This beautiful piece of music was released when I was stuck in a particularly hopeless love affair and I listened to it oh so many times, feeling happy that – even if not the guy in question – at least somebody understood how I felt. Three years later, this affair is a thing of the past and life is generally pretty good. However, sometimes I still feel that for every step I take in the right direction, I take two steps back. The gloomy weather is not particularly helping me fight this autumn blues. But luckily, two days from now I will be sitting on a plane towards Argentina. I am done feeling emo. Spring is coming!
Here’s to old friends and new ones.
Do you know that feeling of mellow summer evenings that are picture perfect thanks to the sun setting beautifully over the sound of the sea – but still you can’t help but feeling a little blue?
A couple weeks ago, I set out for a roadtrip with my (sometimes very difficult) grandmother. I drove all the way from Austria to Croatia via Bosnia to visit some family.
I was exhausted from another fight with my grandmother and a bit hungover from too much wine from the night before. And there it was: Watching the quiet sea from our private patio, I suddenly had a heavy heart. Luckily I have the whole “Born to Die – Paradise” album by the queen of Summertime Sadness – Lana del Rey – on my phone and could just enjoy my melancholic sadness for a few hours, until the world looked brighter again. The perfect soundtrack for some emo girl road trippin’.
I hear the birds on the summer breeze,
I drive fast, I am alone at midnight.
Been tryin’ hard not to get into trouble,
But I, I’ve got a war in my mind.
I just ride.
My favourite season is in full swing and I have plenty of cool things planned for the weeks ahead: Horseback riding for the first time in more than a decade in the Austrian countryside, visiting distant family in Bosnia for the first time in 17 years and taking my motorbike license – just to name a few. Hell yes!
Of course, every summer needs its soundtrack. However, I haven’t stumbled upon a really fantastic summer song this year so far. Luckily, this summery tune from 2010, featuring Best Coast and beloved Vampire Weekend, never fails to get me in the perfect mood – even on long winter nights.
Alex Turner is one of my ultimate rockstar crushes. Not only because he is handsome af, but also because he writes some of the most beautiful lyrics of our time.
Last Monday, I went to the movies followed by some drinks with my brother in Vienna. It was getting late and I was not sure if it was worth waiting for ages for the last tram, so I decided to walk home through Vienna’s beautiful, beautiful city center.
It was dark and rainy outside and the streets were completely empty. I had the whole inner city to myself and was once again mesmerised by the nostalgic elegance that is so typical for Vienna. And there couldn’t have been a better soundtrack for this gloomy walk than the “Submarine” EP by said Mr. Turner.
Submarine is one of my favourite movies (Coming-of-Age + Indie Music + British School Uniforms = <3) and the sweet melancholy of the soundtrack made me fall in love with Alex Turner a bit more.
I listen to it a lot when I feel a bit wistful, and this song is my absolute favourite from the album. Here’s the acoustic version – enjoy.
One of my favourite artists of all time is without a doubt Leslie Feist. I have been hooked by her sweet melodies and soft voice ever since I first heard this song ten years ago (Ten years?? I suddenly feel so old!). Feist has kept me good company through many adventures, ups and downs during all those years. And while I listen to her not as often as I used to these days, this (and many other) song always brings a smile to my face! Happy Monday!
PS: I also just remembered that at some point in my late-teenage life, I copied Feist’s glorious idea of paint-on-necklaces…
I have been in love with Alt-J ever since I first found out about them. But I never really listened to their music much – until I went to Asia. It turned out that their songs are the perfect soundscape for the endless hours spent on the local train and busses. Particularly the song Taro, with its cute little Asian-inspired melody, blended in perfectly with the sceneries of Sri Lanka and Myanmar.
I was so excited to finally seeing them play live at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona a few weeks ago. The show was not half as good as I expected, but I still enjoyed it and was super happy when they played this very song. It’s always one of the best moments when a band you really like plays your favourite song on the stage and it brings back a ton of good memories. Well ok, Alt-J have only released two albums so far, so the chances of them playing Taro were pretty high to begin with… But I was still more than happy to hear my favourite tune and to think back to some exciting Sri Lankan train rides.
