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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Primavera Sound 2014: My Wish List

It's another tradition to honour. The Primavera Sound Festival will unveil its line-up on January 28th, it seems that with a movie (intriguing!). The few names announced so far, Arcade Fire, Pixies and Neutral Milk Hotel are not very exciting for me, and rumours like NIN, Beck, Neil Young or Kanye West are so worrying, not to mention terrible proposals like Daft Punk (just my opinion of course). So, as we did on previous years, here's how my wish list would like. It's a mix between personal desires and bands that, seeing their agendas, could very well be in Barcelona next May... Fingers crossed, because it could be an incredible edition! If you follow my advice... maybe the slogan #bestfestivalever might be true, hehehe....

  1. Alpaca Sports. The pluperfect indiepop band, how long without them in Barcelona? Not fair.
  2. Beth Orton. Needed. Too long since the last time I saw her.
  3. Cat Power. Dropped last year, but she's still touring, so second chance in 2014? It would be fantastic.
  4. Decemberists, The. Still one of my must-see bands. Still!!!!
  5. DIIV. Same case as Chan Marshall. Eagerly expected.
  6. Fear of Men. Debut LP ready for Spring. Mandatory band to watch & hear on 2014
  7. Go Violets. My best EP of 2013. They deserve a spot in Barcelona...
  8. Hospitality. New album arriving on early 2014, they do have to cross the Atlantic this time...
  9. Julie Ruin, The. Kathleen Hanna is back, and happily, she's also touring. Even more than that, they play in France on May 27th, so their schedule fits wonderfully... Enough said.
  10. National, The. I know it. You know it. Everybody knows it. Dates fit so well. Won't be as special as seeing them in L.A. but of course, we'll be there.
  11. New Zealanders. Primavera Sound bring newcomers Trick Mammoth and Males to Barcelona. And Prophet Hens (all three bands courtesy of Fishrider Records). And Astro Children. I could go on....
  12. Real Estate. We know there's an album on the making, so we want them back.
  13. Rose Elinor Dougall. Arguably one of the most haunting voices ever imo, her latest EP, "Future Vanishes", is another solid step on her striking solo career so far. Sophomore album and tour are on the works so please make a stop in Barcelona...  
  14. San Fermin. Can you imagine how amazing could be a San Fermin gig at Auditori? American tour ends in March, so why not an European leg in Spring?
  15. Sleater-Kinney. Wild Flag is over, they gathered on stage at a Pearl Jam's gig recently and the buzz keeps going. If it's not just a rumour, this is a MUST for Primavera Sound. Enough said (part II)
  16. Slowdive. Kind of a rumour again, although Rachel and Neil are reuniting for some gigs in London, so here's hoping...
  17. Softies, The. Or any combo, new project in which Rose Melberg is involved. With The Softies I want to claim a much bigger space for indiepop at Primavera please!!
  18. Torres. Another MUST (why only in Madrid this Autumn?). At Auditori it would be mind-blowing. 
  19. Wild Swans, The. Reissues and more reissues, why not a tour throughout Europe? Or at least Barcelona in Spring? Paul Simpson say yes!
  20. Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Didn't like "Mosquito", one of the biggest disappointments of the year imo, but I have to see Karen O at least once live... 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

These Go to 11: Interviewing The Wolfhounds

As we move on from the end-of-the-year lists, is time to offer you another interview. A great one, as a matter of fact. I'm proud to bring you the answers to our peculiar questionnaire from the frontman of a legendary (criminally underrated) band that, happily, has returned to action. I'm referring to David Callahan, leader of The WolfhoundsThese Go to 11!

Band named Wolfhounds & the
gallows behind,  what's not to fear?
David Callahan, The Wolfhounds
Formed in 1985 in Romford, UK, their first EP "Cut The Cake" made them part of the mythical C86 compilation album. After the poppier debut "Unseen Ripples From A Pebble on Pink", they evolved into a rockier, raging indie rock combo with brilliant albums like "Bright and Guilty", "Blown Away" and "Attitude" in 1990, after which the band disbanded. Several music adventures (urge you to check Moonshake) followed until they got back together in 2005 for a gig on the 20th anniversary of their first single. More gigs came, plus an EP with three tunes pre-dating band's debut in April 2012. Fuelled by the success of song "Skullface", the band is back in full form as the stunning 2013 singles "Cheer Up" and "Divide and Fall" prove, with more to come in 2014. The dogs are released again. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
"Gudbuy T'Jane" by Slade from a post office near where I lived - I still like the bad spelling of their titles - the B-side was "I Won't Let It 'Appen Agen" ...

