17 Hippies: Phantom Songs (Hipster)

 |   |  <1 min read

17 Hippies: Blumen im Glas
17 Hippies: Phantom Songs (Hipster)

Not the most promising band name in these tougher times, but this multi-lingual German neo-folk outfit (which played the Taranaki Womad this year) don't go the 20-minute guitar solo route, but rather their name reflects their origins in a Berlin squat and their collective mentality.

With horns, banjo, ukulele, violin etc. they can move from oddball gypsy folk (Biese Bouwe/Bad Boys), to light la-la-la French pop (Jolie Filles) and minimalist Leonard Cohen-like balladry (the dark dream of Across the Waters) into cabaret blues (the dramatic Gimme Dat Harp Boy and eerily whispered Dorn) and poetic reflection (the quiet Blumen im glas/Flowers in a Glass with its strange Orientalism).


With lyrics in translation there's some humour here too: Bad Boys bears no relation to that real-life cop show theme but rather says bad boys madden cows, pick their noses and get in a punch-up at the village fair. And that's bad.

But mostly this explores the frontiers of folk and creates a coherent vision where European history and sensibilities come together in a nightclub and lyrics convey strange snapshot moments (Madchen im gluck/Girls in Luck and the chipper The Train).

Although something may be lost in translation (and the instrumental Singapore sounds located in Morocco) this works on many levels, especially in the more intimate material where at least a dozen of the hippies take a tea break.

Like the sound of this? THen check out this.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music at Elsewhere articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Crowes: Croweology (Silver Arrow)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Black Crowes: Croweology (Silver Arrow)

Two decades ago when the Black Crowes launched their career with the swaggering Shake Your Money Maker they came off as a version of Rod Stewart and the Faces with a little of the Allman... > Read more

Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Columbia/digital outlets)

Willie Nelson: A Beautiful Time (Columbia/digital outlets)

While surprised that Paul McCartney – 80 next month – and septuagenarians Jagger'n'Richards are still touring, it's worth remembering Willie Nelson was writing hits when the Beatles... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SELINA TUSITALA MARSH: Guys Like Gauguin

SELINA TUSITALA MARSH: Guys Like Gauguin

Auckland-based Pasifika poet Marsh has appeared before at Elsewhere and she's always welcome. Her poems are insightful, sometimes deliberately lacking in subtlety (because she can certainly do... > Read more

GUEST WRITER JACCI GRACE considers a lost classic album from '65

GUEST WRITER JACCI GRACE considers a lost classic album from '65

This we know: the Sixties in America was a period of cultural, political and social change. The decade brought historic counterculture movements, led by the new liberal generation.... > Read more