Here’s June’s splurge of free-to-download bounty, another heap of international releases certain to give you a new gem or two from some unheralded corner of the globe. Of course, I’m only responsible for my own little niche: Ireland. If you want to know about this month’s choice, Niwel Tsumbu and his new act RiZA, you only need to skip down to the next post, which is a full interview with the Congolese native on just what makes him and African music in Ireland in general tick. Grab the taster first, though, as the man’s pure class…
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 20-track compilation through Dropbox here.
IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
RiZA feat. Niwel Tsumbu – Kabembe
As an Irish-based guitarist with Congolese roots, Niwel Tsumbu is a superbly original artist drawing on a stunning array of influences. Kabembe blends central African rhythms and lingala language lyrics with an emotive tale of the day Tsumbu found out his daughter is not his biological relation. RiZA, Tsumbu’s newest outlet, feature the best Irish-African music has to offer and already look set to make waves.
Ciudadano Toto – Esta Canción
Last month Argentina’s independent music scene mourned the sudden death of Adrián Nievas, aka Ciudadano Toto, lead singer of electro-pop group Adicta. An all-time favorite of Zonaindie, Adicta was perhaps one of the most underrated bands of the last decade, so if you never listened to them you deserve to (all their albums are one click away). This month’s MAP song is a home-recorded cover version of Cuban legend Silvio Rodríguez that he used to open his recent solo concerts. Sophomore album Flores, Brillos y Arcoiris was released just a couple of months ago). RIP.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Bicentennial – Sleeper Train
Hailing from Marrickville, a suburb in Sydney’s warehouse district, Bicentennial (Jess Cooper) writes and produces dark but delicate soundscapes layered underneath reverberated chant-like vocals. She cites backpacking around the globe as a major inspiration to her music, which is easy to see in this track’s title with any remaining inspiration coming from her white pet parrot Jai-Chai, whom she claims is never far from her shoulder.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Cícero – Isabel (Carta De Um Pai Aflito)
This song is from Cícero’s third album, A Praia, released a few months ago. Its lyrics are about a father regretting the loss of his daughter, who left home to experience life. The album has elements of traditional indie-rock and Brazilian popular music, usually referred to as MPB.
CANADA: Ride The Tempo
Mallory Scott – Levitate
Mallory Scott’s electro-pop creeps into the deep crevices of the night, but in his latest track Levitate the beats also seep deep into your soul and the melodies into your consciousness.
CHILE: Super 45
Nva Picton – Estar
Nva Picton is a duo formed by Miguel Gálvez and Andrés San Martín. It’s also one of the most interesting projects that the Chilean musical scene has bred. Without framing it in a specific genre, they put together experimental RnB, avant-garde electronica and club music in a package that keeps its coherence, regardless of their ambitions. Their single Estar is taken from their first work, EP.01 (Sudamerican Records, 2015).
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
La Sabrosura Dura – La Mona
Bogota’s La Sabrosura Dura is a hard project to explain. Some call them salsa punk. The septet feel the rhythm in their veins, but they don’t require the audience to be skilled in the arts of salsa or tropical rhythms. Indeed, they prefer that the public enjoy it as they please, whether they know the dance or not. They were a sensation at this year’s SXSW and are currently working on their new album. This song, La Mona, is named after one of the many affectionate names given to beer in Colombia.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
The New Investors – Atún
Born out of a love for 1960s surf and psychedelic pop, The New Investors have released eight digital singles so far (all on SoundCloud), but it is with their latest, Atún (video), they get it absolutely right. If this is the level we can expect of their debut album, due out in August 2015, it will be quite excellent.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Gallo Lester ft. La Montra & Yuriseibi – La Comparsa
El Gallo Lester started as a YouTube sensation with some weird mashups between current sociopolitical events and his own breed of “mambo metal” music, and it’s quickly becoming an icon of shamelessness, social critique and rebellion. La Comparsa shares the spotlight with two more made-up characters: La Montra, a character made to resemble Rita Indiana’s unique style, and Yuriseibi, a girl who’s always dreamed of being produced by Lester. Be sure to check out his his YouTube channel’s videos and parodies.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Van Fan Culo – Comí (feat. Jennifer Byron)
Efraaín Granizo is the mind behind Van Fan Culo, an electronic music project that blends different kinds of beats and genres like hard dance, industrial, house, glitch or bombatom. From his first album Ser Rojo Sería, distributed by the Mexican label Casete, we present single Comí featuring Jennifer Byron on vocals.
Sapphira Singgih – Lost Soul
Sapphira Singgih is a singer-songwriter who has been making her own songs in a lonely room for years. After singing with some of notable groups, mostly psychedelic rock’n’roll, she’s ready to come out on her own.
MOOD – Sick Pride Nice Vibe
I know why I love MOOD: I saw them live before even knowing what they were going to do. There were these two very young kids on a big stage, only a guitar and a drum set. And then, it happened: they blew everyone away! It was math-rock, it was post-rock, it was loops on delays and rhythms overlapped. And it was very, very, very loud. Daniele and Francesco, just 18 years old now, have released a self-titled first album and shared a stage with the likes of J Mascis, Chain And The Gang and The Death Of Anna Karina.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Einsteins – Hypnotism
It is not quite hypnotic, but rather deeply dreamy. Einsteins have been making sweet electro-pop for a while now, but Hypnotism marks the moment where the group creates a song one wants to live in, a lush collection of synthesizers wherein the softly sung vocals snake through. Less a trance and more like a sweet bedtime escape.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Dripht – Green Dub
Formed in 1998, Dripht’s music is a fusion of punk-rock with a reggae feel. To date Dripht has released three EPs – Dripht, Global Warning and Pacifista – and gained a sizeable following in Malta.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Siete Catorce – Respira
Marco Polo Gutiérrez, a young producer from Mexicali, Baja California living in Mexico City, works under many different monikers, yet has obtained most of his popularity as Siete Catorce. Like many of his best songs, Respira is designed to be consumed as an immersive experience as the producer steps into frenetic grooves and anxious spaces, which conclude with a very accurate tribal-esque beat. For an artist who is constantly releasing amazing tracks, he’s certainly looking forward with this one.
Lagartijacarlo – Verano Par
Lagartijacarlo is a solo project that began in 2013. Carlo, its only member, composes and produces all his songs with an authentic lo-fi indie essence. His most recent release, Verano Par, is a six-track EP made mainly with a ukulele, a style he calls ukulele-pop.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Evols – Shelter
Evols are due to release their second album, Evols II, this autumn through Porto-based label Wasser Bassin. The quintet’s new record has been in the works for the last two years and we are very excited by the first single, Shelter, which is backed with a video directed by Laetitia Morais.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
The Van T’s – Growler
The Van T’s, led by grunge-loving twins Chloe and Hannah Van Thompson, might just take the Scottish festival scene by storm this summer. Since forming as a harmony-driven acoustic-folk duo, The Van T’s have undergone a radical evolution. They’re now a much noisier proposition with lashings of reverb and a Pixies-esque appreciation of pop distortion. The awesome Growler is taken from their debut EP.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Genius – 88 Years Old
True to their name, three-piece Genius deliver a mix of earnest and humorous lines set to garage-rock and punk. Following last year’s celebrated album Beaches, this month the band returned with EP Lucky Mistake. Lead track 88 Years Old is a straightforward number with uplifting lyrics.
BeatLove – White Whale
BeatLove is an experimental electronic duo formed in 2009 by Bejamín Jiménez and Myriam Fernández, two lovers of rhythm. In 2014 they brought out debut album Interference, and most recently they released Wins, which includes remixes by Fernando Lagreca and Reykjavik 606.