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!)  
City Rock '77, when
Mr. Callahan went punk
First gig I ever went to was a punk festival called City Rock in Chelmsford. It was a little pathetic as you can see here. However I got to see Rob Tyner from the MC5 sing with Eddie and the Hotrods and Slaughter and the Dogs. The Damned got to the stage where they were onstage ready to play, when their manager ordered them off again as they weren't getting paid. They should have played anyway. I remember the Doctors of Madness being quite impressive. Most impressive was the aggression and teenage confidence of the older punks with their dyed hair and ripped school uniforms. I was 13, but remembered to make my flared trousers skinny with a packet of safety pins. The last gig I went to was to see my mate Mathew Sawyer play with the Len Bright Combo (which is Wreckless Eric with a couple of the Milkshakes). Mathew was good but he was even better the week before at a smaller venue. Len Bright Combo were also enjoyable, but unfortunately I spent most of their set chattering as there were a lot of people I knew there.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, though I think it's fair to say I only like the Crosby and Young bits. And "Our House".

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
A notebook, a pen and an instrument to mess around with (and a laptop or phone to record it on). Otherwise I'm not really precious about memorabilia, though I understand that some records I own are worth quite a lot of money.
Don van Vliet, Captain Beefheart

5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
Today, it's the English translation of "Jackie" sung by Scott Walker, or all of "Trout Mask Replica" by Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Members of a few young bands that I've seen, but I never introduce myself in case I either patronise them or make a fool of myself. I'm not great at meeting those with a body of work that I admire, and (perhaps foolishly) turned down introductions with Captain Beefheart and Dr John.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
I have a Dutch classical LP released as a picture disc in the shape of a circular birth control pill dispenser - I'm not sure it gets better than that! Otherwise, I like American cheesecake and exotica sleeves from the 1950s.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
I would press a copy of Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian" into your grateful hands, after forcing you to watch Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now", accompanied by coconut and lime ice cream and several gin and tonics.

"The Sound Your Eyes Can Follow",
Moonshake's 2nd album 
9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
My favourite song of my own is "Just A Working Girl" off the 2nd Moonshake album. I wrote it on my 4-track portastudio when I lived in Hackney Central, after coming back from the pub pissed, went to sleep, and then had to spend the whole of the next day trying to figure out what I'd done as I'd erased all the source samples and not written down the lyrics. I was double happy that PJ Harvey agreed to sing on it, but still regret not honing the song first before it was recorded. Unfortunately, it was a lot better a year later after we'd toured it, but it was out by then.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
I'm a literal indie fundamentalist - it means striving to be independent of influence and doing as much as you can by yourself or with like minds. Most 'indie' groups aren't.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I'd like to think I'd be taking a well-earned break from writing and music by trying to see all of the exotic birdlife of the Polynesian islands. But I think it's entirely probable that I'll be on a defibrillator.
Zillion thanks David!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Best Songs of the Year 2013: 25-1

And here it is. Tthe fourth and last chapter of our favourite 100 tunes of the year, with our Top 25 Songs of 2013. Again, you have the complete (22 tunes) playlist at our newly created Soundcloud page, and if the song isn't available there, you'll have an alternative direct link. Hope you enjoyed the musical ride!

25. Johnny Cash- Coach Station Reunion
24. 2am- Northern Spies
23. Another Game On Saturday- The Swapsies
22. Julie (Come Out of the Rain)- Josh Rouse
21. Honey- Torres
20. Lucky Too- Males
19. If You Still Want Me- Veronica Falls (link to video)
18. Into the Sun- The Proctors
17. El Caminar- Wiggum
16. Teenager- Go Violets
15. If You Were My Captain- Big Summer
14. London Bound- Just Handshakes (We’re British)
13. Terco- Doble Pletina
12. Delphine (With a Purpose)- Trick Mammoth
11. Heavy Feet- Local Natives
10. Methuselah- San Fermin
9. Pink Rabbits- The National
8. Future Vanishes- Rose Elinor Dougall
7. A Ton of Love- Editors
6. Singing Time- Eleanor Friedberger
5. Break It to You Gently- Camera Obscura
4. Husbands- Savages
3. Relevé- Pauline en la Playa
2. Tall Tall Shadow- Basia Bulat
1. This is the Last Time-The National

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Best Songs of the Year 2013: 50-26

Chapter III of our favourite 100 tunes of the year. The next 25 songs, now comprised between positions 50 to 26. Again, you have the complete (21 tunes) playlist at our newly created Soundcloud page, and if the song isn't available there, you'll have an alternative direct link. As we explained on the previous list, only three songs per band, so we've been able to include more groups (bands "affected" by this limitation are The National, Savages and Go Violets). Fourth and last part coming very soon, with the best 25 songs of 2013. Stay tuned!

