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Thursday, June 28, 2012

"Moonrise Kingdom", teenage dreams

Moonrise Kingdom

Wes Anderson is back! Sorry if I don't hide my enthusiasm, but cinema is not giving me many chances to enjoy/get moved lately, and after the quite unremarkable "Fantastic Mr.Fox" (another director trying to jump into the animation bandwagon), watching "Moonrise Kingdom" it's a formidable way to ingratiate oneself with movies again. Besides, you cant count me as an Anderson's fan.

Having said that, "Moonrise Kingdom" is another "turn of the screw" on the usual themes of Anderson's films: family, parenthood, the difficulties of communication, the things left unsaid, nostalgia, all packed, surrounded, by his particular visual style, music and very peculiar sense of humour (offbeat, quirky, deadpan, and I admit, not for everyone).

Yet in this occasion, Anderson decides to tell his recurrent story under a new perspective: and adventure film where kids lead the path. On one side, that choice is refreshing as it allows the director to almost create a parallel world on the remote North Eastern coastal community, where his style and visual talent shines. In terms of style, it might be his most remarkable work (well, my heart is still with the surreal universe of "The Life Aquatic"). Haunting.

But on the other side, and maybe not so positive, is that with Anderson putting the weight of the film on a couple of young teenagers, Sam and Suzy, that run away together, there's not a lot of space for the adults, and the story development, at least superficially, is just that adventuresque, hide & seek tale.

It wouldn't be fair to say the film is not compelling or emotional, though. Anderson is proposing (again) a tale where the responsible adults, from the Scout Master Ward that has to take care of Sam, to Suzy's parents, or the authorities, are incapable of behaving like they are supposed to. Worse than that: in their crazy search of the couple, they reveal themselves as a disillusioned, appalled by life's disappointments cast. Anderson isn't shy to confront their frustrations against the hope and vitality of the kids. In "Moonrise Kingdom" youth against age, illusion against cynicism, love against misery, are the opposing worlds. 

So, yes, there are wounds and desolation among the adults, but the overall tone of the film is lightweight. Which is something a bit sad considering the impressive cast: Edward Norton (his role had an incredible potential that is missed), Bill Murray, the great Frances McDormand, Bruce Willis (maybe the only one that is able to develop, good work by Willis), and in very small roles, Jason Schwartzman, Tilda Swinton and Harvey Keitel. Anderson could have taken more profit from their characters. Maybe is just that I find the adults' conflicts way more intereting, which are constrained/limited under this strcuture. 

But it wouldn't make much sense to keep complaining, because the focus on the kids has been a conscious decision by Anderson. And in doing so he has provided us, again, with a bunch of unforgettable moments. One in particular, the dance of the kids on that intimate beach, where they feel the first beats of romantic love, is wonderful. Praise Kara Hayward (Suzy, what a magnetic look she has, what a presence) and Jared Gilman for carrying the film in their shoulders with brilliance. "Moonrise Kingdom" opts for optimism (not exactly a comedy, though) and hope. If it's done with such grace and talent, it's nice to go for the smile then. A film to enjoy cinema.

SCORE: 7/10

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Indie Anthology 14: essential songs

New chapter of the Anthology, digging a bit into my recent past this time, with another criminally underrated band, and a very very special place on Earth!

Song: Talent
Artist: The Brilliant Trees
Year: 1996

It was just a matter of time and the right person to go with, but I finally did visit Ireland, on 2006. The particular story of the country, my (then) U2 fanatical behaviour, the literature... I would say that everything regarding the Emerald Island had a mythical halo for me. As expected, I enjoyed a lot that trip, bringing back with me many memories, and of course, a lot of music. U2 aside, I got my hands on a couple of records from The Brilliant Trees, one of these superb bands that music history didn't do any justice. I remember shouting on the tiny (but cool) record store in Dublin when I found "Friday Night", their debut album, where the song "Talent" was included. What a tune, perfect jangle pop with an inner fire and a disarming honesty in the voice of Alan Hoey and the Barrett's guitars. Their brief discography was full of enduring melodic gems ("Let It All Go" is another masterpiece), but "Talent" is unforgettable, being the song that comes to mind when I remember that trip. And Ireland? I know for sure I'll be back soon.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Discoverer 35: new indie findings

It's been a long long while since the last chapter of our "Discoverer" series, but here we are, with three new fantastic proposals. Hope you enjoy!

