вторник, 9 января 2018 г.

baden bah! "Piel Sinfonica"

baden bah! & Joven Orquesta Sinfonica Ciudad de Salamanca "Piel Sinfonica" (p)2017 baden bah
The Salamanca-born indie quartet is not that big fat band that's up to use the symphonic orquestra to celebrate its own hugeness. For the tiny bands this courageous step is more about of an adventure of 'let's see where it might lead us' kind. The result is never guaranteed for the bands like this. It all comes to their abilities, their self-confidence and - primarily - to their songs. baden bah! have got the plenty of good songs. And they've got the self-confidence, surely. Teamed up with Joven Orquesta Sinfonica Ciudad de Salamanca (The Youth Orchestra of Salamanca Town) together they managed to create the emotionally rich live set of songs. You may hear the band's both impatience and nervousness in the first three tracks but it doesn't spoil the whole record - it just adds more heart and soul to the well nuanced and translucent album which "Piel Sinfonica" undeniably is. Maybe it's 2-3 songs too long to keep the certain level of listener's attention but it has an excuse - the last two ones are the best here.

The best tracks: Una Vida Sencilla, Ya Es Primavera, Invicto, A Tres Metros Del Suelo

суббота, 6 января 2018 г.

Pet Fennec "Mount Pleasant"

Pet Fennec "Mount Pleasant" (p)2017 Milagros A LOUR
The first longplay by the Basque band Pet Fennec takes a lot of influences in itself. The reviewers have already marked The Posies, Built To Spill, Pavement and other 90's american indie milestones as the main impact makers but there are also the distinct Fleet Foxes and Band Of Horses' flavours in there. For my ear the most pleasant taste in this plate is that one of Nada Surf as evidenced by the track "Vishal News". At the end of the day, the band have managed to create very versatile album - though not so original but highly enjoyable anyway.

The best tracks: Under The Sun, Vishal News, Richmond

четверг, 28 декабря 2017 г.

Best of 2017. 3 albums more

Every year I'm trying to cover the pool of the albums as vast as possible but every time there are some great albums that appear afterwards. The albums below were released in November/December when the most of the poll was already completed. The part of me feels guilty for not including them in the Top50 but the other half of me feels happy for that because to include the new ones in the list means to throw some other great albums off the list what could be quite unfair to the albums that were accompanying me for the most part of the year. Nevertheless, ignoring them completely would be sort of a crime.
Paciente Cero "La Constante de John Doe" (p)self-released
Rhythmically this record – as intense as introvert – stands both legs in contemporary neo prog in alt-rock wrap-up. You know this over-the-top sound most common for the neo prog bands – Paciente Cero sounds more stripped-down than that, more down-to-earth. What they’ve got instead is the possibility to broadcast the clean emotions rare for usual prog rock. Whatever the frontman Rafa Tuñon sings about (you’d call them ‘socially oriented’ based on the lyrics) you can feel with the tips of your fingers that he really cares. The rhythm section (Marco Pedroza and Julian Jimenez) is astounding. The only guitarist Hector Baladron has got the tough task and he does the best in making the band sound truly natural.

Possible place within Top50: 20 - 30.

Lula "Vida Salvaje" (p)self-released
The Comunidad Valenciana rock scene mainstay Patricia Escoin started her career back in the 80's as a singer for Los Romeos and never disappeared for long since. Now she fronts both indie rock trio Lula and power pop quartet Los Amantes. The latter’s “Open 24 Hours” longplay was good but the new one by Lula is something really special. The thick sound, the strong melodies, the nice guitar work plus the Pat’s voice which I consider one of the sweetest female voices in rock worldwide (maybe Veruca Salt’s Nina Gordon is the closest reference).

Possible place within Top50: 10 - 20.

Berri Txarrak "Infrasoinuak" (p)Only In Dreams
In August of 2015 we were on the round trip clockwise through the Spanish north and had a brief stay in Bilbao. Amongst the pre-selected places for mandatory visit there was the record store Power Records. In the shop I was searching through the records when the shopkeeper came to me and asked: “Are you going to purchase this one?” pointing the finger at Berri Txarrak’s triple LP “Denbora Da Poligrafo Bakarra” in my hands. “Sure”, said I. “Ooh, you might’ve said nothing more, you are my men!” he said smiling.
I’ve never been a huge fan of the Basque power trio (imagine Bob Mould’s Sugar on speed), rather I always was some kind of ‘interested in’. But “Infrasoinuak” is the turning point when I could call myself a fan. I somehow missed the album at its release, so once when I learned of its release I purchased it via iTunes and in the next couple of hours I listened to it three times in a row. I went goosebumps in the process. I went completely mad sporadically playing air guitar with one hand and air drums with another. Melody-wise it’s a huge record. It’s not so colossal in size as “Denbora…” was, but it’s hard, it’s fast, it’s way more melodic than anything they’ve done previously.