50. Send Them Away- Beaches
49. Ken- Ex Cops
48. Pretty Colors- Chalk and Numbers
47. When It Happens- Wax Idols
46. Rue Savage- Dub Noir
45. Are You With Me Now?- Cate Le Bon
44. Next Stop- Bleached
43. New Life- Jim James
42. San Francisco- Foxygen
41. Waiting for Something to Happen- Veronica Falls
40. Sleeptalking- Hella Better Dancer
39. Youth- Daughter
38. Miracle Mile- Cold War Kids
37. Jean’s Waving- Amor de Días
36. Wolf Pack- Arts & Leisure
35. Little Games- The Adelines
34. New Year’s Resolution- Camera Obscura
33. After You- Pulp
32. Amarillo- Wiggum
31. Timothy- Tennis (link to video)
30. Morning Sun- Big Summer
29. It Can’t Be You- Basia Bulat
28. I Am the Past- Eleanor Friedberger (link to video)
27. She Will- Savages (link to video)
26. Graceless- The National

Monday, December 23, 2013

Best Songs of the Year 2013: 75-51

Chapter II of our favourite 100 tunes released this 2013. 25 more songs, now comprised between positions 75 to 51. Again, you have the complete (20 tunes) playlist at our newly created Soundcloud page, and if the song isn't available there, you'll have an alternative direct link. As we explained on the previous list, only three songs per band, so we've been able to include more groups (bands "affected" by this limitation are The National, Savages and Go Violets). Third part of the list coming very soon, so stay tuned. Hope you enjoy!

75. Math and Physics Club- Long Drag
74. Lose The Reason- The Primitives
73. The Most Beautiful Boy- The Choo Choo Trains
72. Winter Coat- Coach Station Reunion
71. Mean Streets- Tennis
70. Fool of a Kind- Marine Life
69. Lose Control- Brothers in Law
68. Temporary Touch- Selebrities
67. We Don't Have Any Cuts to Waste- The Very Most
66. Daedalus- San Fermin
65. Marshal Dear- Savages (link to video)
64. Show Me the Wonder- Manic Street Preachers (link to video)
63. Let Them All In- I Am Kloot
62. Gun- Chvrches
61. I Don’t Know What to Do With My Hands- Minor Alps
60. Ha Ha Ha- The Julie Ruin
59. Floating- Mequetrefe
58. Dead in Your Head- Bleached
57. Evil/Shy- The Mini Skips
56. Generación Perdida- Las Ruinas
55. Girls Like Us- Pins
54. Through the Deep, Dark Wood- The Veils
53. El Mundo Se Va a Acabar- Pauline en la Playa
52. Can You Keep A Secret- The Birthday Kiss
51. Wanted- Go Violets

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Best Songs of the Year 2013: 100-76

And finally, after GigsBooks, EPs and Records, we begin the 3rd edition of the Bloodbuzzed's Best Songs of the Year. Our favourite 100 tunes released this 2013*. As we did the previous years, the list has been split in fourth posts of 25 songs each. So here's the first one, with tunes from 100 to 76. We have changed to SoundCloud as we believe it's easier for everyone (if the song isn't available there's an alternative direct link). Stay tuned for the rest of the songs. Have your say and enjoy the music!

100. El Marco Incomparable- Gente Joven
99. Dyed in the Wools- Widowspeak
98. When It’ll Come- When Nalda Became Punk
97. Calm Down- The Love Language
96. In the Waves- Shady Elders
95. Waiting for the Summer- The Proper Ornaments
94. Devil We Know- Lily & Madeleine
93. She’s Gone- Upset
92. Survivor Guilt Anthem- Two Seconds to Midnight
91. Real Tears- Seabirds
90. With Her Shadow- Born Ruffians
89. Lecce, Leaving- Lee Ranaldo
88. Fin de Semana en Londres- Puzzles y Dragones
87. Mother Earth, Father God- Torres
86. Separator- Ex Cops
85. Golden Twin- Wild Ones
84. Poison Ivy- Rose Elinor Dougall
83. Beix- Les Sueques
82. Just a Pup- The Very Most
81. (Just Like) Susan George- The Blanche Hudson Weekend
80. I’ll Be Honest- The Spook School
79. December- Braids
78. Water Damage- Dick Diver
77. Alleyways- The Adelines
76. Divide and Fall- The Wolfhounds

* Three songs per band maximum to include more groups, which has "affected" The National, Savages and Go Violets.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Best Records of the Year 2013

Following the EPs list now it's time for the best records of 2013. Contrary to last year, I have increased the number of albums, but all 30 LPs are records I have listened and enjoyed fully. Meaning that records which I'm enjoying right now but have "arrived late" to my ears, or I haven't listened that much yet, didn't make the list (to name three I'm pretty sure would be among the names below with some more time ahead: Math and Physics Club's "Our Hearts Beat Out Loud", Gente Joven's "I, II, III, IV" and Doble Pletina's "De lo Concreto a lo General"). I believe they deserve to be listened properly and not be included just for the sake of mentioning more albums. Having said that, here we go, hope you like it!

