Video: Poli, Zoé

New video for "Poli", the third single and my favorite piece from Reptilectric the latest album from Zoé. I still don't quite get why a lot of my friends dislike that record, but they seem to mind their road to stardom, the TV commercials and such... One thing is for sure, I'm hoping Reptilectric is their last installment about galactic beings, metalic wings, planets...

Perdedores VS Perdedores, The John Band


Intolerancia-Rock Sessions, Mexico
Rating: 58
By Carlos Reyes

Well, I guess “Maten al Criminal” was some sort of hit in Mexico last year? We like to feel like we’re aware of what radio is playing but this is clearly not the case. The John Band isn’t very interesting to start with, and in terms of how they sound they’re not too far from Motel, Beto Cuevas or 3 Doors Down? Not necessarily a bad thing though, sometimes you need standard music to remind you of where you’re standing, if at any moment you’re on still/motionless ground kill yourself! Too violent? Not really, it’s a romanticized statement just like The John Band’s hit, a galore of criminal metaphor and broken hearts. The song however arrives at such an appropriate moment, during Mexico’s most violent years it’s logical consumers would be receptive to the literal connotation of the song, “maten al criminal, no debe estar respirando en este lugar.” Just like the AIDS theory regarding Fatal Attraction (Lyne, 1987), the message here is overstated, but it works and glances the song to unintentional altitudes.

After a fortunate good piece, one can’t help but to give them the benefit of the doubt and Perdedores vs Perdedores simply struggles to create great tunes. The John Band just like Los Liquits or Volovan are better story-tellers than musicians, too bad the songs in this album are too dry to strike for the cute or the spectacular. There is a piece that steps out of comfort zone, “Hooke” is probably about suicide but it’s bright for a picnic, fun although its country glaze is quite forced. “Uh Aja!” suffers from this uncomfortable situation as well, good-intentioned ideas that fail to be anything else than scratched attempts.

Second single “Perdedores” is very immediate, just by the title you can tell it’s bound to be pessimistic, I just hope they would mutilate themselves entirely a la En Ventura, Los Romanticos de Zacatecas or Monocordio. “Pop Star” reminds me of La Oreja de Van Gogh’s “Pop”, but way less interesting. Perdedores vs Perdedores doesn’t fit its title though, it’s not entirely horrible, plus you can always rely on “Maten al Criminal” because it’s just very catchy to overlook. There’s also a well accomplished ‘reloaded version’ of it, which you can download here.

Rita Indiana y Los Misterios - "Jardinera"

Pretty much by now you can tell we’re heads over heels for Rita Indiana y Los Misterios; it’s such a huge statement but it’s the best contemporary act to come out of la Republica Dominicana and we’re here to witness it! It’s still pretty hard to put a tag on their music, some say it’s Merengue Alternativo while one of my friends from Slant Magazine says it’s “Latin America’s funky answer to Animal Collective” (What? Wait, Maybe?) I feel it’s more of vernacular music sliced up by a scope of unprecedented pop. This is dance music, roots music, pop, folk, everything pointing to a contextual direction which I’m guessing comes from Rita’s brilliant works as a novelist. I particularly find literal links to her music in her first novel titled La Estrategia de Chochueca, which believe me, it's going cult and it’s sublime. These songs are really an extension of her poetry, but most importantly, they sound great.

And yes, we got another song for you. “Jardinera” is about seeds and rights, about the joy of this practice in all kinds of connotations; the song is a chant for campesino support, and also an arousing sexual piece that reminded us of Andrea Echeverri, perhaps even more pedestrian in its sensitivity towards sexual choice and motherhood. Remember to download some other songs featured on our Fonogramaticos Vol.3 (“La Sofi”), Fonogramaticos Vol.4 (“El Blu del Ping Pong”) and you should not forget “La Hora de Volve” which again, it’s one of the greatest songs I've heard in a while.

Bat 1, Mursego

Independiente, Spain
Rating: 79
By Carlos Reyes

Mursego is the strange and obscure project from Maite Arroitajauregi; we know very little about her except that her performances found on YouTube are marvelous and her first installment Bat 1 is an impressive perhaps too mysterious revelation from a name we’re sure to keep on mind for a while. Bat 1 lacks any form of location and time-frame, opening its wing to a line of languages, genres and ideas, very much like Emilio Jose’s Chorando Aprendese and Za!’s Macumba o Muerte this is a trip to a bunch of exotic places, or as some observers have caught, a new approach to middle-eastern ground through a revolting sepia-toned sound.

This approach of exoticism is well introduced by Maite’s raspy vocals; they really intensify the very terrestrial vibe of seven songs that, for the best or the worst lack strike to be profound. From shimmy chants to straight-out demanding songs, Mursego’s bold and confident record manages to shield itself from the vulnerable folky-progressive album it could’ve been; instead, it adjusts to pop’s enchantment, very much like Micachu and the Shapes. In fact, “Subir Arriba, Baixar Abaixo” sounds very much like Micachu’s brilliant post-punk album Jewellery, instead of the overflow of clashes Mursego opts to keep its sense of depth with violins & taps. “Bals de Sorcieres” is a mysterious, hardcore instrumental opener, again utilizing chords to create a misty atmosphere which is given continuum in “Tanqueray”, which features soprano-like vocals that underline her virtuous range.

The much discussed Manos de Topo gets some love in “Zuuu” (what an appropriate title), it’s a hilarious homage to “Tortilla”, one of my favorite tracks from El Primero Era Mejor. This piece also reminded me of Bebe and her Gitano village shouts. “My Laptopiste” is a song to get lost in, it’s a space for unsecured feelings to resolve peace once and for all. She also works with more abstract themes in “Down by the Water”, an ideal track for those Dirty Projectors fans. The concluding track “Hiru Errege Maila” returns to the violin fest, here at a much rapid speed to give it a nice round closing, or keep its thrilling mystery rolling.

