This is our very first input on MAP, the Music Alliance Pact, a blogosphere project by The Pop Cop which invites 22 different publishers from different countries to showcase a monthly recommendation to share to the world. I found the idea to be splendid and the collective contribution by our now fellow bloggers is exciting to say the least. Club Fonograma is representing Mexico, which I know it’s odd considering I don’t live in Mexico (but I was born there) and the blog is in English, but let’s face it, the big majority of the content comes from our country to the South and there is much more focus from us over here than most of the 'pure' localized Mexican blogs whose content it’s mostly made up of the American & European markets. Besides, there is such a thing as the globalized individual, and myself, well, it’s one of the reasons why I’m writing about music from our region, makes me feel even closer.
Now let’s get down to my choice, which I won’t be trying to explain on future months but I will extend my reasoning for this one as it is the first. It wasn’t a simple decision at all, especially as the project leads more to a gathering of indie world music. I went through the latest catalog of netlabel releases and the independent lables but always kept an open mind for just about any artist worthy of this mention. Ever since I got the leading single “Azul” by Natalia Lafourcade I have not stopped contemplating it. It truly is a remarkable piece from an artist I had not fully discovered and has not yet internationalized. Some might have preferred a rising indie band, but at the end, the music itself is the defining factor and Lafourcade is putting a big multicolored audiovisual smile on me, simple as that.
Now, I'll leave you with the great list, special thanks to INDIEFUL ROK since I copy and pasted their post.
MAP - FEBRUARY '09
AMERICA: I Guess I’m Floating
Here We Go Magic – Tunnelvision
Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic is the bedroom folk-pop project of Luke Temple, who is releasing his self-titled debut this year. He has been praised by Sufjan Stevens and Ben Gibbard for his uniquely gorgeous vocals and meticulous lo-fi production aesthetic. Tunnelvision is the first single – one part Shakespearean sonnet and one part circus music, swirling in a beautiful mess of poetic acrobatics.
Pablo Dacal Y La Orquesta De Salón – Ella Ya Está En La Playa
Pablo Dacal is a musician, singer and songwriter from Buenos Aires. His first songs circulated in tapes and between 2000 and 2002 he published a series of EPs that caught the attention of the media. The Orquesta De Salón was founded to collate this loose collection onto his first proper album, 13 Grandes Éxitos (2005). His next record was La Era Del Sonido (2008) and Ella Ya Está En La Playa is one of the finest songs from it.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Crooked Fiddle Band – The Rom Rebellion
More furious fiddling from The Crooked Fiddle Band, who have a new EP called Rise which they are currently touring. I’ve been getting into bands like Balkan Beat Box and while these guys are different, I like the punk element in the songs. It just sounds like it would be a whole lot of fun to watch.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
João Brasil – Orgasmadance
Like a tropical version of Girl Talk, João Brasil’s music is a mashup of beats and artists from different styles and backgrounds. With a strong influence of Brazilian funk carioca, a style derived from Miami bass and famous because of its explicit lyrics about sex, João Brasil released his first mashup album last year, Big Forbidden Dance. Orgasmadance is one of the best samples of his work. It starts with pieces from Orgasmatron and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, before suddenly meeting Justice’s D.A.N.C.E. and other songs from Justin Timberlake, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, CSS and Michael Jackson.
The Rural Alberta Advantage – Four Night Rider
The Rural Alberta Advantage, who are actually from Toronto, with frontman Nils Edenloff's birthplace being Alberta, are one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. They specialize in Neutral Milk Hotel-esque pop with a slight twang and, as Four Night Rider demonstrates, the results are simply, passionately amazing.
CHILE: Super 45
Congelador – Abrigo
For more than 10 years, Congelador have been a cornerstone of the Chilean independent rock scene. After four record releases and two years in a hiatus, the band came back with the Abrigo EP - six songs that gracefully move around post-rock, noise, pop and electronic music.
ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Let’s Wrestle – Let’s Wrestle
I could continue to bring you songs from London’s fertile folk-pop scene but it’s time for something a bit different. This month we have a singalong theme song from the self-professed ‘most miserable and hateful band in London'.
Bratze – Jean Claude
Bratze is a Hamburg-based duo consisting of Der Tante Renate and ClickClickDecker. They make beautifully simple electroclash and indietronic music accompanied by sophisticated lyrics, all mixed with a DIY mindset. The featured song, Jean Claude, was their breakthrough as a newcomer in 2006.
ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Hjaltalín – Goodbye July/Margt Ad Ugga
Hjaltalín is a nine-piece collective, so almost an orchestra, which uses an eclectic selection of instruments, from bassoon to bass, accordion to clarinet. With these instruments and two singers they create a wall of sound for their folky indie-pop songs. This song features the beautiful voice of singer Högni Egilsson, a catchy chorus, broken up with an Icelandic hymn sung by Sigga Thorlacius.
