понедельник, 16 апреля 2018 г.

Flor Y Nata Records, Part I

3 weeks ago I was surprised to find the mail receipt in my physical mailbox. It was the real surprise as I made no orders in the recent time. I walked down to the Post Office and received a small parcel revealed to be the Flor Y Nata Records promotional pack of CDs. Flor Y Nata Records is the Tarragona-based indie imprint. Once it appeared in my list of 20 most important Spanish labels. Later it managed to grow even more important on me as it signed one of my personal favorites Clara Plath. Now I am happy to be chosen as some kind of the blogger relevant enough to receive the promotional materials directly from the label.
Below is the first part of the coverage of what the current face of the label looks like.

Atticusfinch "Vacaciones En Shangri-La" (p)2018
Take the sweet pop melodies. Speed ’em up x1.3 times and then wrap ’em with the punk’y rock and roll arrangements. The result will satisfy the vast specter of music lovers whose tastes lay in - or around - indie pop/ power pop. I.e for those who love the bands in array from Aerolineas Federales to Los Fresones Rebeldes to When Nalda Became Punk, Atticusfinch will be the piece of pie.


Ambros Chapel "Portraits" (p)2017
Serious and tight indie rock with quite plaintive vocals (not so plaintive as ones of Manos Del Topo, though) and strong allusions to The Cure’sque post punk with some gothic aroma. The kinship with The National and other smile-less new millennium post punk-based acts is evident as well. I’ve learned of them only now but in fact it’s the fourth release by the band. They’re from Valencia, and the quality of their music may lead Ambros Chapel to grow into Your Second Favourite Band From Valencia.

Sidderales "Canciones Urgentes" (p)2018
Sidderales are the ‘what you see is what you get’ kind of band. Just look at their photos and you’ll immediately get the idea what kind of music they play: it’s rock and roll. The only question that remains is what kind of rock and roll they play. Since I’ve listened to their previous LP (“Siete” (p)2016 Flor Y Nata) for me there’s no secret that the Badalona-born quartet plays this form of rock and roll that tends to power pop, alternative rock and hard rock simultaneously. The new EP follows the path of “Siete” and as an amusing trick contains the cover version The Cure’s “Boys Don’t Cry” (not listed on the sleeve).

среда, 11 апреля 2018 г.

Loudly "Elfactorgrotesco"

Loudly "Elfactorgrotesco" (p)2018 Clifford
Cohesion is always a thing – especially when it doesn’t slip into sameness – though the history of music knows a lot of great albums that cover the vast array of genres, styles and writing techniques. Therefore, diversity is a thing that matters as well.
Loudly’s “Elfactorgrotesco” is far from cohesive as the songs on the album considerably differ one from another. Actually, within the first six tracks here we’ve got: a song with quiet verse and loud stadium-size chorus (no traces of grunge or post grunge detected though); a bouncing indie rock track with angular rhythms; an alt-country song that in terms of sound melds Niño Y Pistola with Lori Meyers; a slowburner that halfway blooms into the huge hard-rocking coda; a quiet drunken ballad; and a song that incorporates castanets. And it’s only a half of the album! The second half has its own stylistic fluctuations as well. I’m not going to dissect and categorize every song but you hardly find two identical tracks in there. The only constant in the mix is the impressive, emotional vocals of the frontman Juantonio – the instrumental “Aokigahara” aside.
Fortunately, it all doesn’t sound like compilation album – rather it sounds like the band searching for their own way. When you get familiar with the album, the ‘what comes next’ question mark slips out of your head and you start simply enjoying every single song as there’s a lot to enjoy here. At the end of the day “Elfactorgrotesco” is the diversified emotionally rich solid rock record with the good potential to grow onto the people.

The best tracks: La Mayor Catastrofe, Nada Volvera A Ser Igual, Si Me Ves, Elfactorgrotesco


Chet "Calidoscopi"

Chet "Calidoscopi" (p)2018 U98 Music
This one particular time I will be brief.
Just a metaphor.
Somewhere in the imaginary town on the imaginary map of the world of music Chet’s album “Calidoscopi” would be the Catalan compatriots’ The Lazy Lies and Vol Menor stepbrother who stands on the station waiting for the train to cross the border that divides (or unites, it depends) the lands of indie pop and alternative country to take a cup of tea abroad with Clem Snide.

