Social etiquette in a Berlin subway

It is Thursday, nearly 7pm and I am sitting in the subway, tired, grumpy, In front of me, a men, unfazed by the world around him, trying out all his ringtones, all of them, the volume up on Spinal Tap levels. Everyone looks at him, looks around, for some savior who might step in and approach him, ask him to “(ring)tone it down” but no one does, everyone just staring at each other, staring at him, looking away. Because, you see, what kind of person sits there, with their headphones in one ear but the other ear clearly aware of the fact that he’s trying out all of his ringtones over and over again in full Spinal Tap volume level to the misery of at least 20 people in earsight. What kind of person sits there, not even blushing, not even looking? Now, he might just excuse himself and turn down the volume but this is a subway in Berlin. He might just as well shout, scream, get vulgar or say things no one understands, wild conspiracies under a shining tin foil, spit flying, arms flaying.

So, we sit and look around, nearly scared of someone to step up because what kind of person would step up to face this probability of subway madness? Someone equally if not more so unfazed by societies etiquettes, someone willing to turn a parade of ringtones into a subway brawl. But it’s Thursday, nearly 7pm, we’re all tired. So we think: only 3 more stops, only 10 minutes, only 26 more ringtones until I can step into the cold, awful smelling night and hum one of the ringtones – surely the most annoying one – till I get home.

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Favourite Song: Middle Kids ‘Your Love’ – oh, uncertainty

The Middle Kids are from Sydney Australia and are led by Hannah Joy and Tim Fitz. Tagging along, and because a band without a drummer is a band without someone to blame when someone farts on the tour bus, is Harry Day.

The band’s style is somehow inspired of a slightly melancholic country edge but without the twang. In fact, there is an 80s pop clarity that obviously caught my ear immediately and is the reason why their song “Your Love” ended up on this blog. I love that stuff.

I’d like to mention that this band’s use of vocals/backing vocals on record is fantastic (all, I suspect, sung and recorded by Hannah Joy on the EP). That voice is lovely because it can be incredibly tender but also could kick your ass if Hannah would want to.

Apparently, their song “Edge of Town” got quite a bit attention through radio and on Spotify. And it’s a lovely song but “Your Love” has this beautiful effortlessness, this lightness in its sound mingling with melancholy that reminds me of the late Tom Petty (also: the guitars). I also love it when country manages to sneak into indie and pop music because it usually turns out beautifully.

On the Spot: This is the kit – lovely, warm, soft

These are hard times, people. They are rewarding times but it’s still stressful wondering what kind of horrible news will pile up on your timeline this week. Who of your faves is only slightly problematic and who is outright horrible? And everyone is having their list of good guys they hope will not turn into turds. It’s a hell of a time to live in.

Add daylight savings time to that and seasonal rain and grey skies and we all need something lovely to pick us up.

This is the Kit – an indie outfit from Bristol, helmed by Kate Stables and their new album “Moonshine Freeze” is exactly that. This album is beyond gorgeous. Apparently, Guy Garvey once dedicated a radio hour on This is the Kit and that makes all the sense because this band has this lovely attention to detail, soft flowing rhythm and genre-defying symbiosis of musical influences, use of instruments and Stables’ lovely voice. I also want to add, that this album has some absolutely amazing guitar/banjo work by Stables. Very subtle, nothing shredding through the air but just intricate picking that lightly taps at your window. That’s some expert playing, I tell you that.

Listening to the opener “Bullet Proof” is like entering a secret, magical garden. It’s the kind of warmth and beauty that we might need if we want to escape the harsh reality for a while. It’s an embrace, it’s a light.

Don’t kill my Statson! Horror in the Wild West

My grandpa is a gigantic Western movie fan and I used to be one, too. But I guess that the appeal of dry skin, heat and sunburn combined with a dust lung and the combination burning days/freezing nights is not really my cup of tea. Also: racism and outhouses. I mean, the Wild West is a nightmare for everyone who’s not too keen on shooting things (and even that is more fictitious as you couldn’t just go around and shoot random people, but that’s for another blogger to discuss).

But obviously all the reasons why I hate the Wild West (I love cows and horses and coyotes, though, before anyone wonders) are perfect reasons for a nice, frightening horror movie setting (well, minus the outhouse, maybe). And there are indeed a few amazing pieces that really play well with the genre mix.

There will be possibly spoilers! Continue reading

Quickie: Jamila Woods “HEAVN”: love yourself, be yourself, love this woman

My boyfriend plays Jamila ca. 2000 times each week. He is obsessed with her music and because I am always grateful when he’s not playing pale Swedish jazz ladies or nostalgic rap tracks, I immediately was caught by this absolute lightness that Jamila has in her voice and her music.

