What's Up with Music in Germany?
glamglare newsletter #6
We have been traveling in Germany for the last few days to visit family. Unfortunately, almost none of the people – including teenagers – we met are particularly interested in music, so we cannot report much news on the scene here.
On the contrary, whenever we listen to the radio, it feels like nothing has changed since we left 20 years ago. For example, punk bands like Die Toten Hosen or Die Ärzte, who have already been active in the 80s, still headline big festivals.
One cousin told us there is a resurgence of German-language music in the country. But on the other side, my mother, a language teacher, thinks like German music has no impact beyond the regions where the language is spoken.
When we grew up, German music mainly was Schlager (literally translated as “Hits”), 50s-style music where archetypical singers performed songs created by professional hitmakers. However, English has always been popular and cool in Germany, and, unlike in France, there is no official effort to promote the language. So English became the lingua franca of rock, and good music was expected to come from England and the USA.
In the 80s German-language music became more popular with the Neue Deutsche Welle (New German Wave), which young people were very excited about. The innovative Krautrock- and post-punk-branch produced great bands, and some of them became worldwide influencers. Others provided an accurate snapshot of the culture in cold-war, divided Germany. But unfortunately, this was quickly drowned in a more commercial, irony-fueled derivation of Schlager, which then killed the whole movement before the 90s arrived.
The good news is that music from that period is increasingly to be found on streaming services, so we will go more into detail in future newsletters.
For the 90s, it was back to music from England and America or German bands that did the same style of music. Only a few stadium-sized acts like the afore-mentioned Toten Hosen kept their popularity until today.
At glamglare, we are excited whenever we find a Song Pick from Germany, in particular our old hometown of Munich. For example, at the New Colossus Festival this spring in New York City, there were four German bands with fresh-sounding music, some in German or mixed languages. So something is going on there, and we hope to see more music from Germany in our daily Song Picks.
Song Picks of the Day
Listen to all our daily song picks on our playlists on Spotify and Apple Music.
The Mary Onettes - What I Feel In Some Places
It's been a while since Sweden's The Mary Onettes released new music but here they are with the lush and beautiful "What I Feel In Some Places." True to their dreamy signature sound, the track swirls and glistens and absolutely delights. On July 1st, they will release their three-track EP What I Feel In Some Places via Westside Music Sweden.
Philip Ekström says about their new single:
“What I Feel In Some Places" was one of the first songs we experimented with when we wanted to explore the direction for the new album. We had some idea to take inspiration from Peter Gabriels typical 80's rhythms and let it blend with the more dreamy The Mary Onettes landscapes. The song is about always being a bit unsure about your surroundings. Having the feeling that you take in everything. That the room eats you up. Buildings fall over you. That the world constantly points at you like a spear.
Listen to "What I Feel In Some Places," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with The Mary Onettes here.
Wyldest - Abilene
It's travel day here at glamglare, and traveling often goes differently than planned these days. But there always must be time to point out new music by one of our favorite artists, Wyldest. The London-based artist Zoe Meade, in real life, just released the second single, "Abilene," of her third album, "Feed The Flowers Nightmares," out on September 9.
Watch the video about friendship here:
Listen to our Song Pick of the Day, "Abilene," on your favorite streaming service.
Julian Taylor - S. E. E. D. S.
I am currently writing this far away from the USA or Canada, where Julian Taylor creates his gorgeous music. While the inspiration to his newest song "S. E. E. D. S." is something that happened on Canadian soil, similar horrific acts have been happening at many places in the world and we need to do whatever we can to not let history repeat itself.
A quiet protest song about hope, strength, and resilience, "S. E. E. D. S." stands for Somehow, Everyone, Eventually, Dreams, Someday. The song was inspired by a text that Taylor received from his cousin the morning after it was announced that 215 uncovered remains of buried Indigenous children had been discovered at a former residential school in Kamloops, British Columbia.
The message read: They tried to bury us, but they didn't know we were seeds.
Find the powerful lyrics here on Julian Taylor's page, posted by himself (so no misinterpretations possible!), and let them sink in. Paired with a gorgeous production - this is what good songwriting is all about.Listen to "Seeds," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Julian Taylor here.
Shady Cove - High Divide
Sarah Rose and Sarah Nienaber used to play in Candace but found together again to form a new band, Shady Cove, named after the place where they recorded new music. Their new song "HighDivide" is about dreaming of the future and comes with a nostalgic video from Central Oregon that required "a great deal of trespassing."