And in case you’re wondering: The song is about war photographer Gerda Taro.
Before starting a big series of posts about my trips to Sri Lanka and Myanmar, I want to jump forward a bit and tell you more about my second time at Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. Because a little bit of rock’n’roll never hurts…
Primavera Sound takes place right in the center of Barcelona (well, the Forum is a bit north, but it still is very central) and I guess is somewhat the European equivalent to Coachella. The cool kids from all over Europe fly in for the three day (or rather: night) festival that features a pretty eclectic line-up with a seaview. And while the line-up was pretty good, it could not compare to the 2014 edition – at least in my opinion. There were still a few names which I was dying to see (again) and I really, really enjoyed my time at PS14, so I just knew I had to come back – even if that meant cutting my trip to Asia a bit shorter.
Of course, Barcelona is always a good idea and I actually really love that they do not offer a camping option. This means that you have to find some sort of accomodation in the city, ergo the whole experience can get quite expensive. And even if this might sound a bit arrogant: I am pretty happy that this automatically excludes tons of drunk teenagers. Not that the adult crowd (I would say that the average age range is 25 – 35) doesn’t get any less wasted. But getting smashed around people your own age just feels so much nicer and civilised ;)
Unless – like me – you are lucky to have a good friend with a nice and spacious flat in downtown Barca (hi, Alica <3), I highly recommend getting an AirBnB close to the beach. Because there is no better way to cure a hangover than jumping into the fresh waves and taking a nap on the beach between a big tapas session. A terrace (quite common in Barcelona) is a big plus for some pre-festival brunch and Gin and Tonics.
Maybe the best part about Primavera Sound is how smooth and easy everything goes down: You can take the tram to the festival site, walk a few meters (just enough time to finish your mix of Gin and Tonic that you brought along, in case you got thirsty on the tram…) and obtain your wristband in just a few minutes. Yes, that’s right: Even at peak times, the queue moves super fast. I don’t know how many precious hours of my life I have wasted queuing for wristbands at festivals, so this was a really fresh and nice surprise. And this kind of vibe continues throughout the entire festival site, all night long: You usually never have to wait unbearably long at the bars or the loos either – even at the big stages. Anybody who had to hold it down for hours because their favourite band was playing and queueing for thirty minutes at the loos just wasn’t an option will know why this is so important…
You can also easily walk from stage to stage within a couple of minutes and are always sure to secure a good spot, even if you are late and a concert has already started. So there never is the sort of annoying rush to make it from one stage to the next right in time that I have experienced at other festivals.
But let’s finally talk about music now. It’s always hard to nail down THE best concert after having seen so many bands, but Chet Faker was a definite favourite. The whole concert was totally not what I expected – but in a good way (as in: less boring kissy-kissy couples and more smooth dancing with your friends and strangers alike). I went to see the gig with a girlfriend of mine and we decided that some of the songs felt like making love to Chet Faker (Chet, if you are reading this, PLEASE GET IN TOUCH, because I REALLY think we should make lots of love and babies).
Speaking of hot musicians: Interpol were also some freaking handsome bastards – I went with another girlfriend of mine and we almost couldn’t believe the hotness of those guys, even after so many years of rocking and rolling. Bonus: The gig was pretty good and we had quite a good spot (even though they didn’t play “Lights”, my favourite song – boo). I am a really big fan of their music and have been so for more than a decade, and yet never had a chance to see them live, so I was one happy girl.
Another band I was looking forward to most were definitely The Strokes. After all, their tunes make up for a big part of the soundtrack to my teenage years and I was looking forward to seeing how they evolved since I last saw them in 2006. However, judging by his looks, Julian Casablancas, aka the man formerly known as the hottest guy in rock music, seems to be in a serious midlife crises and he also didn’t seem to be particularly excited about headlining one of Europe’s biggest festivals. However, it did feel pretty great when everybody went mad during the first notes of modern classics such as Last Nite or Hard to Explain. It felt like everybody just had a massive throwback to their younger years and I just loved to go crazy for some Indie-disco-dancing. Because: Once an Indie girl, always an Indie girl…
Another act I was REALLY looking forward to seeing were Alt-J – especially since I never got a chance to see them AND as I listened A LOT to their first album during my recent trip to Asia (particularly Taro <3 ). While they were still good, I was expecting a lot more of dancey craziness for this gig. So I was not super duper happy when most of the songs actually sounded kind of the same as on the albums and when there was a pretty weedy-vibe going on in the audience.
