Austrian Music Highlights: November 2023

Photo of Candlelight Ficus (c) Reithofer Media
Candlelight Ficus (c) Reithofer Media

The feel of the wind slapping you in the face…the smell of burnt chestnuts…feeling your “transition coat” gradually soak through because the fashion gods have dictated that, for some unfathomable reason, fall outerwear does not need to be waterproof: it’s November in Vienna! But take heart, gentle reader, for there is both good news to be had and many things to see and hear. Behold – it’s your Austrian Music Highlights for November.

Kick it one time

Our top story this month can be nothing other than the upcoming Kick Jazz festival, happening on December 5th and 6th at Vienna jazz mecca Porgy & Bess. The annual showcase of Austrian jazz artistry will feature luminaries like Peter Rom und Preuschl / Valcic alongside up-and-coming acts like Candlelight Ficus and otherMother. We can’t imagine why you’d be anywhere besides Vienna on these two evenings – but in case you are, Porgy & Bess live-streams all its concerts, including these.

…And get this: mica – music austria is giving away two pairs of tickets! The tickets are valid for either one of the two concert evenings; just send an email to by December 1st with “Kick Jazz” in the subject line. For all the information and the complete program check out our recent feature article. See you there!

But seriously…

If you spend time with musicians, you’ve probably heard them complaining about Spotify and streaming generally: inscrutable algorithms keep potential fans away, no one gets paid, etc. But free (or very cheap) music is great…isn’t it? Well, it’s great until it starts crowding good music out of the market and making it almost impossible for musicians to continue what they’re doing. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

We’d like to draw your attention to the recent mica – music austria interview with Affine Records founder Jamal Hachem. Seeing as his indie label (home of artists like Dorian Concept, Cid Rim, and Wandl) is under the gun on this, he’s understandably passionate about the subject in part one of the interview – but he also points the way forward in part two. Spoiler: streaming services aren’t in it because they love music…but if the independent music industry can band together, it can compete with these media giants. Our take? Whether you subscribe to Spotify or not is your choice – but don’t let it stop you from going to see your favorite bands in concert and buying their records…in short: support live music!

Rays of Light

And when it comes to supporting live music, the Austrian arts and cultural ministry (BMKÖS) has earned itself a round of applause from the music industry: last week, State Secretary for Arts and Culture Andrea Mayer announced that the government will be making an additional €1.5 million per year available to the Austrian Music Fund (ÖMF) for three years beginning in 2024. The money is to be aimed at strengthening the Austrian music industry, mainly in the areas of tour support and promotion. The guidelines for grants are being worked out as you read this, and will be published soon – check back for details!

Photo Musikstandort press conference (c) BMKÖS/Daniel Trippolt
Harald Huber (ÖMR), Sabine Reiter (mica), Harry Fuchs (ÖMF), Sec. Andrea Mayer, Georg Tomandl, Hannes Tschürtz (ÖMF). Photo (c) Daniel Trippolt / BMKÖS

Briefly noted

Speaking of Affine Records, Kenji Araki‘s new album Hope Chess has just been released – an album of distorted synths, shape shifting guitars, grimy noisescapes, eerie melodies and contemplative vocals. Check out the extremely atmospheric video for the (equally atmospheric) song “SUBSTR8” here:

Video: Kenji Araki – “SUBSTR8”
Photo of Naked Cameo (c) Alex Gotter

Another new release this month comes from the trio Naked Cameo – after the out-of-the-blue success of their first album, Of Two Minds, the follow-up is here: Trespassing By is out now on töchtersöhne, and Naked Cameo is on the road promoting it now, including a stop at the Arena in Vienna on November 23rd and several dates in Germany in December. Information is most readily available via their Instagram profile.

Who else is touring? My goodness, where to start…

  • Alicia Edelweiss will be gracing the UK with her presence
  • PRIM is going to Poland
  • Rahel and Rian will be winning hearts and minds in the large country to the immediate north and west
  • Shake Stew will be dazzling audiences in Oslo, Ghent, and Rotterdam
  • The Sketchbook Quartet is headed to sunny Mexico
  • and Voodoo Jürgens will be playing to adoring crowds in southern Germany.

And of course if you’re staying home – Austria is, as always, bursting with every kind of music you could possibly want. Keep your ear to the ground and stay warm and dry.

Wishing you a generously proportioned Martinigansl (they have them in vegan now, too!)
Philip Yaeger