Colornoise - "Amalie"

Costarican triune Colornoise have never fit into a simple schema. Five years and counting as a band and it seems increasingly improbable that Sonya, Alison, and Mari ever will. Their music is a hybrid of what they call “experimental stoner rock” and a sort of heady sonic mischief that people could probably lazily call noise pop. But within each of their records we see attempts at odd pop, vocal loop experiments, and moments of humor. Their catalog plays like the work of an unfocused but charismatic music project.

Respectively renowned, Colornoise rectifies their overlooked dynamic in their latest single “Amalie” that extends to their incredible spirited onstage chemistry. Colornoise are here merely to address the lingering feeling of loving the unmanageable. And they appropriately placed it at our doorsteps. “Amalie” reigns in the band’s focus, allowing them to build a cohesive, coherent artifact. Aside from being both sonically and thematically tighter, —more than their previous efforts—it showcases Colornoise's musicianship. Ultimately, the combination of the two makes it a must-listen.

Video: La Mafia del Amor & El Combo Perfecto - "La Disco Resplandece"

As a music writer few things suck as much as not being around when an authentic hit drops. And with everything PXXR GVNG-related we can’t help but feel embarrassingly late to the party. In our defense, the following video was blocked stateside up until a few days ago. Having said that, i’ll skip any more contextualizing/padding and go right to the overstatements: FIRE. TAKIS FUEGO. SONG OF THE SUMMER. Alright, maybe we still don’t know about that last one. And at the rate Spanish collective PXXR GVNG, through their roster of MCs and producers, have been releasing music, we might end up with countless other songs of this caliber. For now all we know is that we’ve stumbled on something special.

As La Mafia del Amor, another incarnation of PXXR GVNG, we’ve heard sartorial dembow bangers like "En la discoteca en chandal” as well as built-for-radio pop (“Amor Bandido”). "La Disco Resplandece" invades the futuristic reggaetón championed by J Balvin and Farruko and perfects it by celebrating el perreo above all else. Verses from Yung Beef, Unai Sánchez, Khaled, and D. Gómez set up the standard depictions of flexing and woo, but the spirit of the track doesn’t really give a fuck about any of that (“No me importa si ella es guapa o fea / a mí me importa como ella lo baila / a mí me importa como lo menea”). What "La Disco Resplandece" achieves is a rare chance to re-appropriate whatever low-brow status is left in reggaetón and running with it. Throw in some diacritic beeps and frozen synths, and you have the brightest club anthem of the year. Now if we could just get Young Thug to pop up on the remix...

Silva de Alegria - El Silencio en la Tierra

El Silencio en la Tierra, Silva de Alegría
Independiente, Mexico
Rating: 79
by Sam Rodgers

Sergio Silva's parallel project to Furland, Silva de Alegría, showcases the artist's continuing development as a major composer of orchestral pop. Unlike his band's recent refinement of scope, and simplicity in themes and hooks, Silva de Alegría can at times be self-indulgent, but rightly so: this is an individual's concoction, a mishmash of styles, a Tumblr blog of inspiration. What makes Silva's music so intriguing is that he produces a lot, and we get to be privy to the artist evolve and strengthen his voice from album to album.

El Silencio en la Tierra is Silva de Alegría's first proper LP and it's a cohesive, surprising addition to his cannon of experimental-cum-easy-listening tunes. It opens with title track, and a direct hit of Silva's sublime grasp of melody. At first, there's a worry of straightforward tweeness, but within half a minute, strings add depth, a cello undulates with beats sounding like something new: and while Silva de Alegría's influences are noticeable, when a track sounds this confident, he becomes a formidable peer. The first track runs seamlessly into the next, "Adios Sr. Rey", forming a couplet of exuberant, 60s-inspired sunshine, tinged with folk and bluegrass. Third track, and first single, "Archipélagos" flaunts some country chops, before giving way to Silva's nostalgia for 8-bit synths (which find their way into several other tracks). Nevertheless, Silva weaves all these genres into each of the ten tracks, not succumbing to the showy, insecure genre-hopping that could have made a lesser album.

The album has a thematic focus of discovery and extinction, innocence, love and loss, with track names evoking antique maps: "El Pez Darwin", "El Ruido en el Mar", "Segundo Viaje del HMS Beagle", and the aforementioned "Archipélagos". This fascination and fixation on the natural world is reminiscent of Shearwater's The Golden Archipelago album, on which Jonathan Meiburg crafted personal songs inspired by geography and history. Unlike that band's output, El Silencio en la Tierra rollicks along with 'humor Beatles' on tracks like "Un Pato Atrás", and a subversive Jim O'Rourke-like melancholy on "Monografías", which has an uncharacteristic aggressive ending. The album also contains two mostly instrumental compositions, the flitting, frolicking "El Pez Darwin" and the final track, which recalls Silva's earlier, expansive work on Polifónica Polinesia,  which clocks at over fifteen minutes.

Silva de Alegría could be a bit of an underrated genius (he wrote, produced, recorded, and mixed the entire thing), especially with an LP as dazzling and concentrated as this, casually bypassing hype: you can even download it at your own chosen price at his Bandcamp site. El Silencio en la Tierra sits in an odd piano-and-strings led alternative universe to the works of Panda Bear and Astro, maybe in the quadrant of contemporary bluegrass, like Nickel Creek, 70s folk, and the harmonies of the Beach Boys. In comparison to Furland's latest offering, which seemed pulled in too many stylistic directions, the lead singer of that band has been able to indulge his every instinct with his own project, and stay focussed on an overall sound. This album quietly achieves that creative progress, which is no mean feat.

