Reporting, editing, translation, photos and social media services in Berlin, Germany.
For a brief professional history, see about.me/caitlinhardee.
Skills and networking at linkedin.com/in/caitlinhardee.
Text and images featured in, among others: ZEIT.de, Deutsche Welle, Berliner-Rundfunk.de, Berliner Kurier, KCRW Berlin, The Local Germany, politik-kommunikation.de, FluentU German, Huffington Post Germany, Slow Travel Berlin & more.
Jobs, taxes, housing and the Covid pandemic are some of the issues on voters' minds as Germany goes to the polls on Sunday. Yet citizenship rules are another topic that many foreigners are also thinking about - and won't be able to vote on unless they have a German passport.
To put it bluntly: German dual citizenship laws are a mess. Officially, the country has always discouraged double citizenship especially for non-EU nationals, with exceptions for those who can find their way through a characteristically Kafkaesque maze of bureaucratic loopholes. This means that many people face renouncing their previous citizenship to get a German passport.
Lots of foreigners living in Germany will have considered - or even managed to gain - a German passport while living here. But there are tough and complicated hurdles to overcome, such as the fact that dual-nationality is generally not allowed for non-EU citizens.
We sit down with KALEO frontman JJ Julius Son to explore the process of making the band's latest record, Surface Sounds. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
This pandemic takes from us in so many ways. Loss of life, economic destruction, goals sidelined, experiences cancelled and delayed. Massive loss, minor loss.
Adam Lambert discusses his new solo music, his work with Queen, US politics, life in Berlin and more. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee. More ENERGY interviews: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLxyNdZLekPiY2Vx832qz3fXblbaPgaKMR
Fletcher discusses her songwriting work, heartbreak and her experience as a queer artist advancing LGBTQ* representation in today's music industry. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
Scandinavian shooting star Astrid S talks Norwegian traditions, new music and proving herself as a young songwriter. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
X Ambassadors chat about new music, life on the road and upcoming plans. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
Bastille take a deep dive into the inspiration behind their new concept album, Doom Days. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
Like loving the outdoors, live music and the ritual of brewing a pourover coffee, my involvement with radio isn’t something I found at random in adult life. More like: It was nurtured into my blood, lay quiet, then awoke into the full certainty of a chosen passion.
Archive recording of on-air rebroadcast - profile of Mighty Oaks for KCRW Berlin. Interviewer: Caitlin Hardee.
On Saturday, an estimated 242,000 people took to the streets of Berlin to protest against racism and xenophobia, making it one of the biggest marches in recent German history, according to organizers.
The folk-rock band Mighty Oaks has rooted itself firmly in Berlin soil, but in order to do so, its three members each had to journey far from their respective homes. It's an origin story that feels so familiar in Berlin, it might be the set-up of a joke: An American, an Italian and an Englishman walk into a bar...
Berlin's specialty coffee scene has grown significantly in the past decade, bringing with it the joys and growing pains of any burgeoning market.
What do a rave-age Joan of Arc with an inhaler, Luke Evans running away from things and a rapper channeling Genghis Khan vibes have in common?
Folk-bluegrass supergroup I'm With Her are playing their first show in Berlin, and they've already discovered the nude sunbathers in Tiergarten. That feeling, lying around hedonistically under the trees, is pretty much what the song "Ryland (Under The Apple Tree)" is about, they tell the crowd.
Think in Berlin you'll only catch live banjo music at a Mumford show? Think again. Interestingly enough, this city harbors a small but thriving old-time music scene. Nor is it all American expats exploring the sounds of Appalachia, barn dances and high lonesome traditional tunes: Brits and Germans, the occasional French musicians and a hodgepodge...
"Go simple, go solo, go now." The mantra of the late, great paddling legend Audrey Sutherland is solid advice in all kinds of situations, whether gathering your guts for an extended expedition or simply stealing a solitary weekend. On that note, this latest vacation to California was first and foremost a jaunt to see family,...
The oldest of the three Santa-suit-clad stand up paddlers squints his eyes against the falling snow and eyes my inflatable kayak, bobbing at the foot of Molecule Man, with friendly worry. "Aber alleine?" He asks. The three festive friends are out on the frigid river for laughs, but he's skeptical of my solo stylings.
Die Hauptstadt pulsiert für Europa. Seit Wochen treffen sich jeden Sonntag tausende Menschen auf dem Berliner Gendarmenmarkt, um gemeinsam mit 92 anderen europäischen Städten für eine starke und geeinte Europäische Union zu demonstrieren. Jung und Alt, von der nächsten U-Bahn-Station oder der anderen Ecke des Kontinents angereist - alle stehen, singen, schwenken Schilder und Fahnen in der Luft und feiern zusammen den Erfolg eines einzigartigen Friedensprojekts.
On average, over 150,000 human beings die each day. But on January 10th, one of those people was David Bowie, and such was the creative brilliance of this artist, that we who loved his work may be forgiven for thinking that the world has noticeably dimmed with his singular passing.
Once again, it's December in Berlin - the month in which snow falls and Christmas markets spring up like mushrooms, the scent of Glühwein wafting from every corner store. A lovely, atmospheric month. The month in which sometimes I fly home to my family, and sometimes I don't.
The information patterns holding some atoms into myself are hurtling in their trajectory through time and space, and the information patterns holding some atoms into Bob Dylan are hurtling in a different and older trajectory through the universe, and at some point in my life, I will probably wake up, drink coffee and register the...
Ich bin die Frau, die den Westen in den Abgrund treibt. Ich bin das Phänomen, das "Bild"-Kolumnist Franz Josef Wagner um den Schlaf bringt. Eine Smoothie trinkende, Hosen tragende, berufstätige Frau ohne Absicht, jemals ein Kind großzuziehen.
In which my Resting Bitch Face slips and a would-be smooth talker ends up telling me his life story. Sometimes, all you can do is listen.
Act to watch: Soulful sister rock duo Larkin Poe. Rebecca Lovell and Megan Lovell found time in their whirlwind tour schedule, supporting artists like Conor Oberst and Elvis Costello, to drop by Universal Music's Berlin offices and play a short rooftop set. While the sisters have been making music together for years, their first full-length...
