It’s the middle of May and with that the Music Alliance Pact stands ready to offer yet another fine selection of songs from all over the world. As of this month we no longer have The Guardian among us and instead welcome Drowned in Sound as the new representative of England. From South Korea we’re happy to offer a song from Gage–off the EP just reviewed by Chris. As a fan of both Apollo 18 and The Quip I was thrilled to learn about this project group and with songs like “너의밤” I realized this is exactly what I have been missing over the last few years.
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 36-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
Gage – Your Night
Gage is a band featuring members from heavy rock MAP alumni Apollo 18 and The Quip. A complete contrast to the music of those two groups, however, this quintet has a much more acoustic orientation, playing on current trends in Korean music while still creating an original sound. Your Night is taken from Gage’s recent self-released and self-titled EP and is a new take on the sort of melodies Apollo 18’s Kim Daeinn would create under the alias Jelly Boy.
Paula y Los Besos – Bailar
Paula y Los Besos is the new musical adventure of singer, songwriter and poet Paula Trama. The band just released eight songs in the form of two EPs that range from acoustic-punk upbeat tunes to tender folk ballads. Bailar is a cover of T. Rex’s Cosmic Dancer, with Spanish lyrics adapted by Paula herself. You can hear and download both EPs from their Bandcamp page.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Swimming – Triplebrie
Adelaide’s Swimming are sisters Katie and Angie Schilling and friend Sam Reynolds. Triplebrie is the first single from their new record Yes, Tonight. There are plenty of layered vocals and looped sounds on the album, but Swimming’s simple outlook on a capella really does its best in an acoustic setting. The trio also sell tea towels as merchandise, so we can’t really say anything bad about this band right now.
Fijuka – Behave (From Now On)
First a drum machine, then a Billie Jean-style bassline and finally synthscapes that embed the voice of Fijuka’s Ankathie singing one of the weirdest declarations of love we have ever heard. Fijuka stands for DIY pop with an art school touch. Watch the music video for some Rhönrad wheel action.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
FAROFF – Brazilian Star Wars
Can you imagine the Star Wars troopers having fun in a slum in Rio de Janeiro, listening to funk carioca in the summer and surrounded by girls? This is not a new track, but Brazilian Star Wars shows one of the best moments of DJ FAROFF, the name used by Leo Bursztyn, PHD in economics and former guitarist of Brazilian band Móveis Coloniais de Acaju.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Program – Waiting
Program’s wall of sound is not insurmountable but it’s far from an easy climb. It will challenge you to find a familiar foothold (Is it shoegaze? Is it drone-rock? Is it disco or dance?) but ultimately leaves you breathless with its brilliant audacity. It is a mountain you’ll climb over and over again, never once following the same sonic route to its summit.
CHILE: Super 45
Lainus – Montañitas
Lainus is the solo project of Alfredo Ibarra who, after returning from New Zealand, has devoted himself to writing music and rediscovering his country. The Andes is the source of inspiration for his single Montañitas (“Little Mountains”), a catchy electronic pop breeze that links him telepathically to the new pop wave (Passion Pit, Phoenix), the Chilean psychedelic tradition and the now very trendy world music. It’s a taster of his next album, due for release in the second half of the year.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Lina Patiño – Plena Luz
With roots in classical singing, Lina Patiño has been experimenting with jazz, ballads, R&B and classical music. Proof of this is the endless number of projects of different genres she has participated in. But now, in her solo guise, her range takes her a step further than usual. We invite you to listen to Plena Luz (“Full Light”), produced by Eblis Alvarez (Meridian Brothers), in which Lina’s vocals are confused and intermingled between bambuco and dark experimental pop.
Adrian Berazaín y Mauricio Figueiral – Por Una Camarera
This month we cover the association of two young artists: Adrián Berazaín and Mauricio Figueiral. Por Una Camarera (“For A Waitress”) is a song in which Cuban rhythms are fused with extraordinary results and will be included in the upcoming releases of both artists separately. Follow these two songwriters closely as they are sure to surprise us with their future output.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Lulu Rouge – Grey Heron Man
Five years on from their awesome debut Bless You, electronica legends Lulu Rouge (aka DJs and producers Buda and T.O.M.) released their second full-length, The Song Is In The Drum, at the end of April. If you’re into deep, dark and excellently melancholic dub this is one not to miss. Grey Heron Man, one of three instrumentals, is a MAP exclusive download.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Nelson García – La Bomba
Veteran singer-songwriter Nelson García (formerly known as Nelson Poket) went solo and is now making music under his real name. La Bomba is a rock song with a classic attitude that ticks with new energy and prepares us for his new album release on June 15.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Guanaco – Crónico
After 15 years on the road, Guanaco, one of the most important independent music icons in Ecuador, presents his most ambitious and mature album, Raíz. The record has 16 versatile tracks that blend hip hop with a wide range of urban and Latin sounds. The lyrics of Crónico provide a deep reflection on the use of drugs.
