GDJYB: Indie “Math-Folk” From Hong Kong
What starts out slow and dreamy turns into sharp and precise, as Hong Kong “math-folk” group GDJYB ease you into their world before punching you softly with great riffs and incredible vocals sung in “Honglish” (Hong Kong English). The bass playing throughout is especially excellent, and it’s refreshing to hear it mixed so that you can actually hear it. And the video is top notch – it appears to be shot using film and anything goes in this all-white space. The group has much love in their home, though it’s time they break through here in the states.
Check out more of their music via SoundCloud.
Les Mentettes: “Buenos Aires Stereo Sound”
Be right back, gonna get my groove on and break-dance in a cool Reebok commercial that’s playing Les Mentettes‘ killer synth-pop. I can’t actually break-dance, but the Argentinian group makes me feel just hip enough that I can do anything.
“Les Mentettes makes dreamy indie pop studded with off-beat instruments, catchy yet haunting hooks and a style that both nods to and transcends their influences. Led by singers Adrián Rivoira and Eugenia Brusa, the Argentinian band has deep roots. The two started out playing together as kids, performing at school concerts in the early 90s. Coming from very different musical backgrounds, the Rivoira and Brusa as well as their bandmates have a myriad of influences that range from Ziggy Stardust to Nina Simone and Brian Wilson.
In 2008, they formed [and] released their first full-length album, Let’s Mentettes. The following year, music conductor Manuloop arranged their songs for orchestra. They recorded [Orchestra] with over thirty musicians, bringing a variety of instruments to the group’s sound, including, trombone, oboe and glockenspiel. In 2011, the band, now a hybrid of rock band and orchestra, released their third album, Song for an Imaginary Film. Their latest EP release, Bouh!, is a return to their sparkling indie-pop roots. Whether playing with an orchestra or not, [they] exudes warmth and a beguiling playfulness.”
Phil From Accounting: a special project from yours truly
If it seems like my recent posts have been getting shorter, there’s a reason: I’ve been busying recording music with my band! I play guitar in Phil From Accounting. We’re a punk-rock trio where we all sing and write songs together. We just released our first single, “Carrie,” last week, which you can listen to below.
Our debut EP will be out next month. Stay tuned!
From our Bandcamp:
“‘Carrie’ from ‘If You’re Reading This, Please Call Mom,’ out September 2017. Released August 18, 2017. Written by PFA. Brady Gerber: guitar, vocals. Amanda Webster: bass, vocals. Jamie Williams: drums, vocals. Produced, mixed, and mastered by Oliver Ignatius at Mama Coco’s Funky Kitchen in Brooklyn, NY. Logo by Scott Carr.”
Bankrupt: melodic punk rock from Budapest
There’s a lot to like in Hungarian punk rock band Bankrupt, from the driving beat of the drums and guitar to the English dub-like keys and horns. You can hear a lot of the Ramones, the Descendents, NOFX, and the Misfits in these melodies and lyrics. Long live hooks!
“Inspired by the best moments of punk rock history, [this] Budapest based three-piece delivers a unique blend of old school and new school melodic punk rock, tinged with some punkabilly, rock and roll punk, and garage rock. Regardless of what hype is going on right now on what was earlier called the punk rock scene, [they] stick to the music they like, and continue writing songs that sound the way punk rock was meant to be. This is the sound of Riot City and it sweeps you away with the speed of a rocket.”
Ecoute: a sketch of slow and melodic Israeli jazz
What starts out as slow, Sketches Of Spain-like jazz turns into a twisting dance of Arabic melodies and grooves. That is the power of Ecoute‘s music, aided by a whole string and horn section and Inbal Jamshid’s beautifully sung poetry.
Gatitx Discos: “friendship without borders”
You guys, I’m in love. Gatitx Discos is one of my favorite newer indie labels, based in Lima, Peru and putting out excellent cassettes from bands around Peru, Chile, and Argentina. From fuzzy noisepop to shoegaze to straight up punk and everything in-between, there’s something here for everyone. I encourage a full listen to a few new favorite bands.
“One is the anniversary edition of the label, made in Lima, Peru, in cassette format limited to only 30 copies. Participating Peruvian, Chilean and Argentinean bands, is a kind of homage to friendship without borders.”
Tapestry: Singapore Emo and a Back-to-Basics Raw Sound
When listening to Tapestry, a glorious and heartbreaking band from Singapore, time stops. Take “A Set Distance”, for example, the sixth track off their latest full length I Hope You Never Find Me. “The joy of living is gone,” dramatically sings Syed, the band’s vocalist and guitarist as the song starts, while the band weaves a delicate post-rock motif. Not long after, the song erupts in a furious explosion that preserves the same drama. Assisting the main vocals, passionate screams percolate through the rhythm: they sound raw, woolly and ultimately reminiscent of the unpretentious screamo of fifteen years ago.
These screams are a spark in the work of Tapestry, that surely owes a lot to Midwest emo. Bands like American Football or Penfold ongly helped the band define their sound, giving them a point of reference. But Tapestry takes emo very seriously, not as something they copied from the States, but as something to live for. The constancy of their releases is a proof of that. Since their first 2012 EP, the trio has worked hard to perfect their formula, refusing to adhere to new trends and sounds.
Their last songs, released on a split with Michigan-based Coma Regalia, are a further evidence of such enviable coherence. “Strings & Azimuth”, in particular, is one of the best tracks the band has ever released. There, Syed talks about spending two years away from home due to the compulsory military service in Singapore. Even if the song is centered around a very specific theme, there’s a certain universality within it. And also the revelation that at the moment it’s “unconventional places” such as Singapore that offer some of the most interesting emo bands in the world, possibly due to the fact that the issues they cover are more transferable to the defining poignant traits of the genre–while being rather distant from the Western imagery.
The Daydream Fit: The Dutch outfit stays close to its ’90s emo roots but have expanded its sound
Is there anything more bittersweet than a band going on hiatus or breaking up after releasing their best work? It isn’t rare, though; at times, the effort of releasing something outstanding is draining, it damages the personal relationships inside a band, or it makes its members realize they don’t have so much time to put on their musical project anymore.
When it comes to The Daydream Fit, a criminally underrated band based between Enschede and Utrecht, in the Netherlands, it’s unsure what the cause of their hiatus was. What we know is that their last self-titled EP is a rare gem in the contemporary emo scene, a mind blowing work that would have deserved a lot more attention.
The Daydream Fit is the second record by the Dutch outfit – the first was a three-songs EP resembling bands such as End Of A Year and characterized by a contagious freshness. Their last work is longer, with six songs graced by a masterful production that brings out the band’s ability to write songs that are seemingly simple but are written with a passionate attention to detail. The record is rich with references to the ’90s. On the second track “Stick To Yr Lies” it’s easy to hear the youthful urgency of Moss Icon, while on “New York City Tonight” there’s even a collaboration with Sonic Youth guitar player Lee Ranaldo.
But most importantly, it feels like it’s the approach of The Daydream Fit that comes from a different era, untouched by the contradictions of today or by the pressures of appearing a certain way. The band focuses on their music in the most genuine way possible: not only they play precisely what they want to play, but they also have the means to do it, and the result is truly poignant and brilliant.