Aurita Castillo y su Conjunto - "Chambacu" (El Sagrado Corazon de María y José Refix)

We’re finding trouble to find any time to update this blog during this first week of school, so bare with us. For example, I missed this hot remix by María y José for “Chambacu”, a classic performed by hundreds of groups across Latin America. This is a remix for the version by Aurita Castillo y su Conjunto, brilliantly subtitled El Sagrado Corazón de María y José Refix. It’s some kind of encounter between Cumbia, Tamborazo and Reggaeton. By the way, there will be an upcoming release of “La Tierra Sagrada”, the Tijuana-based act is looking for brave souls to craft some remixes. You can download the rough material HERE.

♫♫♫ "Chambacu" (right click, save as)

1999, Love of Lesbian

Warner Music, Spain
Rating: 51

By Jean-Stephane Beriot

We had declared 1999 as one of our most awaited albums of the year; it’s so disappointing that it has been sitting at our pending list for more months than your average transnacional rock album, and you know Love of Lesbian is anything but average. The band is one of Spain’s most beloved and respected institutions of rock, their last installment Cuentos Chinos Para Niños del Japon was a magnificent record, to many of us even better than La Leyenda del Espacio by Los Planetas. Popular blogs around including RateYourMusic (similar to IMDB but for music) have enlisted 1999 as the year’s best Latin rock album and it’s such an incorrect tag considering how weak and unexpectedly boring this turns out to be.

Perhaps I’m being overexposed and trapped in the new wave of lo-fi circulating around, so much that I simply have the hardest time being receptive to something as generic as Love of Lesbian. Thing is, the band had never shown this amount of tedious spare time, they haven gone U2 (at lower speed) and of course that’s not a desirable quality nowadays. Ok, now that I bawled my disappointment let me reaffirm this is not a horrible album whatsoever, the first single “Club de Fans de John Boy” along with other tracks show signs of signature-technique that will hardly go away. It’s great to see that their pessimistic allure is kept along with those vocal-heights vocalist Santi Belmes is known for.

Half of the album sounds like Niños Mutantes (“Te favorece tanto estar callada”), but even less interesting considering the raging cabaret- vibe Love of Lesbian is trying to wear, even adding English-language phrasing without much luck. “Miau” and “Algunas Plantas” almost step in ridicule territory, there’s just too much going around to pick up anything from songs that are lyrically standard but once put through a tropical burst they just sound too easy and too empty to work. Any highlights? Yes, the album’s subtitle is pretty great: 1999 o como generar incendios de nieve con una lupa enfocando a la luna. I still like Zoe’s Memo Rex….. better.

Track Review: "She's My Man", Bigott

BIGOTT - "She's My Man"

Grabaciones en el Mar
Album: Fin
Rating: 8.2

(8.1) Andrew Casillas. What we have here appears to be the long-lost Lou Reed single produced by Tom Waits in a villa outside of Saint-Denis. My personal highlight of Fin, the track is a love song in the most unusual sense. The "shimmy, shimmy" refrain suggests a sort of playfulness, while many of the lyrics ("She is my man, and my dog forever") implies domination, like the tale of two lovers stuck between civility and sexual carnage. A little biting, a little whimsical, a little (dare I say) erotic, "She is my Man" is a slinky tale of modern love.

(8.4) Carlos Reyes.“She’s My Man” is the evocative folky first single from Bigott’s outstanding Fin; it is also an unusual love letter of full meaning and implications. It’s barely two minutes and a half and yet is able to underline a meaningful line of adjectives one is able to put on the table for the one special individual rocking our world. Beautiful patterns, strings, and let’s not forget about those echoed reverbs that come and go as if they collapsed with walls. Not as breathtaking as “Algora Campeon” but it’s the second piece that gives me shivers (in the best way possible).

(8.6) Jean-Stephane Beriot. Bigott does Iron & Wine in one of the many great pieces from his latest album. This is his best moment since “Vamos a Morir” (from What a Lovely Day Today), from its first strings to its female vocal complementation “She’s My Man” triumphs in its quest of showcasing love at its highest realm: sacrifice. Ladies, he is not telling you to be his dog, he’s ready to let all these things go for the love. It might sound too American, but who cares?

(7.5) Juan Manuel Torreblanca. A comment found in a blog that featured this song reads: qué simpática y qué agradable de escuchar, verdad? I believe it sums the brilliant ditty spot on. ‘She's my man’ can’t be judged under the same lights our last two tracks were, mainly ‘cause the intentions of this insanely moustached Spaniard seem radically different. Bigott nods to the revival of Americana folk-rock with a fresh feeling (and electronic hints). His lyrics follow the less is more principle (the whole songwriting does) and a surreal breeze reminds us that this guy isn’t trying to be the queen of pop nor an epic rockstar, he’s probably just trying to make good music & have fun.

"She's My Man"

Empacho Digital, Villa Diamante


ZZK Records, Argentina
Rating: 80
By Carlos Reyes

Villa Diamante, one of the pillars from ZZK Records has compiled a stellar set of dualistic showdowns. Empacho Digital is a filthy, messy, exuberant if not impossible beautiful album of strange musical complication, reconciliation, and above all, discussion. It’s not just another cumbia mashup; it’s a progression of all sorts and an improvised connection of Latin-American pop. If you’re familiar with the popular mix of Calle 13 vs M.I.A. you can expect more of it, thankfully Villa Diamante (Diego Bulacio) never allows himself to work on formulas; he rather takes on every piece individually sounding groundbreaking and at its finest moments, like a very industrialized pool of music.

