Focus on: Germany, with No Weather Talks

Germany has a thriving DIY music scene, with squats, youth centre spaces and bars/clubs across the country putting on excellent gigs featuring bands from all over the world and, of course, with a strong backbone of local talent. One of the bands currently making waves outside of the country is Hamburg’s No Weather Talks.

Having played at The Fest in Gainesville a couple of times and toured across most of Europe over the past few years, it’s surprising they’ve found the time to record their debut LP, which is out later this year on Gunner Records.

Any Fifth Hour Hero fans will find a new favourite band in No Weather Talks. Gritty and poppy in equal measure, the five-piece have the whole melodic punk rock thing down to a tee. We asked guitarist Jens to pick some of his favourite German bands, and he did just that.

First off, let me start with a disclaimer. It‘s been a tough one selecting the five bands that I’m going to write about, and I’m sure several things influenced my decisions. Like, I picked bands that I know aren’t just great bands, but also great people. But that’s just kind of a coincidence, they’re all great music-wise. And I kind of limited my radar to ‘bands currently active” and “melodic punk rock or hardcore, no metal, no ambient, no indie”, because that would have thrown so many bands in the game I could’ve never decided on five of them.

So, I tried to choose five bands that I love and roughly hit the same vein musically that our own band does. Well – at least in my opinion, listeners might disagree here.

I also should point out that this list was put together by me (Jens) alone, since most of my dude/ttes are currently shooting the shit all over the planet, but I guess most of the others wouldn’t disagree with the bands I’ve chosen.

Grand Griffon

First off is a band that might be a little bit difficult to listen to for some people reading this, because they do sing in German. I think there haven’t been many bands rising to international recognition doing this, also not on a DIY punk/hardcore level. Swedish-singing punk bands might tour all the time and everybody listens to them while usually not understanding a single word. German, or whatever, French bands, just don’t, for some reason. Well, the thing about Grand Griffon is, they got it all: There’s melodic hardcore (even some youth crew parts thrown in here and there) with a neat sense for dark melodies, great hooks, great lyrics – and the energy is just outstanding. The band is kind of made up from some ex-members of similar German-language outfit Escapado, whose debut album “Hinter Den Spiegeln” I consider one of the, maybe the best emotional/melodic/screamo hardcore record ever done in German language. Now, on their second album, “Mattachine”, GG manage to reach that same level of intensity in their songwriting, while clearly remaining another band with influences of their own – and not just Escapado reborn. “Mattachine” was released by Zeitstrafe Records in August 2014. They don’t play live so often because they’re busy dudes and some are rather old and got kids and stuff. I just wish people outside of Germany could get to see them and dig how awesome they are.

Irish Handcuffs

These gentlemen have been our tour mates for our recent euro tour, and of course, I have to write about them here because they are the sweetest band ever and we love them to death. Irish Handcuffs from Regensburg were kind of born out of the ashes of a band called Red Tape Parade that toured around quite a bit. So, they’re mostly older scenesters, simply playing the music they’ve always loved to listen to themselves. No experiments here sound-wise, just simple, straight good ol’punk rock. IH aren’t the best band in the world – but what makes them truly great is, they aren’t even trying. They’re just rocking out. Throw in some No Idea Records bands, some Fat Wreck, some Leatherface and wash it down with some beers and whiskey, you get the picture. Since our tour together, I’ve spent quite some time listening to their newly recorded LP, “Hits close to home”. The LP was co-released by Shield Recordings and Fond Of Life Records, in November last year. Some first tunes are floating out there on the internet for your first audio pleasure. All lovers of straight up 90s emo/punk rock should get a copy of the record, grab a beer and join the party.

Hysterese

These four people from Tübingen (near Stuttgart, in the south of Germany) also happened to be touring buddies of ours. We toured south-eastern Europe all the way down to Turkey with these cuties. It was a long tour, so Hysterese might be the band I saw play live the most, because I watched them every single night. They released two self-titled LPs, the most recent one came out on Sabotage Records last summer. Hysterese are another “no experiments” band, meaning that their songs are mostly stripped down to the basics, both guitars blasting simple power chord riffs over upbeat drums, but always with a great sense for harmony in there. Talking about harmony, the guitarists’ dual male/female vocals are what makes their sound really stand out. Both vocalists clearly have “their songs” but they both do a lot of singing at the same time, not just in choruses, and they pull of such a great job, you’ll get an “all killer, no filler” deal here. Catchy but not in a poppy way, the fast songs can be kinda brutal, but not Oi!-like or shit. With bands like them around, I got no worries about the near future of punk rock.

The Dimensions

Hailing from Cologne, these three dudes are out there to show that Germans actually can pull off three-piece, English-language punk rock bands and be good at it. Not too many positive examples in the past, or well, you’re invited to prove me wrong. Now there’s a whole bunch of good three pieces, also make sure to check out Modern Saints from Bielefeld or Rollergirls from Darmstadt if that’s your thing. Dimensions haven’t released new stuff in a while but I believe they recently recorded some new stuff so we’ll surely get new ear candy soon. Their album “Antelopes” was released by Zeitstrafe Records in 2012 (same label that recently put out the Grand Griffon LP). I’m not absolutely sure, but they might be the only band on that label singing in English right now. Boy, these dudes have been around for a while! And they’ve toured all over the place so chance is that you’ve seen them at some DIY ditch even if you don’t live in Germany. I can’t really write about the music, it’s all no rocket science. Bass, guitar, drums, gnarly singing, that’s it. And, did I mention before, some beer drinking won’t go amiss.

The Tidal Sleep

Did I say I’m only going to write about melodic punk/hc bands here? Well, here’s the exception from the rule. I picked The Tidal Sleep because they are one of the bands that I saw live for the first time last year and they floored me totally. They’ve been around for a while (since 2011, I believe) and they got some records and did a bunch tours, even with bigger bands, like Defeater, or whatever. Their new LP “Vorstellungskraft” was released in summer 2014 by This Charming Man Records. While the title is in German, they do sing in English. It’s hard to pin a certain genre on this band. Tidal Sleep clearly function in a hardcore environment – especially with what people usually call “modern hardcore”. But then again, it’s so much more. Guitar-effect-fuelled sound landscapes are brooding all over the place, a lot of mid-90s screamo is thrown in the mix but also indie and rather calm moments are never far off the radar. These dudes show that even tough you’ve been doing your thang for a while, it’s always possible and never a bad idea to push your limits some more.

Now go follow No Weather Talks here: https://www.facebook.com/noweathertalks

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