Sarah Rose says:
“I had been sitting with the lyrics and melody for months, I was constantly singing it under my breath everyday until it came together. I waited until the version I could hear in my head felt nearly complete before sharing it with Sarah. I really thought no one would ever hear this one, but it turned out to be one of my favorites on the record."
Watch the video for "High Divide" directed by the two Sarahs here:
Forever Honey - Singing To Let England Shake
Forever Honey follow their 2020 beautiful EP Pre-Mortem High with the dreamy "Singing To Let England Shake," announcing a flurry of upcoming singles. The Brooklyn-based indie rock quartet is carving out its very own brand of airy jangly pop with soft tones and lovely harmonies. Forever Honey is comprised of Liv Price (vocals, guitar), Steve Vannelli (drums, keys), Jack McLoughlin (bass, production), and Aida Mekonnen (guitar, vocals), who says:
"Singing To Let England Shake" is about feeling profoundly misunderstood by someone important to you, the isolation that comes from this realization, and the desire to feel a lightness again after something so painful. There's something uniquely frustrating about being misinterpreted, and I think it creates an instant distance between you and the person you used to connect with.
A feeling, we can all relate to, and now's there's even a gorgeous song for it!
Listen to "Singing To Let England Shake," our Song Pick of the Day:
Connect with Forever Honey here.
Rani Adi - Starkissed
"Starkissed" is a song about love that cannot overcome obstacles that should not exist in the first place. L.A.-based singer and songwriter Rani Adi co-produced this hazy track that climaxes in a hot guitar solo. Attraction and rejection collide here, but the song leaves you with pleasant euphoria.
Rani Adi gives some background:
"I co-wrote and co-produced 'Starkissed' with my best friend and collaborator, Cole Mitchell. I had just gotten out of a complicated relationship with a girl who was closeted, and I wanted the song to capture that feeling of being in a euphoric but toxic relationship. We worked through the night and created Starkissed, which perfectly encapsulated my experiences of love, lust, heartbreak, and yearning."
Listen to "Starkissed," our Song Pick of the Day, here:
Vision Video - Beautiful Day To Die
Vision Video are an Atlanta, Georgia-based goth-rock, post-punk act, that just released the instantly irresistible "Beautiful Day To Die." With that surprisingly sunny track, they announce their sophomore album Haunted Hours later this year. (Pre-order now.) Vision Video is led by former U.S. Marine and current Atlanta Fire Department EMT Dusty Gannon, who provides profound background when he explains:
I wrote "Beautiful Day to Die" about my experiences as a paramedic and firefighter seeing a lot of death first hand, and how you become well acquainted with it in a very surreal, yet comfortable way. It’s about how I had to become friends with the concept of mortality because I was around it so regularly. The shock of seeing bodies becomes more pedestrian, and you’re even able to see beauty in some situations; like when families come together over loss, or the stories people will tell you about the deceased. This song is about celebrating the frailty of life. We do not get to decide how, or when we will die, but it is all the while certain. While that can be somewhat existential-dread inducing, I like to think of it as a clarion call to appreciate what time we are afforded.
The song is so blissfully gorgeous that it's hard to believe that it stems from such a difficult background. Listen to "Beautiful Day To Die", our Song Pick of the Day and check out the accompanying video too:
Connect with Vision Video here.
Albums that stick: Spliff - Herzlichen Glückwunsch
Elke and I are big fans of the Berlin-based band Spliff, whose first two albums were both excellent. They became my favorite band with their second release Herzlichen Glückwunsch ("Congratulations"). It has a similar structure like its predecessor 85555 with a weird and trippy opener, an epic closer and a smash hit somewhere in the middle. Das Blech ("Sheet Metal", don't ask) was the name of the first single and in it keyboarder Reinhold Heil talks (raps?) about a night out at the disco. Like most Spliff songs it is rich on quips: lines like Bei Wagner muss ich kotzen // bei Mozart werd' ich krank ("Wagner makes me vomiting // Mozart makes me sick" resonated well with teenagers at a time when classical music was still considered the "real" kind of music.
With Spliff’s songs it’s often unclear if they are completely nonsensical or have a deeper meaning, like in Wohin, Wohin? (“Where To, where To?”) in which drummer Herwig Mitteregger tells the story of a doomed trip through North Africa in his signature, on-the-edge madman’s vocals. Or in Die Maurer (“The Masons”), a song about, well, masons (I love the bass line in this one). But on the other side there are songs like the nightmarish Glaspalast ("glass palace"), which reflect the dark sides of the 80s zeitgeist.
This article is slightly edited from the original, published on August 3, 2015 on glamglare.com.