30. Dress Up- The Spook School
29. Mug Museum- Cate Le Bon
28. Calendar Days- Dick Diver
27. How Many Times Have You Let Me Die- The Blanche Hudson Weekend
26. Run Fast- The Julie Ruin
25. Hummingbird- Local Natives
24. True Hallucinations- Ex Cops
23. Break It Up- Break It Up
22. Hard Times for Dreamers- Brothers in Law
21. Pick Your Century- Dub Noir
20. Girls Like Us- Pins
19. A Farewell to Youth- When Nalda Became Punk
18. Say It- Just Handshakes
17. Everything Is Going to Be OK- Big Summer
16. Waiting for Something to Happen- Veronica Falls
15. San Fermin- San Fermin
14. The Majestic 12 Years: 1994-1998- Majestic 12
13. If You Leave- Daughter
12. Everlasting Light- The Proctors
11. Lost Album- Coach Station Reunion
10. Ride Your Heart- Bleached
9. El Mundo Se Va a Acabar- Pauline en la Playa
8. Torres- Torres
7. Desire Lines- Camera Obscura
6. Choose Your Own Adventure- Arts & Leisure
5. Early Fragments- Fear of Men
4. Tall Tall Shadow- Basia Bulat
3Personal Record- Eleanor Friedberger
2Silence Yourself- Savages
1Trouble Will Find Me- The National

Want to check last year's list? Then check here
And 2011's? Just click here

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Best EPs of the Year 2013

After the books and concerts, is time to review 2013 in what regards to music releases. And we begin with the EPs  (no singles, 3 to 6 songs), a format that is giving me so many joyful moments it deserves a list of their own. Needless to say, this is very personal (comments on each band clicking on their links). Hope you enjoy it!

15. Eurostar, the Musical- The French Pop Dream
14. Songs My Mother Never Sang to Me- Seven Tin Stars
13. The Memory of a Smile- Skittle Alley
12. Days I’ve Spent with You- Souvenir Stand
11. I Choo-choo-choose You- The Choo Choo Trains
10. Helen of Troy- Pale Spectres
9. Bananafish- Franny & Zoey
8. Just a Pup- The Very Most
7. Somos Puzzles y Dragones- Puzzles y Dragones
6. My Middle Names- Northern Spies
5. Parade- Chalk and Numbers
4. Bone & Arrow- Big Summer
3Future Vanishes- Rose Elinor Dougall
2Small Sound- Tennis
1. Heart Slice- Go Violets

Want to check the best EPs of 2012? Click here

The "Records List" coming shortly!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Best Books of (My) Year 2013

After Friday's Concerts of the Year, now it's time to follow with the books. Here are my favourite 10 reads of 2013. As you will see a year with plenty of literature about music, the direct (and welcomed) consequence of being the responsible of this section at Indienauta. Hope you like it!

10. Sideral- Héctor Castells
Not long ago, Barcelona had a very special Peter Pan. A guy with the looks of David Bowie (Stardust era), an ego as big as his height or his emotional fragility, and a tremendous passion for music. His name was Aleix Vergés, aka dj Sideral, a celebrity of the night in the city. But he became more than that. Icon of a generation betrayed by the promise of a shiny Olimpic summer that quickly showed its ugly face of corruption, speculation and meaningless design. Missing link of Sónar, Primavera Sound, Nitsa, Apolo. Source of inspiration (and frustration) for many. An a fading star. This is his biography, an incandescent book.

9. 200 Discos de Bolsillo- Marcos Gendre
Lists I have done, read and followed many. Music guides too. But books of these kind have never followed me for more than three months, crossed the Atlantic and became the soundtrack of a one-in-a-lifetime experience. And in another personal note, it has been the reason to forge a friendship. Written with the solely purpose of vindicating the best music that was created on the EP format during a very specific period (1997-1991), in all the sub-genres that conform the alternative scene, here there's something for everyone: punk, post-punk, C86, Manchester, Americana, dream pop, hardcore, post-hardcore. And always with the passionate prose of Marcos Gendre. A music feast.
8. Post Office- Charles Bukowski
A poignant "I hate my job" tale, in the form of Chinaski's twelve years of slavery (to the wage, as the 99% of us are) at the U.S. Postal Service. Here's the quintessential Bukowski: grim, booze, horses, women. But also something else. An "I need to do something with my life" story, where Chinaski constantly seeks company, fearing being alone, plus an intriguing sadness on his perspective on relations, and a fight against routine, boredom, silliness. An open claim to say "enough", looking towards starting a new chapter on his life, leaving behind jobs that kills something inside of us.

