It’s February 15 and so Music Alliance Pact is back! From now on Venezuela will be represented by Música y Más and Birds Sometimes Dance that has been standing in for Eardrums to represent Norway these last few months is now a permanent member. Two countries didn’t offer any submissions this month, but that still leaves 33 glorious songs from all over the world gathered below for your aural pleasure.
This month’s contribution from South Korea introduces the world to the wonderful soundscapes of auhm. The songs with post-rock influences were always my favorites from Donawhale so to hear Youn Sung Hoon continue down that road on his own is quite a treat. Check out this interview to learn more about his project and don’t forget to drop by SoundCloud to hear more.
To download all 33 songs in one file click here
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
auhm – Hide In The Fog
So far, Youn Sung Hoon is best known as the guitarist in the beyond lovely indie-pop act Donawhale, but with the band on hiatus that may well be about to change. In addition to occasionally supporting former MAP artist Apollo 18 on stage, he’s been making some music under the moniker auhm. Hide In The Fog is a glorious post-rock track that is far from as shy as the title implies. Hopefully an EP will be out before the summer, but for now we’ll have to be satisfied with auhm’s wondrous demo recordings.
Iguana Lovers – Bloqueada
The history of Iguana Lovers goes as far back as 1991 when they released Universo, their first album, which had a limited run in cassette format. Along with big acts such as Babasónicos and El Otro Yo, they managed to create a whole new movement within Argentine rock music, with a post-punk sound influenced by British bands like Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and New Order. Bloqueada is from their new EP, International Mistery Man, which can be downloaded from their website.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
aBillion – Soldiers
It may not be summer where you are right now, but it’s definitely summer in Australia – and despite the natural disasters there’s still enough sun and surf to make a song like Soldiers really hit the spot. Sydney’s aBillion has burst onto the blog scene riding the proverbial chillwave, engaging many of the micro-genre’s tropes but managing to make them their own. Although, there’s a lot of music like this floating around at the moment, Soldiers has enough of a hook and groove to it to make you tune in.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Cabruêra – Visagem
Cabruêra is a band from the north-east of the country who merge typical regional rhythms with contemporary music such as electronic and rock. They’re famous for their insane shows, always full of stage dives and crowd-surfing from the band’s frontman, Arthur Pessoa. Visagem is an instrumental theme that shares its name with their most recent album, which was released last year and is available for free download thanks to Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company that is the biggest sponsor of culture in the country.
Fire And Neon – Everybody’s Going
Disco never died. It just went into hiding somewhere on the outskirts of Canada’s capital, where it was then discovered by Fire And Neon. They, in turn, nursed it back to health and made a debut EP full of irresistibly dancey anthems.
CHILE: Super 45
Namm – Stellar
Pablo Flores is one of the most iconic Chilean musicians. Aside from founding the experimental music netlabel Jacobino Discos, he takes part in several projects. In Namm, Flores joins Loreto Molina, Pablo Fuentes and Anita Gallardo in exploring synth-pop from an experimental perspective, but elegant nonetheless. Stellar is taken from his latest EP, Saba, offered under a Creative Commons license.
Re-TROS – Up Next: Bela Lugosi’s Back
Also known as Rebuilding The Rights Of Statues, this post-punk outfit formed in Beijing in 2003. Inspired by the likes of Bauhaus, Gang Of Four, Magazine and Joy Division, Re-TROS have become a mainstay in the Chinese underground scene. Hua Dong has one of the most piercing vocals and his distorted guitar lines add ‘darkness’ to the Re-TROS sound. The band have released two albums to date and have been very well received by fans and critics alike. They have been invited to support Gang Of Four for a one-week Australian tour at the end of February.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Cris Supra – Este Verano
Under the influence of R&B, Cris Supra gives us Este Verano, his new single for 2011. Supra is a representative exponent of the electro hip-hop scene in Colombia, with the principal base of his music coming from influences such as LMFAO, Pitbull, Lil Jon, David Guetta and Kid Cudi.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Stupid White Men – Walk And Slaughter
Banjos, dobros, pathos-filled lyrics, dark emotions and a dusty Southern rock feeling. Sounds like a good combo to you? Then you’ll dig quartet Stupid White Men and their excellent debut album It’s A Fine Day To Kill Someone Nice, which was released last month.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Star Slinger – Zonked
Darren Williams is a Manchester-based sample-mad musician who uses snippets of old songs, often classic soul and R&B, to create new tracks. Not for nothing has he been compared to the late, great J Dilla in terms of his ability to create amazing fresh sounds from ancient vinyl, while in terms of obsessive crate-digging for sonic gold he’s like a one-man Avalanches. “He takes a fragment, a pop particle, and uses its DNA to construct a brilliant new piece of music,” wrote our New Band Of The Day columnist recently, commenting that Williams’ ethereal, crackly take on sexed-up R&B made him a sort of cerebral R Kelly for bedroom lo-fi nerds.
