Memória de Peixe

Memória de Peixe: Lisbon duo blows up the math rock formula by adding jazz and an excellent use of looping

Memória de Peixe

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I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like Memória de Peixe, the Lisbon duo (Miguel Nicolau on guitar and Marco Franco on drums) that manages to sound like five bands together making glitchy, jittery math-rock without any of the pretention and with so much joy and wonder. If you’ve heard another band like this, I’m sure they don’t sound nearly as fun.

From Bandcamp:

“It’s a world of fantasy, adventures, final bosses, super-heroes, lonely comets, space odysseys and angry quarks falling in love with dead pixels.

Scientifically, “Himiko Cloud is a nebular gas cloud that is thought to be a protogalaxy, caught in the act of formation”. “Himiko” is also the name of our anti-gravity fish, that aggregates stories. Andy Singleton, an artist based in UK, created a sculpture of our friend “Himiko”, incorporated with amazing maglev technology.

Our Artwork was created by Carlos Gaspar, paintings representing a map to our songs. Also, the songs were made based on stories created by our own”

Memória de Peixe: Facebook Twitter Bandcamp

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Quantic

Quantic: the renowned British producer teams up with Nidia Góngora to showcase Colombian folk.

quantic

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Will Holland, the man behind the name, is a British producer now based in Brooklyn, NY who specializes in finding and sharing world dance music. The latest release is ‘Curao,’ a collaboration between Holland and Colombian folklore singer Nidia Góngora.

From Bandcamp:

“The culmination of a creative partnership that has been sparking for the best part of a decade, ‘Curao’ is the full LP from [the] world-renowned British producer and Colombian folklore singer Nidia Góngora. Out 12th May, the record brings a new and highly original interpretation of the unique, rich and mystical musical traditions of the Colombian Pacific Coast.”

Quantic: Facebook Twitter SoundCloud

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Yasmine Hamdan

Yasmine Hamdan: Lebanese singer-songwriter brings a Western approach towards Arabic pop

Yasmine Hamdan

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Yasmine Hamdan is a Lebanese singer-songwriter who approaches Arabic pop with a Western electronic, pop, and folk mindset, someone who has been immersed in enough styles to blend them all into something unexpected, something familiar, and something quite stunning.

From Bandcamp:

“With her debut solo album Ya Nass (2013), Hamdan introduced her personal, modern take on Arabic pop. In Al Jamilat (‘The Beautiful Ones’), she pursues her musical exploration, while taking a look at the mutations at work within the Arab world. While Yasmine’s vocals are definitely connected to traditions of Arabic music (to which she takes an unconventional and fresh approach), the structures and arrangements of the songs are very remote from its codes, and take in elements from contemporary Western electronic, pop and folk music.”

Yasmine Hamdan: Website Facebook Twitter Bandcamp

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Nasty Wizard Recordings

Nasty Wizard Recordings: the diverse sounds of modern pan-Asian shoegaze, all in one compilation

nasty wizard recordings

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I think I found a new favorite label – Nasty Wizard Recordings is a Beijing-based label that specializes in a range of noisy and out-there underground music (self-described by the label as “mostly evil music”). Last year they put out a release featuring HN favorites Chinese Football, so you know they’ve got great taste.

The label’s latest release is a collection of songs from some of pan-Asia’s most beloved modern shoegaze bands.

From Bandcamp:

“This May the gnarliest tape label in China, Nasty Wizard Recordings, is back with their first epic release of the year, a pan-Asian compilation of Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Japan’s shoegaze scenes. We’re talking ground zero for the blistering, reverb-drenched genre that has taken the continent by storm over the past few years! Featuring tracks from Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Tokyo, and Xi’an the Asia Shoegaze Compilation Vol. 1 is a must have for anyone looking to get their head lost in the clouds.

