Thu 16 Jun 2011
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Cool Cult – Skulls
New Zealand’s best young exponents of shoegaze styled no-wave. Described by UK music blog Sonic Masala as “beautifully formed nuggets of sound that are brimming with exuberance and ebullience”, Cool Cult’s noisy rhetoric is a mixture of early Deerhunter and discordant Canadian punk wizards Women. Their debut album Try Crunch is full of carcinogenic guitar hooks and elegant vocal melodies, with a refreshingly mature approach to constructing traditional pop music. ‘Skulls’ is the band’s first single, featuring an observantly sleepy vocal melody overwhelmed by a crushing wave of distorted guitar.
Polyester Embassy – Space Travel Rock N Roll
Polyester Embassy have a deep affection for noises, sounds and a vintage synthesizer. After years of experimenting, they’re bringing out a second album which sounds like Pink Floyd/Flaming Lips/Mogwai/Ride/Spiritualized mixed raw into their own characteristic.
Socalled – Work With What You Got
Hip-hop? Klezmer? Folk? Pop? Gospel? Some insane, wonderful combination of all of that (and then some)? There’s so much going on on Socalled’s newest album, Sleepover, that I have no idea how I’d classify it. Oh wait, I do: as a simply great album. ‘Work With What You Got’ captures the album’s sense of fun, but only shows a fraction of the wide range of genres it displays.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Morning Thought
The Detroit duo released their full-length debut, It’s A Corporate World, earlier this month, just in time for summer. It’s the perfect season for this record too, full of catchy guitar riffs, melodious vocal harmonies and an added layer of production missing from their earlier works. ‘Morning Thought’ hops along with glitchy effects, handclaps and enough thoughtful xylophone to keep wandering ears at bay.
BitRobot – She’s An Android
I’m always on the lookout for 8bit pop or C64 stuff. I’ve heard a lot over the years but still don’t consider myself an expert. Still, from my perspective this new record from BitRobot called Nebula, which ‘She’s An Android’ is taken from, does something I haven’t yet heard. He personalizes the music, taking a completely computer-based sub-genre and gives it a touch of humanity.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Kubik – Shina-Kak
Victor Afonso, a musician, music teacher and cinephile, had his first release as Kubik in 1999. Since then he has had a steady flow of releases and collaborations. His great love for cinema and music for films shows in his work. His talent has been recognized by artists such as Mike Patton, who invited him to open for Fantômas. ‘Shina-Kak’ is an exclusive download for MAP, taken from Psicotic Jazz Hall, which has just been released.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Leopard Of Honour – Teenage Fantod
David Roocroft is a Manchester boy who calls himself Leopard Of Honour and, like Oxford’s Chad Valley, counts himself as one of the British musicians doing similar things with synths and samplers to America’s chillwave artists such as Washed Out and Toro Y Moi. His instrumental ‘Teenage Fantod’, named after a “an archaic phrase for quivery anxiety used a lot by David Foster Wallace”, was described as “effortlessly lovely and languid” in a recent New Band of the Day column, adding that it was “pop music with experimental urges and precious little retro intent”.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Song Of Return – Trajectory
Trajectory simmers menacingly in a premeditated assault to the senses for two minutes before the drums crash in like a lightning strike and you very quickly realise your Facebook ‘like’ button just isn’t going to suffice. The Glasgow-based alternative dance band (who will appeal to fans of Delphic) is fronted by Craig Grant, formerly of Union Of Knives, and also features Louis Abbott, singer of Admiral Fallow, one of this country’s best new bands.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Skip & Die – La Cumbia Dictadura
Skip & Die is a Netherlands-based outfit that began as a globally-infused collaboration between South African vocalist/visual artist Cata.Pirata and producer Jori Collignon (also of Dutch electronic experimentalists C-Mon & Kypski and Nobody Beats The Drum), although these days they’re a fully-fledged live band. Via their travels through the towns and cities of South Africa, they’ve forged a contemporary and vibrant wall of sound that mixes electro, hip hop, Afrobeat and South American grooves. While specialising in sexy party bass hits that remind at times of Diplo’s Major Lazer, there’s always a more considered side to their art than simply noise and dance as Music Alliance Pact exclusive ‘La Cumbia Dictadura’ shows.
Satellite Stories – Family
These four young lads from the Arctic city of Oulu play music to bring you nostalgia from events you never really experienced, like the 60s, the first kiss from your elementary school crush and the time you and your best friend bought that awesome 45 single and listened it on your parents’ record player. Satellite Stories bring all these feelings with cheerful and fast-paced indie music influenced by Vampire Weekend and The Wombats.