Possible place within Top50: 01 - 10.

четверг, 14 декабря 2017 г.

Best of 2017. Albums 1-10

Finally, this is the closing part of the list. Enjoy it!

<<< 41 - 50
<<< 31 - 40
<<< 21 - 30
<<< 11 - 20
<<< Top10 EPs & mini albums
<<< Honorable Mention

10. Igloo "Aquellos Maravillosos Danos" (p)La Alianza Rebelde/ Ernie Producciones
The long-awaited successor of "04. El Conjunto Vacio" presents the band in the best form since the brilliant "La Transicion De Fase". The production is crisp, the melodies are sharp, and Beni's voice is powerful and velvety as ever. There are moments on the album where Igloo clearly go pop - but if this band goes pop without a doubt this is the best guitar-drenched pop possible.

09. Os Bru "Hvala" (p)The Indian Runners

08. Bifannah "Maresia" (p)The John Colby Sect
"Maresia" is like the magic seaside wind that whirls the synth-driven indie pop into the power pop melodicism and upbeat rhythms. It filters into your system and just makes your day brighter. Up to this moment I know nothing about the band, so this short review is just a reflexion of the emotions I get while listening to this album.

07. Detergente Liquido "Mirad Lo Que Me Habeis Hecho Hacer. Por Favor" (p)self-released
The definitive indie pop record made by the members of the same community responsible for the intelligent noise pop of Homeless and mellow psychedelia of The Magic Mor - so expect a lot of sonic surprises all over here along with the pack of perfect songs.

06. Havoc "Amado Lider" (p)Subterfuge

05. Disciplina Atlantico "Gran Oriente" (p)Limbo Starr

04. Mazoni "Carn, Os I Tot Inclos" (p)Bankrobber
You don't know yet what album is on the top of this list - and I tell you there's something you could hardly predict. But what really shook me to the core is this album by Mazoni purchased solely as a companion to some items I've bought via the Bankrobber website - I noticed the name and thought something like 'Hey, they performed at Ultra-Local so it's gonna be cool!' And it appeared to be way better than cool. Jaume Pla manages to create magic with only his voice and his guitar. That shows us the simpliest of the facts: if you have a great song you don't need much to make it work.

03. Tuya "A War Is Coming" (p)El Rayo Verde
The new album of David T. Ginzo's projrect Tuya is the fine piece of electronica-fueled psychedelia - some drastic change for the band whose previous album sounded rather like an almanac of post-Guided By Voices lo-fi sketches. "A War Is Coming" is undoubtedly an ears delight as for those who prefer the precise sound sculpturing over the singalong simplicity as for their tastewise opposites, as Tuya's sonic experimentations never domineer over Her Majesty The Song.

02. Rufus T. Firefly "Magnolia" (p)Lago Naranja

01. Pau Vallve "Abisme Cavall Hivern Primavera I Tornar" (p)self-released
What I would like to tell you now is something like: "Since I was listening to this album for the first time there was no subject to concern what album would top the annual poll", but it's nothing like that. The truth is that for the last couple of months I constantly changed the places of these three albums within the top 3. These are the tremendous records but finally I came to conclusion that Pau Vallve's double album is the best of them. This Opus Magnum contains different emotions as well as different styles (indie pop, noise rock, psychedelia, urban folk, singer-songwriter in the vein of Josh Rouse, singer-songwriter in the vein of Elliott Smith's "Figure 8" or "From A Basement On The Hill", etc.) You may listen to these songs at morning or at night, in any state of mind, in any mood, when it's raining or in a sunny day, while driving or preparing yourself to sleep - and there always is a song that matches the moment.

среда, 13 декабря 2017 г.