With a love for making destructive noises with their guitars and array of electronic effects, Tokyo’s Oeil has been a constant presence in the Japanese shoegaze scene for over a decade, and while the band has been relatively quiet since their widely popular 2014 EP ‘Myrtle’ we were fortunate enough to have them share two of their latest tracks.

Next up it wouldn’t be a shoegaze comp without a bittersweet farewell. The Pillow Man, a trio out of Hangzhou, otherwise loftily known as ‘Paradise on Earth’ didn’t even make it to two years as a band. However that fleeting, affecting touch is captured brilliantly in the band’s few surviving tunes.

We then head down to the Pearl of the Orient aka. Hong Kong where Sea of Tranquility has been creating dreamy shoegaze pop since 2014. The five-piece, with an abundance of piercing guitar noise and pulsating reverb, continues to convey the starry romance of the genre to ravenous listeners.

Finally, we head to the old Qing Dynasty capital of China where Xi’an’s Endless White resides. The young quartet, fresh off their debut EP, relishes in jangly guitar work, wispy vocals, and sublime walls of sound that engulf the band and enrapture your ears — the perfect closer.

Links below to Hangzhou’s The Pillow Man, Tokyo’s Oeil, Hong Kong’s The Sea of Tranquility, and Xi’an’s Endless White”

Nasty Wizard Recordings: Facebook SoundCloud

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Wild Animals

Wild Animals: Spanish pop punk enriched by DIY ethics and politics.

wild animals

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One of the worst things that has happened to pop punk in the past twenty years was how the genre distanced itself from the DIY ethics it was born with. Strengthened by the catchiness of their vocals harmonies, by the approachability of their riffs and by the appealing image of an arguable rebellion, a lot of bands laid emphasis solely on the pop side of the genre, forgetting where it all came from.

It’s in this context that a band like Wild Animals, a three-piece from Madrid, is truly important. First off, their songwriting is excellent. They could have easily been released by Epitaph or Fat Wreck Chords in 1999. Their last record, Basements: Music To Fight Hypocrisy is comprised of ten melodic punk rock gems with ’90s emo nuances that hint to early Saves The Day and Jawbreaker. The play fast songs with unforgettable hooks, reaching the highest peaks when the vocals of lead singer and guitar player Jamie and of drummer Paula meet, like on their anthem “Avocado”.

The lyrics are flawless, as the band is not ashamed to sincerely share their personal stories. Like on “Heavy Metal Saved My Life”, where they recount how each of the band’s members got into punk and extreme music: Youth Of Today for Paula, heavy metal for Jamie, and Rancid and Propagandhi for bass player Fon, who also runs one of the most active DIY labels in Spain, La Agonia De Vivir.

And here’s where another fundamental aspect of the band comes into play. Rather than aiming to be released by major labels or try to tour with big American pop punk bands, Wild Animals have their roots in the hardcore and DIY scene. They sing about politics, play in squats, book their own tours, release their records with the help of self-managed labels from the whole world. By doing so, they bring the genre back to where it was born, and regenerate it with enviable freshness.

Wild Animals: Facebook Bandcamp

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Low Dream

Low Dream: Brazilian shoegaze greats finally comes to streaming

low dream

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Low Dream, one of the best Brazilian shoegaze bands you’ve probably never heard of, is finally on streaming services. My personal favorite is their second record, ‘Reaching for Balloons,’ which best captures the band’s love of Jaguar guitars, lust, and the Velvet Underground.

From Midsummer Madness:

“The two albums, the first demo and a compilation of extras [are] re-released for streaming platforms. Available in digital format here in mmrecords since 2001, ‘Dreamland’ (the demo), ‘Between My Dreams & the Real Things’ (1st album), ‘Reaching for Balloons’ (2nd album) and the compilation ‘Soundscapes'”

Low Dream / Midsummer Madness: Website Facebook Twitter

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El Morabba3

El Morabba3: independent Arabic music from Jordan/Palestine

El Morabba3

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An oldie but a goodie, El Morabba3 has been making some of the most consistently interesting alternative music in Jordan for a couple of years. “Asheek,” a personal highlight, wouldn’t sound too off on the new National album.

