Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Video: Wild Honey - "Untitled Film Still 96"



Wild Honey’s latest work, “Dear Cindy”, was released last December by Jabalina Música as part of its Dedicatessen series, a collection of EPs from spanish pop bands dedicating their songs to something or someone. Guillermo Farré (a.k.a. Wild Honey) was inspired by Cindy Sherman’s images featured in her “Untitled Film Stills” series and thus dedicates these songs to three of these photographs, auto-protraits for which he imagines a story, a possible setting and a suitable identity. With his characteristic singing and multiple arrangements such as wind instruments and choruses accompanying the poppy instrumental basis, Wild Honey delivers three tracks that have the sound of a very sweet music box. “Untitled Film Still 96” makes the side A of this EP and this is also the photograph that gave name to Cindy Sherman’s most well-known series. The video, however, does not relate directly to the image titling the song and so helps it stand on its own and not only as part of a dedication series. Directed by Pablo Serret de Ena, the clip shows a group of people engaged in different activities or simply standing, the image cut repeating the rhythmic pattern of the song, as if each person was an element of the music. “Dear Cindy” includes also “The Echo” and “I Made This Tape For You,” two additional pop delights that make this yellow 7” quite a collector piece.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

ZEBRA - Dimension EP


Chilean duo Zebra, composed of DJ/producer Roman (MKRNI, Roman & Castro) and multi-instrumentalist Miguel Irarrazaval (Lainus, Treboles) present an EP with four dream pop pearls. This newest release comes after the excellent “Summerlove” (2013) and shows a smoother ambiance, a more relaxing atmosphere with less electric ups and downs but with an enveloping brilliant drone instead. Dimension is valid for both spanish and english, the lyrics mix the two languages so as the music seems to be the stylistic blend of latin and non-latin sources. Listening to Zebra, we hear echoes of chill wave stars like Washed Out, Com Truise and Toro & Moi but with a subtle funky touch that makes the difference and relates them to contemporary Iberoamerican acts such as Clubz and Extraperlo. Dimension EP is a brief collection of sunsetting rhythms where vocals are delivered like wind blowing over a synth pop basis decorated with shiny sound effects, so as we would imagine our beach cocktails to be like. Free download via the Soundcloud.




Friday, April 25, 2014

Video: Mamacita - "No Eres Tu"



The above statement, while hilarious, is all kinds of disturbing when you think about it. Between "Happy," Pitbull's Mundial anthem, and the four or five Romeo Santos songs on FM rotation things are looking bad, people.

Enter Mamacita- resurrecting what was once and still is an essential dance hit within the chilean pop catalogue. Yes, many of us were on this since 2011, and yes, the original's cassette-fi vibes still hold up, but even back then we knew this was a song for the people. Now, as Frankie Knuckles (RIP) and Chicago House are coming to be appreciated in a completely different way, "No eres tú" is also ripe for re-discovery.

Framed in the grand tradition of this could be us but you playin' videos, Mamacita spends time with the bae and amuses herself dancing alone at night. But the clip (Directed by Ce Pams) isn't out to show pop music affecting its surroundings and characters in some lame and precious way, rather, pop can be corrupted, seduced by neon lights and shadows. Face it, we all needed this. Order the vinyl via Kompakt.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Video: Juan Molina - “Sin Guía, No”


If you call yourself a movie fan you’ve probably made your best effort to visit your city’s art house to see Jonathan Glazer’s masterful Under The Skin. Beautiful in all its abstraction, it will probably take a while before any other visual assault confronts you as deeply. Juana Molina’s latest clip for  “Sin Guía, No” (single off Wed21) shares a great deal of the themes (desire, ritual, disobedience) and visual techniques (the forest as a character in the narrative) used in Under The Skin. Except that, unlike what happens in the film, “Sin Guía, No” maintains its characters grounded –and at human level. This is a coming-of-age story at the grace of folk magic. “Filmed in Tierra de Fuego, and inspired by the Hain initiation cermonies of the Selk’nam people,” reads the clip’s premise. Director Dr. Sepian keeps his scope open for universal absorption, and although the clip could do without the mockingly dance around the fire, the clip redeems itself beautifully in its waterfall, aerial, and cleansing conclusion.

Video: Arufe - "Dinosaurio"



Why Bflecha’s “Mundo Bizarro” isn’t part of a product's transnational marketing campaign by now is surprising. The catchiest and most straightforwardly pop number in Beta served from Arufe’s thriving assistance, offering the track a mysticism and luxurious lush that made the pop structure that more effective. Arufe has our attention now. His latest single “Dinosaurio” is quite a revelation, and far from a pop structure subscription. The Spaniard rapper approaches Paleontology in a quirky, exaggerated tone driven by pop culture references. The music video in charge of Priscina Infinita first plays with negative space, quickly transforming the minimalistic frame into a meta-visual platform. The clip starts with a Jurassic Park blanket taking shape into the dreams of the rapper. The narrative never gives up, flourishing animation with little restraint. Something about him rapping about Madonna and condensed milk in the same minute shows Arufe stretching his lyrical discourse a bit too much, but he’s doing it with plenty of wit and charm.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Kap G - Like a Mexican

Like a Mexican, Kap G
Independiente, USA
Rating: 78
by Pierre Lestruhaut

The debut mixtape from Kap G, 19-year-old Atlanta-based Latino rapper, starts with words from DJ Drama: “One thing about the rap game that’s always respected is authenticism.” It might sound like the old maxim that prophesizes how music should be judged mainly on its realness, yet no matter how many thinkpieces get regurgitated about the conflicts of authenticism in art; you can always grasp flashes of authenticism in the details. The best street life rap albums, from Illmatic to The Luca Brasi Story, are the ones that carry the vivid imagery you only get from living that kind of life. Rest assured, Like A Mexican is no Illmatic, but it’s the promise and first step of a rapper whose depiction of street, family, and party life, carries the rough and rich storytelling that’s usually the imprint of good rap.

Kap G starts the mixtape wailing like Waka Flocka Flame, but instead of yelling about getting fucked up with "killers and hood niggas," he yells "pesos, pesos, pesos," and "Qué pasa homes." He’s got the mastery of dropping pop culture references that will prompt a smile on rap nerds who love Paul’s Boutique for the same reason. In “Eddie Guerrero” he raps about what he’s willing to do to get paper, which we can guess has to be related to the deceased wrestler’s catchprase: "I Lie! I Cheat! I Steal!." Then in “That Paper” he states of how he has no problems "kicking bitches out" in the morning, despite how much they love him. He’s still a man of values though, as he recognizes in "La Familia," in which he shows the sort of respect and loyalty to those that are blood-related to him that would certainly make Tío Salamanca proud.