But I guess the true highlight of the festival was Patti Smith and Band playing Horses. Oh, what an icon!! Even at the age of 68 and forty (!) years after the album was first released, she is still a real badass and the true “Godmother of Punk”. Her presence on stage is beyond words and gave me goosebumps so many times. She also seemed to be honestly excited about being on the road again (she explained that PS15 was the first stop of their current tour) and about the tons of young people who came out early to see her. I just wish I had a brought some weed, as it sometimes felt like a real flashback to the Seventies (not that I have idea what the Seventies were like, but I hope you get the idea). And in case you are living behind the moon and haven’t done it yet: “Just Kids” is a truly fantastic book that everybody should read it!!
And before this turns into one of those eternal articles that nobody is ever going to finish, here are some of the other acts I saw (I least bits and pieces of their gigs): my teenage-girlpower-icon Tori Amos, Ratatat, James Blake and Caribou (I have seen both of them previously and they are both so soo good live!), Julian Casablancas and the Voidz (boo), Anthony and the Johnsons and Foxygen (I think I will just never get into those guys), Ariel Pink and Run The Jewels (both not as good as expected), Damien Rice (big surprise, big love), Mac Demarco, Richie Hawtin…
But of course, not everything is perfect at Primavera:
The beer – Heineken, of course – really was just yellow water with some foam on top. This is often the case at such events, but I was shocked by the liters of beer I drank there without feeling drunk at all (instead I just felt super full and had to pee all the time. Thanks for nothing, Heineken).
The people – as this is also the case at many festivals – often tend to not be super into the concerts. It’s a bit lame to see an all-time favourite band of yours and totally going crazy while the people around you don’t share your euphoria…
Also, the sound really could be better at most stages!
As I mentioned earlier, music-wise the festival was definitely a lot less exciting than in 2014 – which is a bit disappointing considering it was their 15th anniversary edition. Yet, the whole vibe and the organisation were just as smooth as last year, and I still can’t really complain about the acts I saw this year, so I still definitely recommended this festival. AND Barcelona is really always worth a visit as well. So now let’s just hope for a REALLY good line-up again next year and then see you all the #PS16 :)
Today, I am leaving Paris. Maybe not for good, but at least for some time. Phoenix has been one of my long-time favourite bands, and I associate their sound so much with my Parisian life and the people in it. One of my highlights was seeing them live at la Cigale in 2013. Phoenix usually play the biggest stadiums, so being able to see them at this intimate venue was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that definitely made it into the Top Five of my favourite concerts (even though I am unable to choose the other four – there are just too many of them). The concert took place just days before my entire life as I knew it fell apart and clearly marks the end of an era for me. And today it’s officially time to turn the page and to make new memories. Au revoir, Paris!
(Ok in fact it was super hard to choose just one song, because I basically link the entire Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and Bankrupt! albums to my Paris-experience. Of course, Consolation Prizes – my secret favourite – and the eternal classic If I ever feel better should not be forgotten either.)
I had the blankest year
I saw life turn into a tv show
It was totally weird
The person I knew
I didn’t really know
Oh fuck it, I’m gonna have a party!
This has been one of my favourite songs in the world ever since it was first released ten years ago. In 2006, I saw them play at a festival and remember dancing to this song with my friend Gudrun, having the time of our lives. This was the summer after we graduated from high school and life felt like an endless party.
Ten years later, however, this song describes my situation better than ever: I do feel as if my life had turned into a TV show and it’s NOT a good thing. Less like a sitcom, but something more on the dramatic side. Think Dawson’s Creek meets Grey’s Anatomy. I am so very tired of all this drama now and am more than excited to leave for my big trip in ten days, leaving it all behind. Because: Fuck it, I’m gonna have a party!