In Berlin, longtime Mecca of rebels and bohemians, there is nothing so cool and artsy that somebody can't organize an edgier, more underground alternative. And so it is with Karneval der Kulturen. This colourful celebration of multiculturalism has been an annual tradition in Kreuzberg since 1996, and dominates an entire weekend.
Photo contribution only. Article text © ZEIT ONLINE.
My hometown of Seattle and my adopted metropolis Berlin have much in common. Aside from the often cloudy weather, widespread love of plaid and strong music scenes, both cities have thriving, vital coffee cultures. Which makes it all the more awesome that the newly-crowned German AeroPress Champion for 2015, Mateusz Petlinski, won plane tickets to...
"Video killed the radio sta-" Wait, what? Do you really think radio is dead? Hardly! Radio is alive and kicking, my friends, especially for us German learners! The vibrant format of radio can be a fantastic tool for improving your German language skills.
In the United States, the average student loan debt is nearing $30,000. In the UK, it's closer to $66,000. For millennials, outsourcing higher education is becoming increasingly attractive. One enticing destination is Germany.
Suspended between Spree and S-Bahn, Ionela Lacatus perches on a cardboard mat and crafts a lively melody on her accordion. Each morning, sun or snow, the 35-year-old Romanian woman plays to commuters as they scuttle over the footbridge beneath the train tracks at the Berlin Friedrichstrasse station.
Lots of half-hearted learners drop German faster than they picked it up. But not you. Oh no, you're going the distance with German. How to arrive at that elusive end goal of fluency? Everyone learns differently, but hard work, passion and these concrete strategies should help get you there faster.
Trying to master German by reading textbooks, newspapers and classic German literature? German is not quite so black and white. Magazines add a colorful splash to anyone's language learning experience. Skeptical about adding magazines to the German reading pile? Aren't those things just full of ads anyway? Actually, no.
If you're going to get fluent in German, you're going to need more than textbooks. You're no stranger to fun methods for learning German: you're already listening to German music, downloading language learning apps to your smartphone and watching German films. Even so, it may still seem strange to think of Twitter as a learning tool.
It's test time in German class, but your mind is a total blank. How to remember all those convoluted rules in your textbook? Try a new tactic and learn the lyrics of these awesome songs. The human brain has a much easier time remembering words attached to music.
The Germans like to keep Sundays chill. Long brunches, a newspaper on the balcony, an extended Spaziergang, not too much excitement - they have mastered this art. I've learned to savor these lazy days with the best of them - but then there are those other Sundays, on which you spontaneously jump in a bus...
Germany is in a football frenzy. Since the stunning defeat of Brazil on Tuesday, it feels like the entire nation has been fixated on the World Cup finale this Sunday, and the exciting prospect of the Nationalmannschaft bringing the victory cup home.
This is not Lorde's first time in Berlin. Ten months ago, the Grammy-winning singer-songwriter played in the German capital for about 90 people, by her memory. Her first European tour was a sobering experience as the young, still-unknown New Zealander paid her dues on the road.
A queen of indie pop in the kingdom of minimal techno: On Tuesday, April 29, Sweden sent another of its most successful music exports, Lykke Li, to make waves in the German capital. The songstress from Sverige is a rippling vision onstage in Astra Kulturhaus, long locks falling loose, draped in a glittering carbon-paned jacket...
Thessaloniki. City on the sea, crowned with crumbling ruins, ancient ramparts looking out to the Aegean. On my extended weekend here in late March, I left planning and organization behind in Berlin and just wandered, soaking up sunrays and experiencing life with all senses. But I did have a few vague goals for the trip,...
What Grumpy Cat is to the Internet's feline lovers, @NeinQuarterly is to Germanistik appreciators everywhere. The endearingly pessimistic Twitter feed, created by University of Pennsylvania professor Eric Jarosinski, has long filled a particular niche for Americans ensnared in the intricate quirkiness of German philosophy and culture.
Thursday, Feb. 27, 8:35 p.m., Berlin's Astra Kulturhaus. Billy Lockett's soft, earnest vocals drift in a cloud of smoke out the open venue door, as I huddle in the entry area with my camera gear and notepad, waiting for young English nightingale Birdy to come onstage.
Hard to believe that a full year has passed since last year's Berlinale film festival! But once again, Berlin is festooned with red carpets and studded with stars. I dropped the ball on getting tickets to the Hollywood A-lister films this year-there's still time to pick up tix for various indies, foreign flicks and shorts-but...
When I first got to Berlin, a wide-eyed college kid drinking in the vibrant metropolis, one of the first things my program showed us was a film called "Berlin Calling." Hell of an introduction. There he was, lead actor and real-life DJ Paul Kalkbrenner, laying down a techno beat from the DJ pult in the...
Thunder gods, astronauts, rebel starlets and small men with furry feet: The fall/winter blockbusters of 2013 have started rolling into theaters. I headed over to Berlin's CineStar at Potsdamer Platz to see "Gravity" and check out the red carpet for the premiere of "Thor: The Dark World."
June 22 was Berlin's 35th annual Christopher Street Day, or Pride Parade, and it was just as vibrant and beautiful as I remembered. Crazy to think that two years ago, I was about to unwillingly leave the city for my final year of college. CSD 2011 happened on June 25, and I remember celebrating in...
Primal drums, paper dragons snaking through the skies, massive billowing feather plumes to make a peacock look pale, spandex and techno, otherworldly forest nymphs clad only in green paint and tattered rags—on a gorgeous light-drenched Sunday, Berlin’s annual Karneval der Kulturen lived up to its name once again. I joined the happy, curious crowds at Hermannplatz and gave my Nikon free rein. Here are some impressions from the street parade.
Last night in Berlin’s Astra Kulturhaus, I experienced with awe one of the most passionate, powerful vocal feats I have ever witnessed in a life packed with concert-going. Nate Ruess, of Grammy Award-winning band “fun.”, can SING. His voice has an absolutely unusual texture—spending plenty of time in the high ranges without ever becoming nasal, bringing these bell-like tones straight out of his chest, sending forth this clear, powerful, sweet-sorrowful-triumphant sound.