I always have a space of reserved incognita with most remixes/mashups albums; the ideal initiative would be to redefine a song in some kind of culture-crossing, not for a DJ to show off its skill but to work around the track without negotiating a certain line of respect to the original idea. Villa Diamante works with precise, subtle mechanics, he doesn’t redefine these pieces, on the contrary it steps out of author-zone to dress himself as an attentive, sonically connoisseur referee of these dualistic at times historic moments. Don’t expect something as brutally complex and unrehearsed as Girl Talk, this is way more stretched but if like us, you’re a fan of Pibe Cosmo’s B-Side, get ready for an overflow of rhythms coming your way.

Empacho Digital is divided into three chapters; the title/headliner is made of 20 tracks that are mostly inclined to cumbia and Hip Hop. Some of them are more conceptual than others, “El Trip Selectors vs Voltio vs Tego Calderon” is brilliantly messy, “Oro 11 vs Kelis” is effortlessly epic while “Chancha Via Circuit vs Nelly” is totally unexpected, well, it’s not out-of-this-world crazy but the outcome is indeed a surprise. Other highlights from this chapter include “Intoxicados”, “Frikstailers vs Calle 13”, and “Chancha Via Circuit vs Lil Mama.” Honestly, I wish it would’ve fully ended with this chapter, 40 tracks are more of a hustle, but I learned to be receptive of the next chapters once I knew these were segmented into a Past-Present-Future order.

The next two chapters Dubsteperismo and Rock AR are shorter in length, a bit less exciting but nonetheless plenty of risky fun and shockers. Dubsteperismo is kind of wild, includes songs by muses Lykke Li and Juana Molina. Rock AR mixes Argentinean rockers Victoria Mil, Charly Garcia and Babasonicos with Clipse, Busta Rhymes and Crime Mobb. Also admirable is he’s selection of good-to-great reggaeton artists that go from Alexis y Fido to Julio Voltio and of course Tego Calderon.There’s no doubt Villa Diamante is fully aware of pop culture, but these mixes would’ve worked even more if they had been released earlier. I can’t say I discovered any new names in these 40 pop episodes, but take these as statements of what’s happening around us and as a consequence of a much needed virtual bond-prospect in today’s spoiled music industry.

Track Review: "Deja Vu", Gustavo Cerati

Sony International
Album: Fuerza Natural
Rating: 6.8

(7.0) Andrew Casillas. {Yawn} Another good Gustavo Cerati song. OK, that first sentence was a joke. Sort of. I mean, it's not a slight to say that a Cerati track is good, but as a comeback single, this doesn't exactly reach a discernible peak. Regardless, the subtle U2-ness of the guitar lines and background vocals are a pleasant reminder of what makes this guy one of the most vital Latin rockers ever, and coincidentally a reminder of how bad that last U2 album was as well. No Line on the Horizon WISHES it had a song this good on it.

(6.2) Carlos Reyes. Cerati should and has all my respect as one of our times most creative individuals, it’s only fair to expect extraordinary things from him, you know like something as sublime as “Crimen.” The leading single from Fuerza Natural falls short from impressive, but of course you know those visionaries hardly deliver a bad song and “Déjà vu” is just that, a dense and washed but functional hymn that it’s so perfectly executed it becomes a misguided crowd-pleaser. It’s relatable and what not, but above all, it’s a ‘been there done that’ kind of song.

(6.0) Jean-Stephane Beriot. As opposed to most of you Soda Stereo wasn’t one of my first encounters with RockEnEspañol, as a matter of fact, I think I never had to deal with such an flawed tag. By the time I got into Latin American music Cerati was wining me over as a one-man-act extravaganza, so I’m clearly a fan of the mind and kind of an outsider of the band phenomenon. “Déjà vu” is however, a tricky and easy to dismiss good bad song.

(8.0) Juan Manuel Torreblanca. Expert songwriting. Perfect pop structure; nice buildup, clear & memorable melodies, witty (very Cerati) poetic lyrics. I’ve been a fan from S.S., which is good & bad when it comes to receiving his new stuff. It must be hard to be someone like him. We probably ask too much from him. I love the song, but it doesn’t break my heart, it doesn’t get me out of bed wanting to hear it, wanting to take a shower listening to it dancing, it doesn’t change my life. His voice is in top form, yes, beautiful phrasing & flow. The whole performance is impeccable. But, ironically, the song as a whole represents its title a little bit too well: déjà écouté.

A Lo Hecho Pecho, Nea Ducci

Que Se Yo Records, Chile
Rating: 77
By Carlos Reyes

“I’m ready to see the sunset.” Nea’s impressive path to consolidate a solo career has finally reached its objective; this is her solo project after being part of the also notable CHC (Congregacion de Hermanos Contemplativos). A Lo Hecho Pecho reaffirms the qualities of the pop singer/illustrator whose bipolar, parallel, eclectic dynamics are exposed in an album that feels almost secular to its own orbit, to the place Ducci Nea has firmly visualized and musicalized. Having said that, she really makes herself shine through a series of lenses that ultimately bond in some form of collage, from retro to trendy and everything in between.

