The Music Alliance Pact started off in October 2008 with twelve blogs. Since then the pact has consistently presented a new post every month with some of the best music the world has to offer, making this the 50th edition of MAP. In honor of this special occasion, all bloggers have tried extra hard to be able to offer something really special.
From our side we opened up for submissions for the first time since South Korea joined MAP in December 2008. We got very lucky, with Hugh Keice putting in some studio time to be able to offer a special acoustic preview of “We Are Islands” just for MAP. It’s a great song so take care not to miss it, and of course also check out all the other special songs on offering this month.
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 40-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
Hugh Keice – We Are Islands (acoustic)
Originally from Seoul, London-based singer-songwriter Hugh Keice counts both John Mayer and Jamiroquai as influences, owning to a sound that ranges from acoustic pop to neo soul. His third EP, Slow Tree, is scheduled for release in January. He has recorded an acoustic version of his new song, We Are Islands, exclusively for MAP.
Plástico – Cinicos
For the 50th edition of MAP we have chosen a brand new band from a western suburb of Buenos Aires. Plástico’s sound is a mixture of trip-rock with some electronic and acoustic elements that caught the attention of famous producer Raphael Gordon (The Strokes). Together they recorded a couple of tracks. One is Subir Al Tren, which was used on their first video. The other is Cinicos, previously unreleased, which is a great preview of their upcoming debut album.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Courtney Barnett – History Eraser
It’s hard to pin down what exactly defines that distinct ‘Australian’ sound. For all the ringing guitar riffs and choruses sung in unison etched into our collective memory, there’s something about Australian music that still flails an antipodean flag. We isolate ourselves on the coast; we recycle stories about strangers, lovers and backyard melancholia; we make poetry championing the suburbs. Melbourne singer Courtney Barnett is certainly at home on her track History Eraser. A colloquial ode to The Triffids, ticket inspectors and nights with good company, this track is a perfect summary of the earnest freewheelin’ and rambling wit that makes music from this end of the world just so great.
Mauracher – Outer Space Dancer
Outer Space Dancer is the first single from the new, fourth Mauracher album Super Seven, out now on Fabrique Records. For this album, Tyrolean electronic musician Hubert Mauracher has teamed up with singer Sonia Sawoff (of Sawoff Shotgun). Together, they create synth-filled dream-pop with ethereal lyrics such as, “When I close my eyes, I stop thinking”.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Sexy Fi – Pequeno Dicionário Das Ruas
From our capital Brasília comes Sexy Fi, a band that knows how to make a good first impression. Their debut album was produced by John McEntire (Tortoise) and received great reviews in Brazilian alternative blogs. Pequeno Dicionário Das Ruas is the song that opens the album and sees them experiment with indie-rock, resulting in a tropical, alternative sound.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Some Minor Noise – Tape Experiments
Toronto duo Some Minor Noise’s Tape Experiment gets its name from the fact that every sound used, except the kick, snare and vocal, was recorded through a 13-year-old cassette deck, an Optimus CTR-117 (Google it), to a very worn cassette tape that’s at least 10 years old. The end result has a richness and humanity that’s very often missing from electro-pop, and a perfect example of Some Minor Noise’s refreshing take on a familiar genre.
CHILE: Super 45
Nader Cabezas – Doble En El Espejo
Synthesizer layers, guitars with heavy feedback and a lo-fi sound are the attributes of duo Nader Cabezas. On their new album, El Hijo Del Mounstruo, released through LeRockPsicophonique, their music goes deeper into this direction, resulting in dense and obscure rock but without losing focus on what matters – the songs. Doble En El Espejo is taken from this album.