7. Memorias Sónicas. Historias en Siete Pulgadas- Various Authors
This is a gift, a treasure for everyone who doesn't understand life without music. 23 powerful stories written by a true all-star cast of the Spanish indie scene: some are hauntingly beautiful, some are hilarious, other curious, a few utterly compelling, and always very close for anyone that has been "touched" by a record, a song or an artist. A personal and intimate music voyage that every writer/artist shares with the reader. A little treasure.

6. Mooch- Dan Fante
Welcome to the black hole again. To the realm of desperation, where the tale of surveillance this time has a little light at the end of a tortuous, exhausting tunnel. Written on the trademark "take no-prisoners" prose of Dan Fante you'll probably get hurt while reading it, but persevere. There’s a change, an opportunity for Bruno, who has transformed from the "Chump Change" coward who preferred self-destruction instead of confronting its fears into someone brave enough to try living. Maybe there's a future after all.

5. Erasure: A Novel- Percival Everett
Finally I found it: post-modern vitriol. Devastating read, audacious and risky in its structure, allusive and bleak in his prose, sardonic and angry in what it says. Merciless in the portray of hypocrisy in our society (cultural world beware) but also able to include a moving look to a son trying to deal with the aging of her mother. Are you black enough? Monk's struggle to answer this question the way the Academia and the politically correct demand will come with a vengeance, in an incredible box of surprises. A fierce statement, a peculiar comedy that won't make you laugh but think instead, a knock-out read.

4. Black Postcards- Dean WarehamA surprisingly honest memoir of a musician's life. Dean Wareham explains everything about Galaxie 500, Luna, Dean and Britta, his cult status. But also what an artist real life is, with bills to pay and several domestic issues. No heroics, no drama, just the personal recount of a human being that happens to go up on a stage from time to time to plug a guitar and play for a living. If you were looking for yet another glamorous take on fame, drugs and rock'n'roll, look somewhere else. But if you prefer a real slice of life, and the revelation of what music industry is for musicians without private jets, millions spent on advertising and groupies in everyone corner, don't miss "Black Postcards".

3. Pistol. The Life of Pete Maravich- Mark Kriegel
Pete "Pistol" Maravich, an American icon and, foremost, a unique ballplayer that made that elevated that sport to unparalleled levels of spectacle with his never-ending talents deserved a biography like this one. The built of a legend that shaped a sport, but also a personal nightmare where playing the ball, always Pete's shelter, turned also to be his curse. Zero hagiography, on a highly documented work, fuelled with the opinions of countless who were there, plus a will to make no prisoners, but tell a story that is shocking, powerful and touching enough by itself. A tale of obsession and frustration, with basketball being the joy and ruin of the Maravich's family. The Elvis of basketball.

2. Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How the Sex-Drugs-and-Rock 'N' Roll Generation Saved Hollywood- Peter Biskind 
This book is a mind-blowing encyclopedia of the so-called "New Hollywood" and the people behind it. But is much more than the most detailed account on some of the best, most striking films ever made, the work of directors, actors and filming crew. This is also a frightening "human monsters parade". A devastating tale of young and ambitious filmmakers, Scorsese, Coppola, Robert Altman, Hal Ashby, William Friedkin, Roman Polanski or Peter Bogdanovich, willing to inject a revolutionary spirit to a lifeless, unsubstantial industry, but transforming their quest into a dangerous wild ride of people living out of control, letting horrible egos, greed and megalomania rule those times. This is not a celebratory book. Is a fascinating, overwhelming work on the worst of mankind.

1. Kerouac and the Beat Generation- Jean-François Duval
Not another chronicle of the times and lives of the Beats, but instead, a collection of in-depth interviews to the remaining "stars" of those times, unveiling a vivid picture, extremely puzzling, of the so-called generation. Incredibly engaging, the different personalities approached conform a multi-directional look to the Beats, particularly his most famous member: Jack Kerouac. As a fan and well documented investigator, Duval knows what the questions should be, but the answers he got from Allen Ginsberg, Carolyn Cassady, Joyce Johnson, Anne Waldman, Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey reveal a different story of the one we knew. Around the movement (if there's was one) a truth was built: America needed the Beats to offer a definition of the changes the country was going through. I won't spoil it to you. Please read it.

