Berlin Gig Forecast : Nova Heart + Shocking Pinks

Who | Nova Heart

When | Tuesday, October 13

Where | Lido, Berlin

It’s not very often you hear overwhelmingly positive news coming out of China (at least, not from Western media outlets): enter indie electro band Nova Heart. Fronted by powerhouse Helen Feng, the Beijing-based trio makes the sort of psychedelic disco that’s just experimental enough to be compelling yet just bass-heavy and catchy enough to move the masses. After having only been released one week ago, their October 2nd self-titled debut has already managed to successfully rock the music world in a big way. At times, the record is a blast from the past, namely the bordering-on-cheesy (but not quite) Elton John keyboards and the 80s-infused Pat Benetar-meets-Blondie-meets-Stevie Nicks vocals on track ‘Right Wrong – Music Room.’ And—in taking further cues from those female legends—parts of this album offer glimpses of a modern social commentary, where beneath the sometimes comically over-processed vocals echoing those of bands CSS or The Tings Tings lie thought-provoking lines like, “Boys are staring at me/I feel naked in my clothes/Tell me what you see/What you want to see.” Ultimately, when I encounter the kind of girl power cool emanated by Nova Heart, it immediately makes me think, “Screw Taylor Swift: I want to be a part of their crew.”

Who | Shocking Pinks

When | Thursday, October 15

Where | ACUD, Berlin

Wellington band Shocking Pinks is the brainchild of singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Nick Harte. Their music is a blend of shoegaze, dancey indie, and noise, at times sounding as raucous and eerie as I’d imagine a carnival implosion to be. Their 2004 album Dance Dance Electric was received with critical acclaim, and garnered them something of a cult following, both in New Zealand and abroad. Since then, they’ve released four more LPs, the last of which, Guilt Mirrors, came out just last year. This most recent release finds the Kiwis holding true to their lo-fi roots. From the abrasively clipped vocals that sound like production mistakes on track ‘What’s Up With That Girl’ to the erratically inserted noises and bells (which kept causing me to think my phone was going off) on the cut ‘Not Gambling,’ they’re composing with the refreshing earnestness of a young garage band. Regardless of whether it’s because or in spite of all of this noise, the combination of Shocking Pinks‘s raw instrumentation and Harte’s quiet, hazy singing is incredibly infectious, and will decidedly make for a killer live show.


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