Sapo Boi: Emo, Porto Alegre, Brazil
RAKTA: experimental all-female post-punk from Sao Paulo
For those who are familiar with the new waves of raw post-punk, RAKTA shouldn’t be a surprise. For those who aren’t, they could be a good starting point. As a matter of fact, it’s hard to define whether this all-female band from São Paulo in Brazil really belongs to any actual current wave, but categorizing them is certainly not a priority anyway. Like they claimed on an interview with CVLT Nation, “we are not attached to any [genre], and this is what we are trying to advocate.”
One of the most impressive features about RAKTA is the primitive nonchalance with which they go from horror soundtrack sounding synths and mystical intertwined vocals that repeat echoed hex mantras to walls of oppressive percussion that stand in obdurate opposition to the seductiveness of the most popular rhythms coming from their homeland. Their music belongs to a dark ritualism that isn’t traceable to any genre-related framework, and that often flows into a devilish and fascinating tableau resounding with noise, drone, and even electronic music.
Even when their experimental fury shatters common post-punk structures, though, there’s always a certain hypnotic feeling that allows the listener to remain focused and attracted to their sound. Over the course of a six-year long career, the band improved their formula with each release – most of them being cohesive EPs with powerful and defined aesthetics – and reached their peak with III. On the album, released by Iron Lung Records in the States, five long songs create a sonic universe that is truly unique in today’s music world and which perfectly represents what RAKTA are about.
Dona Onete: “the grande dame of Amazonian song”
There’s plenty of life in Dona Onete‘s singing, as if the 77-year-old just discovered the joys of love and romance and can’t help but to sing. Her whole life story (read below) is quite remarkable and enhances the Amazonian rhythms.
“Dona Onete – ‘the grande dame of Amazonian song’ – returns with further tales from the river Amazon on her sophomore album Banzeiro.
Whether she’s championing gay rights, singing about the delights of indecent proposals or praising a former lover for his ‘crazy ways of making love’, Banzeiro is defined by Onete’s honest reflections on life, love and sex, as well as her delight in the everyday pleasures of life in the Amazon, whether that’s spicy seasoning, salty kisses or fishy-smelling water.
Formerly a history teacher, folklore researcher, union representative, culture secretary and children’s author – “I never thought I would be a singer” she claims – Onete recorded her debut album Feitiço Caboclo at 73. A cult figure in Brazil and an ambassador for Amazonian culture, the music she sings is a unique mix of rhythms from native Brazilians, African slaves and the Caribbean – epitomised in the joyous carimbós that are her trademark.”
Low Dream: Brazilian shoegaze greats finally comes to streaming
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'”
Anti-Corpos: feminist lesbian hardcore via São Paulo
The original goal of a genre like hardcore punk has always been to change things, fight injustices, and give a voice to those who are oppressed. However, it feels like with time, the hardcore scene has become a niche built for white males, with many live shows turning into a gym for violent people, a phenomenon that has inevitably pushed others away from the scene and from its great potential. It’s in this context that the importance of Anti-Corpos, who define themselves a feminist lesbian hardcore band, becomes evident. They epitomize the original spirit of hardcore.
Anti-Corpos are from São Paulo, Brazil, and they might be the angriest band you’ll ever hear. No triggered double-kicks, pompous guitar riffs, or carefully faked screams. Only real and necessary anger. Their urgency is evident in the strident vocals of singer Rebeca Domiciano: she needs to scream and to get things off her chest. It feels like her voice, while refusing to precisely follow her band mates fast-paced tempos, can actually make a difference.
Their latest full-length, released in 2015, is a great example of political hardcore. It’s titled ‘Forma Prática de Luta’ (‘Practical Way Of Fighting’) and contains eight short and intense tracks that talk about police brutality, patriarchal abuse, and finding ways to resist to any kind of oppression. The lyrics are in Portuguese, but they barely need to be translated, seeing how energetic and heartfelt everything sounds. In their live shows, this anger is even amplified while male chauvinist violence is not tolerated. It’s what hardcore should simply be like, now more than ever.
Alvaro Lancellotti: a slow and distorted take on Afro-Brazilian and samba
Alvaro Lancellotti‘s slow and distorted take on Afro-Brazilian and samba caught me off guard – I was expecting acoustic singer-songwriter, but I ended up with something that sounded more like Tinariwen.
Elza Soares photo: Bandcamp
Part of me feels silly writing about Elza Soares on a blog that tries to support younger, up-and-coming international acts. However, Soares releasing a new album in 2016 didn’t get as much attention among my peers as it should have (or maybe I live under a rock). So in honor of the end-of-year “Best of 2016” recap season, I figured it was time to give some more love to one of Brazil’s greatest vocalists. For more on Soares’ background, check out this “Best New Music” Pitchfork review.
Carioca label Transfusão Noise Records is one of Brazil’s best sources for lo-fi and alternative music. The label’s ongoing “Cassete Club” series through its Escritório extension is worth going through to find all new Brazilian indie music.
Felipe Neiva’s “Conte Comigo” is the latest single from the series that stands out to me. Starting out as a pleasant fuzzy indie jam (at first it sounds like Interpol’s “NYC”), the song grows into something exciting and uniquely Brazilian.
I love what Club Fonograma has to say on the song: “This third offering comes from Felipe Neiva, an artist that caught our attention thanks to his song’s somber, wounded spirit laced in affecting guitars. The track initially offers pure indie rock which then timehops back into a 60s freak out, a move that works because it places the vocal’s garbled pleas in the proper context.”
We’re due for a new Felipe Neiva EP later this year, so stay tuned.