Meridian Brothers: “Futuristic Tropicalism” from Colombia
At first, Meridian Brothers’ psych-folk might sound kitschy and novel, especially to someone unfamiliar with one of Bogotá’s most beloved avant-garde acts. Perhaps as kitschy and novel as the album cover shown above. But there’s an urgency throughout the excellent ¿Dónde Estás María? – listen closely and you’ll hear the same fuzzy, driving grooves that you hear in your favorite Vampire Weekend songs. It might be weird, but you can’t say it’s lazy or not well written. And this band has been doing tropicalia longer, and better, than any late ’00s indie band still trying to be relevant.
¿Dónde Estás María? will be released on September 8th.
“The boundary-pushing Colombian group returns to Soundway Records with another unique album: dreamy psych-folk, blending traditional Latin rock with tropicalia, and lush string and choral arrangements.
Meridian Brothers’ sound is a huge palette of influences and inspirations. Drawing from traditional Latin rock (including Colombian, Argentinian and Mexican) as well as Brazilian tropicalia, for this album Alvarez incorporates string instruments – in particular the cello, both bowed and plucked – a timbre rarely used in his previous works.”
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.
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.”
Enfant: experimental electronic music from Bolivia
Quite ambitious with the Bukowski intro, eh? His poem “Style” kicks off this wonderfully weird album by Bolivian experimental electronic group Enfant, that makes music as void and bleak as this woman’s faceless face. Stick around for the whole album.
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.”
Biorn Borg: not the tennis player
It’s a shame that we haven’t had any new music from Biorn Borg since 2012 – this Ecuadorian band writes some killer riffs and has fantastic energy. Positive, weird alternative guitar rock, please come back!
“Biorn Borg takes its name from the six-time French Open champion tennis player. The band was born with the idea of rocking forward with a straight face. Their lyrics are direct, provocative and full of urban poetry. Their live act emphasizes a powerful and polished sound with an electrifying feel.”
La Danza del Agua: the very best, and very weird, of America
The latest release from Argentina’s Pakapi Records is La Danza del Agua, a massive collection highlight the very best, and very weird, of American music.
From the label:
“”La Danza del Agua” is an eclectic musical journey led by 38 artists throughout America. Exploring new territories for a label specialized in South American music, this compilation seeks new and exciting sounds in the vast continent from digital cumbias, sound experimentation, freak folk, noise, danceable beats and much more, mixed together to give life to this multiple edition that will be out in mid-July as its first online volume (of two that compose it) and a co-edited cassette version between Was it Das? and Pakapi Records.”
While we wait, check out the label’s latest release below.
Matador: “It is better to listen to it with headphones”
Matador is Santiago Bogacz, who does all the guitar playing and singing you hear on his latest album that came out late last year, which is eerie and spacious and haunting and really beautiful.
“It is better to listen to it with headphones.”