ENGLAND: Drowned In Sound
Ghosting Season – Time Without Question (alternate version)
Ghosting Season are a techno-loving duo from northern England. Until recently, their music was a marriage of glacial post-rock and warm late-night electronica as Worriedaboutsatan. Under their new guise, Gavin Miller and Tom Ragsdale are already readying a second LP of brooding bloops that spiral into something you could call evil party music. This track was featured on our DiS community podcast.
Kannabinõid – Karistus
Kannabinõid are a deafening stoner/doom band from Tallinn. Obviously there are plenty of (Nordic) metal/rock bands but these guys are particularly good. They just received some really good feedback from the international music industry delegates of showcase festival Tallinn Music Week.
Phenomenal Creature – Perfect Impression
Phenomenal Creature play (mostly) acoustic folk with an intense bluesy feeling, creating songs that are beautifully arranged and decorated with a myriad of little instruments and harmonies.
Perfect Impression is the opener of the band’s recently released debut album.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
FAUVE – Kané
FAUVE appeared from nowhere in the French music scene at the end of 2011, and after only a few months and four songs, offered for free, they became what many French critics called “the voice of our generation”. With beautifully crafted instrumentals, marvellous choirs and words that touch and speak to our feelings and soul directly – putting a finger on our many life problems and crises – they deserve to be known all over the world, even if only using spoken word in Molière’s language. Their first EP, Blizzard, is released on May 20.
HELMUT – The Tribe
Voice, guitar, loops. More and more artists focus on these instruments to make versatile songs to dream, cry or dance to. HELMUT has the talent to build up a song layer by layer, motif by motif, and then slowly start to variate and deconstruct everything. The live experience of this guy is simply amazing.
No Clear Mind – Morning Rain In June
No Clear Mind is an unconventional musical experiment that has been evolving constantly from 2004 till now, an open platform of expression, bringing together people who tint everyday inertia, cancelling its discreet yet lingering nature. Borrowing its name from the old neighbourhood of Athens where it was created, Mets, their second album, is a magnificent set awash with texture, atmosphere, strong autobiographical elements, past memories and emotions that provide a hypnotic, surreal soundscape suitable for both day and night dreaming.
Big City Harmonics – Ennio
A former alt-rock band guitarist, Big City Harmonics is Rohan Hastak, a soul-infused, downtempo electronic music producer. Sampling a variety of instruments and vocals, Big City Harmonics offers a fresh take on electronica.
Muchos Libre – Romusa
On Muchos Libre’s press release they declare: “In surf we trash! In stage we wrestle! Give us one show, so we’ll give you the beast!” They’ve perhaps watched too much Mexican wrestling as the two vocalists often grapple on stage during their ferocious live shows.
IRELAND: Harmless Noise
Rachael Boyd – Aim Too High
From playing in side-project math rock and pop bands to her own contemporary, improvised solo efforts, the broad strokes of Rachael Boyd’s taste in music have gifted the Belfast multi-instrumentalist with a keen grasp of melody and timing. Aim Too High is the title track of a new EP, alternative neo-classical pop with enchanting, urgent piano and strings. Freely flowing with ambition, the slight underlying jitter is calmed by a reassuring vocal intercession. It feeds the need for pop sweetness yet still sounds like substantial brainfood.
Wildmen – Zero Generation
Wildmen are a garage rock duo from Rome. Guitar, drums and a lot of raw energy. More than a lot. Their debut album is called Haters Gonna Hate and someone wrote that it sounds like a grungier version of Black Lips. Uhm, well, OK. What if we stop talking and just dance to these marvellous and mighty songs? You will have fun, trust me.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Metoronori – v_v
The boom in bedroom-based music makers in Japan over the past few years has produced a lot of great artists operating on a very DIY level. Tokyo-based Metoronori is one of the latest in this tradition. She makes discombobulated lo-fi pop where every element falls just into place. Her song v_v demonstrates this well – the sounds she makes seemingly out of step with one another, but the whole thing comes together to create an inviting track.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Bletchley Park – Calendars
Bletchley Park is an indie/alternative band who draw influences from post-punk and fuse them with dark rhythms and lyrics. In 2010, they released From Bletchley, With Love, a collection of their first works. Last year’s debut album, My Body Fighting, resulted in three nominations at the 2013 Malta Music Awards – Best Album, Best Song for Tight Red Dress and Best Band.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Apocalipsis – Jihad
It’s easy to behave in a nihilistic way when you are a Mexico City dweller. With no frills other than being raw as reality can get, Apocalipsis delivers a hybrid that borderlines on the ridge of post-rock, math-rock, hardcore and neocrust, without being too loyal to any of those. Grip zealously to the soundtrack of riots, burning flags and a society on the fringe of collapse… it’s not the Arab spring, nor the Mexican spring. Actually, it’s nothing but part of the Apocalypse.