Tenaka – Alaskan
Tenaka is Ronan Carroll, a one-man band who creates melodic and sinewy slices of electronic pop from his bedroom but which suggest an imagination far beyond the physical. Alaskan is the soundtrack to dipping your toes into ice water before dive-bombing into the sunshine-infested yet chilly waters. The song features on EPonymously Titled, a free EP available from his MySpace. No excuses, download it now.
Wax Anatomical Models – Recollections Of Our Times
Wax Anatomical Models may just have formed but they already have plenty of skills. Their sound mixes post-punk, hardcore, shoegaze and electronic influences, but the results in their first demo stand on a different level. Emotional and driving, they are a band to keep an eye on.
MEXICO: Club Fonograma
Natalia Lafourcade – Azul
The expectancy for Natalia Lafourcade’s upcoming album Hu Hu Hu is building up quick, her redefined lyricism and instrumental complexity are showing true signs of a potential masterwork. She’s naturally cute and affecting, and previous material indicated talent, but her sharp new musical vision has finally reached widescreen. Azul is ornamentally sublime. In Mexico, it’s rare to find such a beautiful delicacy.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
The Enright House – Scattering The Sun Like Gunshot
The Enright House is the musical project of Mark Roberts from Christchurch. Despite being predominantly a solo affair, his 2007 album A Maze And Amazement was filled with songs that had a real sense of grandeur. Some of these have recently been re-released in acoustic form on the Six Acoustic Renditions EP and, as demonstrated in Scattering The Sun Like Gunshot, they lose none of their epic qualities in the translation.
Richard Holmsen – Great Speed
Richard Holmsen is the singer of the band Delaware but his main focus these days seems to be his solo project. His music is fragile and simple, with few elements other than his guitar and tender vocals. This is quite the opposite of Delaware’s grand, melancholic indie-rock sound. In recent years Holmsen has also made music for film and been involved in an electronica project called Sea. Great Speed is a Music Alliance Pact exclusive, written and recorded only a week ago.
Catervas – Covida
After 10 years in the local scene, Catervas – formed by brothers Pedro, Raul and Javier Reyes – swapped their previous shoegaze sound for melodic rock on 2008 album Hoy Más Que Ayer. With its optimistic, convincing pop songs, Hoy Más Que Ayer is pure passion made into music. Covida is the second single from it and easily the band’s best song to date.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
PressPlay – Play Hot (extended mix)
PressPlay are Playgirl and Lisa (aka The Party Queen). Playgirl does vocals and guitars, while Lisa does vocals and electronica. Their influences are PJ Harvey, Peaches, Electrocute, Cobra Killer and Miss Kittin but they sound much better than some of their heroes – and they’re definitely cuter. The extended version of Play Hot, which is the debut single for their upcoming debut album, was mixed by Woman In Panic, who is actually a guy called Pedro Lourenço.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
The Amsterdams – Suffering And Surfing
The Amsterdams are a post-punk, indie power-pop band based in Bucharest. Inspired by the famous Dutch city, their name symbolises the freedom of spirit in every sense. Suffering And Surfing is featured on their forthcoming album, a blend of reckless vocals with freewheeling, volatile riffs and rhythms.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Broken Records – Nearly Home
Edinburgh seven-piece Broken Records have just signed to renowned label 4AD, the just reward for over two years of personal sacrifice and preaching to the soon-to-be converted with their relentless touring schedule. Devoted followers like myself have already amassed as many as 18 of Broken Records’ epic, swooning, orchestral songs in one form or another – enough to predict that their debut album, scheduled for release this summer, will probably be 2009’s best.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To...
Nuance – Fear Strikes Mankind I
Nuance is a four-piece rock band, with a recently self-released eponymous EP. At the heart of the record is the two-part epic Fear Strikes Mankind, an ambitious and intense journey that invokes the rock sensibilities of 90s Radiohead and contemporary post-rock experimentation. In the first part of the song (provided here), the biblical narrative of Abraham’s willing sacrifice of his son, Isaac, is related through the perspectives of both father and son. It’s a troubling journey, but the band does well to face the challenges head-on, both existentially and emotionally.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Seokjune – Dok
Seokjune released his first EP, Dok, at the start of 2009. Equipped with an acoustic guitar and a voice that conjures Elliott Smith, he performs one delicate tune after another while singing in Korean or English.
SPAIN: El Blog De La Nadadora
Nouvelle Cuisine – La Comunicación No Verbal
Nouvelle Cuisine are a band with a French name but Spanish nationality. They come from Galicia and have self-produced their new album, De Memoria, which is reminiscent of indie bands in the 90s. They develop their essence in personal lyrics and the soft melodies of their songs.
Love Lindblom – Till Min Syster
I’m a real sucker for catchy music like this which builds and builds into a frenetic climax. I love when the horns kick in. I love the DIY nature of the video – you just know he asked all his friends to help out. In short, I think I Love Lindblom.