воскресенье, 17 февраля 2019 г.

Elodie "Biologico"

Elodie "Biologico" (p)2019 label tbd
You can’t call this indie rock combo prolific but it’s well worth waiting for “Biologico” all these 5+ years that passed on since Elodie’s previous effort “Tu Reloj” was brought to light.
Such gap couldn’t go by without causing some changes. Above all it translated into the considerable stylistic shift from electro rock that incorporated some guitar-fueled concomitants to purely guitar-driven rock with the touches of synths. The next modification is structural. Formerly one man project by Argentina-born Tenerife-settled Marcos Estrella, during the recording sessions of “Bilologico” it was converted into the duo with involvement of Marcos’ recording/production assistant and longtime friend Gustavo Molina into the creative process. His impact - along with providing these songs with the live drumming - is the most evident in the tracks “Nacimiento” and “Muerte” where the synths operated by Gustavo are the anchors for the melody. The latter is the most danceable track of the album. I can imagine it sounding over the sweaty people rockin’ out at the alternative dance parties. The rest of tracks is led by Marcos' guitar (the introductive part of "Reincarnacion" is so fucking cool) and his brave singing.
Thematically, “Biologico” revisits the Vedic concept of Samsara cycle as all the songs are following its pattern: “Birth” – “Growth” – “Reproduction” – “Death” – “Reincarnation” – “Samsara”. As far as I could get through the lyrics, this idea is applied to human relationships but I’m not sure as my aural Spanish skills are still not that great.
For me as a 90’s indie rock junkie the album recalls some lower profile (in the best sense of the term) bands like Small 23 along with their more well-known contemporaries such as Velocity Girl. The traces of post-punk and power pop are easily recognisable as well. In addition, "Crecimiento" (my favourite track on the album) reminds me of Mi Pequena Radio's first longplay "Esquiando Hacia Arriba". Though its roots are obviously planted in at least decade-long distance the album sounds crispy fresh. All the songs are catchy but there’s something more important than catchiness. It's emotion it delivers. This album's gonna bring you a whole lot of positive emotions. All these 20 minutes I've spent with the happy smile on my face, and the first thing I wanted to do right after the running time drew to a close was jumping around while shouting out something inarticulate.

среда, 16 января 2019 г.

