понедельник, 18 июня 2018 г.

GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte "Gamma Bay"

GAF Y La Estrella De La Muerte "Gamma Bay" (p)2018 Foehn Records
These people they are The Crusaders Of What
Whatever you think of them, in fact they are not ©

Andromeda”, the single that preceeded the release of “Gamma Bay”, is one of the sweetest and the most accessible songs ever penned by the Canarian psychedelic orchestra GAF y La Estrella de La Muerte. It sounds like a cross-breed between Spacemen 3 and This Mortal Coil (or any other piece of delicate music 4AD Records released back in the 80’s). Guided by this track you may feel like you’re on the verge of listening to the sweetest and the most accessible GAF’s album.
But it’s not. Otherwise, “Gamma Bay” is probably the most uncompromised record since “Sociedad De Bienestar” – their Foehn Records’ debut. It seems like Mladen Kurajica’s longtime friendship with Stephen Lawrie (the core member of the Staffordshire shoegaze-gone-psych outfit The Telescopes whose latest efforts "Hidden Fields" and "As Light Return" seem to be the key references to the GAF’s newly revised sound) finally took over. So forget these mild designations like ‘a bit noisy’ or ‘slightly droning’ that you might apply to “Sunriser”, [at some point] more accessible “Gamma Bay”’s predecessor. Now, if it’s noisy – it’s the kind of ‘noisy’ that could make your ears beg for compassion (“Pitch Black”).
Definitely it’s not the kind of record you may choose to listen to while looking at your record collection guessing ‘what would I like to listen to right now?’ You’re in doubt? Go listen to Feeder. “Gamma Bay” needs the right mood and the right time. It needs your attention – I mean, ALL your attention. It’s nothing like ‘Ok, I’d have a cup of tea in the meantime’. It’s nothing like ‘Oh, how cool and nice is that!’ There’s nothing about ‘cool’. There’s nothing ‘nice’ in here. It’s the complete opposite to ‘nice’. It’s uncomfortable. It’s disturbing. It manages to sustain the certain degree of your anxiety even in the quieter or repetitive moments (aforementioned “Andromeda”, the 1st half of “Firewater”).
As you follow the album’s ups and downs getting trapped by its spins and swirls you come to conclusion that GAF y La Estrella de La Muerte have got their own inner cause and the instincts that guide them wherever they go to – even if you have no idea of what that cause is and does their final destination really exist. They know it better as at the end of the day every burst of noise builds up the melody.

Los Vengadores "El Arte De Vivir"

Los Vengadores "El Arte De Vivir" (p)2016 self-released
First we saw them at the Burgos stage while Sonorama 2015. Just passed by and got caught by the sounds. Afterwards I purchased their then-current release "Caminos Cortos" via iTunes. It stuck in our car audio system for months.
Next we caught them whilst Sonorama 2017 and equally enjoyed their new program. We had a brief talk with the guys, they gave us the most recent album "El Arte De Vivir" as a gift.

There are the bands that carry you away with the intricate techniques and unusual ways of sound sculpturing. 
There are the bands that blow you off with the wall of sound and groundshaking dynamics. 
There are the bands whose music makes you wonder ‘how they do it?’ 
There are the bands whose music makes you dance or laugh or cry on some primordial level. 
Los Vengadores (this time stylized as V.E.N.G.A.D.O.R.E.S) are none of these bands. Their specialization is the song. Just the song, not what furbishes it into something else. There’s no excessive experimentation, there's no extra sonic manipulation – just the good songs. Just some good songwriting to enjoy. 

Wild Animals "Hoax"

Wild Animals "Hoax" (p)2018 BCore Disc/ La Agonia de Vivir/ Pifia Records
The first album of the Madrid-based trio Wild Animals was good, but it was too short and slipped through your years too fast to frame up the face of the band. Now with the amazing “Hoax” it becomes clear that Wild Animals are the missing link (both stylistically and geographically) between Galicia’s Maryland and Catalonia’s Bullitt. Good news for those who embrace that kind of melodic alternative rock that comes close to pop-punk without being either pure punk or sweet pop.

суббота, 5 мая 2018 г.

Flor Y Nata Records, Part II

The 2nd part of Flor Y Nata Records' recent releases overview. The 1st one is HERE.

Vermú "Vermú" (p)2018
From the very beginning of this EP you can smell the flavors of – at least – Niños Mutantes, Nunatak, and flamenco (thanks to the implementation of the castanets) in the air. The tight melodies are flourished with the heroic vocals and the neat arrangements. The result is 22 minutes of soul-touching balladry that makes us want more from the band.

Vuelacruz "Vuelacruz" (p)2018
The folk rock in the vein of The Lumineers that sporadically flushes into the neighboring genres, such as quite noisy indie rock (as evidenced by the track “No Hay Perdon”). The traces of the likes of Kodaline or Mumford & Sons’ more rock-oriented 3rd album are also evident. Thus, mostly this eponymous album consists of the tiny and quiet semi-acoustic songs orchestrated with winds and strings. The pleasant effort that’s got nothing you could turn your back on.

Urtain "Manual De Supervivencia Para Ilustres Decadentes" (p)2017
They’ve got three albums released through 2009 to 2014, and now they return with the new record produced in syndication by Flor Y Nata and local Mallorca imprint Espora Records. The band represents the pop side of rock: Merseybeat, power pop, Fito & Fitipaldis, Sidecars, you name it. Sounds like not my kind of music. But I remember how I first listened to Buddy Guy. Blues had never been my kind of music but somehow I enjoyed the art of one particular bluesman. This time I enjoy the art of this particular band cos it’s funny, it’s melodic, it’s intended to make you feel better. It’s just hard to resist to its reckless optimism.

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).


The 2nd part is HERE

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