Perched over Kottbusser Tor, in a nest of slanting glass, rests a warm, smoky bar called Monarch. The Monarch curves cozily above the street, on eye level with the elevated Bahnhof. A bar and DJ booth give way to a small dance floor, squeezed between a narrow counter with stools and an inviting row of cushions wrapping along the wall of windows. At the end of this little dance floor lies a little stage, with an array of drums, guitars and mic stands squashed into about two square feet. The...
A man with devastating charm and good looks, capable of taking home any woman in a club—and yet reliant on Internet porn for true satisfaction. This is the premise of “Don Jon’s Addiction,” an utterly fresh and disarming film, starring and directed by ascendant Hollywood golden boy Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
A year has passed since my nostalgic days in exile, grumping around my college campus while longing for the knifelike cold of a Berlin winter. The appeal is hard to define...
It’s been over two years since I last saw the Hosen, in a smallish city in Poland. That adventure turned out to defy just about every expectation a reasonable person might have for a concert experience. It began with an overzealous, overnight campout...
Currently in the midst of their “Himmel auf” tour, Silbermond illuminated Berlin’s O2 World arena last night with their unique, powerful brand of emotional Deutschrock.
They sing of failed love, disillusionment, and despite all the pessimism and cynicism of postmodern society, a certain stubborn tenacity of spirit. They have inherited the mantle of Hamburger Schule alternative rock groups like Tocotronic and Tomte, but carry the indie torch with irreverence and creative flexibility, experimenting with electropop collaborations and acoustic minimalism alike.
Berlin is all about defying labels, fusing cultural movements together, being many things at once. A bartender in a techno club wearing fashion from her own international vintage boutique store. A street musician organizing instrumental education and charity efforts for economically disadvantaged immigrant children.
Robyn is the living embodiment of the joy of movement made human, a dancing twisting exuberant whirlwind of light wrapped in five feet, three inches of pint-sized Swedish popstar. She kicked off the Saturday, Nov. 3 show in Berlin (the last one of this tour) with a stunning light display and a frenzied bass-heavy crescendo like a spaceship taking off, which morphed into “We Dance To The Beat,” to rapturous reactions from the crowd.
As the eurozone continues to flounder under the looming specter of insolvency in the southern nations, more and more of these countries’ best and brightest are preparing to jump ship—namely, in that more eyes are turning towards working and living in Germany, a bastion of economic stability in the midst of the crisis.
We were upstairs in the Berliner club Cassiopeia, and it was the last stop of a lengthy European tour for Stinking Lizaveta. The band lounged on torn beige vinyl sofas. Guitarist Yanni plucked at a well-loved Gibson LP Studio, while crew member Mike coaxed a clear cascade of sweetly trembling notes from a mandolin.
Berlin is a melting pot, a meeting of worlds. The city’s architecture is a prime example—old, stately apartment buildings, their raw brick corners gnawed by air bombardment, mingle up against drab Soviet-style concrete monoliths and sleek modern edifices of glass and steel.
I have a serious problem watching movies all the way through. If the film is under my control, I’ll be pausing every five minutes to Google some plot-inspired tangent, which often as not will derail into an epic self-guided webinar, cross-surfing links on Wikipedia for hours. So it was tonight. Seven minutes into “Cairo Time” and I was already off Googling travel advisories for Cairo.
The trees in the Hauptstadt are ablaze with bright fall hues, and now Berlin’s most iconic structures are as well. The Festival of Lights 2012 kicked off tonight at Potsdamer Platz, with buildings across the city going up in a conflagration of color.
One month after an unsettling appointment and two days before my official departure deadline, my visa was approved. How did I respond? By waking up and celebrating in true Berliner fashion, of course.
I received some excellent news on Friday, Sept. 28—a mere two days before my last written departure deadline, word came through from the Ausländerbehörde that my application for a visa as a freelance journalist had been approved by the Senatsverwaltung für Wirtschaft.
Last Thursday was the weekly Impulse Dubstep party at ://about blank. The club is located in one of the seemingly endless rundown, spraypainted, industrial-type buildings around Ostkreuz, and was formerly an illegal club. It’s currently hovering in the top 12 Berlin clubs as ranked on Resident Advisor, and so I was excited to make it over there and take in the gritty vibes.
Godshot Coffee Klub, Immanuelkirchstraße 32, Prenzlauer Berg. Reviews seemed to tout this place as one of Berlin’s best coffeeshops, so my expectations were set a bit high. Arriving, I was somewhat bewildered—the bar itself had an authentic, understated charm with truly beautiful coffee machinery, but the front seating area, with unadorned, drab white walls and exposed light fixtures, was spartan to the point of distraction, and an alarming number of flies were buzzing around the tables.
A footloose, nocturnal nomad could write entire books about the club scene in Berlin alone. You could probably go to a different bar or dance club every night in this city, and never see them all. Don’t worry—we’ll try to bring you a selective guide to the Hauptstadt’s vibrant party scene, with glimpses into other cities when the occasion arises. Welcome to our series, Nomad Nightlife.
On Thursday, Sept. 8, Berlin’s club culture gathered again in protest of the new tariff structure proposed for 2013 by the GEMA, Germany’s only significant copyright management organization for musical works. Outrage and uncertainty have afflicted the nightlife community since the planned tax restructuring was announced. Club owners and patrons fear the significant rise in fees and drastic charges for particularly lengthy parties could have catastrophic consequences for the legendary Berlin...
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy frequently lists a towel as the wanderer’s most essential object for successful travels. However, barring a nutrient-endowed towel like Roosta’s, a nomad needs to think about fuel before anything else. Discovering the flavors of the world is just one more stimulating aspect of being in new, diverse environments.
The widely-reported proposed increases for 2013 in GEMA’s taxes on music clubs and nightlife venues continue to provoke outrage, counter-demonstrations and artistic protest initiatives across Deutschland. Berlin is a natural hub for the resistance to the planned reforms, as the Hauptstadt has long been considered a Mecca for electronic music lovers and devotees of the party lifestyle, who would bear the brunt of rising cover charges at clubs affected by the planned reforms.
The end of an era came yesterday for the beautiful, crumbling ruin in the heart of Berlin Mitte. Long a symbol of the wide-open, “arm aber sexy” spirit of post-unification Berlin, the artists’ haven and tourist magnet finally succumbed to corporate vultures, after drawn-out years of legal battles and demonstrations.
