Would you care to join us in a little 1980’s style ear candy? We’re not typically the sort of publication that likes comparing bands to other bands, but for German one-man-band, indie artist and producer Drangsal, his influences are quite obvious, in a most respectful and delicious way. So let’s just say that if you enjoy bands like The Cure, Joy Division and Depeche Mode, we have a very new artist to highly recommend. His debut album is called Harieschaim, and it comes out on April 22 on Caroline International. For now, enjoy the lead single, “Allan Align.”

Drangsal (a.k.a. Max Gruber) is now based in Berlin, but he was born in a small town once known as Herxheim (now Harieschaim). It was a place used for ancient ritual, where mass graves were found in an 1996 excavation. The inhabitants were believed to be part of a skull cult that engaged in ritual cannibalism. A proud heritage if I ever heard of one. This is not to say that his music is necessarily morose, but it’s certainly something interesting to keep in mind as you listen.

In recent times, Gruber’s father was a pub owner who recorded mixtapes to play in his establishment, providing his son with his earliest musical introduction. The young boy became enamored with English music, MTV, Marilyn Manson — and ended up leaving his quiet town to seek his musical fortune. After travels through Landau, Mannheim and Leipzig, he ended up in Berlin, meeting up with musical comrades such as producer Markus Ganter, and then set out to work on his debut album. There is some darkness inside him, an abyss, but he turns the pain into expressive music.

“If I told people on the street about what’s going on inside me, I’d have issues — but when I sing about it, it makes people dance. And at the end of the day I’d rather give them something to be happy about than something that harms them. It’s as if I put all the bad stuff into a tube and what comes out on the other end is something that people like — that seems like a nice thought to me.”

Drangsal has a bunch of shows coming up in Germany, including several festivals. Support him if you can!

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