From Bandcamp:

“The more an artist attempts a truthful reflection of the human condition the more conflicts and paradoxes will appear in their work, that’s why the music of El-Morabba is euphoric and deliciously dark; it fills you with an acute sense of elation while the lyrics crash down on you with their intense reality and truth.

It is rebellious music that lends a voice to the thoughts, concerns and anger of the people towards the reality they are living today, yet most of all it lends a voice to a dream that is dormant within us all, nudges it sometimes, or shocks the hell out of it onto the surface in other instances of pure intensity. All of this is translated through music that is uniquely structured; the rhythm, while always holding a firm base of ergonomic structure with the simple yet efficient heartbeat of the bass, it manages to float within it’s own spheres alongside the heavily transformed guitar expressions like two astronauts floating individually away, or towards their shuttle, winking at each other in the realization that they will always reach their destination simultaneously because they’d timed it that way, and they’d done it a billion times before.

And during this dance of rhythm and atmosphere between the drums, percussion and guitar, the vocals of either Muhammad Abdullah or Tareq Abu Kwaik floats massively on the surface giving purpose and clarity to a dreamlike state without awakening the listeners, they come with the intensity of words half sung or half spoken, sweet and sour melodies doubled by indistinguishable screams of ecstasy and anguish.

The combination defies definition, yet is awash with purpose, it is also uniquely vulnerable and holistic, very human.”

El Morabba3: Website Facebook Twitter SoundCloud

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The White Tulips

The White Tulips: Chinese noise-pop band’s self-released debut gets a reissue via Qiii Snacks

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Qiii Snacks, one of my favorite labels, is reissuing the White Tulips’ 2015 self-released debut ‘Fondle’, which you can now stream. The White Tulips are from Amoy (also known as Xiamen) and sound like your favorite indie noise-pop band.

The White Tulips/Qiii Snacks: Website Facebook Twitter

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Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla

Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla: Instrumental synth and lute from the Sahara desert and Sahelsounds

Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla

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‘Top WZN’ is another Sahelsounds collection that focuses on Mauritanian WZN (instrumental music), a sort of pop music for this West African country. Both Jeich Ould Badu and Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla are masters in their own right at the manipulated lute and the Arabic scaled pitch synth that, played together, sound oddly soothing in its freakouts and delicate tempos – you can never tell where the songs will go, which keeps you on your toes.

from Sahelsounds:

“The album (originally released on cassette in 2009) showcases Jeich Ould Badu and Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla, playing a signature genre of instrumental music. Known as اوزان (transliterized as “alwazan” “wezen” or “wzn”), literally translated as “rhythm,” it colloquially refers to a contemporary genre of instrumental music, defined by synthesizers, electric guitars and lutes, and electronic drum patterns. Jeich Ould Badu is from a celebrated family of griots, and learned to play music at a young age. He plays the tidnit, the traditional Hassaniya lute – modified and updated, the goat skin replaced by flattened tin, and hacked together with phaser pedals and built in pre-amps. Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla is one of the most well known keyboard musicians in Mauritania. He plays an Arabic moded synthesizer capable of the quarter tone scales adapted from the fretless strings of classical Moorish traditions.

Popular Mauritanian music is often performed publicly with large troupes of guitarists, tidnits, synthesizers, and multiple rhythm sections. But in the past decade, the influx of small recording studios and a booming cassette industry has led to artist driven productions. WZN has followed suit, and has been transformed into an established genre. The slick studio sound, warbling tidnit, and microtones of the synthesizer are an integral part of today’s musical landscape, blasting from open air music shops and taxi cabs throughout the capital.”

Sahelsounds / Jeich Ould Badu & Ahmedou Ahmed Lewla: Website Facebook Twitter SoundCloud

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