The album is glittery and bossy, it really strikes to sound gigantic but at the same time it’s vulnerable and immediate, Nea is conscious of this distinction and polishes set of infectious songs appealing to the sounds of Annie, Santogold, Acida and Beyonce? Despite a number of weak spots here and there, the album strikes for universal praise, having songs in English and Spanish should do some of the work to get there. The smoky and bursting “Me Pasa” is like a very scary scene of encountered feelings mixed with assumptions and clashing beats, it would make a great single. “Amnesia” is a robotic, well-instituted beatbox, sounds as kitsch as M.I.A’s “Galang” (but less-objective). I guess I won’t be the first one to think of Valentina Fel as well.

While the rest of the world would probably acclaim “Amnesia”, I think our region would be more receptive to “Volando Bajo.” Nea Ducci really makes some kind of self-destruct-and-repair anthem out of it, also, it was a smart move to include a layer of folk to support its naturally inflicted lyrics. Tracks like “Peligro” and “Ups & Down” have too much of a chronological structure to standout, but those backgrounds move me! The final track “Desvio” also works with a story line and it triumphs in its nostalgic tale pageant of lost souls, “todos se perdieron del camino, nadie llego al mirador.” It’s definitely an album to contemplate at open sight, or in at least ‘a clean well lighted place.’

College Sedative: Pequeña Fiera

This is the time of the year when I start to dig up a lot of lo-fi stuff that smooth the exhausting process of a new school year, a lot of the Christmas releases work wonderful as sedatives, some of my friends go straight for Sigur Ros but they can be complicated sometimes and that’s the last thing I need right now. Turns out I’m in need for low keys (casiotone keys? better!). I recently download one of Spain’s best kept secrets, Pequeña Fiera’s albums No Words, Mini Songs With No Words and Casiotone For Bears are part of a beautiful box of subtle music, along with Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest my musical accompaniments while walking on campus or riding the light rail. Error! Lo Fi liberated these three releases for free download, I find them very temporal since they didn’t really hit me until now, I’m sure I’ll get back to “Campus” by Vampire Weekend in a few weeks, but for now it is doing wonders.

Track Review: "Loba", Shakira

Sony Music Entertainment
Album: She Wolf
Rating: 7.4

(9.7) Andrew Casillas. I've been wrong all of these years. Time after time, I would explain to my gringo friends how Shakira was our Prince. Turns out, she's our Michael Jackson. I mean, get over the polarizing vocals, and the sexy hip shaking, and "Loba" is basically straight out of Off the Wall! The beat doesn't gyrate, as much as it thumps, and the whole track rides the subtle bass funk to the point of saturation. There's also that vague sense of fun/paranoia that MJ was absolutely the best at undertaking, at least until you're forced out onto the dance floor. And with the Spanish version, there's the deft, yet important, double meaning of the title, unlike the English versions bland implications. Also, it has DISCO STRINGS, PEOPLE. Awoooo!

(7.0) Carlos Reyes. Shakira claims “Loba” characterizes the woman of this century when it doesn’t, there was a sexual revolution already. Despite the very ambitious and quite forced theme, she does exorcism the animal inside her in a very seductive, brushed-steel gleaming pop song. It’s kind of hard to shamelessly soak the lyrics considering Jorge Drexler is the co-author of the song, but it’s the only way to find it fully compelling. It does sound great; it’s well sequenced (“mirala caminar, caminarrrrr”), subliminally humorous and its mid-night outburst is appreciated. Awoooo!

(6.7) Jean-Stephane Beriot. I’m pretty sure I prefer “La Tortura”, seriously, it was great to see our popstar (likeit or not) messing daringly with the reggaeton beat. I’m one of those who thinks her music is way ahead of the average top40 artist; Fijacion Oral Vol.1 was quite fantastic. “Loba” is not nearly as interesting as its awesome and very flexible video; still, it makes me move in strange ways and proves how great of an entertainer she really is. I just wish her music would take the risk of her hips and I’m afraid Pharrell won’t help. Awoooo!

(6.0) Juan Manuel Torreblanca. It’s a super-production, sure; this is the LatAm queen of pop. However, there is also something called over-production & I believe this one might suffer a bit from that. The beginning reminds me of Madonna’s intro for music. The lyrics swing shamelessly from naïve to pretentious (she does have the self assurance to deliver them as dead serious as her dance moves in the video, though) so –in the end– I don’t know if she’s laughing with us or we’re laughing at her. And that wee howl! haha… Awoooo!

"Datos Intimos", She's a Tease (Disco Ruido Club Mix)

The buzz for Disco Ruido! keeps on rolling, "Mrs. Love" was probably the first pre-summer hit of the year, by the time Vive Latino arrived it was already a louded crowd-favorite. There's an EP around the web but I'm pretty sure it's unofficial. Our friends from 8106 have an exclusive download for a brand new remix they made for She's a Tease, a band from Monterrey we don't know much about except that we remember them with a totally different sound, we like the new redefined and up-beat vision so much more. "Datos Intimos" is one of the standout tracks from the recently reviewed Happy-Fi Coyote Nights compilation and it's part of their upcoming first LP titled Millonaria. Download the original track + El Cuarto's "Minimal" over @ 8106

♫♫♫ "Datos Intimos" (Disco Ruido Club Mix) [right click, save as]

Random Notepads...

We don't usually do this, but there's so many things going on we want you to know about, so think of this as random notepads.
  • Official Twitter! follow us
  • As we get older, the time to keep this blog updated shrinks.
  • College is silentely consuming us, but we will make it!
  • "Bestia" (Julieta Venegas remix) is officially the most downloaded track at this blog, ever.
  • There's about 300 albums on 'pending' status, it will take weeks to really filter the goodies and attempt to review some stuff.
  • Mi Abuela Es Jazzista Fanzine #1 is pretty awesome. Link
  • Being unemployed for so long isn’t as interesting as I thought it would be.
  • About God, Que si existe que si no existe.
  • Emilio Jose says "Merequeteke" by Capullo is the song of the summer and he's totally right
  • Facebook pages are so boring, but become a fan anyway!
  • Indie 103.1's Sala de Espera is playing cool music, many from our compilations!
  • The Latin Grammy entry list is interesting, depressing and wild.
  • We're doing track reviews!