Even if lyrically it seems to have been made in the US-Mexico border, sonically this has Atlanta’s imprints all over it. What initially hits you while listening to the mixtape, is just how extremely well surrounded Kap G is. There's beats provided by the likes of Bangladesh, Pharrell (yes Pharrell), and Drumma Boy, and guest spots by Wiz Khalifa, Young Jeezy. But it’s the production that’s particularly admirable. Bangladesh is responsible for the first two beats and not only drops the most club-trashing ones but also adds a few samples (the danzón-like horns) that fit in with the “Like A Mexican” concept. With that exception though, it’s all about the same bombastic Southern rap and trap-hop production that’s been the backdrop for Atlanta's best songs these past few years. Squat Beats’ psychedelic synth lines in “R.I.P.” and “Fuck la Policía (FLP)” provide the mixtape’s best moments for pure aural bliss, and it's also when Kap G is at his best on the mic.

The young Atlanta rapper has the slow-paced flow of Rich Homie Quan in “Type of Way,” one that’s more focused on catchiness than lyrical prowess. It’s rapping that’s delivery-driven, and he sounds so drowsy and stoned in some songs that you can even see the smoke clouds that were probably circling the studio during the recording sessions. Even if he abuses Latino slang and cultural references a little too much, making it feel occasionally like the rap industry is attempting to connect with US Latinos, he can also go from hilarious when speaking of his preference of sex over romance ("Mami please don’t give me beso/I just want some good cabeza") to highly critical and poignant when verging towards social commentary on being a descendant of immigrants in the US ("So the cops pulled me over say the windows too tinted/Basically saying that my ‘migos ain't from here," "And my bro tatted up they think he MS13"). Even if the mixtape is a success mainly because Kap G has managed to acquire a top-notch set of supporting guests and producers, at such a young age he's got the delivery and shout-along hooks that make his peers right in placing such trust and hopes in him.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Juan Wauters - N.A.P. North American Poetry

N.A.P. North American Poetry, Juan Wauters
Captured Tracks, USA
Rating: 82
by Souad Martin-Saoudi 

While N.A.P. North American Poetry was released last February, I must admit I needed some time to absorb all of the earnestness emanating from this epigrammatic record. So I listened and re-listened to Juan Wauters' first solo LP. When it comes to achieving true simplicity -one that can only be attained by gathering, digesting and unifying the infinite complexities of human reasoning, the Jackson Heights-based fellow with the nasal vocals and minimalist guitar arrangements has become an expert. After several listens, his "collection of 12 songs about the coldness of winter and the warmth of a scratch-off nickel," which were all recorded at Gary Olson's Marlborough Farms studio between 2010 and 2012, uncovers the songwriter’s proficiency to understand and expose complex situations with an idiosyncratic lyricism that remains engaging.

"I don’t like you, you’re a fool" shouts Wauters on album opener "Let Me Hip You To Something," after a discrete soaring guitar takeoff. The chuckle-inducing statement can offend upon first hearing, but in a way it calls into question whether he sings it in order to keep us, as a society, on our toes, aware, and truly present. Beneath his offhand irony, The Beets frontman bares a purity of conception that either excites or puts off. And so Wauters makes his way through and underneath the layers of our conscious minds, one moment with the genuine urgency of "Sanity or Not" and a moment later with the soothing bongo beat of the jaunty and Rollingstonesque "Lost in Soup." JW’s three-chord art punk provides a solid vessel for his thoughts on overconformity and the alienation of modern humanity. "Escucho Mucho" builds in a dreamy-jangly rhythm guitar to lines like "Soy un soldado, no estoy domado, a otro soldado quiero matar, pero no puedo, no tengo dedo apretar gatillo y matar." The hazy and drifting "Woke Up Feeling Like Sleeping," with its quieter strumming guitar, maracas and voiceover embodies Wauters’ aesthetic, one that’s weirdly attractive.

His art excels with the contemplative "Water," whose words ("Do I belong, who is it that I am, what is it that I'm for") and music video (shot in Montevideo by longtime collaborator Matthew Voltz) create a sense that we have dropped in on a moment that has not stopped to exist because of our incursion. We can even catch a sight of two of Wauters musical idols Chicos Eléctricos’ Nico Barcia and singer songwriter Ruben Rada. Amanda Rodi’s flute on “Goo” and Carmelle Safdie’s (Beachniks) vocals on "Breathing" and "How Do They All Do?" envelop the confessional lyrics and JW’s slacker drawl with a fuller sensorial experience. Like a playful and spirited choir, the duet formed by Wauters and Safdie (a more fun and spirited version of Reed/Nico tandem), proves to be curiously effective as the vocal alternation channels Wauters’ vulnerability without becoming mawkish. "Continue To Be You" offers a different kind of thrill as lines from the opening track: “Get a headache yeah, take medicine yeah, get better yeah, to another headache, oh yeah” are repeated as a mantra to bring us to full realization.

N.A.P. North American Poetry (out via Captured Tracks) closes with a rough but spirited cover of Los Piojos "Ay Ay Ay". The pressing guitar arrangements on this song are about someone who strives to survive outside of an alienating society, but inevitably comes back to it -giving it greater depth. Patti Smith in Just Kids explained that “to be an artist was to see what others could not.” Juan Wauters does precisely that: managing to hold the listener spellbound with few chords and a feeling. The candor and artisanal approach of his collection of thoughts permeates the ordinary to better transcend it.