Monkey Week 2018 - 10th Anniversary. 24.11.2018

23.11.2018 >>>

The next morning I woke up at 9 am having three hours of sleep only. Surprisingly, I felt myself alive enough to come out immediately as I had an urge to visit the record shops of Sevilla. As I travelled without any luggage except for a backpack it could be a major problem for me if I had purchased some vinyls but it appeared that the record shops I visited were specializing on second hand records having little of the most recent releases. The only records I'd like to purchase were La Estrella De David's "Consagracion" and Basanta's "Colorama" but finally I decided to avoid the possible transportation issues.
Despite my nondirectional territorial fluctuations I was just in time at Ron Contrabando stage (Alameda de Hercules square) to catch the very beginning of the Radio3 La Batalla de las Bandas hosted by one of the most famous Radio3 anchors Angel Carmona. The time limits were the same as for yesterday's mini showcases (also MC'ed by Angel): 6 minutes for the whole round of 'come out - plug in - play a single song - walk away'. The event started with the performance of the new local heroes Derby Motoreta's Burrito Cachimba that obviously represented the [arguably] the main contemporary trend of rock music: the 70's revival. The band that exploited the completely different direction - my new friends San Jeronimo - replaced the Sevillian six-piece onstage. Then I managed to see two more bands: the Foehn Records' residents Alien Tango, and the cock-rock combo Los Jaguares De La Bahia. Then I escaped the event to come to the opposite side of the Alameda de Hercules for Yawners. This was one of my best decisions because this metropolitan girl/boy quasi-punk duo was enormously great. I can't explain what was that decisive element of their show that made me surrender and convert myself into a devoted fan. But this was such the pleasure to see this band in action.
According to the schedule, the OffMonkey session was the next event I should attend right after Yawners. This one was organized by my friends from WeAreWolves Records to showcase the bands of the roster: the dj sessions by Pumuky and I Am Dive and two full-fledged performances by Kindata and San Jeronimo. This event should be started at 2 pm inside the Hops & Dreams gastro bar but when I came to the place only three persons were there. I was quite embarassed as I tried to consult a barman but he didn't understand me. So a guy who revealed to be Berni from Kindata came to me trying to resolve the problem. We quickly got in contact, and then I introduced myself to Tero, the second half of Kindata. This band was my biggest discovery of the year so I was completely happy to see them live and to talk to them within a month from the moment I had learned of their mere existence.
Little by little the venue got full of people. I got in touch with a man named Fran who revealed to be a photographer and a friend of Jose A. Perez. We sat together and discussed our further plans and past experiences of Monkey Week 2018. Moreover, Berni introduced me to the guys of Palo Alto who were nice and welcoming as well. In the meantime the bands started playing. San Jeronimo were the first to play, and then Kindata stepped in. These bands were the pure delight - both musically and personally.
The actuation of Da Souza at the nearby Mangaroca stage drove me away from Hops & Dreams. This Mallorcan band released the new album "Futbol D'Avantguarda" (p)Famelic that appeared to be kind of indie sensation, and I liked it as many others did so it was no way to avoid visiting their performance. It was a bit spoiled by the rain. The band played inside the tent but I beheld it getting soaked with the raindrops. Anyway it was quite low price for making it possible. Good music always defeats the rain.
By the way, at the entrance of Santa Clara I met Joan and Natalia of Saim. I approached them and expressed my respect, we talked a bit and they gave me a t-shirt as a gift. Moltes gracies!  
Then I made a short run to Jagermeister. Puma Pumku already started playing there. Like Yawners before the Galician neo-psych combo demonstrated the ability to win over the unprepared observer from the very first glance. I wasn’t totally unprepared as I used to listen to their first album for quite a while – but I never caught them before and had no idea how could they sound live. They quickly made me realize that coming up there I did just fine. This band is great, don’t miss the opportunity to see them.
