AllyFly’s ABCs of Berlin

Below are my ABCs of Berlin — the things that most stood out for me during a recent trip.

Berlin … a fabulous city that I was ever so sad to leave … and very grateful to have had the good fortune to have visited …

…and If I’m at all lucky, I’ll be back.

Cheers,
Ally

A – Apfelschorle / Art / Architectural Wonders / Altes Museum / Alexanderplatz / Arty / Astronaut by Ash / Alias
B – Berlin Wall / Beer / Banksy / Bauhaus Archive / Boat Tour / Bicycles / Brass Plates / Bode Museum / Brandenburg Tor / Berliner Dom / Beautiful / Blu
C – Circus Hotel / Check Point Charlie / Cold War / Creativity / Cleverness
D – Dudes Factory / District 5 / DDR Museum / Debauched 1920s underworld
E – East Side Gallery / East Side / Electro / Egyptian and prehistoric collections / Edgy
F – Fashion / Fuck Parade / Friendly / Fernsehturm
G – Graffiti / Gedächtniskirche / Grande
H – Hipsters / History / Helpful / Hackesche Höfe / Holocaust Memorial / Home
I – Ice Cream / Iron Curtain / Ishtar Gate / Imaginative / Inventive / Inventive / Intelligent
J – Judisches Museum / Jewish History
K – Kulturforum
L – Laderhosen
M – Mitte / Museum Island / Market Gate of Miletus / Museumsinsel / Maps / Mohn Cake / Marvelous
N – Nefrititi / Neuse Museum / National Gallery / Neue Synagogue
O – Outdoor Art / Open
P – Piercings / Photoautomaten / Potsdam / Pergamon Museum / Pergamon Altar / Parks / Prams
Q – Quaint, Quiet, Winding Roads
R – Run Lola Run / Reichstag / Restaurants / Remarkable
S – Schnitzel / Smokers / St8ment / Sunday Market / Stencils / Spree River / Siegessäule / Street Art
T – Tattoos / Tourists / The Wall / TV Tower / Tolerance / Tiergarten
U – Underground / Unbelievable
V – Vintage / Victoria (fabulous walking-tour guide)
W – World Wars / Walking / West Side / Winding Roads / Welcoming
X – X-rated (Anita Berber)
Y – Young families
Z – Zoo

This post was written by AllyFly. Visit her blog at http://aflyontheclassroomwall.com/.  

Review: Little Girls – Cults EP

I first saw Little Girls play live at Sneaky Dee’s in Toronto for the NXNE Festival 2009 and was totally blown away by their very cool, lo-fi style with obvious My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain influences. Fast forward two years and we see a definite progression in Josh McIntyre’s songwriting (he’s the brainchild behind the band) since their previous release ‘Concepts'; tracks like ‘Concepts’ and ‘Thrills’ were fuzzed out and raw. Josh recorded this new EP on his own, but brings in a band to perform live.

Their latest release, Cults EP, is not as lo-fi as earlier recordings and adds more electronic and synth based elements which definitely embellish Little Girls’ sound. ‘Cults’ is a distinct progression from previous recordings, drawing on the strengths of ‘Concepts’ and filling out the sound further with a subtle new wave direction. The Cults EP is more ‘polished’ (in a positive way) and sounds in the vein of a modern day Joy Division with its dark, eerie, multi-dimensional sound. Standout tracks on ‘Cults EP’ are ‘Delaware’ and ‘Nights Out’.

Listen to ‘Nights Out’ here

Tracklisting:
1. White Night
2. Cults
3. Ex
4. Daydream
5. Delaware
6. Nights Out

Cults EP is out on Toronto’s brilliant record label Hand Drawn Dracula on Sept 6th, 2011 on limited red vinyl and digital download. For more information about either Little Girls and Hand Drawn Dracula, visit www.myspace.com/littlelittlegirls or handdrawndracula.com.

Music Video Addiction: Sunday August 28, 2011 Edition

We are back from our one week hiatus in Germany…sorry for missing last week’s edition of the music video picks, but the hotel Internet connection was far too slow to choose the vids. I hope you enjoy the selections this week; we will start and finish with German artists in honour of our visit to Berlin.

Kraftwerk: The Robots - German godfathers of electronic music…so good.

S.C.U.M: Summon The Sound - Warning – loads of strobes…love their eery sound.

Christian AIDS: Young Luv  – loving this track for a while…wanted to share.

The Maccabees: Love You Better - catchy chorus.

Curve: Coast is Clear – amazing band from the early 90s.

Atari Teenage Riot: Atari Teenage Riot - classic from Berlin based techno punks.

Check back next week for another edition of the music video picks.

Thanks,
Cameron from Culture Addicts

Fuckparade Berlin 2011

While visiting Berlin last week, I experienced a demonstration that passed in front of my hotel on August 20th and found out it was the ‘Fuckparade’. The parade included a number of sound equipped trucks with DJs, turntables, and speakers blasting all genres of electronic music. Each truck was followed by crowds of people dancing and cheering as the parade moved through the streets of Berlin, Germany. It was like a mobile party snaking its way through the city and growing in numbers as it moved.

After doing some research, I discovered that the Fuckparade started in 1997 as an annual demonstration in Berlin, which originally began as a backlash to the Love Parade. The main reasons for its creation were, according to organizers, were also the repression of unwanted techno styles (hardcore techno, gabba) and the commercialization of the Love Parade (high registration fees for cars, foreign sponsorship scene, no political statements, despite demonstration status). In addition, the closure of the techno clubs in the bunker Albrecht Strasse in Berlin-Mitte and the related “sellout” of the barn area was discussed. The spokesman for the Fuckparade Martin Kliehm said the Fuckparade demonstrates the commitment to a subculture healthy and livable city centers, against the destruction of public space and urban planning towards goal only for financially strong groups.

