среда, 12 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. Honorable Mention

This is the first time for me when the main Top50 list doesn't contain an album by a 'big' band. This doesn't mean that the big bands have released poor albums this year. It isn't so, I'm not that stubborn purist who discards the big bands' music by default. Indie credibility is the great thing only when it doesn't come to sectarianism. But what I'm eager for the most is the sense of wonder that catches you all of a sudden. So, did they surprise me? Obviously no. To put it clear, when you grow up in terms of public attention, even on the scale of indie rock world... It sounds strange and contradictory but you somehow lose the ability to surprise. I mean, when you come to a certain level you've got the clear way to come ahead of you. You try to get your songs better, your sound cleaner, your lyrics more meaningful... But this is exactly what the audience expects from you! You may release an album that's better than the previous one in all possible dimensions - and it's no surprise at all. Second have released "Anillos Y Raices", their strongest effort since "Fracciones De Un Segundo". Did this fact surprise anyone? For good or bad, the big bands should make the great records. This is how the things should be, this is the way the things should go. By the way, with "Anillos Y Raices" the band from Murcia steps pretty close to pop perfection. The songs are brilliant, the sound is clean, the satisfaction is guaranteed.

Carmen Boza "La Caja Negra" (p)Etiqueta Negra OFFICIAL SITE
I am prone to Carmen. And, though I still like her first album more than the fresh one, I can’t deny the latter’s advantages as it is sonically wider, melodically more unpredictable and still works well emotionally. It was easy to lose something important beneath all these new sounds, new tricks and new twists and turns but, fortunately, it didn’t come true.
Ran Ran Ran "Ran De Mar" (p)Bankrobber BNDCMP
This band surprised me way too much. The last year’s “L’hereu” was the perfect example of lo-fi folk pop. But the short gap between the releases has made the crucial impact on sound. New album sounds… lush!? It's... ambitious?! I wasn’t ready for this, I can’t correlate this new-found sound with Ran Ran Ran's portrait that was built up based upon the band's previous releases inside my head. I need more time to spend with this album, and chances are it will grow on me later.
Pau Vallve "Costa-Roja (Sessions d'assaig al mig del no-res)" (p)self-released BNDCMP
Amazingly, the new release of Pau Vallve is just as great as "Abisme Cavall Hivern Primavera I Tornar" that sat on the very top of the last year's list. It consists of the alternate versions of the various tracks from the previous releases – and performs rather like an intermediate station between "Abisme..." and the next album that is set to release in 2019. But it's valuable in its own right!
Basanta "Colorama" (p)C4Music BNDCMP
The Galician five-piece Basanta are the Spanish answer to the ‘occult rock’ revival. There are some true gems (“Emperador”, “Tentacion”) amongst these eleven songs.
p3z "Puzzle" (p)self-released BNDCMP
Post-everything mixture of… you know, literally everything. It's apparent that the auteur of p3z - the producer Javi Pez - hasn’t considered any stylistic borders for his brainchild, so his album is quite an adventurous listening.
Muttura "Esbossos Perduts" (p)Edita La Servidumbre BNDCMP
A cassette-only release by Edita La Servidumbre, a tiny record label born inside the Ultra-Local record store. It’s a free-from post-rock'y music, both beautiful and meditative. A perfect choice for the fans of Hood.
Malaspecto "Alejate De Esto (Proximos Fracasos)" (p)El Hombre Bala BNDCMP
All these songs were recorded live during the short string of performances, mostly in one take, in the presence of the audience. And some of these songs were recorded when I was right there! So I feel some kind of connection to this album.
Cigüeña "El Vuelo" (p)Repetidor Disc BNDCMP
You may consider these guys the Cala Vento followers but the truth is Unai Lilly and Martin Arles began to play together a few years before their Catalan colleagues started a band. It's post hardcore. Cool, potent and melodic post-hardcore.

Capita Pilgrim "Corbs" (p)No Me'n Records/ El Mamut Tracut/ Bestiar netlabel BNDCMP
The lo-fi grunge album by the band I know nothing about. But I like it very much.

There are many more releases that are mentioned neither here nor in the main list. Really, a lot of good records have seen the light of the day this year. It's just impossible to fit them all into the Top50.