With lightness I mean the actual feeling of floating in the clouds (not down here with red balloons, mind). Jamila’s voice alone is enough to just relax into a puddle of bliss but she also writes fantastic lyrics about empowerment and her own identity as a black woman AND she has moments of musical genius in pretty much every song.

This video is so great and that chorus will stay with you forever!

The album was released back in 2016 but is available in Germany since August this year, so excuse me for coming late to the party.

 

Horror movie list: where are all the mermaids?

Hello folks! It’s Halloween and I decided to add horror movie/tv show/book-reviews to my never ending list of things I apparently think I can write about with no care in the world. Today, we’ll see not the best movies of a thing but just movies of a thing that I found because there are not many movies of that thing out there.

I am absolutely flabbergasted at how many horror movies about big foot – basically a big hairy dude – exist and how few deal with mermaids. Come on, mermaids! Creepy lady-fish-creatures from the deep that lure men out into the sea?! Also, the sea, the home of everything HP Lovecraft conjured up in his nightmarish tales. How is that less scary than that burly furry that casually walks through the woods?

That’s not creepy. That’s unintentionally hilarious at best!

Anyway, on my search for movies about mermaids I couldn’t even concentrate on the good ones, I had to take what I could get. So for today’s horror movie night theme, I present to you: the horror of the deep aka fishtail ladies aka mermaids aka this list has only one really good movie in it!

Disclaimer: I will not feature “mermaid in a manhole” because I generally won’t get into the gore fest of the guinea pig-series and others. It’s just not my cup of tea. If you want to check it and get grossed out, you are welcome.

Possible spoilers ahead!

Continue reading

Pop Goes: Miley Cyrus ‘younger now’ album review – oh, what could have been …

Ok, so I felt like I should do this because I made such a big whoopy about “Younger Now” the single. So I listened to Miley Cyrus’ new album and I like it but I also have to say that it’s no “Lemonade”. But then again, there’s hardly any pop album by a major artist out there that had such an impressive tracklist and concept like “Lemonade”. I am talking about the big names like Lady Gaga, Adele, Katy Perry, etc. I own a few of their albums but I listened to pretty much all of them and there’s just something different to albums like Jamila Wood’s “HEAVN” and, in comparison, “21” (which I own and love, don’t get me wrong). I don’t know why but somehow the tracklisting usually contains some songs that just aren’t that strong or redundant and put the singles on a pedestal. Maybe it’s just me, but there’s lesser known singer/songwriters out there whose albums don’t require any skip-button at all. But with pop albums, there’s always a few songs I can live without.

Lemonade“, for me, was one of the first really big pop albums that managed to be an amazing listen without the need to skip a song (even though “Sandcastles” comes close).

(the voice is a little shaky at the beginning but I am constantly surprised how well Miley Cyrus does live – no backing singers trying to cover up her weak voice … I also really want that romper)

Ok, back to “Younger Now”. I think the first half of the album is stronger than the second. That might be because it’s all the singles plus the duet with Cyrus’ godmother and queen of country Dolly Parton. It also might be because the first songs all have an individual vibe whereas the latter tend to blend into each other now and then, interrupted by the occasional gem.

That’s a bummer because Miley has a voice that is unique and fantastic and can sing circles around some other dames, on record AND live. But somehow, the songwriting doesn’t always make use of it. With the exception of “Younger Now” and “Week without you” (which I love, even though it’s not necessarily fresh sounding), the country songs are better than the pop songs because you gotta have a voice to sing good country and Miley has it. She has a twang and personality and that translates well with heartbreak and yearning (staples of the good ole music of country).

(This song actually grew on me. I was a little disappointed because it felt like such a flashback to her Montana-days but it’s actually a lovely little road song)

“Miss you so much” is lovely, as is “She’s not him”. Along the way, though, I feel like the love songs overtake the album and somehow betray the album title and titular song. I really wanted other themes than the whole “Love you boo”-shtick because “Younger Now” is a great concept if it would have led to more songs in the like.

As a former child star and Disney darling turned femme fatale chaotic turned songwriter Miley has more to talk about than her relationship. “Younger Now” (the song) does exactly that. I wonder what would have happened, had the album tried to get more into the theme of change, reinvention and trying to come to terms with who you were and who you are now (and who you might be in the future). That’s such a rich well to draw from and it feels like a lost opportunity that in the end it’s just not as prominent a theme. Especially, since “Younger Now” (the single) also uses this theme musically (and in the music video). Gosh, I get a little sad thinking about the Miley Cyrus album that could have been.

I still like the album and might even buy it as the one big pop album I buy each year (2016 – Lemonade; 2015 – 21) but damn, I expect more because I know that there is more. Maybe next time.