Additionally, it focused on the issue that the techno club “Bunker” had been shut down. The most played musical styles in the Fuckparade are Gabber, Speedcore, Techno, Punk, and House. The event now has sister events; Austria’s ‘FreeParade’ and Switzerland’s ‘Antiparade’.

For more information about the Fuckparade, visit the official website at www.fuckparade.org.

Street art scene – Berlin, Germany

Since the reunification of Berlin, the city has become one of Europe’s top street art locations. Interesting / unique post-communist locations, cheap rent and derelict buildings gave rise to a vibrant street art scene in Berlin. The most interesting areas to view street art in the city include Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

On my visit to the city and search for interesting works, I discovered a number of cool pieces while walking through Berlin’s streets. They are included below and when possible, I referenced the artist and location under the picture.


Astronaut by Ash – Kreuzberg


Hooded sitting character by an unknown artist – beneath the Oberbaumbrücke


Cat With Glasses by Alias – Friedrichshain


Green Faceless Hooded Character by Alias – Friedrichshain


Boy With Backpack by Alias – Friedrichshain


 Bullshit Bag by Alias – Friedrichshain


Obama – I Love War by St8ment – East Side Gallery


Backjump 2007 by Blu – Kreuzberg


Berlin (Left) and Planet Prozess (Right) by Blu – Kreuzberg

Here are some other cool miscellaneous pieces I saw while wandering the streets…


I loved this defacing of a political poster – Mitte



Barcode at the East Side Gallery by unknown artist


This one was bad street art, but made me laugh so it made it into this post.


Saw this stencil throughout Mitte – not sure who is responsible.


This one of a business man located in Mitte unfortunately was covered up by another graffiti artist


A stairwell in Mitte accessed through an alley behind Cinema Bar was literally covered in street art

Banksy visited the Berlin in 2004 and created a number of works in Mitte and Kreuzberg (you can see a map here) but unfortunately most have since been removed. As well, a very well-known street artist in Berlin is Prost. His most famous character is the smiling face seen around the city. There is an exhibit of his work at the West Berlin Gallery titled The Street Never Ends, The Art Never Dies through Sept 17, 2011.

The Stroke Art Fair, which had its Berlin debut last October, is a new fair for street art that drew thousands of visitors and street artists from all over the world.

*All photographs included in this post are property of Culture Addicts. Please do not use without permission.

Electronics Addiction: Schneidersladen

SchneidersBuero was founded in 1999 as a distributor and common marketing platform for various electronic devices for making music which include hardware synthesizers, sequencers, drum machines, analogue modular systems, midi tools, controllers, and converters. They have showrooms in Berlin, Germany and London, UK.

I visited their shop, Schneiders Laden in Kreuzberg district of Berlin, and my mind was totally blown. There were patch cables and blinking LEDs everywhere, and within the shop, you are free to plug in some headphones to give any of the equipment a test drive. The most impressive part of the shop were the circular ‘carousels’ that housed multiple processors, synths and effects units – it was like an electrophile’s heaven.

Schneidersladen is difficult to find even though there is a large sign on the front of the Kaiser’s grocery store indicating it is in the building since there no clear signage on the actual door (and merely a buzzer with Schneidersladen written on it in small print). The hours are very limited to 4 hours on Mon, Tue, Thu, and Fri, so if you want to visit, make sure you plan around the retail hours. I suggest looking online to see what interests you and then go to the shop with particular items in mind, or it can get slightly overwhelming. If you are interested in creating electronic music, this showroom is a must see.

For more information, visit the Schneiders Buero website and pop into their shop if you are in Berlin. You can also check out the blog by Schneiders Freunde, StromKult for some interesting posts on new equipment.

Moon King Live at ALLCAPS! Festival 2011


Yesterday (August 13), I went to the sold-out ALLCAPS! Island Festival presented by Wavelength, Artscape Gibraltar Point and WhipperSnapper. The event was a two day festival of independent music and visual art in and around Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island. Julie Doiron (ex-Eric’s Trip), Rich Aucoin, DD/MM/YYYY, Moon King, Jen Castle and Woodensky played the festival on Toronto Island. There was a real sense of community at the Artscape complex and the camping area which made the festival come to life as intended.

I went to the event to check out Moon King featuring Daniel Woodhead and Maddy Wilde (both ex-Spiral Beach members) play a live set of their upbeat combination of electronic / garage rock.

Moon King are a two piece with Daniel on drums / vocals, and Maddy on guitar / vocals – they work well off each other vocally. The electronic sounds and beats came from a backing tracks, but Daniel perfectly layered in acoustic drums into the mix. Maddy added electric guitar to round out their catchy style. The lyrics were simple, but very sing-a-long friendly. Moon King did a great job pulling the crowd in close to them and drawing them into their musical journey touching on elements of garage rock, punk, and electronic music. They sound heavier live than on recordings due to Daniel’s punchy drumming  and Maddy’s distorted guitar which was a pleasant surprise.

Check out Moon King’s track ‘Big Dumb Blue Angel’ featuring Simpson’s footage in the video. This is such a catchy track and featured on the EP of the same name on the band’s Bandcamp site.


You can get some of Moon King’s music at http://moonking.bandcamp.com/. Make sure to check them out when they come to you neck of the woods.

I unfortunately was unable to stick around to see the other bands on the bill, but I hope this summer festival will be here to stay.