We’re back with a new edition of the Music Alliance Pact and an all new set of songs handpicked by music bloggers from all over the world, this month also welcoming Cuba’s suenacubano.com. From South Korea we’re exceptionally happy to be able to offer a brand new recording from Modsdive–one of my own personal favorite bands since last year. The band’s first album finished mastering just a few days ago and the band kindly volunteered “North” as a sample ahead of the release. Learn more on Modsdive through our interview from last year.
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
Modsdive – North
Psychedelic post-rock band Modsdive gathers some of the best indie musicians in Korea, crafting amazing instrumental tunes on the foundation laid by MAP alumni Auhm. Formed a year ago, the band is scheduled to release their first full-length album this month. As a taste of what’s to come, here is the dynamic and captivating North.
Carmel – Tu Momento
A musical project led by Alan Soifer and Pablo Antonietti aka Panto, young folks in their own right (they both just blew out 21 candles). El Buen Retiro (on Estamos Felices, one of our favorite independent labels) is Carmel’s first album, in which they manage to combine experimentation with electronica and melodies. Tu Momento is the first single from the record, available on iTunes.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Jesse Davidson – Winter
Jesse Davidson is a 16-year-old songwriter from Adelaide. The track we’ve chosen may be called Winter, but we think it sounds more like Grizzly Bear recording a leisurely acoustic session somewhere off the Caribbean coast. Alongside muted drums and blissful guitar embellishments that resurface every so often, there’s something really pure about Jesse’s music. He manages to capture the beauty of isolation in a way that never seems forced. Honest, effortless indie-folk.
Kidcat Lo-Fi – Life Sucks
A singer-songwriter with a feminist tendency, Kidcat Lo-Fi’s songs range from love to hate and from protest to irony. Her self-titled debut album, out in April, is consciously kept raw and will feature songs called I Will Not Marry Or Reproduce and I Want To Be A Cat. Don’t we all?
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Karina Zeviani – Update
Everyone should learn Portuguese to get the true feeling of Update, a ballad about the end of a relationship. Karina Zeviani, the former singer of Nouvelle Vague and Thievery Corporation, released her first solo album last year.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Eagle Lake Owls – Little Brittle Bones
You can hear the world thawing from winter’s cold grip on Little Brittle Bones, from Winnipeg, Manitoba’s Eagle Lake Owls. The slow and steady vibration of spring echoes through the song’s opening moments, before it shakes the last shards of ice off and swells into life. Songs like this are what keep you going through the isolation of a prairie winter.
CHILE: Super 45
WatchOut! – Guayabita
Although in the beginning WatchOut! stood out with a sound strongly influenced by Los Saicos’ primitive punk and North American psychedelic garage, they’ve now turned to Latin America. In Guayabita, the first preview of their forthcoming album Tribu, to be released by local label BYM Records, the spirit of tropicalia, fusion music and Chilean psychedelia come alive to shape the new sound of WatchOut!
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Dorado – Out Of Her Depth
David Triana aka Dorado is an electronic music producer and DJ from Bogota. His style is a coalescence of UK bass, techno and house music, although in his early life he was greatly influenced by hardcore punk. Triana is currently working with Downpitch Recordings, a new label from his home city. Out Of Her Depth is taken from Tribute EP, his first release.
Karamba – Vivir La Vida
We are happy to begin our participation in MAP with a different approach to what is generally known of Cuban music. Vivir La Vida is an ode to self-esteem. It’s a song that invites reflection on our path to being and behaving in these troubled times. With his own particular stamp, Karamba uses cumbia, hip hop and rock ‘n’ roll, combining the freshness of his lyrics and refrains to recreate the impeccable taste that permeates Cuban music.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Bite The Bullet – I Feel Love
The first five songs by Bite The Bullet are released in Germany this month, one being this MAP exclusive download. Comprising one half of one of my favorite Danish bands, the sadly defunct Highway Child, BTB rock in the same retro vein as HC (the abbreviations end here) and still seem a live force to reckoned with as this video shows. A full vinyl release is coming up this fall and I for one can’t wait.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Ocean Lips – Submarine
Ocean Lips take inspiration from Brit-rock, modern art and, of course, the ocean. Their first single Submarine evokes breezy feelings with the wavy sound of their guitars, taking us for a ride to the bottom of the sea.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Munn – En La Obscuridad
Munn is one of the country’s best new bands. Their first EP Espirales mixes an electronic rhythm section with different types of samples, analog and digital synthesizers, acoustic instruments, bass, electric guitar and layers of voices, generating atmospheres of trip hop and downtempo. En La Obscuridad is Munn’s second single and its video was directed by Lucia Romero.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
YYZ – Into The Night
Into The Night is a sublime blast of ravey pop from the synth prodder, DJ-cum-FX-whiz and perky chanteuse known as YYZ. Formerly members of Ting Tings surrogates Ghostcat, and with a CV that includes remixing a single by Nicola Roberts of Girls Aloud, YYZ are now purveying an even more commercial brand of mainstream nu disco and fizzily addictive technopop aimed at the shopping mall massive, not the Hoxton passive.
