December 27, 2011

Cardialement: Overheard in Neukölln

"Tous ces gens qui se bourrent la gueule au réveillon, tu commences l'année avec la gueule de bois...
Genre pourquoi, en fait? - Ouais..."

[ Bonus sonore ]

And that's the final post for this year. 2012 brings much new stuff, both in the realm of comics and in other areas, and there will be more on that once I get back on track in Berlin a little bit (since I am writing this in the past -- I'm actually probably loafing around on a Swedish couch somewhere, and I mean a real Swedish couch in Sweden, not in some 3-bedroom in Prenzlauer Berg). New posts will resume Jan. 10.
Et voilà le dernier post de l'année. 2012 apporte bien de nouvelles choses, à la fois en termes de BD et dans d'autres domaines, et j'en parlerai davantage une fois que j'aurai repris pied à Berlin (parce que là en fait je vous écris du passé et que je suis certainement en train de m'avachir quelque part sur un canapé suédois, genre de ceux qui sont suédois et en Suède, pas dans un T3 à Prenzlauer Berg). Ce qui suit ne sera pas traduit, donc je vous souhaite à tous une joyeuse année, chers francophones, et ne vous bourrez pas trop la gueule, pliz. Les posts reprennent le 10 janvier!

Since 2011 is drawing to a close, I figured I'd add my little summary of my year in music to the festivities, roughly cut, pasted and added onto from my yearly newsletter to my relatives. Here goes.

Darren Hayes - Secret Codes & Battleships

People who follow me on the internet (and who share an apartment with me) have inevitably been made aware of a couple of my aural obsessions, one of which is Darren Hayes. I was actually already once strongly obsessed with him as a preteen until I started having crushes on people I knew in real life. While working on my internship semester and master's thesis in 2010 I happened across his post-Savage Garden solo work, which in the case of Spin was not much to write home about -- but then there was 2004's The Tension And The Spark, which over a few weeks effectively won me over, and hard. In between The Tension... and this year's Secret Codes & Battleships there was This Delicate Thing We've Made, which is a double album of electropoppish awesomeness, quite a deal to swallow in the first few sittings but as of late a regular fixture in my white boombox and one of the albums I would take with me on a desert island. The main attraction of Secret Codes... -- a concise pop album dipping relational thoughts in seafaring imagery -- is of course the eurodisco "Talk Talk Talk" (I cannot tell you how many times I've listened to this), but I have a special preference for the penultimate track "Cruel Cruel World". Sometimes I think that Darren Hayes gets me, which is probably the reason I adhered to his music in the first place.

Key tracks: Talk Talk Talk, Explode (limited edition bonus track)

Men - Talk About Body

Anything JD Samson writes is pretty much guaranteed to both sound good and make me want to go pogo at a Gay Pride event in a Revel & Riot shirt. Basically, before this came out, I knew her previous outfit Le Tigre were good, and I knew the 3-track MEN EP running around the office at my internship was definitely more than cause for excitement. But I didn't expect the full-length album I bought at Santa Cruz's Streetlight Records last June to be this good. It has since replaced the self-titled Le Tigre album as my queer electro party album of choice (I only have two of these) and is guaranteed to have me boogie when I really ought to be doing my stretching exercises instead.

Key track: Simultaneously

Boy - Mutual Friends 

I was sitting in my good friend's WG kitchen on Mehringdamm one evening and was totally unprepared for this music, which she so kindly put on to share with us. (This also sealed my transition to Grooveshark after weeks of griping about Simfy's ads). These girls are from Zürich and Hamburg, and apart from writing melodies set to productions that can make me cry, their lyrics are so good it’s hard to believe they're not (as far as I know) native English speakers. They sold out venues all over Germany this year and should be back in Berlin for an extra date March 8th. There went my monies.

Key track: Drive Darling

Ernesto Schnack & Joe Czarnecki

Special shout-out to these guys, as much of my year was marked by instrumental guitar music produced by these two expats to Berlin (thereby confirming the supposition that I am, in fact, my father's daughter). Ernesto Schnack is from Panama and played a few services at my church, as has Joe Czarnecki, who grew up on a horse farm in Colorado, slightly not next to Panama. Both played a concert together recently in Mitte, and it sealed the year’s end for me with a very special evening. They kind of blow my mind (also that of my dad's). Schnack’s “A Work In Progress” is available for purchase and download here; Czarnecki’s “Watch Now” is available on Amazon. (Additionally, a track by Czarnecki called “Til It’s Over” is one of my all-time favorites.)

Key tracks: The Single Purpose Room (Ernesto Schnack), Til It's Over (Joe Czarnecki)

An Horse - Walls

Musically, I believe that Kate Cooper and Damon Cox can totally hold their own - I don't know why all the German press I've ever read is bent on comparing them with their buddies Tegan and Sara (besides, I mean, the fact that they are buddies). Their 2009 debut Rearrange Beds got me through most of my exchange semester, which I went up and told Cox while he signed my copy of it after their April show at the Comet Club. He was glad to hear it, and in fact told Cooper the same while I was standing there, which drove this tiny person to first make an "Ohhh" face and then wrap me in her arms. Walls continues the An Horse tradition of providing comforting music in uncertain times, especially with the title track, which this year found its way onto my imaginary soundtrack to some fairly real heartbreak.

Key track: Dressed Sharply

Here's to starting the New Year with no hangovers! (Perhaps.) See you on the other side peeps.

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