Shrag. Checking the indispensable Fortuna Pop! website I found "Tendons in the Night", blistering song included on a split 7" with Tunabunny. I quickly searched for more. Since 2003, two albums (currently under the spell of "Life! Death! Prizes!") and nine singles, a stunning combination of indiepop and post-punk, that immediately recalls to Comet Gain. And the best is yet to come, as the London/Brighton band is releasing their third album, "Canines", in a couple of weeks. Judge by yourself (single "Show Your Canines", video below, is ridiculously addictive) but I'm already counting down the days for the release!
Shrag - Chasing Consummations by Shrag
  Rabbit Kids by Shrag
The Belljars. Not much info on this quintet from Umeå, Sweden, that describe themselves as a band inspired by the "two great decades of pop, the '60's and the '90's", that after "being around for a few years, finally managed to get a decent recording". But this four songs, "The Belljars EP", available for free at their bandcamp, are not just "decent". This are gold indiepop tunes, in particular "You Will Know", with the gorgeous female-male vocals and the violins, and "Found You", summoning the spirit of early (and missed) The Cardigans or Acid House Kings. Sweden again, fellows. Yes!
Evans the Death. This was recommended by our friend Jeremy Jensen (The Very Most), so it was granted we were going to discover a great band. There's no letdown here, not even time for it!. "Bo Diddley", "Catch Your Cold", "Telling Lies", "Threads", "I'm So Unclean" (superb)... a collection of upbeat hits, guitar-driven indiepop-punk, in which singer Katherine Whitaker stands out, propelling the tunes with her vocals, shining also in the exquisite mellower numbers. The more I listen their s/t debut album (out through Slumberland and Fortuna Pop!, another plus) the more I'm haunted. You were right dear Jeremy, the only bad thing about Evans the Death is their name.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Best songs of the year 2012... so far

Like we did last year, it's June, time for taking a look to what has 2012 offered so far in terms of music. Here's a playlist with the best 30 songs (in my opinion, of course) of the year to date. Like its 2011 predecessor, several songs have been dropped because the selection followed two criteria: songs released during 2012, and just 1 song per group/artist, so I could include different proposals. They are not in order of preference, just trying to combine them in a good playlist. Hope you enjoy!
    Best of the Year 2012 so far by Raul on Grooveshark
  1. Myth- Beach House 
  2. The Rifle’s Spiral- The Shins 
  3. The National Health- Maximo Park
  4. Álferez Provisional- Los Punsetes 
  5. Off the Wall- Lee Ranaldo 
  6. Serpents- Sharon Van Etten 
  7. Follow On Your Own- Young Romance 
  8. Gone Tomorrow- Lambchop 
  9. Brains- Lower Dens 
  10. Don't Believe Ayn Rand- Novella  
  11. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings- Father John Misty 
  12. The Right Profession- Hospitality 
  13. Just for Fun- Alpaca Sports 
  14. La Nueva Reconquista de Graná- Grupo de Expertos Solynieve
  15. Astronomy- Nat Johnson and The Figureheads 
  16. Sing Up for the Boys in Green- The Very Most  
  17. I'm So Unclean- Evans the Death 
  18. Siberia- La Habitación Roja
  19. Capricornia- Allo Darlin’ 
  20. Stop, Look and Listen- Strawberry Wiplash  
  21. I've Always Known- Rose Elinor Dougall 
  22. No Sleep- Fountains
  23. Afraid of Summer- Lost Lander 
  24. I Don't Care- Summer Twins
  25. Ruin- Cat Power 
  26. Deconstruction- Fanfarlo 
  27. Our Old Centre Back- Cats On Fire 
  28. Sweetness in Her Spark- Lightships 
  29. So Long You Pretty Thing- Spiritualized 
  30. We Can’t Be Beat- The Walkmen 

Thursday, June 21, 2012

EardrumsPop & Young Romance= glorious indie-pop

ePop022- Young Romance

Any indie-pop lover knows that each time EardrumsPop announces a new release, it's time to go to their website and let your ears celebrate their (nearly immaculate) taste. But in this occasion, there was even more anticipation than usual, as the band featured in their ePop022 is Young Romance, a band already discovered on this blog, and one that got me completely haunted with just a bunch of songs. I was anxiously looking for their next step, and here it is, in the form of an  EardrumsPop EP. What a wonderful combination!

