Who | Lusts + The Besnard Lakes
When | Monday, November 23
Where | Musik & Frieden, Berlin
Though not as widely known as some of their Montreal brethren, indie rock outfit The Besnard Lakes are adored veterans in the Canadian scene. The band has just released an EP entitled The Golden Lion, on the heels of their forthcoming fourth album, A Coliseum Complex Museum, due out in January 2016. The overall sound on these three preview tracks is massive and sprawling, chocked with trippy guitars a la late-60s era Beatles, hints of droning prog, and shimmering vocals: think a marriage between Mew’s shoegaze and Vetiver’s psych folk. Definitely piques curiosity about what else they’ll have up their sleeves on the new LP…
For fans of: Broken Social Scene, Mew, Stars
Contrary to their Canadian openers, UK duo Lusts are veritable babies in the music world, only having just released their debut album Illuminations last month. However, word spreads quickly these days, and their popularity is rapidly gaining steam (they’re already slated to play next-big-thing festival, SXSW). Their dark-wave pop music is firmly rooted in the best of what the 80s had to offer, constantly being compared to New Order and Echo & the Bunnymen. It’s no wonder: Lusts’s sound is characterized by guitar riffs swimming in reverb, echoing vocals, and a general aesthetic that’s so very Manchester (let’s just pretend that they’re not from Leicester). Much like their legendary predecessors, they do a brilliant job of erring on the melancholic side of things without throwing listeners into a pit of moroseness, using melodic pop hooks to maintain equilibrium. And lest you think that they’re stuck in a nostalgic rut, they’ve sprinkled some surprises throughout the LP, namely the spacey, atmospheric instrumental track ‘Attraction’ and a final cut that features over two minutes of silence followed by a quietly sweet ode to a lover, closing out the album.
For fans of: New Order, Echo & the Bunnymen
Who | Majical Cloudz
When | Wednesday, November 25
Where | ACUD, Berlin
If I were allowed only one word to describe Majical Cloudz, it would have to be ‘intense.’ I had the pleasure of seeing the (also Montreal-based) duo’s show at Primavera Sound in Barcelona last year, and was blown away by singer Devon Welsh’s presence on the stage. As anyone who’s ever been to a big festival can tell you, it is not an easy feat to tame the rowdy nature of the crowds, but the audience during the Majical Cloudz set was virtually silenced, entranced by the soul-bearing intimacy displayed by the musicians in an otherwise impersonal setting. Their music is sparse, with only some hushed keyboard and synth to accompany Welsh’s emotionally charged poetry. His commitment to the music allows him to be fully enveloped in the moment, which can feel almost uncomfortable for onlookers, until they also let go and allow themselves to be swept up. Not all bands offer much in the way of a thrilling live show, but seeing Majical Cloudz perform is truly an experience to be had.