Who | Amanda Bergman
When | Wednesday, April 6
Where | Grüner Salon, Berlin
For fans of: Amason, War on Drugs, Paper Kites
Sultry and gravelly yet all-the-while smooth, indie singer-songwriter Amanda Bergman‘s voice is one of those that sounds unmistakably hers. With this as her focal point, it’s difficult to turn a deaf ear to her music: the aching intimacy of her singing draws you in and keeps you there. In typical Swedish fashion, Bergman certainly has a way with melodies, writing lovely hooks that allow the instruments to function almost as characters, each with its own little melodic story: the shimmering guitars and driving percussion are a foil to her dark voice, while the piano closely accompanies her as in a duet. Her debut solo LP Docks is thematically on the somber side of things, but it’s not mired in sadness: the album as a whole has momentum that succeeds in lending a sunniness to subjects that would otherwise drag you down entirely.
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Who | Grandbrothers
When | Tuesday, April 12
Where | Volksbühne, Berlin
For fans of: Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran, Ólafur Arnalds
Much like Germany’s other contemporary instrumental music legend Nils Frahm, the Düsseldorf duo Grandbrothers—comprised of college buddies Erol Sarp und Lukas Vogel—have a penchant for experimentation and genre bending. While Sarp plays intently on his prepared grand piano, Vogel manipulates and processes the sound alongside him on his laptop and synthesizer, creating the perfect marriage of analog and digital. In conjunction with a sprinkling of incidental noise, the resulting atmospheric soundscapes on their debut album Dilation exhibit the beauty of pushed boundaries. In any case, it’s not every day that musicians get to play a venue that suits them well, but after having seen a number of similarly ethereal instrumental acts play at the Volksbühne, I can safely say that this is the perfect venue for Grandbrothers.