Previous tunes like "Swollen Hearts, Bitter Tongues" or "She, Me, Him and You" proved this London duo had a very special talent to inject a burst of real emotion and passion to their sweetest, utterly romantic indie-pop tunes. It seemed impossible to achieve, but with this EP they have reached a new level, Paolo and Claire have penned a couple of perfect songs.  

"Follow on Your Own" is sublime: slow burning verses, killer chorus where Claire's voice is disarming, a background of layers and fuzziness. Definitely one to rank among the best-songs-of-the-year list. And is followed closely by "Break My Heart By Morning". Listening Young Romance's tunes one has to believe Paolo's words (you can read them on the digital booklet also included on the EP) of "wanting their songs to capture the rush of feeling something for the very first time". Indeed.

Unfortunately, "Rose Tint", the song Young Romance chose to cover (the tradition of the EardrumsPop EPs is to cover a song the featured group considers it deserves more attention), from the group Lulu and the Lampshades (now just Landshapes), passes almost unnoticed. An ok song nevertheless, but pales by comparison with the couple of terrific songs. Oh! And if I may add another little complaint: unfortunately, the artwork doesn't do any justice to the beauty of this EP. Being completely honest, it is very close to be on the next Stop Awful Covers post. 

But let's concentrate on the positive. EardrumsPop did it again. A stunning free!!!! EP from Young Romance, a lovely duo that makes gorgeous indie-pop. Run (virtually) and grab it (Odd box Records will release a physical, limited edition of the single, cheers for that too!).

SCORE: 7,5/10

Listen them!!
Young Romance by Young Romance

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

"Hospitality", indie-pop debut of the year

Hospitality- Hospitality

Yeah, I know, a big statement on the title, but Hospitality's fun, hyper-addictive, catchy as hell and quite peculiar, quirky indie-pop, deserves that sort of title for a post. If there's a better debut album this year, then 2012 should be one to be musically remembered.

The start of "Hospitality", the album, is unbeatable, terrific. "Eight Avenue", "Friends of Friends" and "Betty Wang". Upbeat, intricate indie-pop that makes you smile and "charge batteries". Full of melodies that stuck in your head, this is the sort of music that fits perfectly to walk/wander around the city on a sunny day. It will be a matter of time you'll find yourself humming along one of its irresistible choruses ("But I've got friends that are new friends"), or some of the one-liners where Amber Papini's shines. "If you leave New York/ I don't care, I don't care!

Because Papini's voice is one of the "miracles" of Hospitality. Kind of funny and strange (on Merge Records website, their label, they explain she learnt to sing with the English accent of Bernard Butler while listening to Psychedelic Fur's "Talk Talk Talk"), but also sweet, she will amuse you first, and then, once you have been disarmed, it will haunt you. Her peculiar vocal range and tone quickly becomes a trademark of the band, allowing to distance them from indie-pop standards. And Papini is a fine lyricist too, explaining stories in the songs that are not that unfamiliar for a whole generation of of twentysomething's-thirties trying to figure out what's next in their life, always with a refreshing wit and humour, not taking things too seriously.

There's a particular groove going on during the whole album, giving it a cohesion. Despite finding more languid numbers in its "middle section" like "Julie" (maybe the less impressive of the lot), the delicate "Sleepover", or "Argonauts" and "Liberal Arts" with its wonderful harmonies, towards the end, there's also space for some more fast-paced tunes, where guitars keep shimmering, intertwined with trotting drums and keyboards on "The Right Profession", "The Birthday" or the closer "All Day Today". Songs are wisely combined throughout the record, helping to make it a joyous, very fluent one. Like the good albums, "Hospitality" gives the listener the impression it ends too soon. So there's no other option that going for another "spin". Da-da-da-da-da-da/da-da-da-da.....