Top20 EPs and mini-albums
50 - 41 >>>
40 - 31 >>>
30 - 21 >>>
20 - 11 >>>
10 - 01 >>>

среда, 5 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. EPs & mini albums

20. En Septiembre "Adelante" (p)self-released BNDCMP
19. Rio Agra "Rio Agra" (p)Discos FUP/ Caballito BNDCMP
18. Jorra I Gomorra "A Manacor" (p)Bubota Discos BNDCMP
17. El Relevo Aleman "Pterodactilos" (p)self-released BNDCMP
16. Dreyma "Moonlight" (p)Magnolia Damasco BNDCMP
15. Mento "La Caridad" (p)Arcadia SPTF
14. Repion "Donde Escapa La Luz" (p)Galerna Norte SPTF
13. Las Sexpeares "Somos Lo Peor" (p)Dromedario BNDCMP
12. Martes Niebla "Martes Niebla" (p)self-released BNDCMP
11. Banani "Yellow Sound" (p)Hidden Track SPTF
10. Los Marcianos "Nuevo Orden Cosmico" (p)Clifford BNDCMP
09. Cosmo K "Ultimo Disco" (p)Discos De Kirlian BNDCMP
08. DOM "Summertime"/ "Autumn Blues" (p)self-released BNDCMP
07. Bobito "El Verano De Las Cenizas" (p)Flor Y Nata BNDCMP
06. Los Turistas "Casi Tocamos El Cielo" (p)Clifford BNDCMP
05. Ljubliana & The Seawolf "Shit Dope" (p)Bankrobber BNDCMP
04. Lanave "Lanave" (p)El Hombre Bala BNDCMP
03. Chef Creador "Sucesos Extraños" (p)Clifford BNDCMP
01-02. Yo, Estratosferico "Aves Raras" (p)self-released BNDCMP
01-02. I Am Dive "Mauve" (p)WeAreWolves BNDCMP

Heterogeneous both in genres and geography, these short form releases nevertheless have something in common: every entry in this list makes you wish for more from the certain band. 
We're noting some interesting points such as three Clifford Records releases in the Top10, or three stylistically completely different releases from Canary Islands. Moreover, nearly half of the list consists of the names that are new to me. Chef Creador? Ljubliana? Los Turistas, Cosmo K, Martes Niebla, Repion, Rio Agra, En Septiembre? Never heard of them prior to this year. 
Along with the new ones, some familiar names in the fresh wrappers are in the list.
An EP by Bobito, a band spearheaded by Roberto Lopez from Clara Plath - something that Roberto was distracted with whilst his spouse/CP frontwoman was on the maternity leave with their first baby. An EP by Bruno Banany, the former componente of Fuckin' Bollocks and Dulce Pajara De Juventud...

I haven't chosen the one and only winner. "Aves Raras" accompany me from the very first days of the year, while "Mauve" is of the late harvest, but I should declare I can't prefer one over the other. The raw emotion along with the unpredictable melodic twists of the former over the masterfully nuanced sonic perfection of the latter... I could only regret that they haven't added a song or two to their efforts to get promoted into the main Top50 list where they probably would take the same positions as here.

50 - 41 >>>
40 - 31 >>>
30 - 21 >>>
20 - 11 >>>
10 - 01 >>>

суббота, 1 декабря 2018 г.

Monkey Week 2018 - 10th Anniversary. The Summary

Just some info in brief.
My average “go/not go” decision-making term for travels is 6 months.
The decision-making term for this particular trip was less than 5 days. Even while sitting in Cologne airport stopover I was under threath of coming back.
The whole 4 days of the travel. 
The whole 2 days of the Monkey Week 2018 festival.
This was an adventure ad-lib, the most unprepared trip in my life.
My first visit to Seville, my first visit to Andalusia.
70 km passed on feet.
40 bands seen onstage. 
The new encounters. The re-encounters with the old pals. 
The new bands to follow.
Estrella Galicia under the rain. Lots of Estrella Galicia under the rain.
These were the happiest of days.
I felt like every person I run into was a musician.
I was happy to see Saim, Da Souza, Travesti Afgano, Bifannah and Exnovios live. I expected them to be great onstage – and they were truly amazing.
I was happy to get soaked into the magic sounds of Dreyma, Terry vs Tori, Kindata and Saletile.
I was happy to discover and immediately fall for Yawners and Puma Pumku (regarding the latter – I liked their “Is It In You?” LP alot but they spent plenty of time quite quiet since, and I had no idea on what they were up to now).
San Jeronimo, my greatest live discovery of the fest both musically and personally.
And, last but not least. Pumuky and GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte. "One of my favourite bands and one the best live acts of the scene" - I can apply this phrase to both of them. The only reason for you to avoid visiting their shows in your town is death. No kidding, I saw the persons amongst the audience who cried after their sets. 
And I was crying after their sets too.

