Midyear Report: 12 Essentials 2011

12. Nacional 42

The return of the 7’’ single is nowadays, one of the few current glimpses of the romanticism of the record. Empty alphabetized CD shelves are the horrific ruins of the physicality of commercial records. Indies are however, on a journey to become music collectors. If such transition causes a generation of MP3 & OGG buffs to start archiving music through discs you can actually touch or lineup, than let’s welcome such consumer conduct with open arms. One of the bands doing their share to prevent the record slaughter is Madrid’s new sensation Los Claveles. Their rock takes them back to the early (and dusty) progression of “new wave”, to a time-gap of stand-by insecurity regarding the genre’s future. The wave found glory with its contextualization of electronic equipment, but as Los Claveles show, the movement also left some string-wavers behind. - CARLOS REYES

11. Hypnomango EP
From Monterrey, Mexico rises René Rodríguez’ noise pop project Hypnomango. Rodríguez has recently become the guitarist and newest member of soon-to-takeover indie rock pioneers Bam Bam. Earlier in December of 2010, ClubFonograma's editor Carlos Reyes commented that Hypnomango EP killer-opening track “El Mundo No Es Real” “could translate into ‘No Hope Kids’, but this one is actually alive”, and I agree. Unlike Wavves’ Nathan Williams whose work, at its worst, can be perceived as a soulless experience (see 2009’s Wavvves), there’s plenty of life and mind-bursting energy in Hypnomango EP to assure Rodríguez as a passionate artist, one that might be seeking to achieve Thurston Moore/Lee Ranaldo status in the future. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI

10. La Manifestación

The kick-ass album cover of La Manifestación makes the idea of the auteur-technician a reality. If you’re ever at an arthouse and you realize the sound isn’t as crystal-clear as in most Hollywood films, realize that burning-sound has an idea behind it. As far as breakthrough albums go, Poliedro’s La Manifestación is the embodiment of those grainy brave ideas comprising a truly great first album. Working with the most stripped-down tools of the lo-fi methods, this new Chilean one-man act has crafted a rainbow-hued EP built from all the corners of sonic complexity. And he does that, through atmospheric lens. Despite all the songs feature (some form of) vocals, not one track goes beyond the 16-character word count. - CARLOS REYES

09. El fin del sueño del
helicóptero personal


Leonardo Velázquez’s approach to songwriting is as personal as you can get. His subjects of interest are his own life, memories and experiences; his favorite medium to express them is a room-constructed arrangement of string instruments and ambient synth washes that are finally shaped in the form of a lo-fi home-recorded product uploaded for free on bandcamp. As much personal as it is DIY, yet it’s through his own DIYness that his songs excel as universal entities. Take his outstanding single “Que bueno que nadie piensa en mí” from last year. While its whole construction responds to all these different levels through which Leo developed his very own personal vision of loneliness, its appeal eventually resided in how it managed to transcend the small sphere of the songwriter and actually become a universal manifesto for the lonely kids of the digital era. The ones who would rather spend a Friday night listening to the stuff they downloaded through the week and waiting for a (1) to appear on their twitter account. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT

08. Exito Mundial

Armed to the fullest in leading single “Me Gusta La Noche,” founding members Diego Adrian and Nacho Aedo polished the perfect single for their triumphant comeback. Already one of the hits of the year, this compelling piece is rowdy and chaotic, yet so warm and orchestral. “Me Gusta La Noche” is this year’s flash-frozen summer jam, one of human adventure and unquestionable soul. Without marginalizing its topics to adolescent agony, Adrianigual sings about “dancing your dreams,” and I don’t know about you, but that just makes me sweat over the dancefloor (and on a couple of walls). If El Medio’s “Que bueno que nadie piensa en mi” is the embodiment of the #ForeverAlone meme, then Éxito Mundial’s opening track, “Arde Santiago,” must be the epithet of #DisasterGirl. Under eloquent production by Alex Anwandter (a master of disco songcraft), this first track pictures Chile’s city capital in devastating flames. Our character, however, gazes back only to rejoice the burning of his bridges (“atras arde Santiago, es un dia muy feliz”). - JEAN-STEPHANE BERIOT

07. Ofrenda a Mictlan

Think of Mexicali, then think of Nashville. Think of Michael Salgado, then think of The Tallest Man on Earth. You might feel like I’m adjusting your ink cartridges but I’m just setting the tone for this one (cheesy enough?). You could consider this as an exercise for the extension of the mind (and the music horizon), but that would be somewhat offensive, instead, think of it as a warm-up for one of the warmest, most heart-felt albums we’ve received in a while. But we can’t go on into a rave review without making a confession; it’s distressing to know just how much we like this, it’s quite disturbing actually. Mexicali’s Juan Cirerol could be classified as a Norteño folk troubadour, a storyteller, a romantic, a stylist of the popular song. - CARLOS REYES