Uniforms are only going to be great. The nugaze starlets just released their debut ("Polara" (p)Oso Polita) and managed to gather a considerable crowd inside Fun Club. Thus I was forced to stand behind the pillar and could see a little. Anyway, their performance wasn't perfect but their potential was obvious.
The populous and stylistically omnivore rock collective Los Jaguares De La Bahia spearheaded by the one of the most renowned indie rock producers of Spain performed at Ron Contrabando. I saw Paco Loco onstage once when he performed with Australian Blonde, but as a frontman he was even more... ummm, impressive. Shamelessly unleashed, he was like an uncontrolled beast there upon the stage. Despite his anti-star appearance, I think, he made every photographer there loaded with the whole lot of ‘rock star pose and gestures’ photos.
The Donostarrian indie rockers Pet Fennec sounded good performing in the open air (I witnessed it at Sonorama) but now within the limited space of Fun Club they sounded really massive. I placed myself in front of the bass monitor and every beat and every low note made my insides tremble. As I spent most of their time limit at Los Jaguares I caught only three songs. It was not enough - but what could I do.
Regarding the all-female garage band Melenas from Pamplona I'd like to say the following: I can’t call myself a fan of garage rock, but the girls do their thing with palpable honesty. It shouldn’t be omitted despite the fact is the listener a fan of the genre or not.
I liked the second album of the Galician art punks Travesti Afgano so they were in my own schedule from that very first moment I saw the #mokeyweek10 line up. They performed at gay bar Itaca - the southernmost location of the festival. Live the band positioned themselves as stylistically and behaviorally unpredictable act that could easily interact with public whilst changing the genres three times within a song. One of the irrefutable wins of the festival that, unfortunately, was sparsely attended.
Then I headed to La Calle rock club for the Canarias Crea/ Keroxen showcase. When I passed along Teatro Alameda I witnessed a queue that splashed out from the entrance and flew around the corner.
I walked along the queue guessing who the hell might gather such the crowd. In the middle of the queue I met Fran who explained me that all these people were there for Pony Bravo. This band had created a considerable cult following during the years of activity so the audience welcomed their first performance in years with huge enthusiasm.
Nevertheless, I came further to the club. It could be nice to see Pony Bravo but the prospect of losing some amount of time in passing through this queue was up to kill the possible perks of seeing one of the scene-defining bands in action.
Saletile, the experimental rock duo from Tenerife, opened the Canary Islands night at La Calle. The schedule was cruel for them as their slot coincided with Pony Bravo’s. On the other hand, Saletile’s music is not for everybody and the focus groups of the bands were hardly coincident. For me, I enjoyed their set of long instrumental passages and digital noise drones a lot.
I’m not going to spread much words about those two bands that followed Saletile onstage. What could I say… Pumuky and GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte, my favorite band and the best live act of the scene respectively, that’s exactly how I'd like to label them. I feel some kind of personal connections to both of the bands. I can’t judge them with due objectivity so I should pull them off the scale. For me it’s like, you know, there are Messi and Ronaldo – and there are the real people.
Unfortunately, the actuation of GAF was my final concert of the festival. The bell rang for me. I wasn’t happy to say goodbyes to all the people that accompanied me through the Monkey Week 2018 but the Ryanair’s flight schedule forced me to do so.
Then I walked outside and then lost the next 23 hours of my life in taxi cabs, aircrafts, stopovers and trains.