SCORE: 8,25

Monday, June 18, 2012

Stop awful covers 4

The horror continues... fourth chapter of a very depressing and disgusting series of posts. It's scary to see the enormous amount of records with zero effort or very bad taste in their artworks lately. I will never understand how a musician would want/allow to have a cover like the ones below...


Friends: Manifest!
Yeah, a manifest. A kitsch, flashy, tacky manifest

Liars: WIXIW / iamamiwhoami: kin
Put them together as they show similar examples of zero effort.To the maximum expression

                                    Love of Lesbian: La Noche Eterna/Los Días No Vividos
More zero effort, Spanish version

Alex Winston- King Con
Graphism as "good" as the album title...

Santigold: Master of My Make-Believe
Another flashy one. Santigold is a "regular" when it comes to awful artwork

St.Vincent and David Byrne- Love This Giant
What a way to destroy a simple but ok cover... why Annie why?

Gossip: A Joyful Noise
Scary, don't you think?

CocoRosie: We Are on Fire (single)
Another "usual suspect", CocoRosie keeps with their unique taste in what refers to artwork...

Crocodiles: Endless Flowers
And the winner is.... this terrible terrible one. A close competitor for Trust

Friday, June 15, 2012

The Indie Anthology 13: essential songs

Back with the Anthology after Primavera Sound 2012, but the first song is still directly related with the Festival. It's a song to pay my modest and particular homage to the best concert I saw at Primavera, and one of the most special I've been part of in my whole life (so far). Needless to say, the song is an absolute classic. And the "open door" for a newcomer into the world of this criminally underrated and mythical band.

Song: September Gurls
Artist: Big Star
Year: 1974

It was unique from start to finish. Big Star's Third, the tribute seen at Primavera Sound, was the best example one could use to show everyone why music matters. Extraordinary musicians willing and thrilled to be part of the event. You could see it in their faces, gestures, happiness and concentration in their expressions. Why such an impressive indie cast wanted to homage Big Star with such a combination of respect and joy? What do the songs of these forgotten band have? A genuine passion, adopting different forms: from the sweetly gorgeous to the poignantly ragged. Tenderness and desperation encapsulated in stunning power-pop/pop-rock "pills", as confessional and revealing as powerful and uplifting. I'm just discovering Alex Chilton's music but I'm already haunted."September Gurls", their most famous tune, summarizes Big Star's magic, and it was the mandatory end of an incredible night (bonus points it was sung by one of my heroes, R.E.M.'s Mike Mills). Welcome, Big Star.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Battling Sónar Festival 2012 with covers!

I'm trying to write a couple of posts but I'm blocked... mainly because outside our flat there's an (electronic) war: Sónar Festival 2012 has started... not even 100 mts from where we live. With our extra-thin walls and the hot weather that forces us to keep the windows open if we don't want to get sick, there's no other option: we have to fight (musically speaking of course).

So, thanks to the wonderful A.V. Undercover Episodes we are enjoying some exciting, powerful, and extra-loud covers, so we don't have to hear the (almost exaggerating) annoying and neverending electronic beats (not a fan of that sort of music, but what really pisses me quite a bit is how they define themselves as an "advanced music Festival", but oh, well that's another story...). So, let's play some guitars and some "real" singing instead!

Dum Dum Girls cover Big Star: Lovely band playing one immortal song, from an immortal group I really have discovered thanks to Primavera Sound 2012.

The Walkmen cover R.E.M. The Walkmen cover R.E.M.: One of my favourite bands covering a gem of a song from "MY" R.E.M. No need to say anything else.

Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater cover “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” 
Sharon Van Etten covers Fine Young Cannibals Sharon Van Etten covers Fine Young Cannibals: Doble dose of the amazing Sharon, you can never have enough of her. The duet with Shearwater is stunning. So powerful.

