It’s no surprise that cynical lovefest, St Valentine’s Day falls in February. Coupling is a beautiful thing: whether for romance or to capitalise on the resultant body heat is a matter of preference.
So, in the spirit of humans seeking spiritual refuge in the pitifully uncertain embraces of one another, here are our favourite gigs of the month where you can mingle and attract a member of the human race. Why not chat someone up by screaming in their ear during a band’s searing outro?
Hamburg-based electronic duo, Shari Vari make the trek to Berlin to tour their upcoming EP Life Should Be a Holiday. Gorgeously goofy in image but soulful in sound, Shari Vari’s songs are part We Are The Night-era Chemical Brothers, part speakeasy lament with singer, Sophia delivering lines like she’s laying across the top of a baby grand piano. Their deconstructive approach to traditional forms is fresh, dark, and contagiously confident. True subversive indie for adventurous ears.
The opening bars of Las Rosas’s ‘Cops’ reveal their Americanness in all its jangling, trebly, slurry-voiced glory. Hailing from Brooklyn, Las Rosas know how to write a catchy tune. Try listening to ‘Boys’ without singing along every time the chorus rolls around. There’s a familiar raucousness that shakes up indie’s recent dreamy output too. Busy but inspired basslines and an assured retrospective sound put Las Rosas squarely in the company of similarly skinny-jeaned darlings, Louis IX, early Strokes and The Soft Pack.
Bellshill, Scotland. Mark it on your music map, because not only is it the hometown of Prince’s sugar-walled muse, Sheena Easton, it also produced wistful, era-defining alternative rockers, Teenage Fanclub. Now touring their 10th album (and first in six years), Teenage Fanclub bring their catalogue of some of the loveliest songs in pop music to Columbia hall: all swelling harmonies and Raymond McGinley’s distinctly tender lead guitar. Not to miss if you have a spare Euro or thirty.
The early 2010s ushered in a new era of head-meltingly sophisticated pop with the likes of St Vincent, tUnE-yArDs and alt-J sidewinding their way onto mainstream radio. Canadian indie magicians, Royal Canoe continue the trend with finger snaps, handclaps, stuttering drum machines and gospel whoops from singer, Matt Peters. There’s no small amount of old school R’n’B thrown in for good measure too, in case you were in any doubt that Canadians could help you get your slow grind on.
COSMONAUTS (Burger Records / USA) + Support: Full Moon Fiasco
February 12th 20:00
Self-identifying drug rockers, Cosmonauts promise to shatter eardrums at Bassy Club. Verbed out guitar, cranked amps and roomy vocals offer no contradiction to their assertion. Despite the grit and ricocheting sonics, the band has moments of surprising and elegant gentility. Party at Sunday from 2016’s ‘A-OK’ is Cosmonaut’s Polly; that island of quiet in an otherwise boisterous record. Support comes from Berlin-based Full Moon Fiasco.
Bands & Brews: Last Days of Elvis & I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream
February 17th 22:00
Run out of the tiny backroom of Karl Marx Straße’s IPA Bar, ‘Bands & Brews’ is a nicely curated showcase of local acts. The miniscule stage and plentiful free hops for acts encourages plenty of joie de vivre, while the €5 entrance fee is a nice incentive to leave your warm house. Last Days of Elvis join I Have No Mouth And I Must Scream for a night of dreamy indie rock.
What better time to see a band called The Orwells than the year that gave us ‘alternative facts’? It’s also not a bad idea to combat the tiny-handed evils of the White House by celebrating all that is good and glorious about America: namely the noisy, the weird, the charming, and the challenging, all of which The Orwells can comfortably provide. ‘Never seen a house that looked so haunted,’ croons Mario Cuomo on ‘Double Feature’ from the upcoming album, Terrible Human Beings. Interpret it as you will.
THE BLANK TAPES (Burger Records / USA) + Support: The Diegos
February 21st 20:00
The Blank Tapes could have written the soundtrack to The Brady Bunch if TBB had been filmed while the entire cast and crew was wired on psychedelics, every scene taking place in a dirty fishtank bedecked with fluorescent deepsea diver ornaments. Unambiguously West Coast and very, very groovy, man: if you have any hope of being transported from Berlin’s grey environs, this show is your best shot. Support comes from locals, The Diegos.
L.A. Witch bring their stark 1950s-inspired tunes to Kantine Am Berghain with support from localers, DYN. L.A. Witch are about as aptly-named an act as you’ll find: tonnes of verb and washed out guitars make for Californian laissez-faire tunes with a dark bite from vocalist Sade Sanchez. Fuzzy bass and strong melodies round out the trio’s laidback sound.
Any Australian who chooses to come to Berlin in February must be celebrated, let alone two of them. This indie surf band from pisstakingly-Antipodean sounding, Windang, New South Wales, have an impressive collection of soaring pop numbers. Driving drums, earnest vocals, and plenty of sea-foam flavoured guitar should have you dancing off the late February chill in no short order.