Spilt Milk – Funeral Blues
For an album which boasts death as its central theme, Spilt Milk’s Funeral Blues is not as morbid a listen as you may think. You may recognise the lyrics as a W.H. Auden poem, used in that harrowing funeral scene from Four Weddings And A Funeral that I’m still getting over. But thanks largely to Brenda Bosma’s beautiful vocals, the Amsterdam quintet does an impressive job of giving a soft yet jangly, folkish spin to what must be some of the saddest lyrics bouncing around.
La Tornado Lost Band – Wake Up
La Tornado Lost Band is a folk/rock/country duo formed by Gabriel De La Piedra and Rodrigo Melgar. Their warm voices and nostalgic guitar sounds create an atmosphere of loneliness and calm. If you like Wilco, Bon Iver or The Replacements, you will love this duo. Wake Up is taken from their debut EP, Pastores On Strike, a collection of six beautiful songs available for free download from Bandcamp.
POLAND: Łukasz Kuśmierz Weblog
How How – Pinkery The Knight
No, this isn’t Animal Collective and we aren’t in 2004. How How is a four-piece from Warsaw who play experimental music. Or, as they describe it, “electroacoustic free pop”. Pinkery The Knight is taken from their latest EP, Knick-Knack.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Dear Telephone – That Violin Lesson Sucks
Dear Telephone, whose band name was inspired by a Peter Greenway movie, appeared on MAP in August 2011 with their song Providence, from their first EP. This month they released their debut album Taxi Ballad which continues their path through mildly electronic music ripe for reasoning and wonder, which will please fans of bands like The xx. Dear Telephone is releasing videos for each track on their album, such as this one for That Violin Lesson Sucks.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Ikol Santiago – Tampoco Tanto
Having spent his teenage years and part of his adult life living in the United States, Ikol Santiago returned to Puerto Rico in 2004 and quickly became part of the island’s underground hip hop scene. His commanding vocal style – cool yet stern, clear and precise – developed through numerous collaborations with many of the island’s greats. Ikol’s solo debut, Iguacas, named after the critically endangered Puerto Rican parrot, is a deeply personal journey through the MC’s experience growing up and trying to find his footing in life. Tampoco Tanto takes a look at our increasingly desperate society, turning anger and anxiety into something closer to wisdom – and perhaps a bit of hope.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Quantum Drive – Echoes (redone)
Quantum Drive, a project from Cluj, started with two guys who found that a shoegaze/indie/60s-revival approach to music fit them very well. Later on, other friends joined them in this journey. They draw their inspiration from bands such as Deerhunter, The Horrors and Tame Impala, and are definitely an act we’ll keep our ears on.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Prides – Out Of The Blue
Prides are probably the most talked-about new band in Scotland since CHVRCHES. In fact, one listen to the fiendishly addictive Out Of The Blue – a staggering piece of dynamic pop that proclaims the arrival of a hit-ready proposition – proves the two groups share common ground, with Prides’ debut single informed by current trends for 80s-leaning electro. It is also reminiscent of MGMT hit Kids, with its distorted, organy synth sound.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Beast – Smoke Swig Swear
New supergroup Beast consists of some of the most well-known members from various bands in South Africa. The band’s raw, organic sound has captivated audiences and their ‘no boundaries’ ethos is reflected in their honest rock ‘n’ roll that is best played at high volume.
The Free Licks – Hang On
The Free Licks are getting ready to share their Exit Plan EP, which is inspired by the best variations of rock music since the 70s. Although The Free Licks could be categorised as an alt-rock band, its members’ varied styles and influences make it much more than that.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
Carousel Beach – Ayahuasca
Carousel Beach’s impressive self-titled debut runs the gambit of genres as folk bleeds into a 90s rock sensibility, which moves into piano ballads and then makes a turn with grandiose harmonies that bounce around tribal percussion lines. A satisfying listen for anyone and everyone.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Andreazulado – Alto
Andreazulado is one of the most prominent rock bands in the Venezuelan indie scene. The trio have toured Argentina, Spain, Colombia and the United States and now they are preparing for the release of their fourth album, Apolo, from which first single Alto is taken.