Who | Alex Calder + Weyes Blood
When | Monday, November 30
Where | West Germany, Berlin
In keeping with my recent (purely coincidental) pattern of showcasing of Canadian music, enter Alex Calder, bedroom lo-fi extraordinaire. The Edmontonian singer-songwriter makes guitar-driven slacker pop that’s laid-back, sure, but he doesn’t let you get too comfortable: there’s an element of eeriness to his songs, and the melodies often sound off-kilter, never quite settling into themselves. The jangly guitar passages and trippy vocal reverb he uses give his music a surreal, dreamlike aura. Without focusing too much on text, Calder creates material that sounds incredibly personal by way of his unpolished aesthetic.
For fans of: Mac DeMarco, (early) POND
Overstimulation is all too commonplace these days, so when I hear music that is both uncomplicated and engaging, it’s always a breath of fresh air. New York’s Natalie Mering—under the moniker Weyes Blood—makes music that captures the pastoral harmony of 60s folk, while incorporating a darker, experimental edge. The focal point of her songs is inarguably her mesmerizing soprano voice, unwavering and powerful in its timbre. This is even more the case on the latest Weyes Blood EP, Cardamom, where the sparse instrumentation serves mainly to bolster the vocal lines, allowing the melodies to fully blossom and the nuance of her songwriting to shine through.
For fans of: Julia Holter, Vashti Bunyan, Sufjan Stevens
Who | Föllakzoid
When | Wednesday, December 2
Where | Urban Spree, Berlin
Föllakzoid are a Chilean space rock trio whose sound is as cosmic as their name. With ancient mountain music acting as a springboard, the band makes use of psychedelic guitars, swirling synths, and tribal percussion to create their brand of transcendental instrumental prog. Their latest LP, III, is a sonic voyage, to say the least. Although it’s comprised of merely four tracks, III spans 45 minutes, with only one song missing the 10-minute mark. All of the tracks are seemingly interconnected, as the motives are repeated and expanded upon, resulting in a sound that is nearly shamanistic in quality. They still manage to keep things from going stale, however, when all of a sudden they’ll weave in some atmospheric vocals as garnish, or jolt your listening by pitting two conflicting rhythms against one another. This album also finds Föllakzoid taking cues from the German electronic music scene, even going so far as to record with one of Kraftwerk’s original synths from the 80s. I get the feeling this band and Berlin will be a match made in heaven (or the cosmos?).
For fans of: Godspeed You! Black Emperor