maintenance of the things I’d like to keep up to date with. I can listen to music WHILE doing other things. This ain’t so easy with things like books or TV that require our more or less undivided attention. Still, I mainly end up listening to music that I know and love.

The solution: Radio! Ay! The easy yet classic answer to my problem.

Now, to pick up the pace a bit: My favourite radio station is called Triple J (you can listen to it here). You will find that it is Australian which renders all kind of things besides music absolutely useless (especially weather forecasts and anything like morning shows, seeing as they are in a completely different time zone) but all the more fun to listen to.

Plus, most importantly, they have a great mix of the newest, hippest music. The highlight: Every year, the listeners vote the ‘Triple J Hottest 100’. This year’s countdown will take place on January 26th.

Are there any other radio stations you listen too that I should know about?

B x

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire…

So, here we go: Appropriate to the time of the year and the music currently playing on the radio, I’ve chosen to share with you some festive tunes, that can serve you as an alternative to Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” on a loop during the next few days. This is the best Christmas album I have come across so far and it is excellent. You know how you have to be in a certain kind of state to enjoy the Sinatra Christmas classics and the new auto-tuned, dolled up versions they play on the radio get old pretty quickly (plus, they all sound the same!), this album is the answer.

It is such a nice, laid back, but still merry collection of some of the best classic tunes: They do a smashing cover of Madonna’s “Santa Baby”, and have included everything from “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to “Silent Night”. My personal favourite is track number seven, but please, please listen for yourself and make up your own mind.

You can download the whole album here, and another great thing is that there is no set price!! This means you can literally pay what ever you think is appropriate and if you’re too broke (or too stingy, no judgement..), just put “0”. Hint hint: This also makes a great present.

Wild Child – Christmas Mixtape, Volume 1