For the May 2014 edition of Music Alliance Pact, I’ve returned to one of the Irish acts I’ve raved about the most since arriving here six years ago – the ever exceptional We Cut Corners. This duo’s first album ‘Today I Realized I Could Go Home Backwards’ sounds like it has far more complexities than could possibly stem from a two-piece, yet they reproduce it flawlessly live. It’s crammed with details, it’s witty at times and it’s emotionally raw at others. In short, it’s very, very difficult not to love. The follow up THINK NOTHING came out over the last month or so (buy it here), and they’ve kindly lent me the use of ‘Blue’ for the purposes of this wonderful monthly music collection. I haven’t had a chance to delve through other contributions just yet, but if past months are anything to go by, it’s definitely recommended!
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 27-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
IRELAND: Hendicott Writing
We Cut Corners – Blue
Dublin duo We Cut Corners have contrasting loud and quiet streaks. Set up like The White Stripes, only with the singer on drums, the pair’s garage rock with quirky pop melodies have won them a nomination for the Choice Music Prize (“Ireland’s Grammys”) and near universal admiration in a crowded scene. Blue is the fourth single from just-released gorgeous second album Think Nothing, crammed full of their usual brand of sharp lyrics and heart-on-sleeve brashness. A real hidden gem.
Shaman y Los Pilares De La Creación – Tierna Oscuridad
Tierna Oscuridad is the opening track on Shaman y Los Pilares De La Creación’s second album, released by Concepto Cero, one of La Plata’s finest independent labels. You can hear the whole album via the band’s website. The song is also on the soundtrack for the film Arriba Quemando El Sol, so the sound prevails over the notes, creating a deep atmospheric musical environment.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Yeo – Kobe
A little over a year ago, Melbourne’s Yeo gave his acoustic guitar the flick and turned to a new friend, the keytar. He had some success in 2013 with the dark, whirring Girl and now he’s back with Kobe, the second single from his forthcoming EP. It’s a big step up for the producer: a shining, ambitious pop song with brash synth stabs, jittery percussion and confident R’n’B vocals. Yeo played Canadian Music Week and some US shows this month. If he doesn’t break the North American market first time round, we reckon he’s got a promising future penning tunes for Justin Timberlake.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Quarto Negro – Quando o Mar Não Vem
Quarto Negro are about to release their second album and have just brought out a movie about their time in studio, called GRU-PDX. Quando o Mar Não Vem is taken from debut album Desconocidos, released in 2011, and shows the band’s melodic excellence and sensitivity.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
[MP.G] – Black Mesa Rally Cry
[MP.G] My Pet Genius released Might Strike Satellite in 1996 to much critical acclaim. For the past 17 years they have been recording, mixing, switching studios, re-recording, scrapping and re-mixing hundreds of hours of music that will become the colossal double LP, Empire Of Light. A teaser EP called EMP01 reveals what’s to be expected when Empire Of Light finally arrives this fall.
CHILE: Super 45
Fernando Milagros – Otra Vida
Fernando Milagros embraces pop with synths, guitars and guests musicians on his fourth album, Nuevo Sol, a collection of songs about coming back home and going ahead with the truth. Otra Vida, the first single with Andean music arrangements, is the catchiest song on the record.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Mitú – Cri Cri
Renowned guitarist and producer Julian Salazar, a vital part of Bomba Estéreo, joins with percussionist Franklin Tejedor aka Lamparita to form Mitú, where somehow they pay tribute to Lamparita’s hometown, San Basilio de Palenque. Thus, the traditional rhythms are mixed with analog synthesisers to give a unique characteristic, totally danceable. In 2012 they released their album Potro, and in 2014 Mitú hits back again with Balnear, where the future and the jungle’s past are mixed, as we can hear in their track Cri Cri.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Annasaid – Feel Better
Four years on from their full-length debut, Jua, Annasaid released their second on April 28. Titled Rite De Passage there’s a coming of age tale here, but while the quartet has definitely matured in age, arrangements and songwriting, their guitar-on-chest indie-rock is as youthfully energetic as ever. Here’s the excellent first single Collision as a MAP exclusive download.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Diego Mena – Intolerante
Diego Mena continues to turn his wheels away from his roots in rock music and on to synth-pop delight. Even though he’s heavily influenced by the 80s , his newest songs sound more current than ever. Intolerante is the first single from his third album Cadáveres En El Closet, a hypnotic ensemble of melodies and smooth singing. The album is out now via Bandcamp.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
Nicola Cruz – Nierika
Nicola Cruz is one of Ecuador’s most interesting producers. His work focuses on experimental music that mixes electronics with organic textures and traditional sounds.
Badass Yuki – America
Citing influences as varied as Burt Bacharach, The Jesus And Mary Chain and Britpop, Badass Yuki are a threesome on the verge of releasing their second album, Open Your Eyes To The Landmass, which is being pressed on vinyl by small family label Porridge Bullet.
Pelotons – Blind Luck
Pelotons is a folk duo formed by Tina Kärkinen (Finnish) and Mike Gale (English), who began making music together at the end of last year and released a debut EP called Burrows. Blind Luck, a very laid-back, soft tune with great harmonies, is the first single from their first full-length, which will be available very shortly through Battle Worldwide Recordings.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
La Quinte – J’ai Passé L’Âge
La Quinte is an up-and-coming rap act from Strasbourg composed of four MCs and a beatmaker. What started as a way to fill their free time while paying homage to their elders eventually became a serious project, and the crew has been more and more active and visible in the past few months. By combining old-school instrumentals with topical lyrics, La Quinte have found a unique blend that will surely make some heads turn in the coming months.