Moses Hazy – Something You Ate
From the far north of the Finnish Lapland, Moses Hazy deliver the first single from their third album. This is a pretty straightforward rock song with an in-your-face chorus and a bunch of acid notes to add some psychedelia to the mix. Danceable and fun.
Touchy Mob – Atlantic Back
Folk-techno, as Ludwig Plath calls his music produced under the name Touchy Mob, seems to be the natural connection of two currently popular genres that tend to be honest and plain. But as you listen to his songs and remixes you are drawn into hypnotic structures, great arrangements and Plath’s soft, gentle voice. Atlantic Back is just one facet of his talent – check out more songs from this promising Berlin-based artist on Bandcamp and Soundcloud.
Exposed By Observers – Doubt Is Dead
Exposed By Observers frantically blend cheap samples, drum machine sounds, distinctive beats, clicks, bleeps and tightly-coiled guitars riffs with manic electro buzz and raw, squawking vocals. Yet they are less faithfully wed to punk and more interested in dance-derived rhythms. Doubt Is Dead is taken from their digital single, Fake Stories, the first in a series of monthly releases (there will be at least five parts). Visit Soundcloud to check out Fake Stories Never Get Old and their debut EP, Secondhand Youth.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Rökkurró – Sólin Mun Skína
Rökkurró‘s music is built around Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir’s voice and swooping strings. Their debut album Það Kólnar Í Kvöld… (“It’s Getting Colder Tonight…”) was released in 2007. Sólin Mun Skína is taken from their more mature second album, Í Annan Heim (“In Another World”), released last year by Icelandic label 12 Tónar and produced by Alex Somers, partner and music collaborator of Jónsi of Sigur Rós.
IAFWAY – Unsaturated
New Delhi hardcore act IAFWAY (short for “I Am Fake Who Are You”) are unlikely contenders for Indian metal glory. Still in school, the sextet can’t even legally buy drinks at the clubs where they hope to take their brand of screamo. Yet their videogame-inspired tunes bely a maturity well past their years. On Unsaturated, a track from their free debut EP, they bring together melodramatic hardcore trappings with an almost graphic novel-ish wielding of screamo à la Bring Me The Horizon.
Pee Wee Gaskins – Jakarta Is A Mistake
Pee Wee Gaskins divide opinion – lots of people hate them but even more love the five-piece South Jakarta pop-punk boys. Since their music has grown in maturity and their lyrics have become deeper, we should agree about the progress they have made. Put aside the band promotion, public relations and social media consciousness, it’s the music itself that continues to redefine the sound of PWG.
MOTHS – Slow/Down
The definition of ‘one to watch’ is an artist who is clearly adept at making music and impressing but maybe hasn’t gone as far as the album-making cycle. MOTHS aka Jack Colleran has a good excuse. He’s only 17 and still in school in County Kildare but he has already made a couple of standout electronic jams. Definitely keep an eye out for more of this goodness.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Blank Divinity – In Another Life
Blank Divinity is a metal band from Ashkelon, a seaside city no stranger to rocket attacks. They rightfully boast transcendence over all metal genres into their own sometimes brutal, sometimes melodic and most of the time completely shredding brand just waiting to be picked up by the right record company. Their talent is undeniable (though their occasional female vocalist is not to my taste) and I can definitely see these guys playing the major European festivals one day. Check them out.
Green Like July – Flying Scud
Green Like July‘s second album, Four-Legged Fortune, was recorded at the ARC Studios in Nebraska and produced by A.J. Mogis (Saddle Creek). In fact, it definitely has a Bright Eyes vibe but this song in particular, with its Dylan-esque mood (that organ, that bridge), is a pure folk-rock jewel, intense and fragile at the same time. I love the way it burns out when it reaches the last words, you can totally see the trembling light of the stars, and the night fades away.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Marlento – As The World Turns
Marlento is one of those bands with the outstanding ability to stir vivid scenes on their listeners’ minds. This five-piece from Guadalajara sports a deviant mixture of influences within their songs, from Americana to New Wave, ebbing and flowing from furious post-punk to melancholic Mexican folk. As The World Turns is the quite catchy and tight first single from their sophomore album, Ludo, to be released this month.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Nikoo – Shameless
There’s a real urgency to every sound this noise-pop outfit creates. Tribal drums clatter ferociously, while guitar fuzz emanates through the entire frequency spectrum, at times the mid-range riffs starting punch-ups with harmonic-fried highs. But drawing members from some of the Netherlands’ most underrated alt-pop bands (Foam, The Sugarettes, amongst others), raw and enduring harmonies are rarely far from the surface of the noise. Imagine all the fun and chaos of Baltimore’s Ponytail but with much less banshee.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Popstrangers – Avenue
Noisy shoegaze collides with angry post-punk in Popstrangers‘ songs. They released their second EP, Happy Accidents, in November on Shoot The Freak, and its five distorted pop songs instantly stand out. There’s a real menacing quality to the slacker vocals, drilling rhythm section and rusty guitars. Avenue sounds like a classic Flying Nun track in some regards, all pent-up aggression and hooky choruses dropping off to a sweetly serene bridge.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Jonas Alaska – In The Backseat
Jonas Alaska is a 22-year-old up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Åmli. He’s currently living and studying in Liverpool and playing shows solo or with the band Homestead. He’s no doubt walking in the footsteps of Bob Dylan, but don’t be mistaken – he’s not a pale copy, rather a brilliant musician in the same vein. He spent the fall of 2010 recording his debut album and we can all look forward to its release this summer.