Best Of 2017. Honorable Mention

Ainara LeGardon "Ainara LeGardon" (p)self-released

Malaspecto "¡Qué poca vergüenza! / Canciones Obsoletas" (p)El Hombre Bala

NääN "A Traves D'Un Miratge" (p)self-released

Diola "Diola" (p)BCore Disc

vol menor "Contracorrent A L'Instint" (p)self-released

Wild Honey "Torres Blancas" (p)Lovemonk BNDCMP

L'Hereu Escampa "Pren La Matinada" (p)Famelic BNDCMP

Zulu Zulu "Defensa Zebra" (p)Foehn Records BNDCMP

Campeon "Suncampeon" (p)self-released BNDCMP

Black Mirror "No Colours For Concern" (p)El Hombre Bala BNDCMP

First of all, all these albums of this section are exceptional. The only reason why they're out of the main list… Oh no, there's no one and only reason for all of them. Some of these albums (Diola’s unconventional punk rock album, vol menor’s “Contracorrent A L’Instint” full of indie pop brightness in 'under 1.5 minutes' format) have spent some time within the Top50 but the year end’s carpet bombing of the heavyweight contestants (Tulsa, Vetusta Morla, Eladio Y Los Seres Queridos, Autumn Comets) pulled them out of the final edition.
Another reason is my attempt to create the poll diverse enough without concentrating on some given genre as nobody would like to look through the list with only post-hardcore/90s indie rock entries. The albums of Wild Honey and L’Hereu Escampa also were in my long list but fell victims to their genres’ representation in Top50. There are 8 albums of indie pop and 5 albums of Catalan Post Hardcore TM more in the main list, so these two became the (un)lucky losers.
Basically, I'm trying to do the poll that could be interesting for other people, not only for me, sometimes distancing myself from my own tastes. And this approach... it really makes me develop myself. Sometimes it makes me discover the gems I'd never be going to discover may I take the other method. But I can’t deny my own vision completely. For instance, I hardly could imagine the band like La Iaia to be in my main list - but I listened to it, I liked it, and I'm still listening to it. In the other hand, Ainara LeGardon’s eponymous release is like some great wine where you taste all these nuances and overtones and you feel with the pores of your skin that this is really great - but it's obviously not exactly what you want and you're not going to drink it quite frequently and you're not going to recommend it to others. I do recommend “Ainara LeGardon” because it’s a great record - but it's the great record for minority. And I can repeat these words for NääN’s “A Traves D'Un Miratge”, Black Mirror’s “No Colours For Concern” и Zulu Zulu’s “Defensa Zebra” – these are the outstanding albums but they’re too special for such the post-hardcore/90s indie rock junkie like me.
Regarding Malaspecto’s “¡Qué poca vergüenza! / Canciones Obsoletas”… It may look like a joke, and it may sound like a joke. But why can't I throw these short sarcastic sonic glimpses out of my head for literally months??? Last September I was lucky to see them performing live and it was an exceptionally funny moment. You have to embrace their aesthetics of true spontaneity to enjoy the duo’s art in its fullness. By the way, they're punk rock. Not synth-pop or electro or anything like that.
And, finally, the harsh, brutal & honest punk/hardcore/under-grunge (think of Husker Du or Fleeper) with the power pop melodicity of Campeon is also highly recommended. The album is produced by Brian Hunt.

01 - 10 >>>

понедельник, 11 декабря 2017 г.

Best of 2017. EPs and mini albums

Just a wordless presentation of my choice in EPs.

10. Amphetamine Discharge "Raise Your Addiction" (p)Clifford 

09. Lua Gramer "Dia Del Centro" (p)Clifford 

08. Espiritusanto "Casa Mayor" (p)Jabalina Musica 

07. Echo "El Sistema" (p)self-released 

06. When Nalda Became Punk "Those Words Broke Our Hearts" (p)Discos De Kirlian 

05. Llacuna "Llacuna" (p)Saltamarges 

04. Glitterhouse "Pre-Shrunk" (p)self-released

03. Leon Benavente "En La Selva" (p)Warner Music Spain 

01-02. Polseguera "Sa Mata Escrita" (p)Famelic/ Bubota Discos/ Discos Walden 

01-02. The Weeird "In The Garden" (p)El Hombre Bala 

воскресенье, 10 декабря 2017 г.

Best of 2017. Albums 11-20

Step by step we are getting closer to the very top of the list.

20. Nudozurdo "Voyeur Amateur" (p)Mushroom Pillow
After beautiful but too calm "Rojo Es Peligro" the metropolitan trio returns with the album full of  emotions and bursts of guitar noise where Leo Mateos and his pals are swimming like fish in the pond.

19. Les Sueques "Moviment" (p)El Genio Equivocado

18. Cala Vento "Fruto Panorama" (p)BCore Disc
The last year's eponimous album of Catalan duo sounded more like the step onto Nueva Vulcano territory, the new one is the major step forward in terms of finding their own way. Sonically and melodically it is more refined record, the sound is thicker and the songs are catchier.

17. Karabash "D'Humans I Essers" (p)self-released

16. Clara Plath "Yes I'm Special" (p)Flor Y Nata

15. Niños Mutantes "Diez" (p)Ernie Producciones
The recordings of the jubilee album (produced by Leon Benavente's Cesar Verdu) almost killed the band but resulted in the band's best effort to date.

14. Exquirla "Para Quienes Aun Viven" (p)Superball Music

13. Ran Ran Ran "L'Hereu" (p)Bankrobber

12. Los Planetas "Zona Temporalmente Autonoma" (p)El Volcan/El Ejercito Rojo    
I should admit I've never got into "Una Opera Egipcia". So for me the waiting period was even longer than for those who embraced Los Planetas' 2010 LP. And now I declare it was worth it to wait for it: the long brooding record that can easily take you away from wherever you are now.

11. Arista Fiera "Arista Fiera" (p)Elefant
Welcome to my convoluted world where the 7 song long debut album by a young dreampop band may stand atop the brilliant long-awaited double LP by the Spanish indie rock definitive band.