Video: "San Valentin", Linda Mirada

Linda Mirada is pop on high heels and her first video "San Valentin" captures the funky, shiny and kind of weird glamorous night-life some people can live with. The song is catchy as hell and is kind of a minor summer hit in Spain. Despite the low-budget video this actually works. It's full of strange sweaty characters trying to hook up with somebody, talk about harmless pop!

Roborant EP, Roborant

Independiente, Mexico
Rating: 64
By Carlos Reyes

Roborant’s debut EP showcases a confident act that’s able to juxtapose its vague echo with a synthesized world that stays away from any norms imposed by electronic music. This self-titled, three-tracked EP hopes to follow the steps of the attention projects like Bufi, Disco Ruido! and Neon Walrus have generated in Mexico’s indie, bands that distance themselves from the alter-latino subtext and filling the gap of new electronic music in a scene that knows about Plastilina Mosh and Nortec but hardly any others. While Roborant isn’t as convincing as the previous bands I mentioned they’re definitely a standout.

Roborant reminds me of the ‘glam-synth-punk rockers’ Six Million Dollar Weirdo (now called Abominables), not as kitsch or exuberant, but in the way they approach songs; deep voiced phrasing, techno keys on the background, dissolved electric guitars and multiple layers of music eras chasing the up-to-the-minute modern sound. From its first moment, Roborant steps in a hipsy territory, you know, those that get many hearts over at The Hype Machine, we got to recognize their potential to internationalize at some point, something like “Lick My Eyes” might be able to do it (regardless of its absurd title).

The show opens with “Restless”, which sounds like an encounter between New Order and Delorean while going to keeping some of the soberness of Argentina’s DJs Pareja, meaning it’s epically galactic but also blissful and aware that in order to reach a ‘restless’ vibe it has to spore calmness and speed from time to time. “Lick My Eyes” sounds great, but it’s kind of absurd, or maybe not, I have trouble understanding the lyrics because the pronunciation isn’t that great. The last piece titled “Those Two Words” is anxious to spread its metallic wings; it’s a key track for Roborant, reveals the best and worst of them, a band that can stimulate senses with the right tools, needs patience and its own wave to get there.

We're In Love, Yeah Right! Noise Beat Propaganda

The Poni Republic, Mexico
Rating: 79
By Carlos Reyes

For a netlabel known for its left-field pop spirit, this year The Poni Republic seems certain to defy its lo-fi institution to set its magic into edgier projects like its latest release Noise Beat Propaganda. It’s a punk band from Mexicali, Baja California, whose endless and unprecedented energy arrive at the best moment to boost our iPods, we need forms of distraction during this globalized crisis and what a better way to smooth disaster than through the revealing and rebellious We’re In Love, Yeah Right. After listening to Selma Oxor, XYX or Vicente Gayo one can’t help to get the feeling that Mexico’s punk (if existent) is finally in the hands of acts that will actually progress it, let’s bitchslap Panda and company already.

Noise Beat Propaganda delivers hypnotic sessions of noise that in a weird way sound elegant, not in a casual or formal way, more of a girly junkie kind of order a la Peaches, Marnie Stern and No Lo Soporto which I happen to like very much. It might be that they like their punk to be danceable instead of letting it burst in attitude or function as some kind of social statement. Can I already declare “Sexy Neon Wine” as one of my favorite tracks of the year? Not only is its instrumentation a double-plotted narrative (try it with earphones!), it’s one of those songs that resolves itself on the surface, but leaves layers behind for the listener to take action on. It’s strikingly sexual and the evidence of a wasted night presented in a tell-and-respond manner. “Somebody kill me please! (let’s do it! lets do it!)”

“Public Decay” is the only piece to struggles to hold its theme; it’s hard to “be part of a social dismissal” these days, urban tribes have come to the rescue and it’s a lot more difficult to make a strong impression on political defiance. But it does talk about a collective fear, about letting things fall on their own. “Sin Final” is a frenzy invitation to jump in hysteria. The band rises up again with “Can’t Let You Go”, a delusional if not creepy love letter to a rockstar, the four band members get a chance to shine, especially vocalist Ana Torres who really goes crazy. We’re In Love, Yeah Right! ends up being an amusingly enjoyable first offering of pink punk by a band we clearly want to hear more of.

♫♫♫ "Sexy Neon Wine" (right click, save as)
Download EP

MP3: "Camila", Balún

Puerto Rico’s sweetest pop act Balún has liberated a new wonderful song titled “Camila” for free download, and I must say, it’s among their best. Balún is one of those bands we’ve learned to admire and respect by chunks, mostly through their participation in compilations that have leaded us to their wonderfully pleasing albums. They will be releasing an EP very soon and have announced their second LP for 2010. “Camila” is part of that LP and a great leading song; a superb tale of ghostly approach & loss (more accurately imaginary friend), is it creepy if I tell you I wanted one of those? (and no, I’m not a single kid, I have a twin for god sakes!)