During these two over-saturated days I’ve seen live the following.

Full Concerts:
Mini Showcases (Friday 23, DITTO)
Saim (Friday 23, Mangaroca)
Pumuky (Friday 23, DITTO)
GAF (Friday 23, DITTO)
San Jeronimo (Friday 23, Mangaroca)
Cor Blanc (Friday 23, Studio 74)
Exnovios (Friday 23, Sala X)
Yawners (Saturday 24, Jagermeister)
San Jeronimo (Saturday 24, Hops & Dreams – OffMonkey)
Kindata (Saturday 24, Hops & Dreams – OffMonkey)
Melenas (Saturday 24, Vinilo Rock Club)
Travesti Afgano (Saturday 24, Itaca)
Saletile (Saturday 24, Sala La Calle – Fiesta Keroxen)
Pumuky (Saturday 24, Sala La Calle – Fiesta Keroxen)
GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte (Saturday 24, Sala La Calle – Fiesta Keroxen)

Partially Seen:
Baiuca (Friday 23, Jagermeister)
Dreyma (Friday 23, DITTO)
Biznaga (Friday 23, Teatro Alameda)
Terry vs Tori (Friday 23, Sala Even)
Bifannah (Friday 23, Sala Even)
Da Souza (Saturday 24, DITTO)
Puma Pumku (Saturday 24, Jagermeister)
Uniforms (Saturday 24, Fun Club)
Los Jaguares De La Bahia (Saturday 24, Ron Contrabando)

Seen Only Episodically:
El Imperio Del Perro (Friday 23, Ron Contrabando)
Las Yumbenas (Saturday 23, Mangaroca)
Baywaves (Friday 23, Sala X)
RADIO3 La Guerra De Las Bandas (Saturday 24, Ron Contrabando)
Los Estanques (Saturday 24, Ron Contrabando)
Dani Llamas (Saturday 24, Ron Contrabando)
Pet Fennec (Saturday 24, Fun Club)

Planned But Not Seen:
Alien Tango, Futuro Terror, Vulk, Joan Colomo, Aliment

среда, 12 сентября 2018 г.

5 años. Top50 albums 2000-2017

The year 2018 marks the 5-year jubilee of this tiny music-related blog. Now I'm finalizing the string of specials to celebrate this. This is the ultimate one - Top50 albums of the newer history of Spanish rock music as I see it. For good or bad this is what it's like. Initially I've tried to create this list with quite objective approach avoiding my personal affections and taking into account such things as impact on the scene instead - but quickly found it impossible. So that's what came out as a result.