Highmachine – Sobergeist
Highmachine have been playing honest, fun rock music since 2008. Formed from alumni of several Estonian rock and metal bands, they have returned to the bluesy riff rock that drove all of them to music in the first place. Highmachine are performing at the Tallinn Music Week festival in April, at a Rada7.ee showcase. By the way, the video for Sobergeist did pretty well on Estonia’s video chart.
Streak And The Raven – Speed Of Light
Electropop group Streak And The Raven create an intense atmosphere with minimalistic synth-driven sounds, drawing comparisons to Chromatics and hedonistic early-80s bands. Speed Of Light is included in their recently released debut Love & War, an album that makes a nighttime journey in the spirit of past war and lost love.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Mermonte – Monte
Mermonte was formed in Rennes in 2010. This group of 10 wonderful musicians all have a past in various bands, combining different elements such as jazz, math-rock, pop and post-rock. Band leader Ghislain Fracapane recorded the album Mermonte in 2011, before releasing it in May 2012. Monte is a catchy pop song with glockenspiel and soft French vocals that you will love immediately and put on repeat for weeks.
Tellavision – Holidays On Earthquakes
There are a lot of stunningly good solo artists in Germany who base their music on looping, DIY and edged rhythms. Tellavision, who just recorded a split-vinyl called Cake with Touchy Mob, stands out from the crowd. Fee Kürten, the woman behind Tellavision, has a knack for drifting melodies and haunting singing. Holidays On Earthquakes perfectly captures these features.
Melentini – Gone Are The Days
After creating a series of music pieces, appearing in theatrical plays and collaborating with prominent artists, Melentini has finally completed Explosions Around, The Desert Inside, an enrapturing debut album. It is racked with mostly bare arrangements and a stark, heartfelt vocal delivery that provides the stunning balm to bind this unsettling beauty together. Stricken with fragility, it combines affecting poetic lyrics and piercing sorrow with something ethereal that drags you into an achingly alluring world. It’s a record you’ll return to again and again.
The Lightyears Explode – Garam Dharam
The Lightyears Explode are a three-piece punk/garage rock band from Mumbai and a good example of the current crop of independent music coming out of India. Garam Dharam is from the band’s debut release and the first word that comes to mind after listening to this song is ‘heavy’. If you dig this tune, stay tuned for their debut album which is due out in the next few months.
Good Boy Badminton – Time Off
Good Boy Badminton are an emo/indie-rock band that routinely rocks their home city and casually tours around the country. They have a good number of followers everywhere. Time Off has been well received by emo fans around the world, with the song remaining on the PureVolume chart for weeks. They are currently planning for an Asian tour.
IRELAND: Harmless Noise
Replete – Easy Love
Lesser-known amongst the glut of electronic producers who are proving so popular in Ireland lately, Replete is Cork’s Peter Lawlor. Easy Love, his latest track which premiered on Earmilk, is not quite house music but comes close. An indiscernible vocal leads over a brooding beat but this slight disorientation is allayed with the sweetest of synths. Not hard to love at all.
ThreeLakes – The Accordion Player
Luca Righi is a young and talented songwriter from Mantua, in the north of Italy, but when you listen to his music you’d think he comes from the heart of the United States. His songs clearly have deep roots in Americana and folk, but then you hear his voice and it’s so torn he is probably singing with tears in his eyes. And what you hear is amazing.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Buddy Girl And Mechanic – Fenix
Fenix is in no rush to get to any particular destination, but rather sounds intent on unnerving listeners during its almost four-minute running time. The track comes courtesy of Tokyo outfit Buddy Girl And Mechanic, who specialize in making seductive Krautrock-tinged songs hiding stranger details. On Fenix, check the way the vocals skip jump all over the place, and how those rinky-dink synths sound. Close listening encouraged.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Capitol K – Yo Tarzan Tu Jane
Kristian Craig Robinson, as Capitol K, has traversed a spectrum of electronic aesthetics throughout 13 years and five albums with releases on Planet Mu, XL and Faith And Industry. A legend of contemporary electronica in the purest sense, Capitol K’s genre mashing, globetrotting musical explorations have seen him receive a steady stream of critical praise. Yo Tarzan Tu Jane is taken from his latest album Andean Dub, inspired by a South American road trip.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Yellow Yesterday – León
The name Yellow Yesterday might refer potential listeners to a nostalgic band that recreates Beatlesque anthems for lazy afternoons. And that was indeed the sound of this Mexico City group, led by the charming Andrés Ibarra (aka Chelito), on their early singles and EPs. For their proper debut, though, Yellow Yesterday seem to have ignited their retro-boosters to deliver this spacey-krauty epic that roars in slow motion like a lazy lion.
Lemontrip – Wander
With Wander, Tilburg-based producer Lemontrip allows the listener to catch a glimpse of his submerged world. Being sparse with the distribution of melodic and rhythmic information, he makes sure to leave a lot to the imagination of his audience. In this sense, Wander seems to be the embodiment of the overarching theme of exploration, embedded in his debut album Nowhere. Released in November 2012 through his own Fog Mountain Records label, Nowhere consists of six stunning tracks, each displaying Lemontrip’s craftsmanship for making slow-paced, melancholic electronic music. Now it’s time for the rest of the world to catch on.