Video: Smileswithteeth - "Counting Music"



How can you not provide your undivided attention to a guy who presents himself as a Four Tet scholar and an Atlanta rap enthusiast? I mean, I can already picture at least half of the Fonograma staff swelling in excitement before such presentation card. Los Angeles beatmaker Gabriel Gutierrez (of Venezuelan background) is part of Space Heathens, a beat-maker collective based out of Montreal. Gutierrez has crafted an outlet for steaming out his personal soundscape under the Smileswithteeth moniker. “Counting Music” is the first promotional cut off his forthcoming debut, Everyday Always. The clip helmed by Gutierrez himself is (quoting the artist) “a love story between octogenarians.” The clip is quite a romantic flair although a bit sad as the characters can’t seem to find each other’s eyes at any point. Although the track could hardly be described as personal, there’s enough space felt between the claps and breaths here for future auterism.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trash No Star - Stay Creepy (no) Summer Hits

Stay Creepy (no) Summer Hits, Trash No Star
Transfusao Noise Records, Brazil
Rating: 69
by Carlos Reyes

You must give it to Lê Almeida for keeping Transfusão Noise Records as faithful to noise punk as it has been over the years. Most producers would’ve polished the sound by now, but Lê Almeida's entrepreneurship subscribes all of his tapes to the same agency of short-lived, raptured sonoridade. The Brazilian imprint’s sense of brotherhood is evident in all its releases. Bands like Treli Feli Repi, Wallace Costa, and our favorite, Babe Florida, share so much in their approach to their music that it’s sometimes difficult to tell them apart. You won’t have that problem with Trash No Star, a band that stands at another wavelength of intensity and whose mostly-female vocals stick out.

Self-proclaimed feminists, Trash No Star (under the production assistance of Lê Almeida) present a disarray of riot grrrl shoutings. In some numbers, the band excels at discharging urgency, and on others, they fall into plot-holes of social exhaustions. When a band chooses to bluntly ask, “Hey how are you bitch?” on the first track of their record, you know they’re looking for your attention. In the following track "Let's Go," the three-member band bolds its power and speed if only to go into a vocal rumbling of nothingness and absoluteness. Divisive bands like Descartes A Kant and Le Butcherettes share the same line of attack, but fail to provide the warmth that a band like Trash No Star offers. The first two tracks of Stay Creepy (no) Summer Hits are nothing more than personalized templates, but serve the band with the accreditation to wonder on more challenging (if not less traveled) lands on the rest of the EP.

If we had to go through a semi-jarring provocation like that of “Let’s Go” to get to something as deeply staggering to the sense as the meta-vocal chorus of “Miss Me” then it was all worth it. We could accuse Trash No Star of revivalist mimicry and working with overly simple lyrics like we did to Hawaiian Gremlins recently, but what makes the Brazilian act more convincing is the absence of posture and self-glorification. Not to mention the topics of a phantom summer romance increase the chances for careful, repeated listens. At around ten minutes long, Stay Creepy is still hard to hold on to. Particularly as there’s not much room for scatter and dispersion to happen –both sonic developments that have elevated contemporary bands like Selma Oxor and Las Robertas to the next league. Not that Trash No Star would care to sound like their contemporaries, as confessed in the album, they belong to a “Lost Generation” and choose to be completely unapologetic about it.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Santos - Mi Technobanda

Mi Technobanda, Santos
Tropic-All, Mexico
Rating: 76
by Carlos Reyes

Applying the “rule of Three” is important for anyone daring to finger-point to a wave or movement. It’s present in literature (Three Little Pigs), in celluloid (The Three Stooges), in music formation (Los Tres), and in effect, in all subdivisions of the arts. When Los Macuanos and María y José presented ruidosón to the world we all needed a third act to resolve their theory on developing a new sound. At the moment, it seemed easy to attach Los Amparito to the fraction. Time showed us Los Amparito had served a surrogate role to the realization of the sound. Since then, we have turned to Santos and Siete Catorce looking to complete the ruidosón triad (if only for mere romantic reasons as there’s plenty of room for both).

While Siete Catorce is already looking at what’s ahead of/for ruidosón, Santos is introspecting the primal skeleton of the sound and embedding it into long-lived narratives like that of banda music. Perhaps because we have just passed the birth and death anniversaries of Selena, but it’s hard not to think of “Techno Cumbia” when reading the title of Santos’ third album, Mi Technobanda. But whereas Selena was presenting a hybrid for mass consumption, Santos is aware of his resources, cleverly opting to offer a personalized experience of a style of music he’s clearly in love with. A thick, blood-curling organ line traces across the album’s opening piece “El Infierno.” Santos contemplates it for a moment but is quick to approach, confront, provoke and break it down. We can track that same organ line throughout the album, sometimes acquiring visibility (“Luna Llena”) and sometimes percolating as a ghostly echo to make room for vocals (“La Chinita”).

Santos unveils his entire toolbox (horns, cowbells, rattlesnakes) within a couple tracks inside the album. Nothing wrong with displaying your diegesis early on, but by the middle section of the record, Santos’ role becomes that of a stylist –flirting and repositioning his sound, and lacking surprise in the production. Santos’ newfound vocal ambition pays off for that structural flaw in big ways. When was the last time someone nuanced the word “sensual” and actually managed to sound sexy doing it? The vocal unfolding of Mi Technobanda is exciting and heroic; this includes the narcotized voice-of-reason found in “Éxtasis” and a couple conversations with the devil in “San Cristóbal” and “Romeo.” Santos is often referred as an understated artist (particularly when compared to his ruidosón peers). I think he had been been building up to deliver something as fulfilling as Mi Technobanda –an album that proves ruidosón is still going strong at a delightful level of indiscretion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Bill Yonson - "Chola"


Bill Yonson (Josué Coronado Navarrete) belongs to a new b-level of DIY pop stylists/expressionists making some of the most exciting music coming out of Mexico (Tony Gallardo II, Pájaro Sin Alas, Fonobisa). Via our friends at Matinee As Hell, we learn about his forthcoming sophomore album, El Principe del Mar (in all due honor to El Principe del Rap if you had not figured out by the album cover). While initially alienating and hard to take seriously, Bill Yonson’s new single “Chola” proves to be as deep cutting as it is charmingly weird. “Ese apodo de ojos tristes te queda bien,” sighs a decoded voice as it scratches a platform of casio keyboards and dembow. Affording wittiness on the promotional cut of your album is a very good thing. If Pipe Llorens made a hit out of “Dame Un Besito,” and María y José finally percolated into Mexican radio with “Ultra,” Bill Yonson’s shot at an urban ballad should encounter a similar faith.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

MP3: Campo-Formio - "Lola"


Well, we’re only about four months late on this one. People of great taste have been pointing us to Puerto Rican rock power band Campo-Formio for years, and although the pedigree has been obvious, nothing has stood up as remarkably as their latest single “Lola.” The band calls it a power ballad. Off their first full-length record here comes…. Campo-Formio! (via Dead Mofongo Records), “Lola” can be classified as a breakthrough single of sorts. The robust build up of those guitars, the brutal urgency of the drums, and the releasing of that catchy-as-hell, full-on-falsetto vocals shouting “pero yo no soy tu perro,” make up for one very memorable number. The song plays exceptionally well with bulks of grainy youtube footage (with Javiera Mena making the cut) as seen in the fan-made clip below. Download the MP3 of the song for free via Bandcamp.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Hawaiian Gremlins - Girls EP

Girls EP, Hawaiian Gremlins
Sicario Music, Mexico
Rating: 60
by Carlos Reyes

A killer band name, infectious guitars, and tropical sticker aesthetics have made Hawaiian Gremlins one of the most bloggable bands of the last couple of years. The common denominator for most bloggers: it’s a band that offers nothing new but whose feel-good vibes are worth to pass around. While their debut EP Teenage Ways was too scattered in vision for a proper review, their new EP, Girls, brings some focus to their pastiche. Not that the band is heading on the right path (if there’s such a thing), but they’re showing signs of wanting to move past being the flavor of the month.