♫♫♫ "Camila" (right click, save as)

Music Alliance Pact : August

MEXICO: Club Fonograma
Selma Oxor - Abrazame Demonio
Selma Oxor is the vindication of a blasted youth that has fun exploring rock, techno and pop, an all-in-one distorted vision that according to their MySpace sounds like "a cow giving birth". From their self-titled debut album comes "Abrazame Demonio", a moment of useless exertion perhaps, but it's one of the few perfect songs we'll get to hear this year. It effectively transitions its noisy punk into some kind of urban channel, uprising the song into the heavens.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Baby Scream - Ups And Downs
Baby Scream is a musical project led by Juan Mazzola, with the ocassional collaboration of friends such as Cristian Basualdo, Sebastián Rubin and even Gilby Clarke's bassist Muddy Stardust. Mazzola writes pop songs with a strong influence from classics like The Byrds, The Beatles and The Replacements. This beautiful acoustic ballad was taken from the album with the same name, released last year in the US by Recording Records.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Frowning Clouds - Time Wastin' Woman
Geelong boys The Frowning Clouds are so 60s and very fun. Lead vocalist Nick (a dead ringer for George Harrison) and his poncho-wielding counterpart Zack rotate between singing and rhythm guitar duties. The coarse vocals of Zack lend backbone to Time Wastin' Woman, oozing with the sounds of the Stones' early catalogue.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Copacabana Club - Just Do It
They're pretty, uber-cool and hyped. Justin Timberlake likes them. Channel Fox uses their song in a commercial. Do you want more or is that enough to make you see that Copacabana Club are a band to pay attention to? Last year the five-piece band (two women and three men) released their first EP, King Of The Night, from which Just Do It is taken. It's dance and kinda new-rave style make people think about CSS, but it's better to listen and judge for yourself.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Centretown Cripplers - Eat The Bee
Centretown Cripplers are a seven-piece. I only mention this because they're a garage rock band, and bands in that genre typically have a much more minimalistic approach to line-ups. As Eat The Bee shows, however, in this case size doesn't matter. Centretown Cripplers are loud, raucous, primal... and awesome.

CHILE: Super 45
Mostro - Moha Moha
Mostro, one of the cornerstones of the Chilean indie music scene, are Carlos and Jaime Reinoso, two mutant brothers who deliver an intense and creative musical experience. Playing, in their own words, "evil pop" with a guitar, drum and small keyboard, they attack you (yes, literally attack you) with a mix of minimal electronica and raw, intense rock that simply knocks you down, just like American duo High Places were when both bands recently shared a stage. Moha Moha, taken from their second LP Consumido Por Pájaros ("Eaten By Birds") is a small appetizer of their genius insanity while we await their third album.

CHINA: Wooozy
Sonnet - A Nice Song
Sonnet are a disco/indie rock band from Shanghai. As one of the few third rock generation in Shanghai, they've just independently released their second demo S-File. One of the band members is now helping the SOMA indie label host live shows at the Dream Factory venue in their native city.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Jong Pang - Liar Liar
Jong Pang aka Anders Rhedin released his lauded debut solo album Bright White Light just last year and already he's got the follow-up ready and out. It's titled Love and it is a magnificent alternative pop-rock effort from which I'm happy to present irresistible first single Liar Liar.

ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
The xx - Crystalised
Although they went to the same school as Four Tet and Burial, don't go making too many assumptions about The xx, a group of four teenagers from South London currently making waves in the UK ahead of the release of their debut album later this month. They may share similar influences (dub, R'n'B) but they take their songs in another direction with magnificently minimal production, all of which is done by themselves.

Astrid Swan - Unrelated
Earlier this year singer Astrid Swan dumped the piano (and along with it, the dramatically adorned songs) and took the guitar to compose simple, but sincere and personal pop songs that she recorded with a new band, The Drunk Lovers, for her soon-to-be released third album Better Than Wages. There we can find this synth-pop gem about erroneous encounters.

FRANCE: ZikNation
Mama's Mule - Globe Trotter
The Mule and Venom met during a studio session in 2007 and they immediatly clicked. For about a year, they kept seeing each other every now and then between concerts, studio sessions, taking the dog out, vacations and soccer games. Meanwhile, Jessy Rakotomanga and Sylvain Moreau pledged allegiance to the secret society. January 2009: tadaaaam. First demo. Three tracks. Viagra for your ears. Just listen.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Timid Tiger - Are You Gonna Go My Way (feat. Ludacris & The Notorious B.I.G.)
Perhaps Timid Tiger are globally more famous for their remixes than for their regular songs. And hell yeah, this Lenny Kravitz cover does indeed kick ass. So enjoy it - but don't forget that this band from Cologne is creative and inspired in their own work, both on record and live.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Film - Filter
After a two-year period of experimentation in the studio, Film are releasing their third album. Persona is a dizzyingly beautiful set of delicate atmospheric songs with cinematic aesthetics and a detailed production. It signifies a different, more inviting musical direction that is influenced by the compositions of Vangelis Papathanasiou and summons lush combined voices, pop melodies, electronics, sparse strings and brasses. An album that is best taken from start to finish, where the songs will uncover its manifold delights, endear and impress.

ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Agent Fresco - Above These City Lights
Agent Fresco formed in early 2008 with the goal of competing in the Músíktilraunir contest, a sort of Battle of the Bands, which they subsequently won. The quartet write complex songs with lots of rhythm changes and received the Brightest Hope (Best Newcomer) Award at the 2008 Icelandic Music Awards. The band, who released a five-song EP called Lightbulb Universe last December, are currently working on their debut album.

