***EDIT*** As of February 20, 2008, Die Romantik is no more. I truly feel heartbroken.
When I went to the Apes & Androids show at Mercury Lounge this past Saturday, I had no idea I would discover Die Romantik (literally pronounced "Die Romantic"), my new favorite discovery. During a time when experimental bands such as Battles and Animal Collective are reappearing on many "Top Albums of 2007" lists, I think that we under-appreciate music that is simply meant to be beautiful. Before Die Romantik's performance, I don't remember the last time I felt so involuntarily moved by music. Whenever I stumble upon a band like DR, I am reminded that music really can serve as a powerful art form. I was lucky enough to meet the band afterwards and personally tell them how much I enjoyed their set.
A three-piece band, Die Romantik is Eric (Columbia alum, Philosophy major!), Dominic, and Olivier. The three met in France while attending high school. Eric came to New York for school, and the other two eventually followed suit. They currently reside in Brooklyn (I feel like I find myself saying this a lot). Narcissist's Waltz, their debut album, was released last year and can be purchased on iTunes, Insound, and on their website. Songwriting credits are split evenly, and I also believe that each member's vocals are featured equally, which is pretty rare. I'm kicking myself for not picking this album up at the show.
The charm of DR's music is that it is pleasing to hear and still unlike anything else that I'm listening to. While I had read on Oh My Rockness that Die Romantik's sound is similar to that of Beirut, Eric pointed out that they actually don't have any indie rock influences. DR is primarily influenced by classical music and French artists such as Jacques Brel and Serge Gainsbourg (whose daughter is Charlotte Gainsbourg). This actually surprised me because I had no idea who these French artists were and what characterizes their music. Still, I think Die Romantik appeals to anyone who appreciates captivating music.
As the comment to my previous post points out, Die Romantik's sound and performance strikingly contrasts that of Apes & Androids. Although DR may not have A&A's theatrical presence, complete with costumes, they are not any less exciting to experience. Yes, the majority of Die Romantik's music is mid-tempo and the band members aren't jumping around all over the place. The stage was lightly decorated with a simple "dr" light and each member was illuminated with three very cool incandescent lamps (captured in the photos above). But, I feel that the seemingly sparse visuals are not an accident. Die Romantik's stage presence allows for the audience to truly indulge themselves in the music they are experiencing, free of any distractions.
On top of their incredible talents, Die Romantik is unbelievably humble. After one of the songs, my best friend enthusiastically said aloud, "That was really good." Yes, she may have said it a little too loudly for the comment to remain private, and there was some giggling from the crowd. My friend may have looked a little embarrassed until Dominic sweetly answered, "Thank you."
This band is amazing. Do yourself a favor and check out their myspace for more. Perhaps Pitchfork would not have given music a 6.8 if Die Romantik had been reviewed.
Narcissist's Waltz - Die Romantik
La Belle Musique de Chambre - Die Romantik