Another blog, another beginning. I intend to maintain Midnight Monsoon and Nomad Musik as part of my portfolio, but each corresponds to a phase in my life and writing that has now closed – MM to my former radio show on Whitman College’s KWCW 90.5 FM, and NM to my first experimental freelancings during my year abroad in Berlin.
Translation / Production / Photo Contribution
Partial podcast co-production (recording, transcription, collaborative audio editing). Podcast segment: 20:16—24:34.
Making-of photography only.
Photography only. Newspaper clipping scan.
[PR]: Die sächsischen Liberalen machen sich für Kulturvielfalt stark. Der Dresdner FDP-Kreisvorsitzende Johannes Lohmeyer kritisierte die Pläne der Stadtregierung, Straßenmusiker mit einer bürokratischen Neuregelung zu belasten. Ab Mitte Mai sollen Straßenkünstler eine behördliche Sondergenehmigung für jeden Auftritt beantragen müssen. Lohmeyer lehnt dieses Vorhaben als nachteilig für die Stadtkultur ab.
[PR]: Am Wochenende feierte die Stiftung für die Freiheit fünf Jahrzehnte Ausländsarbeit in Tunesien sowie dreißig Jahre Zusammenarbeit bei der dortigen Journalistenausbildung. In seiner Rede beim Jubiläum betonte der Mittelmeerländerexperte der Stiftung, Ronald Meinardus, die zentrale demokratische Bedeutung der Medienausbildung. „Eine liberale Demokratie ist undenkbar ohne freie Medien. Und freie und verantwortliche Medien sind nicht denkbar ohne gut ausgebildete Journalisten“, so Meinardus.
[PR]: Anlässlich des Welttags des Urheberrechts hat die FDP-Bundestagsfraktion sich intensiv mit den Herausforderungen des modernen Urheberrechts auseinandergesetzt. Am Montagabend waren Experten der kreativen Branchen sowie Fachjuristen bei der Fraktion zu Gast. Justizministerin Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP), FDP-Netzpolitiker Manuel Höferlin und FDP-Rechtspolitiker Stephan Thomae sprachen vor den Besuchern. Im Anschluss gab es Streitgespräche zwischen den Experten.
[PR]: Die FDP fordert Tempo bei Reformen zum stärkeren Verbraucherschutz. Der Gesetzentwurf der Bundesregierung zum Bürgerschutz in den Bereichen Telefonwerbung, Inkasso und Abmahnwesen wurde am 18. April zusammen mit einem Entwurf des Bundesrates beraten. Mit dem Gesetzentwurf wolle die Bundesregierung Probleme aufgreifen, die von der vorherigen Version des Gesetzes nicht erfasst worden seien, so Bundesjustizministerin Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP).
[PR]: Der stellvertretende Vorsitzende der FDP, Christian Lindner, sprach sich im Interview mit der „Badischen Zeitung“ für mehr Tempo bei Gleichstellung für homosexuelle Paare aus. „Wenn ein Paar füreinander Verantwortung übernimmt, sollte dem Staat egal sein, welches Geschlecht es hat“, so der Liberale. Der Koalitionspartner CDU solle sich nicht vom Bundesverfassungsgericht treiben lassen, sondern aktiv handeln, forderte er.
[PR]: Anlässlich des Parteitages von Myanmars National League for Democracy (NLD) trafen sich die myanmarische Nobelpreisträgerin und NLD-Vorsitzende, Aung San Suu Kyi, und der kambodschanische Oppositionsführer Sam Rainsy. Rainsy besuchte Myanmar auf Einladung der Stiftung für die Freiheit. Die Politiker diskutierten gemeinsam die aktuellen Herausforderungen in ihren Ländern und die demokratische Grundlage einer engeren Zusammenarbeit zwischen Myanmar und Kambodscha.
Midnight Monsoon / Nomad Musik / Global Graduates
Leute, it has been a beautiful journey, but even the monsoon has its season, and must pass in time. As Die Toten Hosen say, alles wird vorübergehen. I graduated from Whitman College on Sunday, May 20, 2012, and with this milestone, the Midnight Monsoon has also ended its time at KWCW 90.5 FM.
We’re in the midst of a glorious few weeks for German music releases. Silbermond released a new album, Himmel auf, on March 22. There is not a bad song on it. Absolutely beautiful. Some of them tend to sound rather alike—it’s a more introspective, mellow album as a whole than some of the band’s earlier records—but who cares.
This past Sunday, I decided to mix things up a little bit with another theme show! I’ve done all-female shows in the past, and I think it’s always a fun way to showcase some of the amazingly beautiful vocals of Germany’s songstresses. Playlist:
Alles Gute zum Valentinstag, liebe listeners! I enjoyed my Valentine’s theme show this past Sunday – what could be better than chilling in the studio for an hour playing gorgeous German songs about love? Here’s the playlist:
In preparation for my upcoming Valentine’s Day theme show this Sunday, I have started compiling a playlist of the best and most beautiful German love songs ever to grace human ears! The playlist is a secret for now, but I have also ordered some custom bumper stickers to give away on-air during the show.
Midnight Monsoon RSS Home Willkommen I Love My Thesis, But I’ve Chosen Disco. Posted by Caitlin Hardee on January 30, 2012 · Leave a Comment Another excellent reason to be a German Studies major: you get to write your thesis on awesome topics like popular music through the lens of German national identity! No, seriously. Along with many, many textbooks, I’m analyzing song lyrics from a range of eras, including the recent rap hit “Das alles ist Deutschland,” from Fler and...
Last night’s show kicked off the spring radio season—it’s great to be back in the studio! Here’s the playlist. “Helden,” the German version of David Bowie “Heroes,” is a real trip to hear. Of course, Bowie spent time in the 70s living in Berlin, in an apartment in Schöneberg with Iggy Pop! What a wild little WG that would have been. I love his trilogy of Berlin albums, particularly Heroes and Low.
Hallo zusammen! After a relaxing winter break, I’m back at Whitman and preparing to fire up the show again. We’ll be returning to the same time slot—Sunday nights from 11 p.m. to midnight, Pacific time! I had a lovely Silvester celebration with friends from my year in Berlin—we reunited in Chicago for a few days of partying like old times. Along with a basket of German Laugenbrezeln (soft pretzels), I brought a stack of mix CDs to share.