The beautiful music that produces the sense of warmth and peace in my soul.

The best tracks: Els Somiadors, La Pareja Hipster del Año, Nomes Ens Queda Cantar


вторник, 3 апреля 2018 г.

The Lazy Lies "Less Talk More Action"

The Lazy Lies "Less Talk More Action" (p)2018 U98 Music
There are some well-described and publicly approved epicenters of indie pop in the world. The British/Scottish indie pop (C86, twee, etc.), the Japanese indie pop (shibuya-key), the Swedish indie pop (The Radio Dept, Hello Saferide, First Aid Kit)... 
I guess, what could be the best accolade for a band that doesn't belong to any of the aforementioned areas? I would say, it could be something like 'Well, your band would perfectly fit for The Elephant 6 Recording Company'.
So this is precisely what I want to say to Roger Gascon and his pals. You guys would perfectly fit for the company of The Sunshine FixThe Minders and especially The Apples in Stereo (the latters' "Discovering The World Inside The Moone" is the first reference that came to my mind whilst listening to "Less Talk More Action" - save the lo-fi production of the Athens, Georgia finest masterpiece).
Sure.


The best tracks: Mon Petit Chouchou, Spiral Skies, World In Blue, The One About Being Brave

пятница, 23 марта 2018 г.

Tu Aura Brilla Mas: Let Go/ Nada Surf 15 Aniversario

Tu Aura Brilla Mas: Let Go/ Nada Surf 15 Aniversario (p)2018 Mardev/ Ernie
I’ve been the massive fan of Nada Surf since 2003 when I first observed video of “Inside Of Love” aired by the [best ever] German music channel onyx.tv. This video made me searching for the band’s records, and the first album I purchased the same year it was “Proximity Effect”. I quickly embraced their lyrical imagery and subdued bittersweet undertones that led them to stand tall amongst the short list of my all-time favorite bands. I consider “Lucky” their best effort to date as it includes the set of songs I can personally relate to both melody-wise and lyric-wise the best way possible. However, it was 2003’s “Let Go” that brought them out of the gloomy grunge-obsessed subterranean dungeons of the 90’s right into the bright light streak of the post-millennial indie rock. While their second album (the aforementioned "Proximity Effort") was declined by their label Electra it was released first in Europe. Following this the band was dropped by Electra. With two albums and one massive hit ("Popular") in the back catalogue Nada Surf were set to replicate the fate of zillion of the 90's bands that silently fell into obscurity. But the new album ("Let Go"), new hit ("Inside Of Love"), new label (the Seattle-based indie imprint Barsuk Records) and the new direction (less grunge more power pop) led them into the indie stardom in 2000's.
The band gained the substantial cult following in Europe (especially in non-English speaking countries) thanks to the lengthy tours through the Old World and both Matthew Caws’ and Daniel Lorca’s multilingual abilities. Moreover, they are really concerned of what’s going on with music in Europe. I deeply appreciate this last year's story about Nada Surf members appearing on Ebrovision festival a day before the schedule just to check out Rufus T. Firefly performing, of whom they were told it would be worth it to look at. Their European record-selling headquarters is based in Spain (the Galician finest Ernie Producciones) but anyway I was kinda surprised to know that Nada Surf were going to release the collection of cover versions made by a bunch of Spanish indie bands.
Digitally it was released over a month ago and recently it was released officially on CD. So what could I say… It is definitely one of the best cover albums I have ever listened to. What makes a great cover version great? For me, it’s when a certain band takes someone else’s song and rewrites it into their own the way you could place it into the band’s album and it wouldn’t be sounding as an alien. Thus, the final result takes the best from both summing up the original's best features and the cover maker’s own tricks. Regarding the most of the tracks here, this criterium is fulfilled completely.
For the better authenticity 8 of total 12 songs were translated into Spanish. Even for me as a person largely familiar with the original album sometimes it’s hard to separate what I know from what I hear because, for instance, “No Es Tan Rapido” sounds nothing like Nada Surf’s song – it sounds exactly like a song by Second, as well as “Nubes De Mosquitos” sound exactly like Lori Meyers’ own. The same thing I could repeat for almost every track and every band on the album be it Niños Mutantes with their newfound synth-laden sound on "Blizzard Of 77/ La Tormenta Del'77" or La Habitacion Roja with their classic post-"Ayer" warm pop-psychedelia on "Inside Of Love/ Dentro Del Amor". Be it the lush guitar-driven pop of Anni B Sweet ("La Pour Ca/ Estare Ahi") or slightly fuzzed out alternative rock of Shinova (the Basque band stepped back to the sound of their pre-"Volver" albums to make this version of "Treading Water"). Be it Villanueva's delicate rendition of "Hi-Speed Soul/ Hablemos De Soul" or the Noise Box's version of "Happy Kid" that turns the original power pop hit into the 6 minute long psychedelic pop masterpiece.
I think it’s really great achievement.