“All the girls are watching us,” nuances a low-reverbed crooning voice on the EP’s intro. Not so fast on self-gratification guys! It’s easy to tap your foot and consume the music with that happy-go-lucky joy the band offers. But when the novelty wears off, we must ask for some challenge. Even if this is meant to be some kind of homage to Michael Cera, there’s little proposition in Girls. Jangling surf guitars and soft brushes make up for most of the offer, and although at times ingenious (the tippy toeing in “AA AA” is too cute), there’s little revelation at the core of these tunes. Add the fact that Hawaiian Gremlins have yet to realize singing in English (for the sake of it and not having much command of it) is no longer cool, and fall cheesy and flat on their limited vocabulary. Not to mention, one can misunderstand things completely –for the longest time I was under the impression first single “Give It Up” was incestuous (“I want you so bad Daddy hurts,”) but apparently it isn’t.

Past its lyrical fiasco and its all-absorbing redux, Girls (unlike its predecessor) does offer the band with a direction. If they stick with naïve tempos and stripped-down bubblegum melodies (as they have in standout tracks "Give It Up" and "Bright Lights"), they’re likely to encounter more than a few gems in the future. Girls also benefits from a very pleasing construction –it’s a 20minute dose that offers an intro, potential hit singles, fillers, and an outro. The real challenge will arrive when it’s time to transfer the dangerously thin and borrowed discourse to a full-length album. That's bound to be stretchy. Recalling moods and sounds rather than shaping them is a hit or miss game. Hawaiian Gremlins are squeezing from a tree that might not sustain them for too long, but it will do for the time being.

Video + MP3: Tunacola - "Guachita"


“Oh is that still going on?” said my twin brother after I told him I was listening to a new cool band from Chile. Not that Chilean pop isn’t infallible. A few times a week we get emails with getter subjects such as “Meet the latest act from Chile!” Not a bad marketing move to capitalize from something that’s proven to export a couple of dozen acts in a big way. Which is why when approaching a virtual unknown band like Tunacola, there’s a suspension of disbelief to take care of. Their single “Guachita” is all they need to uphold any association with what their compatriots are doing. Because at the end of the day, it’s that beautiful, solemn, and grand entrance that makes you want to keep listening. Like the narrative of the video, one wishes the band would've taken that entrance to a different climax (or perhaps not offer a climax at all), but the descending lush of it all still adds up to something memorable. Off their forthcoming album Todos los Veranos del Mundo (via Endemika Records), “Guachita” is like blending the topics of Doble Platina’s “Musica para cerrar las discotecas” and recruiting Dan Bejar to orchestrate a 5AM sunrise. Download the MP3 via Soundcloud.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Joe Crepúsculo - "Carreras de Cabeza"


Joe Crepúsculo changes labels like he changes socks. It’s not a particularly bad thing. If anything, it reaffirms his status as Spain's indie's enfant terrible. The artist has announced the rise of his own label Ópalo Negro, where we totally expect him to fetichize and carve deeper into his obsessions. Crepúsculo's new single “Carreras de Cabeza” is already showing signs of that. The vocoder, the synth escalations, the funk ornaments and the witty silly lyrics sure speak of an artist working under absolute freedom. If Rebolledo afforded us all a midnight ride through cosmopolis in “Corvette Ninja,” Crepúsculo percolates us into the crowded, funk-chasing roads of his head. Not nearly as good or catchy as “Mi Fabrica de Baile,” but it’s an amusing transition single that attains to the abrasion of the Crepúsculo experience.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Univers - L'Estat Natural

L’Estat Natural, Univers
Famelic, Spain
Rating: 88
by Carlos Reyes

Unlike what Almost Famous thought to early milleanials, writing about rock music is the least exciting duty for the modern pop music journalist (nowadays bloggers). While our staff fights over who gets to review the latest pop album from Chile, reviewing rock music is often a chore. Unless you have controversy behind a band (or have the spectacle of a frontman at hand), the structure of a rock band reduces the room to approach music through personal or auteur lens. At least once a year, a rock record comes along and triggers an emotional vein that breaks any writer’s block and resorts the romance between fuzzy guitar chords and the shameless pop slut (that being me this time around). L’estat Natural is that album for me this year.

Recent triumphs for the rock genre (Ases Falsos, Bam Bam) have been either escapisms or cultural blueprints. Univers’ first full-length record L’estat Natural, much like Él Mató a un Policía Motorizado's La Dinastia Scorpio, comes from a different manufacturing –rock music that is gentle, personal, benevolent and woefully emotional. It’s not that I would describe rock music as cold, but the rock posture venerated by pop culture has way too many sons and daughters yearning the promised luxury of rock and roll. L’estat Natural benefits from this cultural friction. It’s a record that feels simultaneously borrowed and new. Where melody breathes and travels through the haze. The songs are anguished and longing, but not in the hot pursuit for privileged platforms but rather with the purpose of marrying the pleasantness of pop structure with the noise and aesthetics of shoegaze. Nothing is particularly catchy here, yet everything resonates.

Not that the members of Univers sat down and thought about the zeitgeist this meticulously. When confronted by a song as rapturous as “Estatua En Moviment” one has to wonder if the band was even conscious they eclipsed the pop-structured first half of the song with a post-punk juggernaut on its counterpart. Artistic endeavor sure goes a long way. What separates Univers from many of its white noise contemporaries is their ability to rapture and roll back into silence. The dynamic seems simple enough, but really, few bands can march and cross the sunlight (“Travessant La Llum Del Sol”) and collect themselves with such disarming restraint and warmth. If you find yourself singing along to the catchier tracks of the album ("Iceberg" and "Minerals"), and you’re as estranged with Catalan as most of us, embrace it. Transgressive music takes no shortcuts to manifest its greatness.

