Who | BRAIDS w/ Widowspeak
When | Saturday, December 5
Where | Kantine am Berghain, Berlin
BRAIDS is a Canadian experimental pop trio, based in the ever-fertile Montreal scene. Deep In The Iris, their latest release, is an emotionally wrought coming-of-age recounting of love and heartbreak through the eyes of a feminist. Singer Raphaelle Standell-Preston may sound young and naïve, but she’s all womanly power, boldly telling it like it is on songs like ‘Miniskirt’, where she bemoans the hypocrisy of slut shaming. Throughout the album, her voice vacillates between fragile whispers and pointed, near-shouting. Though their music is primarily electronic, with synth-laden instrumentation and drum ‘n’ bass-influenced percussion, BRAIDS has clearly taken steps to prevent sounding too detached and cold, weaving in hushed piano passages and the preparatory breaths of the band members while recording.
For fans of: Hundred Waters, Sylvan Esso
Opening for BRAIDS is Widowspeak, an indie rock band hailing from Brooklyn. They’ve pulled from many different styles to create a sound that is best described as twee-tinged Americana.
For fans of: Frankie Cosmos, Real Estate
Who | Will Samson
When | Wednesday, December 9
Where | Grüner Salon, Berlin
I discovered Will Samson a couple of years ago while flitting between gigs at one of my favorite Berlin events, Torstraßen Festival. He’d been dealing with a number of technical difficulties during that show, but what struck me was that the immersive quality of his music still managed to reign, despite the situation. His compositions are almost entirely instrumental, although he occasionally includes bits of hushed singing, serving as just another element within the soundscape. Samson’s music is lush and expansive, with layer upon layer of looped pedal steel guitar, violin, slightly warped-sounding piano, and glitchy synth creating a warm sound that envelops listeners. His most recent full-length LP, Ground Luminosity, was unsurprisingly mixed at Berlin’s Lichte Studio, which regularly works with ambient masters Ekfterklang and Nils Frahm. He often couples the performance of his songs with visual projections, making for an atmospheric, multi-sensory experience that has the ability to transport you, even if merely for a moment.
For fans of: The Album Leaf, Bon Iver/Justin Vernon