INDIA: Indiecision
Sridhar/Thayil - Bring Me Rain
The project of theatre actor and singer Suman Sridhar and poet Jeet Thayil, Sridhar/Thayil's lyrical pop takes thematic Indian music sensibilities and combines them with an urban swagger in the vein of early Björk and, occasionally, Tom Waits. Bring Me Rain is a perfect example of their dirty-sexy feel, taking traditional Indian sounds and cooking up something that could work equally well at a nu-jazz club or a grimy bar. Sridhar/Thayil have been around since 2007 and they're currently working on releasing their debut album.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
The Wispy Hummers - My Love
The Wispy Hummers is a singer-songwriter who is much influenced by The Zombies, Bright Eyes, Destroyer, Death Cab For Cutie and, above all, Bob Dylan. She has released two EPs, both recorded at home, creating a signature lo-fi quality that makes the songs more honest, heartfelt and nostalgic.

IRELAND: Nialler9
The Dying Seconds - The Ladder Drops
"To some people electronic music is impersonal. It's just an orgy of numbers, dancing together and doing as they're told. But have you ever wondered what would happen if you took apart the machine and tried to replace the motherboard with a human heart?" The Dying Seconds' own description says it better than I could. This is taken from their 2009 EP Some Grand Romantic Gesture. Lovely stuff. Download their album here.

ITALY: Polaroid
Fitness Forever - Vacanze a Settembre
It's August, everyone down here is on holiday and Fitness Forever are the perfect soundtrack, with their glamorous sound inspired by Burt Bacharach, Armando Trovajoli and classic 60s lounge-pop. They recently released their first album on the Spanish label Elefant Records and played a joyful set at the Indietracks Festival in the UK, making Derbyshire feel warm like a Mediterranean spot.

Nuito - NeKoMaJiN vs
Nuito are a post-rock experimental trio who formed in Kyoto in 2004. With tapping guitar, slap bass and hard drum, Nuito rapidly change beat and rhythm while they play, and make an immediate impression. Their experimental attitude is not about musical destruction or collaboration, but reconstruction.

NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Sora Shima - Hello Big Sky (Radio 909 remix)
Sora Shima are a four-piece instrumental group from Hamilton who specialise in the kind of start quiet, end apocalyptic epics that you hear from the likes of Explosions In The Sky or fellow countrymen Jakob. Hello Big Sky is from their third EP, Destroy Electronica. You'll find links to free downloads of the previous two releases on their MySpace. The five tracks on Destroy Electronica see the band experiment more with the form, adding variety but losing none of the power.

NORWAY: Eardrums
Casa Murilo - 19th Floor
Casa Murilo are the perfect band to present on a global project like MAP. They are based in Norway, originally from England and started making music together in Brazil. Two Englishmen, Chris Winfield and Dan Hesketh, met, lived and worked in Brazil for two years. They fell in love with two Norwegian girls. They moved to Oslo and started a band, Casa Murilo, with two Norwegian friends. They are currently in the studio recording their debut EP, The Waldemar Thranes Debacle.

Serpentina Satelite - Nothing To Say
Serpentina Satelite formed at the end of 2003 in Lima. Their sound oscillates among calm, violence and ecstasy, in the spirit of space-rock and Krautrock. Their second record Nothing To Say, released on the Trip In Time label, is an extended five-track epic in which Serpentina Satelite bring us a turbulent and more powerful, rough sound. For the title track Nothing To Say, you better fasten your seatbelts - this is a high energy rock 'n' roll freak-out!

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Ölga - It's Alright
Ölga formed in 2001, as a quartet, from the ashes of another band. In 2003, they won an alternative rock contest and were invited by an indie label to release their first EP, Ö, in 2004. Their cello player left the band and their sound, as a trio, became more rock oriented. Their first LP, What Is, was released in early 2005. In 2007, they started recording their new record, La Resistance, which will be released in September. It's Alright is the first single and it is, at this time, only free and legally downloadable through the Music Alliance Pact.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
The :Egocentrics - Mystic Initiation
Loose jams, goosebumps, trance and therapy. These are the reasons why the three-piece instrumental band formed in Timisoara in early 2007. Combining stoner-rock vibes, 60s psychedelic, 70s rock 'n' roll with hints of old prog rock and post-metal - along with colourful, hypnotising visuals in a live setting - the band take an almost shamanic approach to music, acting like an intermediary between the listener and that mysterious and far away realm behind your eyelids.

My Cousin I Bid You Farewell - What We Are Eating Tonight
If this song is anything to go by, My Cousin I Bid You Farewell are cooking up something rather tasty. As a statement of intent for a band who have been around for less than a year, it reveals the scale of the ambition from within. It is big and it is clever. The Kate Bush-style piano melody, the brooding guitars and Jonathan Sellar’s haunting vocals - which resemble Win Butler’s - propel What We Are Eating Tonight into an anthem for the restless. Cracking song, cracking band.

SINGAPORE: I'm Waking Up To...
Jonathan Chan - Water Line
Taking a step back from the catchy power-punk of his band Plainsunset, Jonathan Chan comes forward with a more intimate and soulful musical offering with his EP, Pencil Tracings. An illustrator in his own right, Jonathan perhaps did not find it uncomfortable to show a more earnest, intricate side to his music. With Water Line, he seems right at home sketching out a brief outline of the world going by, with a guitar in hand and a somber voice, singing of life's constant love.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
LAN - In The City
Head-bopping, dance-inducing beats are what LAN are about. LAN (Local Area Network) are the live representation of two DJs (CodecVSTheSound). The band formed in late 2008 and are made up of Gerald and Raffael (who are Codec and TheSound) on synths, percussion, vocals and samplers with Chris Slabber on drums. They call their music a mix of anything from 70s funk to booty bass all dropped over the latest electro tunes. With their song In The City showcasing their many influences and what they have to offer, their new material is sure to set the dancefloors alight.