Greatness is not the most suitable word to describe the first album by Univers. As giant as might get to be at times, it's a record that has a small-scale realism to it –its detachment from social anxieties puts the light on what fellow Fonograma critic Pierre Lestruahut referred to as “that unequivocal gorgeousness of those true bare bones post-punk classics.” At 33 minutes long, L’Estat Natural unfolds quickly and gracefully. It isn’t that the album discloses its beauty unobtrusively, it’s missing risk and uniqueness to touch elbows with say, the two first albums by Triángulo de Amor Bizarro. But that doesn’t stop it from being one hell of a knockout. An even greater achievement considering this is Univers' debut. Call it rock music, shoegaze, white noise, or post-punk, the breaking and sheltering of up-tempo guitars rarely sounds this gorgeous. It’s earnest and an interlocking romance.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

MP3: Tony Gallardo II - "Innervision"


It is fair to say now that expectations have become really high anytime Antonio Gallardo's artistic personas delivers some kind of new material. And I would say that Club Fonograma was one of the first webzines that risked to guarantee this continuing growth in Gallardo's career ever since his exceptional debut Espíritu Invisible in 2010 under his moniker of María y José. Now as one of the top electronic acts not only in Mexico but also in the Latin American electronic scene, Tony Gallardo accomplishes to stay deeply embedded on working and mastering his sounds without being overrated.

As it was teased earlier this year, Tony Gallardo II was being resurrected from its torment and today the Tijuana kid (is he still a kid?) delivers the first track from his upcoming release Deep Wow. "Innervision" encapsulates Gallardo's best, broadly encompassing whatever falls between techno and no wave. This is nightmare music, culled from both sleep and waking consciousness. There are times when I can't help but feel like I've heard everything worth listening to. Over the years, I've grown to expect little from new music, succumbing to the post-modern suggestion that everything has been done before. But when I listen to something as wildly unpredictable as "Innervision," I can't help but feel like there could be something new around the corner.
 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Video: Capullo - "Déjame Vivir" (Juan Gabriel y Rocío Dúrcal Cover)


No one is immune to Capullo’s 8-bit multidimensional keyboard pop. Their take on the “Déjame Vivir,” one of the most memorable episodes of the Juan Gabriel and Rocío Dúrcal saga, is exceptionally refreshing to our inherited nostalgia of Televisa-filled afternoons. And I mean inherited nostalgia because although most of us were toddlers during the first wave of the Juanga and Rocío romance, our moms made sure to ingrain in all of us the melodramatic, fictional relationship between the biggest stars of the time. The sounds and VHS-ripped images of this clip function just like our favorite GIF images, entangling you into an endless repetitive cycle. Capullo’s rendition of the song is somewhat faithful to the original during its first half, but it’s in its second half that Capullo releases its arsenal of synth pop, super-charging the dramatic classic with tropical virtuosity, triumphantly avoiding parody along the way.

Adanowsky - Ada

Ada, Adanowsky
Everloving Inc. Chile/France/Mexico
Rating: 59
by Carlos Reyes

For a critic that despises the Hollywood structure, I’m surprised to like Adanowsky over the years. The elaborate, fabricated characters he’s embodied, worn-off and killed are adding up to a pompous whole (think of the saturated character index by Johnny Depp and how hard it is to call him a versatile actor anymore). And yet, there has been a harmonious, almost mystical attractiveness to all of Adanowsky’s characters. To be specific, about the personalization of these guys. Particularly effective because, as of recently, we have believed in the notions of Adan as an Idolo or an Amador –characters that seemed fitting and weren’t preoccupied with social or cultural associations/appropriations. Adanowsky's latest reincarnation presents us with Ada, a reinvention that is man and is woman.

While we could accuse him of constructing Ada as a mere provocation of sexual and cultural natures, Adanowsky’s humanist rhetoric on being born from a man and a woman sure is more senseful than the airbrushed “sexlessness” reasoning portrayed in Marylin Manson’s infamous Mechanical Animals album cover. The explanation of Ada doesn’t make its creation be any less problematic though. “Welcome. Get ready to enter my world; open your heart, open your mind,” Ada instructs repeatedly on the album’s intro, unveiling a whole box of sexual politics and most importantly, potentially insulting the level of tolerance and progressiveness of his/her listeners. Presumption (in lyrical and highly polished musical passages) is Ada’s most recurring flaw. “My body wants to tell me something,” shouts the bridge in “Sexual Feeling,” unveiling a further deconstruction of Ada as a fetichized character that is subverted on its (presumed) social foreground and which, in effect, makes its character arc all that more commercially viable. Adanowsky has always been a good salesman after all, and a very likable one.

Past the problematic nature of the character –that is, subtracting the conceptual theorem of the album- Ada goes on a distance collecting dance rock artifacts and melting them with every synth that struck the FM airwaves in the late 70s and early 80s. Funk requires a great deal of ambition. The romanticized synth escalations in “Let’s Bring It Back” and the rapturing chorus of “Dancing to the Radio” reach grandiosity and showmanship, but lack surprise in their direction. Things go far better in a track like “Would You Be Mine,” where Ada affords moments of whimsical originality against the very familiar (yet skilled) borrowed pop hooks found throughout the album. Like its character, Ada feels like Adanowsky’s least personal record yet. Perhaps because in its wholesome theatric approach to afford a glam-nearing-dance American rock record, Adanowsky has thrown the sexual, asexual, and the all sexual into the same pan, offering a little more than a variant in the actual contents of the record.

Monday, April 7, 2014

SILVA - Vista Pro Mar

Vista Pro Mar, SILVA
Som Livre, Brazil
Rating: 83
by Sam Rodgers

"Stealth Pop" refers to pop music that sounds simplistic, easy and nice (both pretty and precise) at first listen –music that you might balk at because you, dear reader, have more sophisticated tastes. HAIM are a recent example of a "Stealth Pop" band: easily digestible tracks that only over time reveal their subtlety, imbedding themselves in your ear. Suddenly, and maybe unexpectedly, you're a full-blown fan. It's a term we might have just made up, but it seems apt when describing the tunes of Brazil's SILVA, here with his sophomore LP, Vista Pro Mar.

