One tune that really excited me

Sharon Van Etten has already teased darker sides of her character and musical style on last year’s Remind Me Tomorrow. The brooding darkness seeping out of the corners of a few songs is one thing I especially love about the record, so Beaten Down hit hard. Steering straight into the moody darkness, Sharon Van Etten’s vocals are merely a whisper as she croons the pained lines. Instead of bursting into the drum heavy chorus we might be used to from the last record, she sticks to the minimal arrangement of dubbed drums and mellow keys. The quiet intensity of the single really creeps underneath the skin and has something unsettling about it; like the moments of absolute silence before the storm breaks loose. With restrained arrangements and musical thoroughness, the musician crafts a gloomy track that fits just too well into the grey month of February.

One wonderful (re)discovery

Alright, it’s not as if they were ever underestimated or off our radars but this month it would be impossible for me to not go on about how great the Talking Heads are. After recently watching the legendary concert film Stop Making Sense for the first time (directly followed by a second and third), their live record is pretty much all I have been listening to for the past four weeks. I am probably behind on discovering the awesomeness of the band’s performance on the film, but better late than, never right? So this might not be the most unexpected rediscovery, as I have been a fan of the Talking Heads for a long time before that but Stop Making Sense, reminded me of the creative genius of the band and brought their live energy, which is a pleasure forever denied to me as a millennial, a little closer. It is just impossible to not groove along to the beautiful strangeness of David Byrne and his band.

One thing that really annoyed me

After I spent most of my February listening to the Talking Heads, there has not been much time to get annoyed by any other artists. Yet, the depth of layers and influences in their music and live show, ranging from African styles to electronica and RnB their new wave approach to music making puts the lacking innovativeness of many of the modern bands in perspective. Yes, this is me again nagging about how the music of today will never live up to the past artists, well sue me. But when I listen to the washed out melody and uninventive guitar picking of The 1975‘s The Birthday Party, it drives me up the walls. The minimalistic tune, instead of their usual shallow indie rock could have paid off, but rather reminds of elevator music. Especially with the lyrics The 1975 truly outdid themselves this time; ‘Then I seen the girls and they were all like / Do you wanna come and get fucked up?’  This is a party I do not mind missing out on.

One thing that really surprised me

The intensity of Neo-classical or ambient gigs was something that took me by surprise this month. In February I saw A Winged Victory for The Sullen live at a concert I went to without any expectations. After having listened to their latest release The Undivided Five multiple times, I have to admit, I condemned it into the background while studying or writing. But when the band stepped on stage accompanied by a string trio and two trombones, the music revealed its true power. The instrumental gig allowed to dive deep into a personal state and with its atmospherical tinges sparked existentialist thoughts. During the show at the Funkhaus in Berlin, I watched the audience in all kinds of different states, some listening closely and watching the musicians on stage, others lying down on the ground with their eyes closed completely in their own worlds. It was like letting your mind float for an hour and a half. The experience had something incredibly special about it and changed the way I look at Neo-classical and ambient music.

Just a random thought

Brittany Howards solo record Jaime is a small solace for anyone mourning the Alabama Shakes‘ silence since Sound & Color in 2015.

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