Kanaku & El Tigre – Bicicleta
Kanaku & El Tigre are a cool group who will revitalize our ears this summer. Bruno Bellatín and Nico Saba’s compositions take in folk melodies and experimental sounds made by any unusual instrument. Their stories talk about vices and selfishness, but also about sweetness and a weird hope. Bicicleta is from their first LP, Caracoles, a real hidden treasure.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Hipnótica + Unixx – Perfect Betrayer
T(h)ree is the name of a collaborative compilation featuring 33 bands from Portugal, Macau and Hong Kong. Hipnótica, who recorded and produced this track with Hong Kong group Unixx, is one of the most interesting Portuguese alternative bands and have been releasing music since 1997. Twelve-Wired Bird Of Paradise is their critically-acclaimed latest album and came out last year.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
White Walls – The Lost Art Of Chapeaugraphy Part II
This month we’re presenting you something a bit different. Progressive metal that blends furious riffs with moments of calm, harsh vocals with melodic ones, alternating explosions with restraints. I’m talking about White Walls, from Constanta, four guys becoming ever more appreciated thanks to their live performances and debut album, Mad Man Circus, available for download via their label, Asiluum.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Reverie – Get To Know Me
Reverie is the stage name of Louise Connell, a striking 21-year-old singer with a tempting voice and pop songs with hints of Martha Wainwright. Get To Know Me is such a flawless acoustic strum, it surely can’t be long before daytime radio is all over this. The track is taken from her surprisingly diverse debut album Melodies which you can download for less than the price of a glass of wine at Bandcamp.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Elektone – Falling Into You
Memories fade in and out of reality when it comes to Elektone‘s dreamy brand of electro-pop. Started by Zulfadly Amin, a graduate of our National Arts Council’s Noise Singapore initiative, he and his merry band capture love and light waves as pangs of desire wash over Singapore’s bullet-speed society. Taking a moment to enjoy Elektone’s music is almost like allowing yourself to fall asleep in a mass rapid transit, dreaming of tomorrow as yesterday happens all around you.
AtletA – Evasión y Victoria
12twelve were one of Spanish post-rock’s top bands. Out of its cinders and spirit, many creative adventures rose, AtletA being one of them. Composed of two former members of the aforementioned Barcelona band, Jaume L. Pantaleón and José Rosselló redefine their sound with a bigger experimental expression. Krautrock, synth loops and free-jazz structures dissolve and pass the baton that Pantaleón already held in Ruizpantaleón, shading the compositions with hypnotic brightness, as Evasión y Victoria shows.
Stay Hungry – Against The Wall
I guess I should have asked for a couple of more songs from the straight edge hardcore band Stay Hungry since this one clocks in at only 1:27. Still, it’s a perfect use of a minute and 27 seconds – nothing is wasted in this band’s minimalistic aggro punk. I’m not a hardcore expert and am far removed from the scene, but to me these guys have it. Whatever ‘it’ is.
Death Of A Cheerleader – Flesh & Blood
Death Of A Cheerleader is a four-piece from Winterthur. They recently released Flesh & Blood, a forerunner to their debut album, recorded and produced by Magnus Lindberg in Sweden. The track is gloomy and haunting, six-and-a-half minutes full of No Wave in its best manner. If their full-length lives up to the promise, Flesh & Blood shows it’s going to get a cheerful release party.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
New Animal – Last Winter
Atlanta duo New Animal command a wide variety of genres and sounds on their self-titled debut LP (available free here), from electro-pop to avant indie-rock. The anthemic and meditative Last Winter is a great example of their songwriting chops, just one of 15 reasons to love this emerging band.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Rawayana – Bahia
Together since 2007, Rawayana fuse acoustic sounds with genres such as funk and folk to create something unique. Since mid-2009, they have been playing in the main bars of Caracas with bands such as Los Mesoneros, Wahala and Lebronch.