четверг, 10 января 2019 г.

Monkey Week 2018 - 10th Anniversary. 23.11.2018

It was 4 am (Moscow time) when I stepped out of my appartment, locked the door and then lost the next 20 hours of my life in buses, taxi cabs, trains, aircrafts and stopovers. I never used to visit Seville before so when I finally came to the city and left my backpack in a booked room, I went out immediately to look at the night in the old town. If my Cologne - Seville flight wasn’t 1 hour delayed I could make it to get my pulsera before the box office booth at the Alameda de Hercules square got closed at 10 pm. Anyway, when I came to the place it was all over, only the happy people teamed up in small companies were wandering off the square. It was mildly raining in Seville that night but it didn’t prevent me from walking the narrow streets of the old town with the smile on my face.
The only poor thing was that due to my late arrival I missed the performance of the gaditanos The Magic Mor whom I had wanted to see alot.

In contrary, the next afternoon I had the brief lapse of tristeza while walking alone along the streets north of Alameda De Hercules. I felt so detached from everything what was going on as I looked at the people around who were smiling and talking to each other and no one was alone there – no one except me. Just a lone man deep in his forties trying to run away from his problems, I was on the verge of crying when I came to the Jagermeister stage arranged upon the former bumper car minidrome. Baiuca was set to perform there at 4 pm. Just imagine the Banco De Gaia’ “Maya” album with all the Tibetan ethno motives being replaced with the Galician ethno motives to get an impression of what Baiuca’s music sounded like. 
The Galician ethno-trance techno band was not the first band I saw that day. The DITTO stage mini-showcases were my first 'check' in the 'to-do list'. I had no idea what it would be like but it appeared to be the sequence of the performances when a band gets 5-6 minutes to come out, plug in the gear, play a song and get offstage. I was a bit late and caught only the last few seconds of Palo Alto’s performance. Then a sole guy with an acoustic guitar and a loop recorder came out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t recognize his name so he was marked simply as ‘a looper guy from Madrid’ in my travel notes. Amongst the others there were: the young band from Granada Vita Insomne, the Bjork-alike chick Mounqup, the minimalist electropop duo Fru Katinka, the slightly dreampop’y post-punk trio from Colombia Las Yumbeñas and death/core duo from Mexico Los Viejos. 14 bands in total.
That time I met no persons I wanted to meet there so I went out to get myself familiar with the surroundings. That’s exactly when I was stricken by the grief.
Upon returning to the main festival locations I saw Baiuca and then rushed to the Santa Clara buildings to see Saim. I like post-hardcore in common, and I like Saim’s post-hardcore in particular. Their album “Accidents” performed pretty well in my annual 2017 ‘best of’ list almost making it to Top 25. So their set was one of the main attractions for me. I came in and within two minutes they started playing. This made me completely satisfied as they were just as great as I might thought of them. The classic post-hardcore vocals, the perfectly synchronized rhythm section…
Back-to-back with Saim’s performance the Pumuky’s first actuation was scheduled. I saw them live only once before. My bad. I desperately tried to multiply that miserable number since, but never coincided with their rare performances.  That only show was the one of the Sonorama 2013 where they performed full band (“Plus Ultra” version of the band members plus La Caterva GrabacionesJose A. Lopez on drums). This time it was only Jair and Noe onstage thus the sound have undergone some inevitable changes as compared to what I witnessed before. Now Jair mostly played synths and effects picking up his guitar only occasionally while Noe performed 99.9% of guitar work. Moreover, if previously Jair’s voice might be secluded within the three guitar squall and groundshaking drums now it dominated the square gaining some demonic overtones along the way.
Right before Pumuky’s actuation I met Jose and Esteban from I Am Dive & WeAreWolves Records along with Maria and Nacho from San Jeronimo – the band that was set to perform later that evening at Mangaroca’s. Moreover, I briefly talked to Mladen and Alejandro from GAF. The things finally started to get in the right way, and from that moment on I never felt lonely or detached these days.
There were only two thirds of GAF y la Estrella de la Muerte onstage as Carolina (vocals, drums) and Cesar (guitar) were to arrive only the next morning. “You see the man at drums – he’s our bass player. And that guy with bass – he’s our keyboards player”, Mladen told to audience when they concluded. Nevertheless, it all sounded great. The only poor thing was the reaction of public. Frankly, there was no reaction. The ones who came to their show – most of them – spent more time chatting around than listening to the music.
A couple of years I occasionally run into San Jeronimo’s first LP “Salinas, 20:15“ and fell in love with it immediately. This year they have released the new longplay “El Sur” which marked their shift to more synth-laden sound (the first one was rather acoustic sadcore) like if it was born in Bristol, GB. The dreamy synth passages and the ethereal voice of Maria were backed with the trembling guitar lines operated by Nacho. Their performance was arranged with the dusk and shadows – the best possible way to listen to the music of the Asturias duo. 
Then I rushed to my room to change the clothes and have some meal before walking off for the night section of the fest. 
Cor Blanc were the first ones in my own schedule for that night. The tiny electro pop duo from Barcelona didn’t manage to gather much people inside the bar named Studio 74, but their performance was all nice, warm and funny. To entertain whose who attended their performance they incorporated some famous pop melodies into the canvas of their own compositions which added some more positive impression.
Leaving the Studio 74 in the good mood, I was put before a question how to spend the spare time before the later section of the schedule that should take place in the northernmost rock clubs. The most apparent answer was to attend the nearby Teatro Alameda whoever might play there. So I entered the building to find myself in the middle of the storm. Biznaga were playing there, and they did it ferociously. Really, they were playing so fast and hitting so hard that at times I couldn’t see the palms of the guitarists’ hands as they were motion-blurred but saw well instead how the set of drums is literally jumping upon the plinth.
My next POI were Exnovios. This neo-psych band from Navarra is co-fronted by the former Muy Fellini (whom I’m the massive fan of) frontman Juan Maravi. I managed to talk briefly to him before the concert expressing my respect to his past and present doings. The actuation itself was great. Live the band sounded ten times better than being recorded in studio. The synchronization between both singers/guitarists was perfect, and some of their melodies I was humming for a month.
Terry Vs Tori. Usually the dreampop bands are lacking expression motionlessly staring down to the ground while playing as they follow the template given by the parent genre’s direct meaning – but this particular band apparently had the showman. Their bass player took on dancing duties relentlessly, gaining much attention and approval from public. Regarding the music, for me it sounded like the voice of the female singer wasn’t set up correctly but this was only minor complaint as everything else was fine.
Up to that point I passed over 32 kms in a day so my feet were crying out for help and understanding. My body was on the verge of breaking up. But I had to stay there to see Bifannah. Their album “Maresia” performed great in the 2017’s Top50 list so I was eager to catch them live. And I wasn’t disappointed, to speak in brief. The Galician four-piece made an atmospheric show with the right mood, perfect groove and cool vibe with their psychedelic synth-driven pop/rock strongly alluded to the Doors. It was well worth staying there for them.
I returned to the apartments completely worn out but overwhelmingly happy. I hardly could go to sleep as I was overloaded with emotions. It was 6 a.m. when I finally made myself into the bed.