Chui Wan – Berber
Chui Wan is a four-piece experimental psychedelic rock band from Beijing. Their lush arrangements of guitar, keyboard, viola, other assorted instruments and random sound samples often eschew reliable melodies and vocal harmonies in favor of occasional passages of minimal drone or maximal sonic layerings. They will have their debut release tour with Brooklyn-based band Psychic Ills in China this month.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Alfonso Espriella – Cielo Adentro
Alfonso Espriella is a tireless and dedicated musician who has been making alternative rock for more than 10 years. Joel Hamilton produced his most recent EP, Anima, from which Cielo Adentro (“Heaven Inside”) is taken. It evokes marked influences of acts such as Caifanes from Mexico or Robi Draco Rosa from Puerto Rico, with deep lyrics and an emotive sound.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
The Savage Rose – Soldier On The Run
On Love And Freedom, The Savage Rose’s 21st album since their eponymous debut in 1968, the legendary rock outfit stage love and politics on an amazing backdrop of hauntingly soulful rock – just as they did when they were a young band – taken to magical heights by frontwoman Annisette’s breathtaking vocal and a performance I could never do justice to in words. Because it’s anniversary time on MAP, here’s a mindbogglingly exclusive download of Soldier On The Run.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Janio Lora – Mi Nueva Edad
For this MAP special edition, singer-songwriter and dreamer Janio Lora has recorded a new demo. Produced by Argentinian composer Pablo Dacal, Mi Nueva Edad blends elegant tango melodies with poignant lyrics as a preview of what to expect from Janio’s upcoming album.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Da Pawn – Casi Siempre
A band’s music lasts over time when its songs become part of a generation’s culture. Da Pawn, one of the revelations of this year, reworks a popular single by the important electronic indie-pop band Can Can into a beautiful folk-rock song. This track is taken from the free download album Malas Influencias (Remixes y Reversiones), which celebrates the 10th anniversary of Can Can.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Dan Croll – From Nowhere (Ben Gomori’s Staring You In The Eye Remix)
Dan Croll is a Liverpool Institute For Performing Arts graduate who doesn’t like The Beatles, a folkie who’s gone electronic, and a bespectacled boffin who is no softie – in fact, he could have played rugby for England until an accident waylaid his plans. Instead he’s the new golden boy of indie Afro-tinged synth’n’b. From Nowhere is his debut single, a catchy slice of electro-pop with a breezy vocal about losing control and a hook designed to lodge in your skull.
Statues Made Of Matchsticks – If I Didn’t Comb My Hair
Folk trio Statues Made Of Matchsticks joins the 50th MAP post celebration with an exclusive song recorded at their rehearsal room this month. If I Didn’t Comb My Hair features the band’s signature laid-back acoustic sounds and a sweet pop melody to create a perfect sunset-on-front-porch kind of song.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Colours In The Street – Paper Child
Colours In The Street’s members are still in high school but have acquired a big following with only two years behind them thanks to delightful pop songs with strong English influences and a very thorough sense of composition. Having won several contests with only the few songs from their first EP, Euphory, they decided to push further and have been recording a second EP, Paper Child, due out on December 15, from which this song is taken. Watch them playing an acoustic set in a bathroom here.
Touchy Mob – Seven Hills (Afternoon Touchymap version)
I’m very proud to present an exclusive recording by my favourite German artist Ludwig Plath aka Touchy Mob, who was first featured on MAP in February 2011. He has reworked his song Seven Hills with guitar, bass and rattle – resulting in something he calls ‘fuzzybuzzy’. I love his velvet voice and how his attention to detail and songwriting skills make my hair stand on end.
Le Page – Ileana
Le Page is a secret worth knowing about. They are clearly ready to step out from the shadows and play timeless music intended for dreamers and romantics. Their new digital single feels like the product of careful, thoughtful growth, bringing in new influences while maintaining the group’s core sound. It makes an indelible mark. Shimmering, beguiling and evocative, Ileana is a song that boldly merges the subtle and the overt. It will haunt you for many days to come.
Biggi Hilmars – War Hero
War Hero is the second single from Biggi’s upcoming solo album All We Can Be. It is a rearrangement of Ponds, one of Biggi’s most sought-after compositions, which has been featured on numerous films, TV series and commercials around the globe. Biggi wrote the lyrics and dedicated the song to his sister Agusta, who had been fighting cancer for years. She is the War Hero.
Harlan Boer – Kiri Kanan
Harlan Boer is a humble singer who writes simple yet sophisticated lyrics and infuses them in melodic, acoustic arrangements. Kiri Kanan is a glorious indie-pop tune.
Owensie – Distance Of Her Love
Distance Of Her Love is possibly the first song that could be called an Irish bossa nova tune, but that description doesn’t tell the whole story. Lilting bright guitar with a Brazilian slant and Michael Owens’ threadbare falsetto lead the way on a song about a mother’s faraway son, while the mournful brass underscores the lyrical sentiment. It’s taken from Owensie’s confident second album Citizens.