Like the aforementioned LA sisters, SILVA comes with a fully-realized sound of his own, even though he borrows heavily from late-70s and 80s pop: atmospheric synths; chiming disco hooks, funky bass lines, saxophone solos; bridges that build and climax; hand claps, clicks and earnest oohs/ahhs. This multi-instrumentalist from Vitória unashamedly celebrates nostalgia, incorporating the essence of popular music from the past into an electronic present –visiting a horn section or crashing piano from time to time. Folded through this is his appreciation of Brazil's own musical styles, including the cliché bossa nova, and 'tropical' instrumentation: track "Entardecer" moves from James Blake-on-Ipanema Beach to a reggae outro, without breaking a genre-shifting sweat.

On 2012's Claridão – SILVA's bedroom project and first LP – the artist showed a knack for creating epic, heralding melodies, among quieter, moodier tracks crafted for repeated listening. Again, with Vista Pro Mar, the 25-year-old (!) shifts around with immediacy and intimacy, but with the through-line of the sea (seaside sound effects fill the gaps between songs): sometimes he's on a precipice overwhelmed by the horizon, other times, he's picking his guitar by a beach bonfire. Unlike Claridão, Vista Pro Mar's melding of styles doesn't deviate from a singular, signature sound. Where it was hard to introduce a 'typical SILVA' track to new listeners from the first album (the single "A Visita" was glorious, except it sounded nothing like the rest of the album), with each track on this one, the newbie gets a more succinct example of SILVA's aural-vision.

SILVA's vibe is one that yearns for existential joy –a why can't life always feel this good naivete that seems opposed to the doleful, Portuguese folk fado, but actually exists on the same spectrum. The warm, lushness of the eleven tracks on Vista Pro Mar only masks this underlying sadness. SILVA will make you smile because you get his romanticized will to stay happy. Though we might find the sax solo on bopping single "Janeiro" a blissful trip down memory lane, the irony of how a saxophone was originally used in mournful love songs is not lost. Listen to how the beats of "Disco Novo" posture 80s high school seriousness, as the protagonist asks a crush to listen to a mix-tape. On "Capuba," SILVA reaches an Alex Anwandter level of Chilean new wave disco smarts, mixing the mirror ball with heartfelt longing.

We don't get too many Brazilian acts playing on the Fonograma stereo, which makes it all the more exciting to promote one as talented as SILVA. That his music is still resolutely Brazilian is promising –Fernanda Takai duet "Okinawa" offers, at least superficially, a current cultural snapshot of the nation, for example. Tapping into the country's ocean of musical styles and history seems only logical, but breaking free of the World Music tag and turning a myriad of influences into a sneakily near perfect pop record is SILVA's and Vista Pro Mar's greatest achievement.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Las Chaquetas Amarillas - Diez Primeras Canciones

Diez Primeras Canciones, 
Las Chaquetas Amarillas
Independiente, Chile
Rating: 79
by Carlos Reyes

The arrival of a new single by Ases Falsos triggered a recent mandate: making justice to the first album by Las Chaquetas Amarillas, one of the many bands by Chile’s most understated and active music genius, Cristóbal Briceño. Diez Primeras Canciones had a sketchy release back in December, right amidst the chaos of the holidays and best-of-the-year lists. Needless to say the album has been overlooked. While far from the attraction and assaultiveness of Juventud Americana, the first record of Las Chaquetas Amarillas is an enchanting collection of songs that merits a proper listen, and a proper review.

When approaching Las Chaquetas Amarillas, it’s hard not to raise an eyebrow and question whether the conception of this band was even necessary. Briceño already has an output for arena-rock anthems with Ases Falsos, and a channel for exploring melodramatic popular songcraft with Los Mil Jinetes. Finding the purpose of Las Chaquetas Amarillas becomes a nuanced and challenging task. While I could suggest a stretchy theory about the need of its mere existence, it’s best to follow the band’s advice of “keeping it simple”: Briceño likes to write songs (and this is the ninth album he’s written in seven years). Diez Primeras Canciones starts with the stark, self-reflecting ballad “Cuando nuestras mentes,” which initiates a twofold narrative that is both personal and pedestrian. From social-political boiling pots (“Has Hervir” & “Tierra Robada”) to a self-parody episode (“La noche que te conoci”), this is a round record devoid of content.

Briceño's ability at matching rock/pop hooks with unlikely melodies shows true exuberance here. Potential singles “Melamina” and “Esta Chiquilla” are extroverted in their construction and mean to shake you –and they sure do. While most of the album could be classified as affecting, the album never hits a false note. That restrained, tongue-in-cheek build up in “Mujer Bonita” might seem prolonged at first, but once that track-changing chorus presents itself (quite abruptly) everything resonates for the greater purpose of sounding catchy and grandeur. While Diez Primeras Canciones has undoubtedly better songs than perhaps any ((destacado)) album this year, its code of conduct at constructing, or to be specific, resolving its pieces is an unfortunate one. Making the conscious choice of obtrusively ending your narrative at the middle of nothing is something only David Lynch can afford (anyone else doing that shows defeat). But even with its flawed construction, Diez Primeras Canciones proves to own unquestionable raw transporting power. Enveloping at the very least.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Video: Da Souza - "Sense dir res"



From their debut album Flors i Violència (Famèlic Records), Da Souza present this totally hilarious video for “Sense dir res,” one of the new songs in an album that also includes the four tracks of their very first cassette EP. Native to Mallorca but based in Barcelona, Da Souza sound like California. They scream and shout, they contain the songs and then let them explode. Even if the lyrics may seem a little bit cryptic, they're always very playful and frisky as we see in this video helmed by Coopèrnic, a catalan video cooperative that has already worked with Esperit!, Betunizer, Ocellot and many other bands of the underground catalan musical scene. With two members of Beach Beach (seen performing as the band in the back, along with Kana Kapila’s drummer), Da Souza were one of the great surprises from last year and they are currently playing in almost every festival around Catalunya. Their album sounds very fresh and reminds us of American bands like No Age or Japandroids, but also of local beloved acts like L’Hereu Escampa or even Cuello. Soft guitar melodies, scratchy voices and energetic drums with a little epic taste that is what they do, and they do it well.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Los Waldners - Eclipse Total Del Corazón

Eclipse Total Del Corazón, Los Waldners
Independiente, Costa Rica
Rating: 77
by Pablo Acuña

From their first single, "Ella Usaba Vestidos," everything about Los Waldners seemed like a considered and ingenious decision: their name's undertones of both facelesness and creativity (named after the Swedish table tennis player Jan-Ove Waldner known as "the table tennis Mozart"). They came, a gang of four, like a beam of enlightening warmth into the detached coldness that characterized the Costa Rican music scene last year. Led by Luis Carballo, an eccentric loner who seemed destined to drift towards a more healthy career as a ping pong player and whose youth-love relationships naturally spread into his cutting lyrical work, Los Waldners is like a package that opens up and brings us something.