Want to check last year's books list? Just click here
And 2011's? Check here

Friday, December 13, 2013

Best Concerts of the Year 2013

It's the time of the season for... LISTS! We begin our end-of-the-year best-of with our favourite concerts. A very special 2013 has been in this regard, not only because the fantastic amount of live music seen this year, but for the places where we have seen the bands. Anyway, a great top ten, hope you like it!

Josh Rouse in Barcelona
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
10. Josh Rouse (Music Hall, Barcelona, March 8th)
One of my first tasks at Indienauta, and a complete surprise. An artist I thought it was "gone" (for me) "reappeared" (for me) in full form, because his latest album bring us back the melodic talents of the Nebraska's singer-songwriter while his charms on stage remain intact. Welcome back Josh. 
9. Savages (Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, May 24th)
I told you. This is not your average band. Despite the troubles lead guitarist Gemma Thompson had with her guitar halfway to their gig, which unfortunately killed the momentum afterwards, Savages proved at Primavera the mind-blowing quartet they are, with singer Jehnny Beth confirming her staggering stage presence. More coming soon in 2014, can't wait.
8. Adam Green and Binki Shapiro (Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona, May 26th)
Hipsters doesn't go to massified Festivals like Primavera Sound until "the big names" are playing, so one of the best things a person that loves music can do is go as early as possible to enjoy the first performances of the day, under the sun and without hordes of "posers". That way we were able to fall under the very particular spell of one of our favourite "weirdos": Adam Green in his new, vintage incarnation. Showing his awkward, goofy charisma (how you can't love his dumb, crazy dances), his chemistry with "partner on crime" Binki Shapiro and his undeniable talent for creating a perfect pop pill was wonderful. What a fun thing to do is seeing Mr. Green live.
7. Jane Joyd (Music Hall, Barcelona, April 20th)
Please listen to Jane Joyd. Please do yourself a favour and discover what an amazing artist she is, you'll thank me, granted. She's not just a pretty, gifted voice. She's a musician with a purpose, with an ambitious scope and determination to arrive there. Surrounded by a fantastic band (still got puzzled when I remember the masterful drummer), at Music Hall she swallowed us into her particular, extremely intense and rich world. Don't miss her.
6. Beach House (Sala Apolo, Barcelona, March 13th)
I don't think Beach House will ever play again in such an intimate venue in Spain. Victoria and Alex are "too big" (and too attractive for "posers") so enjoying them in place where you can hear all the subtleties and experiment all the feelings their songs can provoke to the listener is a gift. Their music was made to became the soundtrack of your life, and at Apolo there was plenty of moments to be remembered. Now I can say at least once I saw Beach House as their music deserves.  
5. The Very Most (The Crux, Idaho, August 31st)
I know my dear friend and TVM's mastermind Jeremy Jensen won't agree with me. And truth is that some sounding little issues and a short setlist made the gig imperfect. But you cannot imagine what it meant being there, in front of him and his band, in Idaho, after crossing three States and sharing a weekend with him and his lovely family. If you follow this blog (if not, welcome!) you already know how much I love the music of the The Very Most. But this was much more than a gig. It's a friendship.
4. Camera Obscura (Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, June 19th)
Ready for "Desire Lines" in SF
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Not really adjusted to the American time-zone and I'm able to watch one of my favourite bands, at the front row, with an audience willing to enjoy their music (my two previous experiences with them were so-so). An exciting day through touring the swinging city of San Francisco ended in a marvelous way, with Tracyanne Campbell and Co. showing all their indiepop mastery. Finally I saw Camera Obscura the way I dreamt of. Now to make it even better I just need to hear them in Scotland and meet Tracyanne after the gig. Easy, right?
3. Local Natives (Primavera Sound, Barcelona, May 25th)
A big surprise this year (look for "Hummingbird" among the best records of 2013 on the forthcoming list), so it was a very attractive bet for me at Primavera Sound, high expectations indeed. But I wasn't expecting them to be that amazing live! What an extraordinary performance, passionate and contagious. What a way to certify here's a band to follow.
2. Eleanor Friedberger (La [2] de Apolo, Barcelona, October 5th)
Pretty similar to Local Natives. Liked her previous disk, but not to the extent of expecting such a wonder like "Personal Record". Few things as genuinely addictive as this album have come out this year. So seeing her was mandatory. The night started promisingly with an acoustic show for a dozen of lucky guests. Then I had the chance to chat briefly with Eleanor, and finally, like everyone at Apolo, I felt in love with this woman after a stunning show: sweet, energetic, dynamic, vibrant. 2013 has been her year.
1. The National (Hollywood Forever Cemetery, L.A., August 11th)
Soundcheck with The National, L.A.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
MY band. In LA..Front row. No fights. No massification. No fakers. The National full of confidence, relaxed and amused, making a miracle: transforming a cemetery into a place for celebration. The celebration of a band that, since 2005, is (un)arguably being the best around. Sound was terrific, performances were intense and I believe the audience had the feeling we were very close to them. Then the encore arrived. "About Today" was breathtaking. And the singalong version of "Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks" completely teared me down. I stop here or I'll get emotional again. One of the best music experiences in my life.