La IrA De Dios – Yo Solo
La IrA De Dios was formed in 2001, but it was in 2005 that they began to draw international attention after being signed to German label Nasoni Records, who reissued the band’s first album, leading to their first European tour. Last year they released their fifth album, Peru No Existe, a great example of psychedelia and powerful rock.
POLAND: Łukasz Kuśmierz Weblog
Sorry Boys – The Sun
You could say that where Bon Iver’s last album ends, the new song from Sorry Boys starts, though The Sun in its entirety is something different than Beth/Rest. Their avant-pop single is popular from the spring schedule advertisement of one of the biggest TV stations in Poland. Is it Kate Bush behind the microphone?
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Kubik – Basso Profondo
Kubik’s new EP, Music For Trevor Reznik, was inspired by the character interpreted by Christian Bale in the 2004 movie The Machinist. Kubik mingles contemporary with traditional, and Basso Profondo is a perfect example of that as electronic sounds combine with the didgeridoo and basso profondo singing, best known in traditional Russian orthodox music.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Orquesta El Macabeo – Lluvia Con Sol
Time to hit the dance floor! The self-proclaimed rockeros con guille de salseros (“rockers posing as a salsa band”) of Orquesta El Macabeo have just released the first single from their upcoming third album. Lluvia Con Sol showcases the mean and dirty brass section and populist lyrics that have become staples of the band’s sound. If you still haven’t heard of these guys – local punk and hardcore players now spearheading Puerto Rico’s ‘old school’ salsa revival – now’s a great time to start.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
The Noise – Ringo Starr
The Noise is an indie-rock band formed in the summer of 2011 in Sibiu. The four-piece has shared a stage with some of Romania’s better-known alternative bands and is scheduled to do quite a bit more of that in the coming year. The group’s sound is the result of a diverse set of influences ranging from 60s beat music to modern-day noisemakers. New single Ringo Starr is meant to serve as a taster of things to come.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
OL – Tak Budet Vsegda
As a part of the first compilation by the newly-created Beryoza community, OL transforms a Soviet musical hit by Alla Pugacheva, stretching a catchy refrain into a club anthem.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Vigo Thieves – Heartbeats
Vigo Thieves are the quintessential festival band. Think anthems. Massive, swaggering raise-the-roof anthems. Heartbeats is the pick of the bunch and was the official song adopted by T in the Park for their website last year. The group have a couple of EPs under their belt, although curiously they remain unsigned. For a band with this much commercial appeal, you’d imagine that won’t be the case for very much longer.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Obedient Wives Club – Murder Kill Baby
Oh the glorious fuzz! Obedient Wives Club take their self-styled Spectorgaze (remember this kids!) to all new heights with the release of their Murder Kill Baby EP. What awaits is the throwback-to-saccharine 60s girl-band inspired pop paired with an almost manic dose of fuzzed out backwash that only the evilest of musical geniuses would dare tread upon. Don’t let any of their gentle imagery fool you – this music is a hard citrussy candy shell wrapping the warm centre of acid bombs. Stay lucid, or don’t.
Pol Wagner – Grieving
Pol Wagner is a songwriter from Girona and currently living the nights of Barcelona. He says he’s in love with American folk and booze, and you can tell by his dark but tender songs, written in his room and clearly influenced by Conor Oberst, Elliott Smith and Tom Waits.
SWEDEN: Ja Ja Ja
Nord & Syd – Inte Idag
Sweden’s latest supergroup, Nord & Syd – which consists of members from Vapnet, Laakso, Holy Madre, Ironville and Penny Century – released their debut full-length Som En Människa on March 13 via Hybris. The album is said to revolve around death, love and alienation – in other words your typical melodic, solidly produced and, of course, completely outstanding Swedish indie-pop.
My Name Is George – Crazy Star
My Name Is George, from Winterthur, have released their fifth studio record in which they again celebrate the pompous and melodic side of rock ‘n’ roll. Welcome in the neon-coloured world of My Name Is George. It’s disco pop as disco pop can be.
Sapan – It’s Alright
Sapan, one of Turkey’s most promising bands, has been around for three years. With their second EP Tundra they began writing songs in English, which should improve their future prospects. Opening track It’s Alright is a very hopeful and soothing indie-rock tune.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
Miracles Of Modern Science – Dear Pressure
This five-piece from New York takes classical instruments and pushes them to new levels by crafting half pop/half indie sounding tunes. Featuring a violin, mandolin, cello, drums and stand-up bass, Miracles Of Modern Science sound familiar, but at the same time highlight talents becoming rarer and rarer to find in modern music.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Satelite – Poco A Poco
Satelite is a pop/rock band that formed in Puerto Ordaz in 1997. They were first played on radio stations with home recordings and managed to share the stage with renowned bands such as Los Amigos Invisibles, Los Pericos and Desorden Público. They define their music as rock made using traditional instruments with electronic sounds and ambience inspired by outer space.