Petula – Wives
Where have they been all these years, playful electro-inspired German artists writing and reinterpreting great songs? Berlin-based Petula definitely is one of those with a wide and emphatic spectrum of styles. ‘Wives’ is a wary, slightly more uptempo, more electronic cover of a Savoy Grand song. It has just been released on a split EP with all-girl band Candelilla.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Simfonika Island – African Sunset
Simfonika Island is a project made up of two very talented individuals, Gianni Capri and Donny Halo. Both have diverse musical backgrounds, one from a very DJ-orientated world and one from a band. With ‘African Sunset’ comes a song that crosses South African house with the influences of house music from New York City and Europe, all accompanied with some stirring piano and a dash of deep groove. It’s magical.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Mildlife – Milk & Wool
‘Milk & Wool’ is a sweet jam and the first we’ve heard from Mildlife – a new loose, electronic outfit from Melbourne. It’s a good sign from a band that manages to mix light and dark with interesting production and a strong pop sensibility.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Pellejos – Abuelita
Take some inspiration from Jack Kerouac’s Mexico City Blues and recite it on a cantina filled with the country’s intellectual crème de la crème, then leave them dumbfounded with the evocation of images of decay, corruption and nihilism. Pellejos started in 2005 when some refusing-to-age contemporary art-farts took a late chance to form a band led by visual artist (now bassist) Daniel Guzmán. What seemed to be just some art-wank has endured six years of sporadic gigs that led to bear a (rotten) fruit with a debut LP – a fetid collection of ethylic spoken word from the hoarse mouth of vocalist Ignacio Perales, backed by what sounds like Tindersticks from the Third World. ‘Abuelita’ is just a random nonsense collection of excuses to fall back into old patterns of drinking. Cheers!
Fur Voice – Wimp
Fur Voice is the stage name of David Gracia, an actor and singer born in Murcia and living in Barcelona since 2006. Inspired by electronic and psychedelic acts such as Grizzly Bear and Animal Collective, Fur Voice builds a dark extraterrestrial atmosphere in his debut album, Onto Endo (self-produced and self-released). The first single off Onto Endo, ‘Wimp’, takes the best from noise, post-rock and psychedelia and turns it into a dreamy, catchy, epic tune with an ending that leaves you wanting more.
Ghost Estates – Paris
The members of the newly-formed Ghost Estates were previously of two pretty different bands SickBoy and 8Ball. Their new band may be named “after the thousands of abandoned housing estates built in Ireland during the Celtic Tiger boom years” but there’s plenty going on in their music, from 80s guitar to processed beats to a spoken word interludes and, I kid you not, a treated saxophone solo.
Gravitysays_i – The Urge Of Identity / The Figures Of Enormous Grey
It’s hard not to stare in open-mouthed amazement at the sheer brilliance of Gravitysays_i’s superbly executed, intensely creative and nearly flawless sophomore album, The Figures Of Enormous Grey And The Patterns Of Fraud. They bring together experimental, dark, atmospheric elements along with Greek and Eastern traditional music and examine social values, institutions and morality as an extension of individual, as well as collective, conscience with an emotional clarity and narrative acuity that makes it an undeniable triumph.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Pigibit5 – Y.O.N.H.A
Sweet indie-pop act Pigibit5 claims kitsch to be the best description of its music, which is heavily based around a twee-pop and chamber-pop sound, also citing influences from folk and hard rock. The band is what remains of Pirigwa – where Ireland’s So Cow on occasion could be found playing an instrument or two – and the members have returned to their former label, Beatball, with the release of first full-length album Cherryboy Revolution a few weeks ago. ‘Y.O.N.H.A’ is a cheerful tune with a retro pop sound.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Toulouse Lautrec – Yesman
With a name that recalls the famous French painter, the Bucharest trio started in 2009 as an alternative rock band with post-punk flavours. Although their image in the Romanian media is promoted through neo-Dadaist elements, there is nothing absurd in their music. The prominent basslines and the upfront beats remind me of Editors but without those dark guitar riffs. Whimsical and witty, Toulouse Lautrec is what you need now to give your day a push.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Mondrian – Or Unicorn
Mondrian are a young Parisian pop band formed in 2007. After releasing their first EP last year, Popshop, they dropped another one, Whippersnapper, just a month ago. Catchy beats, fresh voices and a talent for writing will surely bring them some success. They take everything that’s good in pop to make the best out of it, creating addictive and lovely songs with a high repeat listen potential.
Iván Fajardo – Calma
Iván Fajardo is a constant in the musical innovation of Lima. In the first edition of MAP in October 2008, we had ERA, his band at that time. More recently Ivan has been working alone. ‘Calma’ is the first preview of his new direction and is accompanied by a video that combines well the relaxed mood of the song. Iván Fajardo is recording a video for his next single, which is worth keeping an eye out for.
AM444 – Eye Wonder
AM444 is the Shanghai-based project of singer ChaCha (Kode9, Clive Chin, Jimi Tenor, Desto, etc) and Dutch producer/DJ Jay.Soul (Mr. Windmill & Jay.Soul, Sole Profit, Cecilia Stalin, etc). After years of thoughts, discussions and drunken promises, the pair have finally been in the studio for the past few months and the result is their eight-song debut release Eye Wonder. It’s a jazzy, funked up, dubbed out Chinese language sonic assault and some of the most exciting music to come out of Shanghai in a while, already receiving radio play in London, LA, Europe and around Asia. Eye Wonder is a landmark release for Chinese underground music.