The lovely DJs of The Faux Plateau & Vovo’s View were out sick today, so I stepped in for a little Afternoon Monsoon. Spun a mix of English and German tunes to gradually seduce those non-Deutsch-speaking listeners over to the dark side. Here’s the playlist from today:
This week’s show featured a bunch of awesome new artists, or artists who were new to me, at least. Every time I think I’ve got the lay of the German music scene, I discover twenty amazing artists I’d never heard of. To take the cake, these people not only make good music, but also have some pretty sweet music videos. Check out this week’s meltdown!
Nomad Musik caught up with Berlin-based piano rockers Leyan recently at their live appearance on KenFM Radio Fritz. Since we last spoke to them, the band have finished their new album, Dancing Sculptures. The album drops on June 24, but we scored a copy for early review. Reminiscent of their earlier EPs, and containing a few remastered tracks of their classic material, Leyan forge a compelling emotive landscape with Dancing Sculptures, while taking the polished professionalism of their sound...
It sounds like a story we’ve heard before – avant garde name, wild accessories, aversion to pants, the new female pop phenomenon from Cherrytree Records. But while British-born Natalia Kills may be Lady Gaga‘s successor at the alternative pop label, Kills’ remarkable single “Mirrors” indicates that she is an entirely new and different talent.
When Welsh chanteuse Duffy burst onto the international music scene in 2008 with Rockferry, her musical potential seemed unlimited. The album sold over six million copies worldwide, making her the new queen of the soul funk revival. Her second album, Endlessly, was eagerly awaited, and ultimately disappointing. Critics and fans searched for the unique sound that catapulted the singer to world fame – and were left wanting.
Whether you write a diary, fill your Facebook with exotic albums, or run a blog, recording your experiences abroad through word and photograph is a great tool for revisiting your amazing memories later on. However, for the amateur journalist, your year abroad can also be an invaluable opportunity to gather experience, disseminate your writing across multiple platforms, and build up your CV.
After weeks, I am still so in love with this video. Possibly my favorite music video of all time. It touches upon a quintessential zeitgeist of my generation, the generation that grew up enamored of the party life and the hipster art documentation of that party life, of concerts and Facebook and Tumblr, wandering between the old and the new, Polaroids and fashion and music, where the girl or boy you love is also in some sense the band you love is the shirt you buy at a merch table.
As I write this, I’m perched on a kitchen counter in my Berlin apartment, looking down into the inner courtyard. I live with three friends in a vast, decrepitly beautiful flat on the top floor of an apartment building in Neukölln, the rough-edged, down-at-the-heels, multicultural melting pot district of Berlin. We don’t have a single chair in the apartment, but we have lots of broken stools and enormous, squashy pillows. It’s a good place to write, and think. Berlin is a city that draws in...
Walking into the Berlin offices of Motor Entertainment, I gingerly shut the door behind me and turned to face an immense loft of glowing hardwood floors, busy people, and music. The songs of Herrenmagazin pumped from the label’s speakers, but the band themselves were nowhere to be seen. The label liaison collected me and directed me to a chair. Vocalist and frontman Deniz Jaspersen was finishing up a prior interview. I gazed around and fiddled with my tripod.
What song is simultaneously stimulating, relaxing, and focusing enough to help you cram for (and totally own) an Arabic final? That’s right, this one. Prepare to have the paths of your mind wayyyy unwound. Update: Got to see the band perform a few songs up close and live for a TV recording session on May 25! They were doing a show for ZDF neoMusic and I answered an audience casting call. Weird experience! TV audiences are highly coached and the show itself was just goofy, but the band’s...
Got to see awesome German indie band Herrenmagazin in concert on January 27, and was lucky enough to be able to do an interview with them before the show. I’ll post the link to the full article as soon as it’s through redaction! For photos from the concert, check out my album here.
A phenomenon that I apparently missed – last summer, Germany and Austria were swept away by the rapping, ah, talents of a certain “Money Boy.” His revolutionary Denglish-packed DIY rap “Dreh den Swag auf” (Turn the swag up) was so amazingly terrible that over 6.6 million people felt the need to watch it.
It’s February, the month of love! TH fans, leave a comment explaining why you love Tokio Hotel. 10 copies of Bill’s Saturn catalog up for grabs! Contest open worldwide, ends February 14. Please use a valid email address – winners will be contacted via email, and will have 3 days to respond with a shipping address. Cheers!
October 10, 2010 – Die Toten Hosen. Die Toten Hosen are definitely one of my top five favorite bands. They’re like the German Green Day – epic, timeless punk rockers who have been around forever and will probably keep being around forever. Nonetheless, as they rarely tour far from Germany, my own chances to see them were nonexistent until I moved to Berlin. When they announced tour dates in Eastern Europe, I knew I had to seize this opportunity or risk missing them entirely. I bought a ticket...
September 18, 2010 – Silbermond. The Silbermond show in Kamenz, in retrospect, had so much potential for disaster, and yet somehow everything went off with insane perfection. I arrived at the train station of this tiny, boring German town after nightfall. I called the local taxi service. Their one taxi was somewhere outside the city limits. No problem. I looked up and down the street. Two men ambled slowly through the darkness. I inquired in German if they knew the direction of Hutbergbühne.
December 15, 2010. Oh god. It might seem like I start a lot of band encounter reviews with “oh god,” but that’s because these things are the closest to religious catharsis that I ever manage to come.
December 13, 2010. Oh god. I really need to say this – always take chances. It has never let me down. I didn’t really believe the lookalike contest would get me into the showcase, and I didn’t really believe going to stand in front of an embassy in the rain would accomplish anything either. But you have to try things anyway, and more often than not, life rewards you.
December 15, 2010 was a day of legend come to life for Tokio Hotel fans worldwide. The international rock quartet out of Germany finally fulfilled a landmark goal – to perform in their namesake city. Before a few hundred ecstatic fans and the Japanese media, Tokio Hotel played a ten-song showcase in state-of-the-art live house Akasaka Blitz. Frequency International traveled from Berlin to Tokyo to see the long-awaited concert.
“I’m glad to see, my heart beats like this,” sang Leyan frontman Christoph Ecke, twisted over the mic in transports of musical bliss. Frequency International visited Leyan’s Oct. 22 concert at Rosi’s in Berlin, and met the up-and-coming band recently for an interview on hopes and dreams, their next album, and the dynamics of the music industry.