Hospitality covers Steely Dan: One of the bands of the year so far doing wonders!
Basia Bulat covers Ted Leo & The Pharmacists: And Basia being Basia, just hear them sing.... Come back with new music, we miss you!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"In Watermelon Sugar", Richard Brautigan's utopia

In Watermelon Sugar- Richard Brautigan

Some novels are very easy to review. Some others are quite hard. And then, you have Richard Brautigan’s books. “In Watermelon Sugar” might be his hardest work to rate. But I will try.

Brautigan, one of our favourite nuts, said he based the book, published in 1968, on his life in Bolinas during the 60s, a place known for their semi-communal, isolated lifestyle. But I’ll bet you anything Bolinas has nothing to do with the unique landscape where “In Watermelon Sugar” takes place. Let me “welcome” you to iDEATH.

iDEATH seems to the main house/meeting point of some sort of commune where things are made of watermelon sugar, pine wood and stone, each day has a different colored sun and some disturbing things happens. The worst of them, explained by the narrator, being the tension with inBOIL, a man who rebelled against iDEATH, living on the Forgotten Works, a close and forbidden area, where they make whiskey and keep the remnants of a former civilization. Confused? We haven’t finished yet. There are also “The Tigers”, who were (maybe not) real tigers, that were annihilated by people, violence and many deaths, and two love stories, one that ended due to the dramatic turn of events between iDEATH and inBOIL, and another ongoing while the narrator digs deep in the account of the story he is making (he is trying to write). Oh, I forgot to mention the last tiger was killed on a spot that later evolved into a trout farm.

How to interpret “In Watermelon Sugar”? I don’t really know, but the truth is that I keep thinking from time to time, almost two weeks after having finished the book. So at least one thing can be said for sure: its and addictive (admittedly, strangely addictive) work. iDEATH’s environment and origin (the battle against “The Tigers”) could be seen as a post-apocalyptic new beginning for the world. This sort of paradise, where things are made thanks to the interaction with nature, where there’s no money and no possessions, is threatened by inBOIL, “keepers” of the memory (the stuff) of the past civilization. Margaret, the narrator's previous “lover” looks like a very important character to me, representing the person that, raised within iDEATH idiosyncrasy, is tempted by inBOIL’s forgotten stuff. A revision of Eve’s myth betraying the garden Eden? I’m very eager to read your interpretation.

With its brutal end and confusing development, “In Watermelon Sugar” is not a book for anyone. I personally think the absence of humour, one of Brautigan’s trademarks, makes it less enjoyable. The feeling of absurdity and surrealism, ever-present in his books, is still there, but this time, with the metaphorical/allegorical resource, adopts a much “altered” voice. It’s still Brautigan’s deformed mirror, and his braveness and ability to at least try to reinvent literature. But I miss his ability for making me laugh while he shows how stupid we, humans, have become.

SCORE: 6,25/10

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"When the Nines Roll Over", the unmagnificent lives of adults

When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories- David Benioff

A very nice surprise. I had heard/read some very positive reviews of David Benioff's books, and finally got my hands over "When the Nines Roll Over" a collection of eight short stories  that overall results in a very cohesive and solid book, with a very peculiar strength and a feeling of proximity, despite the eclectic range of experiences/situations/context in which their stories take place.

If there's a common link between the eight tales I would say is the "emotional point of no return" that all characters are facing. Benioff's talent for dissecting the turmoil in the existence of their characters in very different situations puzzles me. Whether is using humour or a devastating drama, whether life is mundane or even pathetic or thrilling and adventurous, discovery, loss and that life-revealing moment are just around the corner.

I have also read on another review that "When the Nines Roll Over" summarizes the experiences that characterize modern adult life. Well, I consider myself and adult and I haven't, and don't expect (please) to experience anything remotely similar to what the young Russian soldier Leksi suffers on "The Devil Comes to Orekhovo", one of the most tense and shocking stories of the lot. "Zoantropy" is not your "average story" either, lions in New York are not that usual I think. But despite the peculiar context of several stories, what matters (and in that sense I agree with the aforementioned review) are the feelings and behaviours of the main characters: anger, disarray, love, betrayal, all sort of very recognisable human feelings. As my beloved The National would say, Benioff writes about the "uninnocent elegant falls into the unmagnificient lives of adults". And he does it with brilliance.

