My love affair with Tanning Bats stretches back two years. As a rejected expat from the Netherlands, I set my sights on Berlin and, in between packing my bags and generally freaking out as to how to find an apartment, I scoured the interwebs for local Berlin bands. There were three I wanted to get to know in Berlin: Father Midnight, RYL and Ringo Starwars. Shortly after my arrival, I checked out Ringo Starwars over at Zukunft am Ostkreuz. Their energetic and explosive set helped to reassure me that I chose the right city.
Since that fateful, night two years ago, Ringo Starwars has changed their name to Tanning Bats, but their musical quality, consistent local performances, and professional growth has been remarkably consistent. On June 6th, they celebrate their first vinyl release party out at Urban Spree. The night is curated by Berlin’s young and innovative Baby Satan Records and includes a performance by Berlin’s nunofyrbeeswax, the debut release from Tel Aviv’s Avishag Cohen Rodrigues (the epic guitarist from Ryskinder) and a DJ set from 8MM Bar heartthrob, Peter Magnüm. Rumor has it that there are some more surprises planned that night to release the record with style. Have a listen to On The Assembly Line Of Heads for yourself and join us for a very special night. I promise that you’re in for a treat.
Enough about the context, you say. What about the music?
If you’re unfamiliar with Tanning Bats, they’ve crafted a sound with the rawness of garage, the groove of funk, fun-factor of surf, and the ear worm hooks of a pop record. Their opening track ‘Glutenfrei‘ opens with a bang. Some writer once described them as ‘a semi-automatic in the night’ (spoiler: that was me), and this track is no exception. Thomi’s drumming is potent and precise, Rob’s walking bass line keeps us moving, and Assaf shreds his guitar while singing expressive lyrics. All of this sounds fun enough, but a close listener will hear larger, existential themes, such as freedom and the beginning of World War III.
The record continues on like a high-octane-fueled Mustang; both acoustically pleasing, while packing some serious muscle under the hood. In ‘Cases of Emergency’ part 1 and part 2, it’s like someone flooded the engine with nitrous oxide. These two short, complimentary tracks are ecstatic and deeply meaningful. The lyrics seem to critique a droning repetitiveness within our modern society and condemn the dystopian industrial complex which runs our economy and ultimately our lives.
In an album full of short, explosive tracks in the vein of punk, the closing track, ‘Sheva Leilot,’ takes its time. The title translates to ‘seven nights’ in Hebrew and is exactly seven minutes long. Coincidence? Perhaps. In any case, the long, windy track weaves its way through your head like a mini-psychedelic trip, giving closure and depth to compliment the sheer power of the album.
Tanning Bats should be proud of themselves for the lengths they’ve come, but the future shows no signs of stopping. They recently played in the Netherlands and will be in Sczcecin (PL), Hamburg and Leipzig following the release party, so show your support for these local heroes by joining us on Thursday night. Bis dann!