Want to check last year's best concerts? Just click here
And 2011s? Then check here

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

These Go to 11: Interviewing Fear of Men

Our fifth interview is to the Fear of Men's lead singer, Jessica Weiss, a band that, if you follow this blog (thank you, thank you) is simply one of my biggest crushes... since... since I first hear The National's "Fake Empire". So imagine how happy I am to bring you her answers. These Go to 11!

Jessica Weiss, Fear of Men
Jess Weiss, fearless indiepop
This very young quartet from London-Brighton stole my heart a year ago and, luckily, they don't seem to be willing to give it back to me. Their first tunes arrived in 2011, and it was already obvious here was a very special band, something that mind blowing pieces like "Green Sea", "Mosaic" and "Your Side", appeared in 2012, confirmed. Earlier this year their flawless singles compilation "Early Fragments" (look for it at the blog's best EPs of the year), came out, with debut album expected for Spring 2014. Incredibly catchy yet substantial, dreamy indiepop with traces of post-punk, full of jangly chords and explosive hooks hiding gloomy lyrics, and with the killer voice of Jessica Weiss, our interviewed, on top. Here we go!

1. First record that you bought (be honest)
The first album is probably something like Destiny’s Child. Nothing wrong with a good pop song!

2. First and last concert you have attended (be honest too!) 
First concert would be some DIY show put on by friends when I was about 14 or 15. And the last- we played with Dismemberment Plan for ATP a couple of days ago, that was pretty great. The last show I bought tickets to was maybe Merchandise, also really good. I was depressed by the number of people watching through camera phones though.

3. Guilty pleasure (song/band you shouldn’t like but you do, yes, it’s the embarrassing question)
Katy Perry- Roar. It has some incredible hooks.

4. Most precious music item you own (collector mode on)
I’m not a collector in the way that I would freak out over a first edition of a Beatles vinyl or something, but the most precious record to me is ‘In the Aeroplane Over the Sea’. It is so sincere and honest and unapologetic that I feel like it’s a rhetoric on how to live and feel.

The National, the BAND in capital letters. And a classic below
5. Favorite lyrics (not yours)
I am a total lyrics fiend, forever writing down phrases I enjoy in a little notebook, but then not being able to chose a specific part so I just write out the whole song… The Smiths, The National, PJ Harvey, Neutral Milk Hotel are my favourites.

6. Musician/s you would like to meet (should be alive, for obvious reasons, but you can choose a dead one too)
Kate Bush- a very inspiring person with complete faith in her vision and so much original thought. The National- I really admire how patient they have been. They just kept making brilliant records, and have achieved success as a result of that, they’ve grown very naturally. Patti Smith.

7. Favorite artwork album (not yours)
Patti Smith, ‘Horses’. All of Robert Mappelthorpe's photos of Patti Smith are really striking and confrontational, and I love that.

8. Books or movies? Depending on your answer recommend us one (trick: you can choose both)
I prefer to read. I am reading a biography of Samuel Beckett at the moment by Diedre Bair which is very good.

9. Song (of yours) you are most proud of
There are a lot of songs on the new album I’m really proud of for different reasons. I’m very excited for people to hear our new songs.

10. What’s does it mean indie for you? (yes, the “serious question”)
However people view the genre of our music, I believe in a very punk, ethical sensibility of not compromising on artistic integrity or taking the easy way out, which I suppose is akin to ‘indie’. There have been times when we’ve made things harder for ourselves by sticking to our own agenda, and I think we’re a stronger, better band for it. Basically to me being indie is being smart, independent and not being taken advantage of.

11. Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Living on my own having traveled the world playing music and making the records I want to make. Maybe having gone back to university.
Zillion thanks Jess!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Discoverer 80: new indie findings

Last new indie discoveries of 2013, before locking myself at home to prepare the best-of-the-year lists!

