Berlin Gig Forecast | Skeletons + Juana Molina

Who | Skeletons

When | Tuesday, July 5

Where | West Germany

For fans of: Adult Jazz, Animal Collective

Matt Mehlan—mastermind behind the NYC band Skeletons—is a musician’s musician through-and-through: he combines elements of free jazz, Afrobeat, and prog rock to create the kind of compositions that any music nerd could get blissfully lost in. Unsurprisingly, the Ohio-bred project had its beginnings at the world-renowned Oberlin Conservatory of Music in the early 2000s as a part of the Shinkoyo collective, with Mehlan at the center of a rotating lineup of superb instrumentalists. Skeletons have continued this sonic adventuring on their latest studio album released this past April. While Am I Home? finds them holding true to their experimental roots, they haven’t forgotten to tend to the needs of those less-heady listeners, making use of polyrhythmic drum beats, Latin-infused piano, and jaunty guitars to add a dash of danceable fun to the complexity.

Who | Juana Molina

When | Monday, July 11

Where | Lido

For fans of: Deerhoof

Argentinian singer/songwriter Juana Molina may be better known as a TV star and comedienne in her home country, but her international claim to fame is certainly her undeniable contribution to the avant-garde music scene. Over the last 20 years, she’s developed a sound all her own, seamlessly blending acoustic folk influences with spacey, ambient electronics, thereby helping to set the foundations for what we now call folktronica. Her soothing whisper of a voice sings in stark contrast to the overall boldness of her songwriting, and her lyrics often function more as an instrumental tool than anything else (sparing those of us whose Spanish skills are rusty at best). With the aid of her magical loop station, Molina weaves her at times slightly off-kilter melodies into multi-textured soundscapes that drone in beautifully hypnotizing ways, yet still maintain a biting electricity. Although she was never one to prolifically release album after album, her material weathers the test of time well. So even if we can’t expect a follow-up to 2013’s Wed 21 anytime soon, rest assured that Juana Molina‘s distinctive music will likely sound fresher than much of the stuff being put out today.


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