Crimea X – Essential
Crimea X is the project of Jukka Reverberi, from cult indie band Giardini Di Mirò, and DJ Rocca (Maffia Soundsystem). They play cosmic disco with krautrock and Marxist influences. If space stations have radios, they’ll definitely be playing some Crimea X on repeat. In February 2013, Crimea X will release their second album, Another, produced by Bjørn Torske (Smalltown Supersound), and Essential is a MAP exclusive preview.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
For Tracy Hyde – Shady Lane Sherbert
Over the past year, Japan has been experiencing a boom in indie-pop music, with artists from every corner of the country embracing twee sounds. New Tokyo trio For Tracy Hyde are similarly enchanted, but unlike a lot of their peers they incorporate more experimental touches into their music. Shady Lane Sherbert brings in a sprinkling of chillwave, but does so in a way that keeps the song bouncy.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Beangrowers – Ranchero
For more than a decade, Beangrowers have been Malta’s indie ambassadors, having released albums and played tours on both sides of the Atlantic. The female-fronted trio can always be counted on to deliver quirky, off-the-wall but nonetheless catchy numbers. With all three members living in different countries for the past couple of years, the good news is that they have now regrouped and a new EP is in the works.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Niñovan – Pequeño Folk
Apparently the beautiful Baja California landscapes are inspiring enough to write and record simple, innocent folk songs. At least that’s what we imagine while listening to Niñovan, a boy/girl duo from the coastal city of Ensenada. Karina Niño and Efraín de la Rocha released their first album, Pequeño Folk, this year and won a place in this month’s MAP through an open announcement we recently made at Panamérika. Their song Pequeño Folk (translated as “Little Folk”) puts the emphasis on the infantile aura of this project, projected even in their own name (“niño” means “child” in Spanish), and perfectly sums up their ideas and imagination.
Vox Von Braun – Dig A Hole
Vox Von Braun are the undisputed chroniclers of the seedier aspects of Dutch provincial life. Habitual stoners, gonzo wannabes and possibly the laziest and unluckiest of outfits, you’re more likely to see them mooching about all-night bars in Groningen than performing anywhere near you. But there’s strength in adversity: this most charming of bands harness their kitchen sink romance to one of the most beautiful, crystalline walls of sound you’ll encounter. And for such a horizontal bunch they have influential fans: the new LP was mixed by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and recorded in Brighton by Matt Thwaites from The Electric Soft Parade. MAP exclusive track Dig A Hole features Brenda of bozo poets Spilt Milk, with their second LP, Rich & On Wheels, out in December.
Francois Peglau – Life Is Indefinable
This month the Music Alliance Pact turns 50 and, to celebrate, we bring you an unreleased song recorded by Francois Peglau especially for the landmark. Life Is Indefinable is dedicated to his newborn son and has a beautiful acoustic warmth and much tenderness. The London-based Peruvian is working on his second album. You can watch the video for his latest single Everybody Loves Me, filmed in New York, here.
POLAND: Łukasz Kuśmierz Weblog
Plug&Play – Cities I’ll Never Go To
Plug&Play is changing. Having been on the Polish alternative scene for about six years, they’re moving from post-punk/dance-punk origins to more sophisticated song structures, a good example of which is Cities I’ll Never Go To. The lyrics of this track are a metaphorical journey through different cities all over the world. Since we’re on MAP check if your hometown is one of them.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Balla – A Casa (Wall Of Sound Mix)
For this very special 50th post/month, multi-instrumentalist and producer Armando Teixeira, one of the most talented Portuguese composers, offers MAP and its followers an exclusive new mix for A Casa, one of his tracks from Balla’s new album, Canções. The original version as well as the full album are available for free from his website.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Los Niños Estelares – Satya Yuga Está Por Comenzar (Sesión Archipiélago)
Clearly the product of an internet age, Los Niños Estelares unleashed their brand of heartfelt and biting satire on an unsuspecting Puerto Rican populace four years ago via YouTube. Half a million views later, the duo is back with Satya Yuga Está Por Comenzar, a direct sequel to their most popular song. Fernando Castro-Álvarez barely catches his breath as he lays out the path to righteousness through internal struggle, while Darío Constaín keeps things simple on the guitar, allowing the lyrics to take center stage. This special live take, a preview of the band’s upcoming fourth album, was recorded for Puerto Rico Indie’s Archipiélago video series and is available exclusively for download here.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
We Singing Colors – Cantec De Seara
As a special gift for the MAP anniversary, our friends from We Singing Colors have prepared a simple but intense song in their familiar acoustic/electronic style. Their intimate set-up combines vocals, guitar, handmade instruments and beautiful lyrics in Romanian.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
DZA – I ❤ U
After the successful launch of his Surrender EP, DZA drops a new tune, I Love U, on his SoundCloud. The famous Russian beatmaker twists the classic chiptune-style sound into the house playground. Big up, Sasha!