The Fauns. Based in Bristol, UK, and formed in 2007, initially as a trio but expanding into a quintet (sextet live) by the time they released their self-titled debut album in 2009, on its own Laser Ghost Recordings label. With no promotional campaign, they gained radio support from BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq, selling over 5000 copies purely by word of mouth. Tours with The Telescopes and supporting slots with The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Durutti Column and more recently Savages followed, but also some issues that didn't allow them to come out with new releases until they signed to Invada Records, with sophomore LP "Lights" arriving this December. Shiny and atmospheric shoegaze, with a cinematic quality and the inviting, poppier vocals of Alison Garner. Lushy and extremely addictive tunes. 
Alba Lua. Initially a trio but now a quartet, they hail from Bordeaux and Paris, where they are based. Formed in 2010, their first EP, "Ballad of Joseph Merrick" came out that year. Several contractual and personal issues stopped them from playing for a while, until 2012, when they anticipated their debut album with killer tune "When I'm Roaming Free". The buzz was built thanks to the praise from Pitchfork or Stereogum and their addition to the South by Southwest Festival. Finally, on May 2013 "Inner Season" was released on Roy Music. A joyous LP with fantastic, dreamy melodies, somewhere in between dream-pop and a folkier version of Real Estate with the peculiar, feminine voice of Clem Alptraum. Not to miss.
Two Seconds to Midnight. Scottish singer-songwriter Zig Payton and Californian string player Hannah Hens-Piazza were in Queens, NYC, in 2008 rehearsing in a wine bar before it opened to the public their acoustic side-project, intended as an entertainment between other projects. But when Detroit drummer/producer from Josh Moyer joined the duo, a proper band was born. With the help of some musician friends they released their debut LP "Architecture" in 2010, followed this October with their self-titled sophomre release. Here's the hurt, the hole, the bliss, the fire, propelled in tunes where warm strings melt with icy guitar lines and poignant lyrics. The Radiohead comparison suits them well, not only in terms of sounding similarities, but also in what regards to freedom and ambition to push them forward musically. Ladies and gentlemen, is almost midnight and we are floating in space.

Friday, December 6, 2013

"The Punk Singer", Girls to the Front!

The Punk Singer: a Film about Kathleen Hanna
Beefeater In-Edit 2013, Chapter V

And last but by no means least (on the contrary) here's the winner of the International Award at Beefeater In-Edit 2013. A touching and engaging film on Kathleen Hanna, iconic leader of Bikini Kill, Le Tigre and happily back on the scene (hopefully on stage too) with The Julie Ruin, the voice of the riot grrrl movement and feminist activist symbol. And a slap in the face to all the female prostitutes that some consider artists (not me) and keep invading mainstream pop music (sometimes also indie), serving the greedy industry while degrading themselves.

Director Sini Anderson had a lot of information to digest and compress on "The Punk Singer". Her music career, her crucial role as a pivotal person on a socio-cultural movement, her disappearance from scene in 2005 and her legacy. But she doesn't just nail it. She is also capable of moving the viewer deeply, affected by the dramatic turn of events of her personal story clashing with her fierce and fearless attempt of being a force of change. I left the theater with the feeling the movie is just too short. I didn't want to end. I just wanted to see and know more.  

The combination of archival footage, comments from other musicians plus her intimate interviews makes the movie flow with grace and dynamism. But again, it's more than that. The remarks from other artists are usually flattering if the rockumentary subject is someone the viewer likes, but truth be told, they tend to be tiring and mostly irrelevant. That's not the case with this film, as they also serve to determine better than any director's digression could do the importance of Kathleen Hanna. Kim Gordon (Sonic Youth), Joan Jett (The Runaways, solo), Tobi Vail (Bikin Kill), Carrie Brownstein (Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag), Corin Tucker (Sleater-Kinney, Corin Tucker Band), Allison Wolfe (Bratmobile)... are only a bunch (just to name a few) of wonderful artists eager to acknowledge Kathleen as a cultural reference and an unforgettable influence.

But what makes the film achieving such great heights is the personal side of our beloved punk singer. Almost a superhero, outspoken and determined to raise her voice to defend women rights, the sudden end of Le Tigre comes as a shock, and when we know the reason why she had to vanish from the spotlight (what a memorable, human scene when pours her heart out) is like being teenager and seeing your own music Wonder Woman losing her superpowers, forced to hide herself... to RISE again. The scenes with her husband Adam Horowitz (Beastie Boys) are breathtakingly vivid and emotional.

As I said before, my only complaint is how short this rockumentary is. 75 minutes is an extremely efficient work of concision, and as it develops, I can't say anything else but praise it. It's a great, flawless film. One to celebrate as Kathleen Hanna is a real role-model, a positive influence in this time of pornification of music, where terrible women without any talents are fighting to lead the music charts. She's such an interesting person, and her story is so powerful I believe there's a lot more to be said. About her, and of course about the riot grrrl movement. But please don't take this as a complaint. Take it as a suggestion. A second, third, fourth chapter as good as "The Punk Singer" would be more than welcomed. And needed.

SCORE: 8,25/10