A Victim Of Society – Once Again
In their relentlessly brilliant debut album Distractions, A Victim Of Society craft eight intense, hammering and explosively airy rock’n’roll songs and wrap them in a bleary, beautiful package. With layers of fuzz-laced and feedback-laden guitars, raw, tribal drumbeats, repetitive gloomy melodies buried beneath noise and distortion-drenched vocals, they produce an assured, exciting piece of art that works as the ideal soundtrack for a nightmarish post-urban landscape. Listen to the striking Once Again and check out the video for Enough Said.
Careless 061 – Teen Anger
Careless 061 is a band from Medan, North Sumatra, whose songs sound as if Davey Havok created the music, some angry teenager wrote the lyrics and a bunch of Green Day fans performed it.
Vaghe Stelle – Duemila Kilometri
Vaghe Stelle is a producer based in Turin (real name Daniele Mana) who released his new album Sweet Sixteen on the UK label Astro:Dynamics. The press release explains that the theme of the album is “an attempt to have a conversation with the listener on the subjects of love and despair”. Among all those fractured rhythms and deep cosmic sounds resonates a melancholic vibe, something passionate, and this is what I really love about Vaghe Stelle’s ever-fascinating music.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Kai Takahashi – Cannibal
The title is extremely misleading – Tokyo producer Kai Takahashi only has summer vibes in mind with this song, a short cut from a recently released mixtape of similarly cut-and-chopped beats. Cannibal is especially warm, a stuttering collection of vocals and island-ready sounds tumbling over one another into a fantastic shot of mid-June weather.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Stalko – Two
Stalko are a somewhat restless indie-folk trio who are equally comfortable playing small, intimate acoustic gigs or bigger shows accompanied by various other musicians and instruments. They’ve supported a number of renowned artists such as Adem, Owen Pallett, The Moulettes and Stanley Brinks (Andre Herman Dune). Their debut album Grandiloquence was released to critical acclaim in 2012 and earned them a Best Newcomer win as well as a Best Album nomination at the Malta Music Awards.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Los Bandiera – Cielo Azul
Rolling in the grass, wearing paisley shirts and growing an afro (crowded with lice) is not exclusive for those who lived in the 60s. Coming from the perennial springtime city of Cuernavaca, Los Bandiera are a retro outfit that takes inspiration from both The Byrds and the Mexican psychedelia of Los Dug Dug’s. Cielo Azul is a bittersweet love declaration to lay with your beloved one, staring up at the sun-hazed diamond skies.
Wolves As Friends – Small Goodbyes
Inspired by the need to express himself as a singular voice comes Wolves As Friends, the personal project of Lima singer-songwriter Rodolfo Caceres. Honest and simple, he conveys heartfelt, meaningful thoughts about what it is to feel left out and lost in the world. Wolves As Friends released debut record Small Goodbyes in 2013.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Throes + The Shine – Dombolo
Following the worldwide success of Buraka Som Sistema comes another kuduro project made up of Portuguese trio Throes (Marco, Igor and João) and Angolan duo The Shine (Diron and André do Poster). Their work together has already been defined as rockuduro (rock and kuduro). Their sound is wild and energetic and word has spread through their performances at various festivals including Roskilde. Dombolo is taken from just-released new album Mambos De Outros Tipos and has this video.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Sr. Langosta – Doido
Puerto Rico’s indie scene skews heavily towards rock-oriented sub-genres – punk, metal, garage, pop or experimental – so it is certainly worth noting when a band like Sr. Langosta comes along to test our musical boundaries and take audiences in new directions. Led by guitarist Jorge Andrés Ferreras, the acid jazz and funk trio’s debut album reveals great musicianship and a playful streak, with an extended band willing to fuse Caribbean and Latin rhythms with the classic rock influence of guitar heroes like Jimi Hendrix. Doido is but a taste of the record’s refreshing sounds.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Faunlet – Bird Bones
Dark and perverse, Faunlet’s music combines elements of post-punk, shoegaze, gothic noise, post-rock and doom-pop in a style they call dark gaze. The Bucharest group released debut album Fauna Of The Heart Flora From Beyond in January.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Model Aeroplanes – Crazy
Idols-in-waiting Model Aeroplanes recorded their rollicking debut single Crazy while they were finishing their high school exams, but a career as musicians certainly doesn’t look beyond the teenagers, whose enthusiastic post-punk sound might remind you of Two Door Cinema Club or the first Arctic Monkeys album. Their new single Electricity is released on May 24.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Monoban – Dandelion
Indie-folk trio Monoban has members playing acoustic guitar, cello and cajón, a Peruvian percussion instrument. Dandelion is the lead track off debut EP Ghostship, released in April. With its charming and light-hearted melody it’s an extremely addictive track well suited for repeated play.
Fernando Lagreca – Silly Girl Meets Silly Boy (Tsowc Remix)
Fernando Lagreca was born in Uruguay, but his heart has been a part of Barcelona since 2002. Electronic music is his passion and he explores it in an organic way, discovering warm melodies and bright landscapes of sound. IDM is what he delivers so it’s no wonder he has signed to Barcelona-based label Irregular, home of The Suicide Of Western Culture and Lasers.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
YVETTE – Pure Pleasure
The drums and guitars of Brooklyn’s YVETTE thrash heavily like lightning striking steel. What makes this band special is the thoughtful order to the chaos. It’s angry, evil and loud, but the precision ultimately makes YVETTE an unforgettable and important band.