Sunkyeol - I'll Write When I'm There
Kyoungmo Kim of Especially When has a new band and their name is Sunkyeol. Equipped with great melodies and a bit of experimentation that leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling, Sunkyeol are currently looking for a label to release their first single. I'll Write When I'm There was co-written and recorded with Joe Hollick of Wolf People in a joint project that never took off.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Erik de Vahl - Running
Erik de Vahl describes his new record as "the straightest pop songs I've ever done but also some more experimental pieces". You can hear both influences on the single song Running. It has a Memphis slow jam feel with instrumentation that reminds me of a classic Ann Peebles track, but it's layered in such a way with so many found sounds and samples that it does sound truly experimental.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I'm Floating
Happy Family - Cups
Baltimore's Happy Family, sandwiched somewhere between Panda Bear and Atlas Sound, are the latest in a group of like-minded lo-fi psych-pop outfits (Memory Cassette, Neon Indian, Washed Out) to be picking up buzz around the blogosphere. Cups is one of my favorite jams of the summer, taken from the recently-released Sound Farm EP which you can grab as a free download here.

VENEZUELA: Barquisimeto Musical
Mr. Swing & The Bongo Clan - Mi Camino
Mr. Swing & The Bongo Clan are a new band that gathers nine talented musicians from the Conservatory of the City of Barquisimeto, the same place where the famous music director Gustavo Dudamel came from. After almost 10 years of work, these guys released their debut album Ska*Jazz Venezolano, merging two musical genres with a wonderful result. Mi Camino shows the real soul of this band.

Download all 31 songs HERE.

Video: "Despues", Hello Seahorse!

New video for "Despues", the second single from Hello Seahorse! or THE band of 2009. We honestly raised our eyebrows when we learned this was the second single, it's a great song but it's anything but radio-friendly considering the phenomenom "Bestia" has come to be. "Despues" unleashes some of the best vocals LoBlondo has done and a great showcase of into-space musical discharge by Oro de Nata and Bonnz.

Featured: "No Conectado", Capullo

Capullo is a fresh exciting new act from Aguascalientes, Mexico. The first thing that popped in my mind when I heard Capullo is that their vocals sound just like jj (n° 2) and to a lesser extend Micachu (and the Shapes). They also endorse youth through blissful catchy songs with unmeasured consequence. Perhaps a bit too adolescent for many of you to swallow, but it’s a bright vision in development. Ultimately, it’s irresistible not to smile to a song like “No Conectado”, which they kindly send us for you to download and which is like the conscious generational implantation of “Amor Por Internet” by Los Socios del Ritmo.

“Ya no puedo más con esta soledad, esta soledad tan digital.” They don’t sound far away from La Factoria, but those guys wish they had so much personality and niche as Capullo does. This is after all popular music with juicy reggaeton beats and techno, here is a band with huge potential to actually sell music. They don’t mind singing about nicks and emoticons as silly as they may sound, and they even dare to style something as odd as “Merequeteke.” Can they get cooler than that? Yes, they’re WordArt lovers!

Antiaventura, Anti

Federación de Universos Pop, Spain ****
Rating: 84
By Carlos Reyes

Anti is the pseudonym of pop visionary Tito Pintado, a guy who has been around the industry for a while and who finally seems to find a receptive audience to consume his highly compound music. Antiaventura nourishes from the most insignificant things out there; it rolls around abandoned topics and distant compositions to command its instincts as a functional box of melodic experience. Hence the title, this is not your typical electropop album and definitely not a sonic adventure. It’s a collection of seductive episodes about love and despair (surprisingly not depressing). Fortunately, it’s generous to the adult ear, compassionate perhaps, on the verge of detonating light through its twelve pieces one can’t help but dance to.

Anti is teeming with ethereal pop and handling it with a precise scope that allows it to be right at the middle of the minimal pixel-driven tempo of Antiguo Automata Mexicano and the cheerful fury-driven timing of Friendly Fires. Assimilates space and tonal variations like very few albums this year. “Corazones Legendarios” is a shining indispensable marvel from start to finish. Unorthodox as any track from The Dirty Projectors’s Bitte Orca, the song is a grandiose statement of affiliation, either musically or by the heart. Collaborating with beautiful vocals is Teresa Iturrioz, one half of Single (the band) and who has great chemistry with Anti since he does the backup vocals at Single’s live shows. Anti’s voice isn’t necessarily great but he sure knows how to melt it to evoke/manipulate an emotion.

It’s strange but despite the reflective spirit, the album does profile a modern composer whose biggest strength are musical passages as proven in songs like “Festival” and “Diamantes”, if you like Nuuro’s All Clear & The Reddest Ruby you’ll get blown away by Anti’s creations. I’m especially excited about the references that may have influenced a track like “Iceberg”, particularly that rise and fall that makes this piece so special. “El Mago” has more of a structure, by far the only classicist track in the album, reminds me of the pre-Almodovar Spanish cinema. “Lovers Rock” is probably my favorite song, it’s soulful, it’s reggae, it really doesn’t know what it is except that it aspires to be some kind of eternal dream, pretentious but it does it! in chunks, what a charm!

Antiaventura isn’t as accessible as “Corazones Legendarios”, it’s takes a processes to even assimilate its climax. There are tracks surrounded by apparently thick layers, but if you approach them right (use headphones) you’ll burst in surprise on how outstanding these pieces really are. Like discovering the charm in melismatic tracks like “Los Colores de tu Mente” and “Las Maquinas.” While other tracks like “Eligeme” and “Hollywod Babilonia” are weekend-ready in their very own delirious way. By far one of the most convincing and strangest forms of pop I’ve encountered this year, it’s a rotating spectrum in search of grey souls.