The contrast between pop and rock manifests as soon as Eva Briegel steps to the mic. The waif-like blonde singer fronts German band Juli, who are often branded as pop-rock, but the atmosphere in the venue is worlds away from the hysteria and intensity of a rock concert. Fans sway dreamily, shoulders barely touching, as Briegel leads the audience on a whimsical, dancing journey through a landscape of understated pathos.
Let’s not kid around, I’ve got a soft spot ten million Zentimeter wide for Clueso. This quirky singer-songwriter is basically the Jason Mraz of Germany, except even more wonderfully whimsical and soulful. Which is why his collection of “MTV Eyes On” snippets never gets old.
I completely adore this song, and the production on this vid is so beautiful; love the black and white and the simple acoustic. I’ll be seeing him live in Berlin this December with Kettcar, which should be awesome. “Dreh dich nicht um" translation:
Exciting stuff! The inaugural meeting of our Seattle Street Team went off gloriously; we passed out a ton of flyers and merch, blasted tunes, and talked to passersby and radio DJs about the music. Video coverage:
Hey Leute! I was super stoked to get back in studio last week for the first show of the new season, and for those who didn’t catch the show, we checked out a few brand new artists just making their way onto the German music scene. Cobra Starship helped us out by doing a casting call for German opening bands over at Myspace Band Radar, where they chose the young unsigned trio One Night Stand.
The holiday season is rolling around again, and we all know what that means—shopping madness. Before you buy your mom yet another gift certificate to Bath & Body Works, consider these fun and cheap holiday gift ideas.
Ensconced behind the soundboard in the cozy KWCW studio, it’s easy for a college DJ to imagine that nobody is actually listening. Few Whitties own radio sets, and while friends and family might be persuaded to tune into the webstream on occasion, the studio phones rarely light up. For good reason—KWCW’s largest listener constituency doesn’t have easy access to telephones.
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As March winds chill your bones and roil the skies in a haze of gray, revel in the melancholy for a moment and tune your ears to the sweet sorrow of Swedish folk-pop act First Aid Kit. Consisting of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg, the duo is making inroads in the States and garnering critical acclaim with their second album, The Lion’s Roar, featuring the work of Bright Eyes producer Mike Mogis and vocals from Conor Oberst on penultimate track “King of the World.”
On Sunday, Dec. 4, ASWC Senate heard an appeal from junior Clare Spatola-Knoll, whose request to the Finance Committee for $450 to recreate Lady Gaga’s infamous meat dress with prosciutto and wire had been initially denied. The refusal prompted Spatola-Knoll to rework the proposal and appeal for $100. The appeal was ultimately denied a second time in a 15-3 vote, but not without extensive debate.
It’s a scenario right out of one of the worst nightmares of humanity. Recent blockbuster “The Grey” depicts an oil drilling team and a depressive wolf hunter (Liam Neeson), stranded in Alaska after a plane crash, who are stalked by a malicious pack of wolves. The pack intends to kill and eat every last member of the group. There’s one problem with this thrilling scenario: it’s utterly absurd.
“I didn’t invent the rainy day, man. I just own the best umbrella.” Spoken by big-time A&R rep character Dennis Hope in “Almost Famous,” these words have resounded throughout the years. Major record labels have historically been seen as safe havens, bastions of wealth and influence, with pockets deep enough to support their artists through patches of rough weather. However, in the midst of the relentless erosion of music industry revenues since the advent of online piracy, the number of big...
In 1976, rock legend David Bowie moved to West Berlin, ostensibly to clean up, stop using cocaine and get his life back in order. Why anyone would imagine Berlin to be a suitable rehab center is unclear, but despite considerable stacked odds—the city’s wild hedonism, his hard-partying flatmate Iggy Pop, and the disapproval of label executives who wanted safe, marketable Bowie—the ever-changing star not only managed to rise above the spiral of cocaine addiction, he produced an album that...
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, WEB and Whitman welcomed visiting speaker David Coleman, “The Dating Doctor.” Coleman, a sought-after motivational speaker in the midst of a whirlwind national tour, worked the audience masterfully, illuminating unspoken truths about both sexes that had the room rapt and silent one moment, and in hysterical laughter the next.
Imagine having the freedom to travel the world for a year with a video camera, capturing inspiring footage from a multitude of cultures along the way. For alumnus Teal Greyhavens ’08, the dream became reality when he was awarded a Watson Fellowship to explore cinema across the globe. The film that resulted from his year on the move, “Cinema Is Everywhere,” had its North American premiere on Oct. 22 at the 2011 Austin Film Festival.
Senior Thomas Knook swore in frustration in Harper Joy’s “Black Box” as the actor struggled to enter gun-first through the curtains. The rifle muzzle appeared under the curtain hem and began inching forward. “Navy Seal!” quipped junior Jeremy Howell, director of senior David Otten’s one-act play “Little Brother.”
Before I went to Berlin, I didn’t understand electronic music. Since then, a year’s worth of memories have coded themselves into the beats and sparse melodies of German techno—ecstatic nights tumbling through city streets, the laughter of friends, and the intoxicating lights and shadowy corners of clubs. Over all the DJs we danced to, Paul Kalkbrenner stands supreme.
On Saturday, Oct. 22, Whitman’s three a cappella groups united to fill Cordiner with the wonders of the human voice. The all-female Sirens of Swank joined the co-ed group Schwa, the all-male Testostertones and senior slam poet Dujie Tahat in a charity concert, organized by the Student Health Advisory Council to support local free urgent care clinic S.O.S. Health Services.
On certain Thursday nights, students and community members gather to fall under the storyteller’s spell. The Visiting Writers Reading Series was created to bring writers and poets to the college. These authors, like Carmen Giménez Smith, coming to campus on Thursday, Oct. 20, are the cream of the literary crop.
At the crossroads of culture and musical styles thrives a campus band known as Dabbles in Bloom. The foursome is composed of two Whitman seniors—lead vocalist and guitarist, Adriel Borshansky and vocalist and percussionist, Rimmy Doowa—and two juniors, drummer, Robby Seager and bassist and keyboardist, Jonas Myers.
