Who | SULK
When | Thursday, May 19
Where | Antje Øklesund, Berlin
For fans of: The Stone Roses, Ride, Oasis
90s nostalgics take heed: London-based Britrockers SULK are here to soothe all of your pining for the good ole days. With their 2013 debut, Graceless, the five-piece outfit both cemented their place at the head of a wonderful revival and carved out a sound all their own, fusing elements of Britpop and shoegaze, all with a psychedelic flair. In mid-April—three years to the day of their first album release—they did it again, putting out a fantastic sophomore LP (or as a friend so aptly said it, releasing “the 10 best Stone Roses songs of 2016”). The songwriting and production on No Illusions truly showcase the group’s ability to allow every band member to shine: the fuzzy, distorted guitar riffs awash in reverb and hazy, swirling vocals are perfectly complemented by prominently grooving bass lines and driving percussion. Not only that, each song is as hella-catchy as the last, with addictive melodic hooks that implant themselves in your head. Soaring and anthemic in its scope, SULK‘s music ultimately possesses the kind of bright energy that could fuel endless summer roadtrip adventures, sparking that youthful sense of blissful invincibility that we all harbor somewhere.
Who | Nadia Reid
When | Thursday, May 19
Where | Monarch, Berlin
For fans of: Laura Marling, Sharon van Etten, Gillian Welch
I guess you could think of Nadia Reid as New Zealand’s answer to Laura Marling, but maybe minus the cynical brooding of the latter. The Kiwi singer/songwriter and guitarist’s music is folk at its core, but classifying it as purely that would do it a grave disservice, as it would be ignoring all of the hard-edged electric guitar passages and sporadic 70s soul vibes of the upright bass. Many of the tracks on Reid‘s 2015 debut, Listen to Formation, Look for Signs, play around with aural space: the sounds echo as if in an empty, abandoned ballroom, conveying a palpable solitude. Her husky, smoky timbre serves to express the deeply emotional nature of her songs beautifully. She effortlessly switches between starkly contrasting sonic ideas, even overtly pitting them against each other, as with ‘Holy Low’ and ‘Holy Loud’, which are essentially the same song with vastly different outlooks. Given that Reid has been playing music for ages, it’s a wonder she only just released her debut last year. But the wait was certainly worthwhile: this album is a powerful rumination on love and loss, by a woman who wouldn’t think to let the heartache drag her down.