Something intimate. Their debut album Eclipse Total Del Corazón's lyrics are part of what makes this band so refreshing and so real. Carballo’s words cut through the stylish bullshit, turning the experience of many dissatisfied young men and women into something as anthemic and poetic as it is relatable and intimate. Lines such as "Quizás no es tanto que me hagas falta / Tal vez no sé cómo dejarte ir" in opener track "Papalotes," about saying goodbye to someone, hit pretty close to home. Carballo sings "Porque estamos empeñados en alcanzar el sol aunque eso signifique una vez más caer" on “Ícaro,” the most melancholic cut from the album. It’s a subtle lyric that manages to sum up nearly everything lovable about the band: their explorations through nostalgic familiar grounds.

Something beautiful. Carballo's displays some kind of shadowy stories with some delicate melancholy that breaks you down into a watery mess. It's natural for a listener, to try giving meaning to these lyrics by putting it in the right context. For me as a simple outsider of the band, it becomes a really difficult task to interpret them, but I can safely assure that these songs are connected to something greater, something that is meaningful to someone else. And this is the beauty of this LP, that as we are unable to figure out who is behind these honest stories by our own ("Rodolfo," I'm looking at you), we are left with no other option than to give them meaning with our own experiences.

Something sweet. As stunning as his lines are, Los Waldners wouldn’t be as utterly revered as they are if it weren’t for the vital musical counterpart led by Daniel Ortuño – truly one of Costa Rica's most remarkable musicians/producers. Ortuño's chemistry with Carballo is remarkable, creating smooth transitions, and a lot of clean, melodic guitar hooks. Like lets be honest, who hasn't felt in love of the opener guitar in "Papalotes"? Or what about the exceedingly jangly fretwork in "Horacio"?

Something out of place. Approaching the LP's less memorable moments, “Nunca nos Fuimos” and "Lo Mismo" can drag, partly because both attempt to sound bigger than they actually are. These songs could’ve easily being two of the record’s most enjoyable moments if ambition would've been scaled back.

Something triumphant. Los Waldners have had reached a remarkable status with their debut album. And this isn't easy for a Costa Rican band, it is something far more intriguing and off-kilter, it is indie-pop at its most stirring and enduring. This is the sort of record that will probably improve with age. It will sound even better next summer, the summer after that, and hopefully five years from now, when no one remembers or cares what label the group was signed to, but only the near pitch-perfect pop they put down on tape.

107 Faunos - "Cosas Caras Rotas"


Unless you’re Rodrigo Maceira (from Si No Puedo Bailar/Gente Que Viene) or Andres Murillo (Sr. Amable), chances are you have a love/hate relationship with 107 Faunos. Although we’ve never truly celebrated any of their releases, it’s one of the few bands to which we’ve cared enough to review their entire discography (107 Faunos, Creo Que Te Amo, El Tesoro Que Nadie Quiere). Talk about a cult band. The longitude of promise and signs of progress make us dig in and articulate on a band that seemed to have outgrown past subversive obsessions (minimal hooks, minimal timings, etc). Their newest single “Cosas caras rotas” off their forthcoming fourth record is a regression in concept and pop veracity from what was accomplished with career-best single “El Tigre de las Facultades.” Pretty damn difficult resisting tapping your foot during its short span though. A very personal, if not convincingly bold, sneak peak of what’s to come.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Shakira - Shakira

Shakira, Shakira
RCA, Colombia
Rating: 67
by Andrew Casillas 

Until fairly recently, I considered Shakira to be the closest thing Latin American would have to “our” Prince. Each has a wildly eclectic sound, a willingness to be overtly sexual (both musically and in public), and an underrated musicianship. But as the years have passed, it seems like Shakira has outgrown the Prince comparison. In perspective, Shakira is really “our” Jay Z. Each had a substantial run of highly innovative and highly influential albums, along with a charismatic public persona. Subsequently, the two diverged further and further into their own celebrity, to where their careers are now sustained entirely on their existence as Shakira™ and Jay Z™, corporate entities.

That’s not to say that either artist is stunted from their genius. Indeed, each is still capable of drafting a stunner. Jay Z can go through the motions on his albums all he likes, but when inspired, the dude can seem untouchable (“Empire State of Mind,” “Roc Boys,” “Niggas in Paris”). Shakira, likewise, can still be gracefully sultry (“Antes de las Seis”), popularly singular (“Hips Don’t Lie”), and brilliantly batshit (the still unfuckwithable “Loba”). So we can pine for the days of consecutive instant masterpieces all we want, but those days are over. Instead, both Jay Z and Shakira are hustling to stay relevant as they veer further away from their 20s. Staying relevant in the fucked up world of pop stardom means forcing yourself to become the biggest stars of your pop music niche. Be everywhere, sell everything, evolve from tireless worker to CEO. Blame The Voice and Rocawear all you want, but, without them, Shakira and Jay Z would never get as many opportunities to indulge their musical side.

Going into her second decade as a Multimedia Superstar, Shakira represents Shakira’s attempt to capitalize on the peak of her celebrity following her new roles as a mother and as a judge on America’s highest rated reality show. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Shakira attempts to deliver something for everyone. And in varying ways, the album succeeds at that. First single “Can’t Remember to Forget You” is representative of the parent album’s theme. The Bruno Mars-like blend of The Police and pop radio sheen is simultaneously inoffensive and entirely effective. You feel like you can chart the song’s creation in a boardroom. Regardless, it’s uncompromisingly Shakira, not to mention an opportunity for Rihanna to do more than act as a hook girl. It’s also a great showcase for Shakira as sexually aggressive songstress. Her ferocious yelps during the final chorus are organically erotic in a way that the track’s gratuitously sexed-up music video wishes it could be. Speaking of unnecessarily sexed-up, there’s “Empire,” the album’s second track and second single. There’s a lot to praise for the sheer power balladry of the song, but the heavy metaphors prove too much for something instrumentally over the top already. In fact, it sounds almost like a Shakira parody (notably, “Empire” is one of two songs on Shakira not written by the album’s namesake).