Bass pulsed through the arid earth. On Saturday, Sept. 10, IDentity Festival turned The Gorge Amphitheatre into a giant subwoofer, the scenic sweep of cliffs vibrating with sonic power. A sea of tie-dye shirts, glistening skin splattered in neon paint, and girls in fishnets and furry backpacks engulfed the breathtaking venue from the crest of the cliffs to the floor of the moshpit. While the ecstatic masses partied, famed DJ and producer Paul Blair, known as White Shadow, took a moment to...
In Whitman’s vibrant liberal arts setting, it’s common to find students who are equally devoted to creative pursuits and the great outdoors. This August, The Pioneer spoke with a musician who embodies this philosophy: Dean de Benedictis, son of 10-time Emmy Award nominee Dick DeBenedictis.
Indie goddess Annie Clark (St. Vincent) played to a captivated crowd on the Reid side lawn. Ranging from headbanded hipsters to leather-clad townsfolk, people flocked to see the delicate, barefooted songstress famed for working with artists like Sufjan Stevens and Bon Iver. The singer’s ethereal voice and guitar work, backed by interwoven keys and massive drums, drew an enthusiastic reception.
There is a striking new jewel on campus where the bland façade of Harper Joy Theatre used to stand. The hub of Whitman’s drama community underwent extensive remodeling over the summer. An expansive glass entrance leads the visitor into Harper Joy’s chambered heart. Whitman’s Garrett Professor of Dramatic Art, Nancy Simon, took a moment before leaving on sabbatical to London to explain the changes, most noticeably, the addition of a newer, larger “black box” theatre.
For most Whitties, September is time to settle down in Walla Walla, but for resident rockers Plateau, life on the road rages on. The Pioneer called the band members as they were heading to a Friday concert at the Emerald Downs racetrack in Auburn, Wash.
You can’t play rock music in an ivory tower. This cliché is drilled into pop culture by bands like Green Day: bands who drop out of, never enter, or otherwise flee the world of academia and stake their lives in music. Despite this, Whitman harbors an astoundingly vibrant scene of bands and musicians who balance demanding course loads with creativity and intense dedication to their art.
Though Whitman students may be stuck in the library’s silent reading room for the next couple weeks, there is a sound at the end of the tunnel: the end of the semester and the start of summer concert season. Before escaping Walla Walla, students will have the opportunity to catch indie band Los Campesinos! with support act No Age tonight, May 6, in Reid.
At the dwindling of East to West Main Street, stashed away above Tallman’s Camera Shop, there hides an art gallery. You will probably not find it, unless you already know it’s there. As I ascended the steps to the Museum of Un-Natural History, I was greeted by a leering cow skull atop a segmented mannequin, holding a parasol. Edging past this frightening doorman, I entered the museum’s Black Door Gallery, home to the quirky and brash works of Gerald Matthews, artist and owner.
“We’re all kind of living in the moment right now,” said junior Matt Bachmann, bassist for Chicago band The Dogs, summing up the wave of publicity the band’s been experiencing in the wake of their last album, Free Write. “We were just featured in Chicaco Deli Magazine,” said Bachmann. “Deli Magazine, there’s eight of them basically, one in Chicago, New York, LA, San Francisco, New England . . . they wrote us up last year and they wrote us up again this year, and we got nominated for Artist...
They rock your campus parties. They rehearse in your buildings. They cruise your quiet streets in a vast, suspicious beige van full of instruments and equipment. They are Plateau, and with the release of their self-titled album, we met the band in the KWCW studio to discuss the record, the touring experience and that sketchy vehicle.
Tonight, Thursday, April 15, at 7 p.m., Whitman will see award-winning poet, writer and filmmaker Sherman Alexie visit campus for the latest event in the Visiting Writers Series and National Poetry Month. The prominent poet’s appearance has been booked in place of the series’s usual Walt Whitman Lecture, a change that has sparked excitement among students and faculty.
Last October, The Pioneer spoke to the owner of Aloha Sushi, Paul Mobley about his plans to expand the sushi restaurant with the addition of a lounge and bar. Half a year later, his dreams of Japanese game shows, karaoke nights and a hip nightlife vibe have yet to materialize.
David Biespiel opened his Friday, April 2, poetry reading on the Visiting Writers circuit with an unusual move: reading aloud a sampling of his favorite poems from other authors. He started with poems by Tess Gallagher, Whitman’s own Katrina Roberts, associate professor of English and creative writing, and others.
As February rolled into March, the sun was shining, the flowers budding, but the Testostertones were not outside to see it. The members of Whitman’s all-male a cappella group were sequestered below ground in a makeshift basement studio, bringing their own project to life. For the first time in several years, the vocal group is releasing a new album and recently finished the strenuous recording sessions.
On Saturday, Feb. 27, Jewett Dining Hall was packed with students and community members, its 210 seats filled with enthusiastic feasters. The latest incarnation of the International Students and Friends Club (ISFC) International Banquet was a resounding success, with sold-out tickets and a multitude of student performers.
On Tuesday, March 2, the release of 'Almost Alice,' the groundbreaking companion album to Tim Burton’s new movie “Alice in Wonderland,” showed the world yet another aspect of his artistic vision. 'Almost Alice' is rare among film albums in that it is not a soundtrack: Tim Burton’s longtime musical partner Danny Elfman scored the film, but for the companion album, Burton chose to seek out and commission a wide range of the music industry’s strongest young artists for a collection of songs...
For Whitman’s senior music majors, the beginning of spring heralds the opening of their most critical season. As numerous senior recitals and the music department’s annual composers concert will take place over the next few weeks, students will perform their own works and the works of others as they strive to complete their degrees. Faculty Music Assistant Kristin Vining-Stauffer explained the importance of this culminating event for the music majors.
When tickets to the One-Act Play Contest sold out in two days, there were many less-than-joyful students left waiting at Harper Joy Theatre. “I know a ton of people that wanted to get tickets to the show and weren’t able to,” said senior Galen Cobb, scriptwriter of “Ferrets of my Heartbroken Past.” “The last dress rehearsal was packed with a lot of my friends, because it was so difficult to get tickets: the box office is open at inconvenient times for people with classes, and it’s such a...