The aforementioned two, "The Barefoot Girl in Clover", "Merde for Luck", and the title story "When the Nines Roll Over" are excellent tales. Overall, there's not a single bad story on this collection. I really enjoyed Benioff's style, pretty straightforward without being simplistic, very natural and credible, even despite the "traumatic" situations his characters are suffering. Looking forward to reading more of this author, in particular "The 25th Hour" -an extraordinary film by the way-. Really recommendable.

SCORE: 7,5/10

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Primavera Sound 2012: a personal overview


I gave myself some time in order to clarify ideas and not write in "a rush", and with a little more perspective, I have to say this overview now is so easy to do.

I missed Wilco, Beach House, Yo La Tengo, half of The Cure show, Saint Etienne, Rufus Wainwright, The Afghan Whigs, Spiritualized and many more... In which other Festival could you miss such names and still say it was an extraordinary experience? I believe that very few, if any. Only at Primavera Sound you'll have such a never-ending line-up (and I'm not including the already impressive offer during May, prior to the Festival itself). I could demand no hip-hop, metal bands or way less electronic proposals, but these are just my personal tastes. The truth is that the Festival is such a unique opportunity of hearing so many bands/artists in few days I feel any debate about the quality of the PS is nuts, and any comparison with anything that's made in Spain, is simply ridiculous. 

Last year there were some sure-fire names (Pulp, The National, PJ Harvey) that made it unforgettable, but this 2012 edition has been even better. This year I have discovered The Wedding Present and Baxter Dury. Lee Ranaldo, Sharon Van Etten, Real Estate gave astounding concerts, confirming the greatness of their latest records. The Walkmen were great again. Kings of Convenience surprised me with a joyous performance, a pure pop delight. And I was lucky enough to be part of a once-in-a-lifetime music experience: the Big Star’s Third tribute. All this music wonders in a much more comfortable Festival (part personal experience avoiding as much as possible the Mini stage or sacrificing headliners, part an evident improvement on the management of the Fòrum space by the organization), with better sounding in all stages (few exceptions) and almost always in very good company.

Only have minor complains (e.g, Flatstock was disappointing, matter of taste again), majority of them having nothing to do with Primavera, but with the conduct of people. My only real worry/doubt for the organization is the Arc de Triomf (massification, and weird line-up on Sunday), although I do understand the Festival’s goal of opening itself to the city. Because, despite not everyone seems to get it (maybe they just want to create controversy), for me it’s obvious: the Primavera Sound Festival is a gift for indie music lovers, and a reference, a very prestigious symbol for Barcelona. In fact its so unique it should be declared a fundamental part of the Catalonian Cultural Heritage. And as music is universal, also part of the World Heritage.
A small collection of pictures from the Festival. Photos: Bloodbuzzed.

For Spanish readers, here are the links of the articles on the Festival written for Hope you like them!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Primavera Sound 2012 in brief, day 5

Last report of the Primavera Sound. Here's Sunday's quick review!

The Good
At Ciutadella: A relaxed way of enjoying music. The line-up for Sunday at Parc of Ciutadella was very attractive, and despite the amount of people was notorious, the atmosphere and vibe was nice and inviting. Cosmen Adelaida (friendly people), Girl Names gave nice performances, and the always exuberant tunes (so happy to see the impressive audience they gathered) of Veronica Falls was indeed a fantastic closure of the gigs at such an original venue.
Veronica Falls. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
With Cosmen Adelaida. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Nacho Vegas on screen.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Nacho Vegas: Not a fan, but was intrigued with the chance of seeing him live at Arc de Triomf. Probably in front of the wrong crowd, and not with the best vocal performance I'm sure, but what a tremendous lyricist he is. "Cómo Hacer Crac" is terrific (and necessary).