50. Love Of LesbianCuentos Chinos Para Niños Del Japon” (p)2007 Naive
49. Delafe Y Las Flores Azules "Trompetas De La Muerte" (p)2010 Warner
48. Sexy Sadie "Butterflies" (p)2000 Subterfuge
47. Pau Vallve "Abisme Cavall Hivern Primavera I Tornar" (p)2017 not on label
46. Disco Las Palmeras! "Nihil Obstrat" (p)2011 Matapadre
45. Second "Fracciones De Un Segundo" (p)2009 Warner
44. Ivan Ferreiro "Mentiroso Mentiroso" (p)2008 Warner
43. Joe La Reina "Bailamos Por Miedo" (p)2014 Subterfuge
42. Triangulo De Amor Bizarro "Triangulo De Amor Bizarro" (p)2007 Mushroom Pillow
41. Nadadora "Luz Oscuridad Luz" (p)2010 Ernie
40. Half Foot Outside "Heavenly" (p)2008 Limbo Starr
39. Mercromina "Bingo" (p)2003 Subterfuge
38. Izal "Magia Y Efectos Especiales" (p)2012 HOOK
37. McEnroeTu Nunca Moriras” (p)2008 Subterfuge
36. Carmen Boza "La Mansion De Los Espejos" (p)2014 self-released
35. Muy FelliniMuy Fellini” (p)2007 BCore Disc/ Underhill
34. Russian Red "I Love Your Glasses" (p)2007 [PIAS] Spain
33. Pumuky "Justicia Poetica" (p)2015 Jabalina Musica
32. Dorian "El Futuro No Es De Nadie" (p)2006 [PIAS] Spain
31. Power Burkas "Llarga Vida Al Taranna" (p)2016 BCore Disc
30. Los Planetas "Encuentros Con Entidades" (p)2002 RCA-BMG
29. L.A.Heavenly Hell” (p)2011 Warner
28. Berri Txarrak "Jaio.Musika.Hil" (p)2005 GOR Diskak
27. Christina Rosenvinge "Tu Labio Superior" (p)2008 Warner
26. HavalinaLas Hojas Secas” (p)2011 Origami
25. UnicornibotMambotron” (p)2011 Matapadre
24. VillanuevaViajes De Ida” (p)2014 Esmerarte
23. Aina "Bipartite" (p)2001 BCore Disc
22. Sr. Chinarro "Perspectiva Caballera" (p)2014 VEEMMM
21. Igloo02. Transicion De Fase” (p)2009 Ernie
20. La Habitacion RojaFue Electrico” (p)2012 Mushroom Pillow
19. Muy Poca GenteEn Flor” (p)2001 Grabaciones En El Mar
18. Delorean "Apar" (p)2013 Mushroom Pillow
17. Manta RayEstratexa” (p)2003 Acuarela
16. GAF & La Estrella De La MuerteSunriser” (p)2013 Foehn
15. NudozurdoTara Motor Hembra” (p)2011 Everlasting
14. Madee "L'Antartica" 2007 (p)BCore Disc
13. Hazte LaponNo Son Tu Marido” (p)2015 El Genio Equivocado
12. CelereAl Dia Siguiente (p)2012 not on label
11. Leon BenaventeLeon Benavente” (p)2013 Marxophone
10. Love Of Lesbian1999” (p)2009 Music Bus
09. Linda GuilalaPsiconautica” (p)2016 Elefant
08. Rufus T. FireflyMagnolia (p)2017 Lago Naranja
07. DeluxeFin De Un Viaje Infinito” (p)2007 Mushroom Pillow
06. I Am DiveGhostwoods” (p)2012 Foehn
05. Vetusta MorlaUn Dia En El Mundo” (p)2008 Pequeno Salto Mortal
04. El Hombre BurbujaNadando A Crol” (p)2000 Everlasting
03. PumukyEl Bosque En Llamas” (p)2009 Jabalina Musica
02. Los PiratasUltrasonica” (p)2001 Warner
01. Oso LeoneMokragora (p)2013 Foehn

Yo, Estratosferico "Aves Raras"

I am biased. I should declare it beforehand cos I know this time I can’t be objective. Frankly, there’s nothing to do with objectiveness in my reviews from the very first moment I started doing it. But this time I’m biased quite significantly even by my habitual measures because sometimes you run into the things that make you happy on a molecular level and you can’t stand it just letting it loose.
The 21st century spoiled the term ‘emo’ making it some kind of the death sentence, a black mark. People forgot it was first coined back in the 80’s, and initially it was an abbreviation for ‘emotionally charged hardcore’. All through the 90’s it had being used for the bands of the Sunny Day Real Estate and Braid streak (later these bands were framed into the ‘2nd wave emo’ subgenre to separate them from those like Rites Of Spring and Embrace with whom frankly they had little in common). And I don’t get it completely how it all jumped from The Appleseed Cast’s “Mare Vitalis” to sticking the 'emo' tag to My Chemical Romance shit albums in two year span.
The Guadalajara-based combo started making records back in 2014. With one EP and two [too cool to go unnoticed] longplays in the backpack the guys set the most recent 6 track EP "Aves Raras" to be their most ambitious record. Initially a four piece, now Jose, Diego, Oscar and Manu recruited the longtime friend Alberto “Tito“ Sanz (formerly of Thomb - the local band with the 'family ties' to Yo, Estratosferico) as the second guitar player to build up the sound they wanted to recreate with due precision.
Structurally the songs on “Aves Raras” come close to post-hardcore as they’ve got these stop-start dynamics, unusual time signatures and the kind of riffing usually labeled ‘angular’. Tone-wise the EP relates – on par with all the previous works of the band – to the 2nd wave emo rock as the voice of Jose is charged with emotion galore. His trademark singing style makes him one of the most memorable voices of the scene. Finally, the EP befriends the jangly edgy guitar playing style of post-millennial indie rock. Summing it all up the EP produces the full-bodied brooding and cathartic impression. If there’s an allegory to describe the difference between “Aves Raras” and the previous albums I’d like to suggest this one: imagine the band that usually played in the extremely small room stepping out into the greater hall. They might play the same music but it would sound quite different as there’s more space and air in there.
The EP contains two tracks the closest Yo, Estratosferico ever get to a hit: “Oporto” (a city or a metro station?) and “Todo Madrid Habla Mal De Ti”. But my by far favourite track is “Palido Y Salvaje” – the most unconventional and uncompromising track on the album. The most post-hardcore track. The most 2nd wave emo track. I’d like to live in the world where “Palido Y Salvaje” could be a massive hit.