пятница, 21 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. Top50 Albums. 01 - 10

The truth is the most part of the year I spent under the influence of writer’s block, the most severe in my life. In my normal condition I’ve been always writing something: the songs, the short stories, the reviews. This year I wrote 8 songs, something like 10 reviews, 2 articles and only a couple of sardonic stories – by my average annual measures it’s almost nothing. Moreover, this blog now is my only practice in English. I used to speak English on the everyday basis a few years ago but on my current day job it’s not necessary so I don’t speak it now. Thus I feel like my abilities are diminishing over time and the writer’s block only expands the inconsistency. The writer’s block ain’t the only problem. The other issue is that I have much to tell you about these albums, or, frankly speaking, way too much to tell. Every album presented in this section deserves large in-depth review because every one is the special one. And I’ve got so much feelings that it’s almost impossible for me to cut them down to the proper words. 
I do ‘the best of year’ list for the sixth time, and this is the first time when I should admit that I’m not capable of doing my work in time. So I should leave the final – and the most important – part of the list wordless. Anyway, I may speak less but my passion is still growing on (who needs the blogger that doesn’t speak anything – it’s an open question though).

10-11. SÜMA "Noble Nature
(p) Mont Ventoux
San Jeronimo "El Sur

09. Chicharron "Cancions Clinicas

08. Vol Menor "Tota Una Vida Perduda En Un Clic

07. Kindata "We The Transmitter

06.  La Estrella De David "Consagracion
(p)Hi Jauh USB?/ Sonido Muchacho

05. Captains "Pure Pleasure
(p)Set Theory

04. The Lazy Lies "Less Talk More Action
(p)U98 Music

03. Burrito Panza "El Nuevo Frente Frio
(p)El Genio Equivocado

02. Hazte Lapon "Tu Siempre Ganas pts1&2
(p)El Genio Equivocado

01. Detergente Liquido "Con Miedo Al Amor Por Las Personas Sin Tiempo

четверг, 20 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. Top50 Albums. 12 - 20

Yes, this time it's only nine records in the section. It's because the Top10 will contain 11 albums this year.

20. Tom Boyle "Vuelve A Empezar" (p)self-released
Indie pop + noise pop + dreampop = the best post punk record of the year.

19. El Petit De Cal Eril "El Disc Triangular" (p)Bankrobber
It may sound like pretty simple music but it's hard to split these complex songs onto the components and influences. I liked the previous Joan Pons' effort ("La Força") alot but "Triangle" is even more elegant and beautiful.

18. Loudly "Elfactorgrotesco" (p)Clifford

17. The Magic Mor "Move The Lines To Make Circles" (p)self-released
The highly melodic psychedelic rock - not that kind of 'psychedelic' where psychedelia impacts the structure of songs bringing in all these 7/8 or 11/13 time signatures. It's rather that kind of 'slightly psychedelic' that creates the athmosphere and brings additional width to the sound.

16. Maryland "Resplandor" (p)Ernie Producciones

15. Aldrin Y Collins "Odisea En El Espacio Del Confort" (p)BCore Disc/ Musarañas
As simple as it gets, the best post hardcore album of 2018.

14. Rufus T. Firefly "Loto" (p)LagoNaranja
While being a bit calmer than "Magnolia", the new record doesn't contain such the armor-crashing hit as "Rio Wolf" - but the album works great anyway cementing Rufus T. Firefly's position as one of the most fascinating bands of the scene.

13. Usted "Odoro" (p)Keroxen
I've never heard of Usted before I purchased "Odoro" at Jumping Man record store in La Laguna (TF) just because it was released by Keroxen - a label co-headed by my friend Mladen Kurajica. Anyway it appeared to be the great cross-genre record, as versatile as totally unpredictable.