As the joke runs, Whitman wildlife is mostly ducks and squirrels. Fortunately, we also have a Dog. Junior Matt Bachmann is the bassist and supporting vocalist for Chicago-based band The Dogs: a group that knows what beastly good music is all about. The band, comprising Peter Walters on guitar and lead vocals, James Krivchenia on guitar, vocals, percussion and production, Rivkah Gevinson on vocals, and Bachmann on bass and vocals, grew up playing music together in Chicago and formed The Dogs...
Seniors at Whitman may recall the concert during their first year when Flogging Molly performed live here on campus. This spring, the band is still touring, but the closest they’re coming to Whitman is Tempe, Ariz. While Whitman still enjoys a wide range of programming events, the generally lower profiles of artists such as Point Juncture, WA and Menomena raise the question of what has changed since the days of concerts from the likes of Maroon 5 and Guster.
The outstanding quality of submissions to last year’s “blue moon,” volume 22, recently secured the magazine a major distinction when, in late December, it won the Columbia Scholastic Press Association‘s Gold Medal award, and advanced as a finalist with approximately 15 other publications in the running for CSPA’s prestigious Gold Crown. The magazine’s editors stressed that the success of the volume came primarily from the excellence in and number of submissions, which were due one year ago...
When Rolling Stone proclaimed Adam Lambert “the Wild Idol” six months ago, the American Idol runner-up had a lot to live up to. Since then, he has continued to earn the name, throughout the summer Idols Tour and with the Nov. 23 release of his new album, For Your Entertainment.
You walk into the living room of the German House, into the Sig basement. The black lights hit your clothing and you meld into the glowing, leaping crowd. For the next few hours you can forget about going to school in the middle of a wheat field. You’ve entered a scene lifted straight from an urban rave.
We don’t like it when people steal our stuff. The outrage and fear on campus, following the recent spate of laptop thefts, testifies to that. Such reactions are understandable. A laptop holds a student’s work, the labor of one’s mind: one’s livelihood as a student. Few of us would ever condone stealing someone’s labor and livelihood.
As mass hysteria swept the world following the release of “New Moon,” the second film in the Twilight franchise, even Whitman’s legendary bubble was caught up in the wave of excitement. A survey asking Whitman students about the film showed that 41 percent had decided to see it, 44 percent had decided to skip it and 15 percent were unresolved. Some respondents were decidedly more enthusiastic in their responses than others.
A couple weekends ago, I was held prisoner in the basement of the Palace. On that typical Whitman Saturday, there were about five events going on. I needed to move to the next party. But as student band King Friday played through a set, I was too captivated to leave. It’s hard to pin down the appeal of this band, because their style eludes neat categorizations. King Friday, comprising sophomores Matthew Sweeney and Alex Folkerth, first-year Boris Sagal and junior Bailey Arango, joined me...
Pizza lovers, make sure you’re sitting down. Pizza Pipeline is new in town, and is bringing you more pizza than you can handle. Its largest pizza measures in at a glorious 26-inch diameter. “It’ll just barely fit through a conventional door,” said pizza driver Nate Shewchuk. Pizza Pipeline, located at 1423 Plaza Way, opened its Walla Walla location approximately six months ago.
The Divertimento Baroque Opera Company, directed and conducted by junior Jackson Maberry, does not fit anyone’s stereotype of opera. In their recent performance of Henry Purcell’s “Dido and Aeneas,” nobody was having histrionics and there was no formal acting or theatrical staging. Rather, it was completely about the music: in all its stripped-down, beautiful elegance. Most astoundingly, the opera company and its production are entirely student-run.
This film depicts Daniel Brühl shirtless. The review could probably stop right there. But if your brain is up to processing two things at once, you’ll also notice that “The Edukators” (“Die fetten Jahre sind vorbei”) is packed with powerful social themes. We are thrown into the lives of three young leftists living in modern Berlin. Renegade best friends Jan and Peter (Daniel Brühl and Stipe Erceg) fight their personal war against the capitalist establishment by breaking into opulent homes and...
As the Visiting Writers series began its second event this year, English department students and faculty alike awaited the arrival of literary figure Lydia Davis. Renowned for her short stories, the influential author and professor read excerpts from her work in Kimball Auditorium on Monday, Nov. 2.
The unexpected rightness of this album hits the listener like a bus full of tranquilizers. From the very beginning of the opening title track, we are seized and quieted by the huge, diverse instrumentation. The blend of drums, orchestral layers and guitars at times overpowers frontman Charlie Fink’s vocals. His sparse, reductionist voice: reminiscent of Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody: is the kind of voice that would be better paired with a single acoustic guitar.
If you saw “Juno,” you’ll remember lead actress Ellen Page as hilarious, quirky and immensely lovable and sympathetic, so it’s a bit shocking to see her twist those qualities in “Hard Candy.” Her character Hayley remains entertaining, intelligent and compelling, but also cruel and lethal.
Director Chris Petit is a man with a vision. “You want to make that more of a struggle,” he says to Lady Capulet, portrayed by sophomore Caitlin Goldie, as her husband, senior Spenser Meeks, pulls her away from her daughter’s still form. At rehearsals for Whitman’s production of Romeo and Juliet, the cast and crew wrestled with details while I huddled in the back row with sophomore props technician Niccole Cluff and talked shop.
With the closing of local café Wildberries, located just off Main Street, neighboring Aloha Sushi Bar seized the chance to expand its premises and offer Walla Walla a new nightlife opportunity. The old café will be connected to Aloha Sushi and will be called the Longboard Lounge. Aloha Sushi owner Paul Mobley is excited by the opportunity to expand, and was eager to share his plans for the new bar.
Wake up, September has ended. It’s now Rocktober, that magical month of fabulous new music. With the economy still lurking in the dumpster, you don’t want to be wasting your funds on crummy albums. For inspiration, check out this guide to the best four releases of the past week, and an overview of promising music for the rest of the month.
You're getting ready to finish up your English degree. If you're writing a thesis, you're facing an important question: would you rather write seventy pages on a critical analysis of James Joyce, or seventy pages of your own short stories?
Whitman Snapshot Number Eleven. You lie sprawled with fifteen of your best friends across the couches of your first-year dorm. People alternately sniffle and sing along, as Simba and Nala romp through a twilit glade.