06. Diagrama de Ben

Of gargantuan confection and gorgeous sophistication, Luciana Tagliapietra’s sophomore album, Diagrama de Ben, is an astounding collection of sonic motifs packed with enough progressive elements for an individual’s revolution and a collective warfare. Recorded in the fertile Tucumán Province in Argentina, this record nuances the solidification of Tagliapietra as one of the most exciting new voices on the continent. Targeting personal overhaul rather than crowd-pleasing delegacy, Diagrama de Ben arrives at grandiosity with a lavish orchestration worthy of a Renaissance affair and an allocated space in its digital environment. Tagliapietra’s instrumental wardrobe is rich and eccentrically hermetic, like a demoiselle’s turnaround toward social interaction. Yet, it is the songstress’ analog lyricism that also finds her as an immaculate renegade. Luciana Tagliapietra’s debut Los Domingos (YoConVoz, 2009) was an exciting revelation but bled from its ever-pealing ambition. Diagrama de Ben brings a well-rested singer with a devouring stream of consciousness and a relinquished wisdom of existentialism. - CARLOS REYES

05. Odio París

Here’s a quick summary for the simpletons in the audience: Odio París’ debut full-length sounds pretty similar to The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. So however you feel about that band’s first record, this album will leave you with pretty much the same taste in your mouth. Thanks for reading Club Fonograma! Alright, for the rest of you, here’s the low-down. This Odio París debut LP is fantastic. Like the sort of fantastic that makes you want to go to sleep ASAP so you can get up and go play this record for all of your friends the next day. Odio París is one of those records that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Indeed, if there’s one real flaw on the album, it’s the lack of one defining, anthem-like number. However, that doesn’t mean that you will have trouble finding a wealth of great tunes throughout the record. - ANDREW CASILLAS

04. Tan Bajo

In Tan Bajo, their second LP releaed through In the Red, the guys from Puerto Rico show nothing to get rid of that idea, in fact they had rarely sounded this much like a garage rock revival act. But this is also probably the album where Dávila 666 has finally managed to underline the difference between being a revival retro-rock act in the wrong place, and appearing as an out of time channel for dazzling rock songs and impossibly catchy hooks. Because even if their vastly discussed “Menudo on drugs” self-description sounds a lot more like a gimmick than anything else, Dávila’s approach to songwriting doesn’t differ significantly from that of the popular boy band. Take Menudo’s use of lyrical repetition and playful melodies in “Subete a Mi Moto” as a frivolous conduct for teenage love angst and compare it to Dávila’s abrasive yet very catchy mourns of “Esa Nena Nunca Regreso” and “Eso Que Me Haces” and you’ll see that structurally and lyrically they’re on a very similar page. - PIERRE LESTRUHAUT

03. Telememe

A few years ago during the MySpace golden age, a hot punk girl showed her panties to the world, as you would assume, she got herself a few millions of profile views. But once you actually sent her a friend request, she would respond back with an automatic message celebrating the new friendship with an excerpt from Timbiriche’s “Somos Amigos.” This is the kind of personality switch that makes Jessy Bulbo such an interesting character in Latin Rock music, many have not realized it yet, but nowadays, she is Latin Rock’s most talented lady. In 1998 Julieta Venegas and Ely Guerra appeared on TIME magazine’s cover as the publication announced the surfacing of the ‘Era of the Rockera’, if the TIME was to recreate the cover today, Bulbo should be leading the pack. Telememe is a round record, perhaps the first Jessy Bulbo that actually feels complete. The album cover outlines the album’s roundness, and as it suggests, she seems to have found a sense of absolute freedom.- JEAN-STEPHANE BERIOT

02. La Lucha Constante

Like the well-packaged titles of his songs, Algodón Egipcio’s shrewdness for craftsmanship is of inner expression and experience, but also attentively in dialogue with its era. In dialogue, but not in tune; Cheky’s platforms neither practice nor reject vocation, - they’re just ‘flowy.’ All these conditions allow for such a song like “La Transformación” to be read as a piece about the alteration of data, genetics, your virtual 'Second Life' character, or a full metamorphosis (and how sadly, there is no 'back button'). The cultural epochs in La Lucha Constante aren't allocated to a time frame; instead, we get a comprehension of its installment through the negotiation of rhythms that are presented to us. It’s as if Cheky’s infamous afro was the epicenter for sylvan ideas and actions. The execution of such ideas - and how they come to action through the music- is more suffocating than nurturing, but trust me, for a visionary fascinated by The Smashing Pumpkins, Akron/Family & Destiny’s Child, the outcomes are phenomenal. - CARLOS REYES

01. Futura Vía

Albums that are determined to become legendary milestones seem to be appearing less frequently during the 21st century. With the immediacy of the Internet, as listeners, we consume a bigger number of projects than we did during our adolescence by just watching MTV. In the thousands of MP3s by countless artists, most are forgettable, ephemeral movements whose days are numbered. But a few reveal themselves as classics that may even transcend into consolidated sub-genres. Monterrey’s beloved indie rockers Bam Bam surprised music blogs with their fascinating self-titled debut EP, astonishing the indie circuit geeks with fresh, out-of-this-world grooves. Although their success was moderate, hopes for the regiomontanos to release an even more impressive first full-length were in. And Bam Bam has surpassed all expectations, opening an exciting new chapter in Mexican rock history with the stellar Futura Vía, a psychedelic pop record equivalent to an intergalactic experience. Futura Vía is bound to be a reference in years to come, a majestic exercise about the universe, a meticulous work in conceptualization, and an undeniably fantastic achievement in the psychedelic field. - ENRIQUE COYOTZI