CHILE: Super 45
Adrianigual – Arde Santiago
After a four-year break, Adrianigual is back. Big time. Their new album, Éxito Mundial (released on Sello Cazador), is a punk-hearted but dancefloor-driven collection of feverish songs. ‘Arde Santiago’ is their second single.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Morning After Youth – Lived
Morning After Youth is a four-piece band with a smooth and artsy sound to their music. They are working on their first album which will hopefully be ready this summer. ‘Lived’ was recorded in the famous Studio Sýrland with Adda 800 and Börkur.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Humming Kitten – Monochrome
Little is known of Humming Kitten, and we get the impression they’d like to keep it that way. It is a little disconcerting at first, approaching this musical project without any preconceived ideas of who or what the band members are, and appreciating their musical ideas purely at face value and on first impressions. However, once you soak it all in, you might feel that they’ve been there all along, lurking at your blogs or gigs. Revealing the chief conspirator as an entity known as Keyboard Cat, and that they favour a lo-fi noise-pop approach to their pieces, Humming Kitten ultimately sound so lonely with solitude as their ally.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Sumo Elevator – Pedal Horse
Sumo Elevator is a group of five ex-metalheads with short hair mixing prog-rock/metal, electronica jazz and breakbeat into intense atmospheric electro-fusion pop-rock. Their eclectic line-up consists of traditional rock/jazz instruments (electric guitar, bass guitar and acoustic drums) and turntables, noise boxes, samplers and modern synthesizers. With two years of live performance and studio experience under their belts, Sumo Elevator is about to release a full-length album in 2011 called Breakfast, which ‘Pedal Horse’ is taken from.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Eskimo – Cavalo De Fogo
It’s hard to define ‘Cavalo De Fogo’, the first single from Eskimo’s debut album. The breadth of genres covered, including pop and alternative, results in some intriguing music. One of the highlights of the current Brazilian indie scene.
Karibean – We Need The Sun
First day at the sea, the sun is shining, friends all around, Beach Boys playing on the jukebox, see The Housemartins on a surf, meet Vampire Weekend at the bar. It’s all just perfect. One last thing: go here and download Karibean’s free debut EP. It would be the icing on the cake.
Marcelo Ezquiaga – El Gaucho Vive y Muere En Su Ley
Although Hombre Golpe is his second album as a solo artist, Marcelo Ezquiaga’s career started with a musical project called Mi Tortuga Montreaux, which gave us three amazing records between 2003 and 2006. ‘El Gaucho Vive y Muere En Su Ley’ is one of our favorite songs from this new work, which comprises his acoustic-pop signature with strong melodies and fine arrangements. As he likes to say: rock without guitars.
Barthol Lo Mejor – Pick Up Track
You’ve partied but not this wild! Barthol Lo Mejor jumpstarts your night with trash electro. It sounds fresh, upbeat and raw like Justice, MSTRKRFT and Huoratron. His performance drives you further, guiding you with his signature sound and bouncing around in a flashy outfit to provide vanity, energy and edge. Don’t just listen, but enjoy it all.
Goddess Gagged – Visionary
Goddess Gagged is a metal band from Mumbai. The band channel melodic post-hardcore in the vein of acts like Architects and Alexisonfire, a foundation given legs by frontman Siddharth Basrur’s almost effervescent vocal delivery. ‘Visionary’ is a new track, presumably from the band’s upcoming debut album. We suggest you keep your eyes and ears open for that.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Why Don’t We Love Lucy – With You
In March, Danish/Norwegian quartet Why Don’t We Love Lucy released their debut EP, CPH-OSL, which serves up foot-moving club-funk-pop (slap bass included) with a light ring of the 80s and 90s to the five catchy tracks. A new EP is in the works, with a release planned for this autumn, but here’s the excellent ‘With You’ from the debut for you to enjoy.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Marita – Pequeña
Marita has been writing lyrics since she was a little girl, although she never knew where they would end up. The single ‘Pequeña’ (“Little Girl”) is a resume of her own history and a good illustration of her electro-rock sound.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Elefreak feat. El Prieto – RockMafia
In Venezuela, not many rock and rap bands interact. But a couple of months ago, one of the most iconic rock bands, Elefreak, coupled with one of the great exponents of hip hop in the country and created ‘RockMafia’, a song loaded with great strength and lyrics that leave a message of reflection. Elefreak’s nine-track record can be downloaded for free from their website.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Ihab – Æ Må Fær
Who would have thought that Bodø, a small city in northern Norway, would harbor so much good indie. So far there’s Cold Mailman, Kollwitz, Kråkesølv and now Gabriel and Ihab, both on newly started Beyond Records. Ihab make quirky indie-rock reminiscent of 90s heroes like Pavement and Built To Spill as well as newer bands like Cymbal Eat Guitars and Algernon Cadwallader.
Huck Finn – Sofia
Huck Finn is the moniker of two singer-songwriters who teamed up for a project. Four years ago they won a few music prizes in Switzerland but they struggled to deliver a proper record. On the second attempt they succeeded. Breaking In, their debut album, is bombastic and emotional at the same time. ‘Sofia’, their first radio single, will make you weep like a dog.
To download all 36 songs in one file click here