12. The Crab Apples "A Drastic Mistake" (p)Hidden Track
During the last Primavera Sound I missed the chance to see them live (there were some 'free entrance' showcases and this was one of them). I stayed inside the MACBA building while they were performing outside. Now I feel guilty about that. I should've learned of them earlier.

воскресенье, 16 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. Top50 Albums. 21 - 30

We're slowly getting close to the very top...

30. Un Planeta "Arboles"
(p)El Hombre Bala
The sophisticated acoustic folk from the Canarian singer/songwriter Alberto Alonso. The album was produced by like-minded singer/songwriter Diego Hdez.

29. Cuzin "Segunda Toma"
(p)Gran Tigre
The sophomore release by my favourite Spanish post-hardcore band.

27-28. Pasavento "La Trayectoria Ideal"

Bestlife (Under Your Seat) "Changes"
These two albums of perfect pre-Britpop jangle pop are tied back not only to Echo & the Bunnymen but also to The Go-Betweens (you may keep in mind the solo efforts of Ian McCullogh of the former and Grant McLennan of the latter as the good reference points as well). Brit/Aussie/Kiwi-guitar-pop.

26. Jupiter Lion "We Will Lose Gracefully"
(p)BCore Disc
Sc-fi soundtrack for the 22nd century.

25. Lisabö "Eta Edertasunaren Lorratzetan Biluztu Ginen"
The undeclared rerurn of the legendary Basque post-hardcore septet. Ground-shaking, totalitarian, anti-utopian.

24. Subterraneos "Take A Ride"
The noisy gloomy vibrant music by the band from Extremadura. JAMC as the most evident influence.
PS. Every Caballito Records release is in the list. 

23. Jordi Lanuza "Com A Casa"
I feel jealous looking at (as well as listening to) the Catalan singer/songwriter scene...

22. Disco Las Palmeras "Calida"
(p)Sonido Muchacho
The most stripped-down Disco Las Palmeras! album contains their most memorable songs.

21. GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte "Gamma Bay"

суббота, 15 декабря 2018 г.

Best Of 2018. Top50 Albums. 31 - 40

<writer's block>

40. Da Souza "Futbol D'Avantguarda
Much-lauded indie pop album is as incompromisingly quirky as hauntingly melodic. Sounds great live.

39. Monte Del Oso "Cosas Que Salvar De Una Casa En Peligro
(p)Farmway/ Underhill

38. We Were Heading North "Lightness
(p)El Hombre Bala
The tender instrumental music that suddenly explodes with the bursts of guitars to shift the focus from the soft pastel cinematic soundscapes to the grandiose God Is An Astronaut-like post rock.

37. Les Atxes "Decora Paneres
(p)El Mamut Traçut
The album shows how to raise a bunch of good songs out of the crooked off-key guitar strumming and the fractured rhythm section.

36. Belako "Render Me Numb, Trivial Violence
(p)El Segell
Four folks from Pais Vasco found their niche in the very beginnig of their career as a band, and they continue to tread the same path since - but every time the result sounds fresh and exciting.

35. Invisible Harvey "No Es Justo Que Llegues Ahora
(p)El Genio Equivocado
Undeniably the best record of the prolific Catalan singer/songwriter Dimas Rodriguez.

34. Cycle "Electrik
The renowned electro band moves into the guitar-driven rock territories with David Tabueña (ex-Mi Pequeña Radio) now onboard.

33. Tuxedo "Tuxedo III
The Valladolid-born slowcore, really beautiful and never boring.

32. Ornamento Y Delito "El Glamour De Las Provincias
Ornamento y Delito released the new album at the very end of December'17. While finalizing my '2018 Top50' preparations I've put it on to listen briefly to a couple of tracks to taste it and in a half an hour found myself with the mouth wide open.

31. The Prussians "Karma
(p)3 Notes
The ultimate 'contemporary indie rock' album. A million of influences, the great sound, the pulsating rhythms, the good vibrations.