понедельник, 3 сентября 2018 г.

5 años. Participation in crowdfunding

The year 2018 marks the 5-year jubilee of this tiny music-related blog. Now I'm finalizing the string of kinda 'special issues' to celebrate this. The penultimate special issue is right here right now, and it's dedicated to 5 albums I participated in financing (in temporal order).
The sixth album, La Perra de Pavlov’s “Cronica De Un Movimiento” is the only one I’ve never received physically.

Sin RumboLUZ” (p)2014

Baden bah!Futuro/a” (p)2014

NixonEl Ultimo Fuego” (p)2015

SecondViaje Iniciatico” (p)2015

Proyecto SolazPropaganda” (p)2017

среда, 29 августа 2018 г.

5 años. 5 Albums More

The year 2018 marks the 5-year jubilee of this tiny music-related blog. So I'm in the process of making of kinda 'special issues' to celebrate this. The fourth of them is right here right now, and it's dedicated to 5 more albums (this time without ranking) I’d like to put emphasis at – reasonably, but without one common reason for all of them.

Tania de SousaTaniatank” (p)2014 Talka Records
This album was recorded with the help of Correos’ frontman Fermin Bouza and one-of-a-kind Fermin Muguruza. The additional amount of attention should’ve been attracted to it by this mere fact - and it did some splash at the moment of release, I recall. But the initial buzz was not prolonged for more. As the album sounds better than any given pop punk band’s ‘the best of’ compilation I could only express my regrets that it doesn’t seem to receive some continuation cos it looks like Tania quit making music now to pursue other interests in her life.
Sin RumboForma Parte Del Espectaculo” (p)2012
My Spanish isn’t as fluent as I might want it to be. There are moments when I speak quite easily, and otherwise there are moments when I stuck like a dumbhead with no words in my mouth. This August I talked to Pablo Rodriguez-Salinas (guitar) twice, and both times were of the latter kind, to my self-depreciation. I tried to explain him that the whole Sonorama thing has started for me with Sin Rumbo’s performance back in August 2013. That performance was mostly based upon “Forma Parte Del Espectaculo”, so this album itself is a milestone in my own history of interactions with rock español.
Moriran Todos!Saltar” (p)2015
I bet you’ve never listened to Moriran Todos! cos the band ain't pretty active on the mainland of Spain. They’re from Canary Islands and “Saltar” is their first LP. This album has the right feel. It’s not overproduced. It’s not intended to be taken too seriously. It’s not that case, you know, when you can physically feel the burden of the commercial expectations (or expectations of any other kind) in every song. It’s kind of lighthearted album. Even if it was born too far from music epicenters – it’s hardly a reason for discarding it. The term ‘cool’ was intended for the albums like this one, and coolness never depends on place of birth.
Mi Pequeña RadioDonde Esta Lo Que Un Dia Fuimos” (p)2012 Bohemia Music
From my point of view, for this album the gap between the attention it deserved and the attention it received is the greatest of all. It seems like I am the only person (apart from its auteur David Tabueña) who still understands how good the album is. I recommended it to my friends, to my facebook and twitter followers. I put it in the 2nd place of my 2013 annual Top30 list. It all never seemed to work. The band put out another EP (which was great as well) and then quietly disbanded. As of now David plays guitar in Cycle. For him it’s all Ok today, but I still feel some kind of guilt about Mi Pequeña Radio’s ill fate.
The BrightLineas Divisorias” (p)2015 Subterfuge
Definitely it is the most frequently listened album for me through the last 3 years. I may return to it in different moods, in different places and in different situations. This is my constant choice when I ain’t up to listen to something new. This is my constant choice when I don’t know what I want to listen to. Frankly, this is my constant choice - whenever.