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire – Queenstown
When I launched the Music Alliance Pact with a dozen blogs in October 2008, I never imagined it would be going as strong as it is today, with 40 countries around the world now part of the project. For this, the 50th consecutive month of MAP, I’m returning to where it all started with my first ever Scottish pick, Roddy Hart, albeit in his full-band guise. The Glaswegian has vacated the singer-songwriter path and is aiming for a Springsteen meets The National vibe with Roddy Hart & The Lonesome Fire’s self-titled album, due out in spring 2013 and produced by Danton Supple (Coldplay). From it, savour the compelling Queenstown, a MAP exclusive download.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Gema – Before
Gema’s debut EP Before is a sprawling canvas of sounds, textures, layers, beats and samples that come together to form a cohesive theme of soulful disturbia. I’m somewhat afraid of what I might find inside Gema’s head. Every sound seems to have a sort of nascent meaning, which is scary because such premeditated behaviour has no place in the hands of a musician capable of carving another world straight into your skull. He’s one of the newest additions to the Syndicate stable, and we hope the marriage of the two will equal three.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Diamond Thug – Lipstick Stains
A smattering of synths, piercing vocals and some cutting lyrics turn Diamond Thug’s Lipstick Stains into instantly addictive listening. The trio is made up of Danilo, Dylan and Chantel, and while the project is in its infancy, given the quality of work they are producing they’ll soon be making waves.
Ceremoney – Morning Body
We are always pleased to hear new tracks we can dance to, and that’s exactly what Ceremoney has delivered with Morning Body. They describe their sound as post-tropipunk, probably influenced by the crossbreeding of Hispanic and British cultures you find in the Balearic Islands, where they’re from. They craft post-punk with tropical, danceable roots, which is fresh to listen to and perfect to move your body to.
SWEDEN: Ja Ja Ja
Last Lynx – Killing Switch
Last Lynx is a Stockholm-based band inspired by the organic 60s, howling wolves and modern electro-pop. When those worlds collide and become one, magic happens. The young quartet mixes slick guitar grooves with well thought-out electronic elements and wonderful vocals, with amazing and highly addictive results. Killing Switch is the first single off their as-yet-untitled sophomore EP, due out in early 2013 via SoFo Records.
The Monofones – Drop Dead
The Monofones hail from Berne and play straight-edge garage rock right in your face and heart. They’ve just released their third album Super Hits. For the 50th edition of the Music Alliance Pact they have made an exclusive recording of Drop Dead, which is straightforward, raw and dirty.
Seni Görmem İmkansız – Tarçın Gezegeni
Kadıköy, on the Asian side of Istanbul, always boasts Turkey’s most interesting new acts. The two young women who make up Seni Görmem İmkansız are BFFs who down doubles of rakı, our national drink, on stage. It actually fits when you consider their band name means “impossible to see you”, a line from an unnecessarily depressing Arabesque song from the 80s that goes instinctively well with rakı. In Tarçın Gezegeni, synths and drums take us back to that decade, with the sultanic melody of a toy melodica creating a weirdly elegant and hard-drinking piece of work.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
The Pass – Real Summer
For MAP’s 50th month of posting, electro-rock outfit The Pass have allowed us to post a web exclusive track off their new album Melt. Real Summer is a tornado of sound that builds and builds with each note. Have your ears perked from the three-minute mark to close – it’s one of the best stretches of music this year.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Audrey Holder – Cuando No Sé De Ti
Audrey Holder is a young woman from Caracas whose melodious voice is part of the Cantoría José Antonio Anzoátegui, one of Venezuela’s leading choirs. She’s preparing her first album, but here we can hear an acoustic track she recorded earlier this year.