Video: Gepe (feat. Wendy Sulca) - "Hambre"

For the video of Gepe's latest single "Hambre", the director, Ian Pons Jewell, has gone with a literal take on the lyrics of the song. And why not? What Gepe, like most of his Chilean peers, has been crafting through his career is a redefinition and refinement of niche genre: this song takes his past major-key singles and shaves off their edges, narrowing down ideas, but retaining the essence of pure fuck-yeah ANDEAN POP! As 'Club guru, Carlos Reyes, stated in his first review of the song, there is always the worry these sounds (and collaborations) will slide into kitsch - what pan-pipers the world over have been actively promoting for decades. Aware of this, but not embarrassed by it, this video celebrates the "disfraces finos y elegantes" of the past and present backbone of the continent.

The video opens with a be-shorted hipster entering a cool establishment, greeted with a "Be Our Guest" enthusiasm, only to wind up as the main course. The wry humour, and deliberate gross out factor - that's just pork, isn't it? - subverts the theme of the song: the constant search for satiation, carnal or otherwise. We're all hungry, and there's a fine line between enjoying it, like a feast, and sacrificing each other to Wendy Sulca's high priestess. Dale de comer!

Jessy Bulbo - "Alma Traviesa"

Let's set the words "rockera" and "riot grrrl" down here for a moment.

OK, now that's out the way, here is indie darling of Mexico, Jessy Bulbo's glorious return to the scene, with her first single from forthcoming album, Changuemonium, "Alma Traviesa." With production from Toy Selectah and Emilio Acevedo, "Alma Traviesa" is perhaps Bulbo's cleanest offering yet, though for nostalgists, check out the studio session to hear the grit we've come to associate with the artist.

The single's photo of Bulbo suggests a "new direction" for her sound and image: Eighties leotard with seventies disco horns? Club kid gangsta? Early noughties J-Lo? But this is not a reinvention, per se; just another costume of Bulbo's signature genre, what could be described as "gleefully unhinged". The first five seconds of the song heralds a bloody good time, and even if the singer makes up the erratic dance moves as she goes, the floor is still open for your interpretation of "the worm" during the organ-led break.

So let's leave the descriptors alone for now. No one is pigeon-holing Jessy Bulbo just yet.

Empress Of - "Water Water"

Once a candidate vying for dream-pop's essence, Lorely Rodriguez (Empress Of) sounds fully charmed by the vigor of house music on latest single "Water Water." But unlike other songs from artists that have fallen for these same sources, no shortcuts were taken, no attempts to reduce the vision that we've come to expect from her. "Water Water" is turbulent to the end, enduring harsh elements by way of echoed cries and the emotions they represent. What saves it from relying on pure abstraction, of course, is the gorgeous release in its dance elements, which come together like a runway walk in the fourth dimension. Through this Lorely is able to split (or maybe even reject) the one-sided pop spotlight. ("I want to care much more, But I'm feeling less and less"). Anyone else have chills?

Empress Of will soon release her debut album on Terrible Records and XL Recordings.

Boogat - "Londres" (feat. Pierre Kwenders)

In the run-up to the launch of his second LP in Spanish, Neo Reconquista, Boogat recently dropped the hyper-danceable “Londres,” which features the collaboration of Pierre Kwenders, a Congolese-Canadian musician and self-appointed spokesman of modern Africa.

On this track, the Montreal-based MC of Mexican and Paraguayan descent goes further with the process of reflection on which he had embarked on previous album, El Dorado Sunset, addressing the globalization-induced cultural, environmental and social homogenization, which we witness in so many facets of life today. From Kwender’s engaging chorus in Lingala to Boogat’s rhymes solidly based in this computer age, the post-colonial, post-internet single calls at once for celebration and mobilization.

Neo Reconquista is due May 4th. Pre-order the LP here.

Video: Torreblanca - "Como un amigo"

Based on their lovely catalog of bands, Nacional Records could be considered one of the best U.S. based labels of Latino sounds. At least it's one of our favorites. So it's extra special when the label reached out to us to premiere the new Torreblanca video for "Como un Amigo" off their sophomore album full of pop bombs, El polvo en la luz. With the help of Hector Castillo (Glass Reworked), MASA and Didi Gutman (Brazilian Girls), the album perfected the polyphony of past records and found room for Juan Manuel to expand his impeccable sense for melody and consistency beyond his strength as a chronicler of the exhausting contemporary situation, expanding them into emotional worlds unto themselves.

This is particularly true in "Como un amigo" and its video is no different. The clip showcases a soap opera scenery, using nature as both prop and setting, that adjusts really well with the folklore theme and acoustic sound of the track. Juan Manuel and his band plays in this gorgeous amphitheater while a man is searching for a meaning, a reason of happiness. At the end the clip embraces the idea that man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. Or as Viktor E. Frankl puts it, "Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

Pablo Acuña is a founder/editor at Dance To The Radio and a contributor for Club Fonograma.

Video: SILVA - "Volta"

Gorgeously shot between sunset and sunrise and directed by William Sossai and Angelo Silva, the exquisite clip for “Volta,” latest single off of Vista Pro Mar, follows SILVA on a journey through the streets of Luanda, Angola. Killer dance moves and performances by young and less young kuduristas are juxtaposed to the Brazilian multi-instrumentalist’s fragile, beautifully nuanced voice telling a story of contemplation and romance (“Pode ser o tempo fará com que você perceba que nós dois não somos em vão, em vão não há beleza”).

Although separated by an ocean, Brazil and Angola share a rich history of mixed Afro-Iberian musical tradition – heritage of centuries-long Portuguese colonization and slave trade. Thus, this stunning depiction of cross-fertilization at a micro-level makes the marimba-like layer take on a full significance.  

In May, SILVA will release a documentary about his week-long trip in Luanda, in collaboration with FARM.