суббота, 24 февраля 2018 г.

5 años. The big thank you to other music blogs

The year 2018 marks the 5-year jubilee of this tiny music-related blog. So I'm going to make a string of kinda 'special issues' to celebrate this. The first of them is right here right now, and it's dedicated to my pilots.

***

When I started digging into the Spanish rock music 11-12 years ago I was not learned of anything that could help me to speed up the process. Frankly, I never intended to dig into that deep – I only wanted to find the records of the man under Deluxe moniker. And I searched superficially through the internet to retrieve finally an absolute zero as a result. I got links to different things in array from the special releases of everything to the elite prostitutes – except what I really wanted to find. Then I started digging deeper and quickly realized there was a lot of Spanish-language indie music blogs. Some of them were ‘multinational’ while others were dedicated fully to the local music scene. They all were the ‘mp3 pirates’, and they became my guiding lights. Thanks to them, I completed the mission of finding the Deluxe albums and discovering a lot of cool bands to fall for.
As my tastes changed over the years I switched from the ‘multinationals’ to the latter category. As these years were marked by 'the copyright wars' in Internet, I could observe how my favorite blogs had been changing names, switching the host platforms, getting blocked, or dying. Do you remember El Blog De La Ardilla Roja? Indiecanciones? They were pretty prominent at the time but probably didn’t manage to convert themselves into something more appropriate in terms of copyright legislation. But there were (and they still are) two sources that, unbeknownst to themselves, helped me more than others on my way, and - leaving their ‘mp3 pirate’ flakes behind - successfully transformed themselves into the useful and appropriate resources #rightnow.
These are El Mundo De Tulsa and Mister Pollo mp3:

El Mundo De Tulsa
Señor Pollo

Without them both my life would never be what it is now, really. All my gratitude and respect goes to them.

вторник, 6 февраля 2018 г.

Maryland "Resplandor"

Maryland "Resplandor" (p)2018 Subterfuge
Everything changes.
Sometimes I am afraid of the changes cos they may be wrong. The guitar-based bands switch to synths. The rock bands start playing some sick jazz. The bands disband. The bands lose the members. The good bands leave the equally good labels. The musicians die. 
The Viguese alternative rock quartet Maryland didn't manage to avoid some changes - a couple of years ago they were a quintet, for instance. It's been too long since their last album "Los Años Muertos" to keep the things intact. But, fortunately, this didn't impact the the core things. They're still that loud and that melodic as they used to be, and they're still that Maryland I fell in love 5 years ago. Spearheaded by the Castelo brothers - Ruben (vocals, guitars) and Pablo (bass, backing vocals) - the band skipped over the past years and picked up right where they left off producing high quality alternative rock squeezed out of the junction of power pop and punk. In the ever-changing world this is kinda good news.

The best tracks: Disculpas Aceptadas, Sueño Lucido, Nueva York, Arde