Newcomers White are set to release new single Living Fiction on Friday (4 March), while they kicked the new month's off rounding up their current UK tour playing Brighton's Green Door Store tonight (1 March, followed by London's The Brewhouse (2) and Birmingham's Rainbow Cellar (3). With this action going on they've made us a plays of songs they thing could be "Eastern Bloc Anthems". "Our playlist theme is Eastern Bloc - music that could have rattled round the brutalist high-rise estates of Leipzig or Warszawa," they explain. "Songs of The Wall and songs of the unhinged, pharmaceuticals-fuelled citizens in the City That Really, Really Never Slept, West Berlin."
David Bowie – Sons Of The Silent Age Leo Condie (singer): "The dreamlike, sci-fi ballad of alienation at the heart of that urtext of West-meets-East music, David Bowie's "Heroes" LP. The lines are burrowed in my mind, the listlessness of the 'sons' who "stand on platforms, blank looks and notebooks". It's a paean to ennui, a tale of sexless outsiders from the very man who made the outsider attractive. I love the music, the obtuse, shifting major chords, each one feeling like another right-turn down another side-street."
Ben Klock – Subzero Kirstin Lynn (drums): "Berlin-born and resident DJ at the infamous Berghain, we couldn't possibly put together a playlist with this title without honouring one of the best and most talked about clubs in the world. The thudding kick drum and deep, dirty bass of Klock's emporium depicts escapism with each pulse. Best enjoyed well after dark, the undulating ripples of electronica in this track can only lead you to the dance floor, our second favourite place after the stage."
Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds – Your Funeral My Trial Hamish Fingland (guitar): "Bored and feeling like outcasts, The Birthday Party left London for Berlin in the hope of finding a more free-thinking place to make their art. Nick Cave stayed for most of the '80s, which quickly saw the birth of the The Bad Seeds, and it was where he met Blixa Bargeld, a key figure in the band's sound. I love this track so much. Its beautiful haunting atmosphere just oozes exactly what I imagine life was like. He often talks of how he would write all day then go drink all night, not sleep and go straight in to his office to write again. You can hear excess all over this track, in fact over the whole album – which goes under the same title). It's a perfect mess. With tracks like The Carny and Stranger Than Kindness, it's magical. Watch Wim Wenders' feature film, "Wings of Desire" a stunning portrayal of post-punk Berlin life which has this period's Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds playing in an underground club."
Oppenheimer Analysis - Men In White Coats LC: "From straight out of the 80s minimal wave movement, a subgenre that sounded like it was entirely recorded on the sort of equipment you'd use to examine radioactive tissue in a laboratory. And with a suitably sciency name, Oppenheimer Analysis regularly scratch my bleep-bloop monosynth itch. Those icy, icy square waves, the lyrics laden with Cold War dread, and that perfect, artless, androgynous vocal. Though nothing in that description would explain why, I find this stuff strangely comforting."
Peaches – Fuck The Pain Away KL: "Massively inspired by Berlin, so much so that she relocated there and signed the record deal that allowed her to nail the album that birthed this track, Peaches is a one-of-a-kind performer that has an all-or-nothing attitude that I love. This is probably her most famous track, and it famously never gets old for me. The hypnotic rhythm of the lyrics, grinding synths and thrusting crash cymbals tear up any party and showcase the explosive Canadian at her best."
Iggy Pop – Night Clubbing HF: "A classic from Iggy's debut solo record The Idiot, co-written and recorded with David Bowie. Bowie calls this album the opener of his "Berlin Trilogy". I love the sleaze and dirt in it. The raw vocal works so well against the long dirge-y synths. I am such a sucker for nasty industrial synth sounds, let alone the beats on this track. I feel like I'm in some industrial wasteland surrounded by freaks and neon lights. The amount of times I have tried to write a track with a tacky drum machine inspired by Nightclubbing and try to make it sound as good as this is ridiculous. I am still trying. What a song."
Tiefschwart (ft Mattie Safer) – Warning Siren (currently not streaming) KL: "The luscious dance-punk of this track and all night hedonism, captures the spirit of the party animal that helped glue Post-Wall Berlin back together again. Berlin residents Tiefschwarz were later than the direct aftermath that sparked up techno-fuelled debauchery in abandoned buildings all over the city, but the deep-house duo have gone on to flourish with the continuation of this culture. First introduced to me at Glasgow's Optimo, where I was beamed in on a friend's ID, this collaboration between The Schwarz brothers and former member of The Rapture is a time, a place, and one hell of a lot of glitch."
Young Fathers – Shame HF: "This is a band who really excite me. Locked in a basement in Berlin they came out with White Men Are Black Too, their follow up to one of my favourite records, Dead. It's just lazy to simply call these guys a hip hop act. There's so much more to it. The detuned synths, cracking-up organs and intense groove sound like something that could be influenced by Suicide's Ghost Rider. The way they use different percussive sounds and their voices for the rhythm give the track a unique identity. There's a gang feeling that these guys are genuinely tight that you can hear in the spirit of the vocals. I feel this lifts the listener to a new place. It'll takes any party to a new level if you put it on in Glasgow."
Gisela May – Vom ertrunkenen Mädchen LC: "Apparently Bertolt Brecht used to break out this little ditty as a show-stopper at German parties in the 20s. In that sense, and in no other, the Wonderwall of its day. A chilling song that describes in grisly detail the journey of a corpse - based on the murder of the revolutionary, Rosa Luxembourg – down a river, and delivered in a perfect, matter-of-fact manner by Gisela May, extraordinary for the lack of anger, sadness... and yet this makes it all the more devastating. The fatalism of the girl who 'slipped from God's thoughts.' Hearing this made a naive young me realise the darkness in the songs of PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, etc was not a recent phenomenon at all, just the latest in a long line of songs stretching back to anonymous folk ballads and beyond."
For more head to Calledwhite.com