Who | Jaakko Eino Kalevi
When | Tuesday, February 23
Where | Kantine am Berghain, Berlin
Imagine what you’d think a Finnish metalhead tram driver would sound like. Got it? Okay, now forget it: Jaakko Eino Kalevi is the complete 180 from what you’d expect. The Helsinki native’s dreampop, chillwave sound is rooted in the music of the 70s and 80s, with its relaxed disco vibe and bordering-on-campy synth passages. Now based here in Berlin, he’s long had a firm presence in this city, having played a number of solo and collaborative shows, including the local showcase Torstraßen Festival in 2013 and a support slot for Unknown Mortal Orchestra last year. Kalevi‘s self-titled debut LP features everything from jazz piano and saxophone to funky bass lines and sensual, hushed talk-singing. To top it all off, he’s got a smooth, silken voice and the godlike looks to match, which–when considered in conjunction with his whispering of sweet Finnish nothings–almost make him seem like a caricature of himself. But hey, it certainly makes for a pretty spellbinding performance.
For fans of: Ariel Pink, Rhye
When | Saturday, February 27
Where | Bi Nuu, Berlin
There must be something in the Australian water (see: LSD) because it seems that the amount of great psychedelic music coming out of that country is limitless. It’s no small compliment then to call King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard some of the best of their ilk. The Melbourne-based septet are masters at seamlessly blending infectious pop hooks into their trippy soundscapes. They’re also an incredibly prolific band, having released two records per year since 2012, none of which are duds. Their latest album, Paper Mâché Dream Balloon, finds them tempering their sound and pushing their already stretched boundaries. The premise was to use exclusively acoustic instruments, creating something of a 60s/70s-inspired folk-pop romp, complete with clarinets, flutes, twee melodies, and some blues harmonica and piano thrown in just for the hell of it (think a modern-day Jethro Tull). This pastoral return to earth in no way means that they’ve abandoned their roots forever, though: the outro to the LP is a sound explosion of all of the kooky craziness that they’d been holding back for the last 30 minutes of the album, a hint of things to come. No matter what direction they go in, history has proven that they’ll nail it with a carefree ease.
For fans of: early Of Montreal, The Unicorns, Foxygen