The first half of the album is shockingly derivative, even if there’s some fruit. “You Don’t Care About Me” is a really nice slice of Gotye-rock, and “Cut Me Deep” is a deft bit of pop reggae. However, the less we speak of official World Cup anthem “Dare (La La La)” the better. I’ll just mention that it’s pretty much a re-write of “La Copa de la Vida” set to the tune of “Spice Up Your Life.” Shakira’s second half is where things get interesting on a macro level. Musically it’s a mixed bag. There’s the big Blake Shelton duet “Medicine,” an all too obvious attempt at country music radio airplay; there’s “The One Thing,” our obligatory motherhood track; and a few other tracks (“23,” “Spotlight,” “Broken Record”) that reveal Shakira’s (or at least her PR team’s) greatest influence: Taylor Swift's Red.

This makes sense considering the album’s latent purpose: in order to dominate the market, why not look to who’s already dominating the market? That the Swift-inspired numbers don’t marginalize Shakira are a testament to her strengths as a singer (“Broken Record” is actually quite fabulous). But they’re also way too straightforward. Even when her previous English album She Wolf (a lesser record than Shakira) failed, it wasn’t because Shakira played it safe. Indeed, that album was almost too extreme in its early adoption of EDM-inspired globo-pop. Shakira is still a good pop record and something that she can base another 25 years of a career on, but hopefully Shakira can strike a balance between these last two records going forward, or risk lapsing into Jay Z’s current phase as the rap game 1981 Rolling Stones—20 years going strong with only 20% of the effort.

And what if Shakira ends up lapsing? Meaning, in effect, only making music as an excuse to go on tour and on television and keeping the coffers full. Would it still be important to cover artists like these? It certainly wouldn’t be because Shakira needed the exposure or our recognition. The reason that Shakira’s career is worthy of continued critical evaluation is because she represents the breakthrough that we’d love any of our favorite artists to achieve. Unlike other crossover stars like Ricky Martin or Juanes, she didn’t achieve a sudden lapse in popularity or stagnate at minor celebrity-hood (indeed, Juanes seems sadly resigned to a life as the token Latin musician at every Grammy ceremony whenever Gloria Estefan is unavailable). What Shakira does with her career, or rather, what she chooses to do with her career, is instructive for what happens whenever any of our favorite artists break through. And there’s the key: for all intents and purposes, Shakira seems fully in charge of her career. And she’s still damn good at being Shakira. Even if she’s lapsed into the Shakira™ stage of her career, she can still lead the way for the next Latin American critical darling turned superstar. And if that leaves you feeling a bit discouraged, don’t blame Shakira or Jay Z, blame the system.

Las Robertas - "Marlene"


In 2010, Las Robertas released Cry Out Loud, an album that exemplified meticulous care of noise rock and dream fuzz. Hailing from Costa Rica, Las Robertas had a tenacious exposure not only in Latin-American realms of appreciation but entered Europe and United States realms as well, through labels such as Discos Fup and Art Fag, respectively. After what was taken as a fairly quiet hiatus, the band returns with the first single off their new album. On the contrary of what was alleged, the band was quietly working and building up to an exciting, almost effortless, entrance.

“Marlene” by Las Robertas is a distortion-bathed song that has a majestic introduction, immediately lovely. The high-energy on the drums is perfectly paired with a steady and catchy bassline along with the band’s hallmark of reverb-drenched guitars. The melodic whispers and relatively straightword pop is a distinctive feature the band has had in the past, and has once again proven they are completely masterful at executing. “Marlene” does not derail from previous work, yet their musical evolution is illustrated through the perfection of their sound.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Kana Kapila – Tambor, Canción y Danza

Tambor, Canción y Danza, Kana Kapila
Cofradía de la Pirueta, Sonido Muchacho, 
Discos Walden, Spain 
Rating: 77 
by Glòria Guirao Soro 

It’s been a long time since we know Kana Kapila and finally, after several demos, split singles (with Los Claveles and with Los Alambres) and an EP (¡RA! ¡RA! ¡RA! in 2010), here comes their debut LP, released in collaboration by labels Cofradía de la Pirueta, Sonido Muchacho and Discos Walden. The act has acquired a stable quartet formation inducting bass-player Tomeu (from Beach Beach) and experienced musician Germán Carrascosa (who currently leads KK's sister band German Carrascosa y la Alegría del Barrio) to join an all-sustaining formation.

They've reached the stability to record an album that shows a very positive evolution from their very lo-fi beginnings –not to have it confused with maturity in the sense of losing freshness.. there's no maturity of that kind on here. I refer to the positive evolution in how they play way better now, and, even if I miss their old raw and sometimes shabby sound, I must say that this album shows a good digestion of that "beach-extravaganza"(and here I'm quoting Carlos Reyes) that related Kana Kapila to the tropical trend in fashion some time ago around Barcelona (Extraperlo, El Guincho, and others). Kana kapila have gone deeper in their search for African references, acting like purist melomaniacs or freaky anthropologists (remember "Merienda de Blancos"?), mixing them with a clear do-it-yourself spirt that results in a very original "tropical punk" blend, as they call it themselves, which leaves them out of that poppier trend.

The title of the album, Tambor, Canción y Danza, is a homage to Nigerian author Amos Tutuola’s book The Palm-Wine Drinkard,, published in 1952, a story about a superstitious drunk man peppered with references to traditional tales in which three men from the forest named Drum, Song and Dance stage a grand performance that draws “the whole people of the new town, the whole people that rose up from the grave, animals, snakes, spirits and other nameless creatures”. There are some other explicit references to this book throughout the album but, in my opinion, we should find the influence of Tutuola’s book in the ability of Kana Kapila matching traditional African rhythms and their unique messy punk musical way.

A key aspect of the band’s character remains untouched and those are the lyrics and how they are sung –absolutely free from any meter rule and quite independent of the rhythmical basis. Masked with humor and a somewhat idiosyncratic wittiness, the lyrics dispense bitter bits of truth and some gloomy thoughts about our reality (“Saco de huesos” or “Cuando viva en la calle” are the best examples); other songs like “La gente no entiende nada” are just suitable for singing and ideal to dance to the bouncy melodies. Having said this, I must confess that my favorite tracks in this album are the instrumental numbers, specially “Sabe grave,” but I also love the bass line in “Tengamos la fiesta en paz.” Kana Kapila hits the right chords whether approaching the lyrical or rhythmic fabric of their craft. So be it!