The Bad
Joe Crepúsculo: Being this a personal blog this is of course just my opinion, but I don't understand what is he doing at Primavera Sound. Well, as a matter of fact, I don't think he deserves any of the credit he has. Terrible terrible music. Cheap, derivative electronic sounds with atrocious vocals. Hard to forget, like nightmares.
Weird Arc de Triomf: I already said that, regarding what happened on Wednesday, the massification at Arc de Triomf has been one of the few negative things of the Festival. Masses aside, to me, the order in which the artists played yesterday was also quite weird, with three singer-songwriters on the afternoon-night slots, while the more danceable/playful one (tastes aside) performed earlier in the afternoon. That arguable line-up, mixed with the rain, and a vast amount of crowd just worried about the conversation or the next drink/cigarette, made me decide on missing Richard Hawley.
Music under the rain at PS12.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed

The Queen
In order not to make an overlong post, please allow me to reserve the final remarks for another post: a personal overview of the whole Primavera Sound. Find it here.

Primavera Sound 2012 in brief, day 4

The amazing Sharon Van Etten.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
As promised, here's the next chapter of the Primavera Sound Festival, Saturday's review!

The Good
A great day of music: I was lucky to enjoy 3 great concerts on Saturday. First, Sharon Van Etten. After meeting her the previous night, I have to say her performance was magnetic. Still have goosebumps when I remember how powerful sounded "Serpents". Please don't miss the chance to listen her. Second, Kings of Convenience (read below). And third, Real Estate, who gave a fantastic, superb gig. I enjoyed their performance so much that they made me forget completely Beach House was playing at the same time. What an incredible record is "Days".
Real Estate. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Nice record fair: In between the Chromatics and Mujeres, we spent some time at the record fair. It is small, and prices are a bit high in general terms, but some Spanish labels were super friendly. The people of El Genio Equivocado (I didn't have the time to go back and buy some stuff, my bad!) and Subterfuge were specially kind.

The Bad
Lisabö storming Ray-ban's stage.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Lisabö, Chromatics and Mujeres: The first two weren't really bad concerts, just that they are not my taste. Well, in the case of Chromatics, it was the confirmation I don't get (aside the "Drive" soundtrack factor) their hype at all. With the exception of the Neil Young cover, to me the gig was unremarkable, and I don't think they sounded great live. Must be me for sure, because they gathered a huge audience at Pitchfork stage. The case of Mujeres was different. Their album is excellent, and I assume their music style has to be rougher, edgier live, but it was hard to hear what they were singing or enjoying their melodic lines.
Overlaps again: BEACH HOUSE. I missed Beach House. Enough said.
Chaos at the Auditorium: Its ok to make a queue (waiting for Father John Misty), completely understandable considering the venue and the amount of people. So, if you are there for almost 30 minutes, being among the first ones on the line, its quite irritating to see how, out of the blue, security staff decide entrance is going to be different this time, and many people who were there way after you on the line gets in before you.

Kings of Convenience, at the end
of their gig. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Queen
Kings of Convenience
: Of the trio of "mandatory" gigs for the day (the other two being the aforementioned shows of Sharon Van Etten and Real Estate), this was the one with lower expectations for me. I like the Norwegian's music, but I always have the sense they are a band to enjoy in "small doses". Otherwise their records become a bit repetitive for me. Besides, I had serious doubts about how their intimate proposal would fit at the main stage of the Festival. Soon I realised my fears were unjustified. They first excelled as a duo, winning the audience with their friendly and natural attitude, and a crystal clear sound that allowed the crowd to enjoy their superb talent to create unforgettable melodies... and when the acoustic/mellow tunes were on the verge of being "too much"... Kings of Convenience became a full band, almost, a "funky" group for a couple of songs, giving a much needed impulse to keep the vibe of the gig alive. Needless to say their show was a total triumph. Everyone who was there had a smile on his/her face after the gig ended.

And last but not least, Sunday's report coming next!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Primavera Sound 2012 in brief, day 3

Ms Laura Marling.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
With Sharon Van Etten.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
More Primavera Sound Festival, here's Friday's June 1st quick review!

The Good
The "fan" moment: Before leaving the Fòrum, I had the chance of saying hi to Sharon Van Etten, who was very gentle and kind. Great way to end the night. Here's the pic to prove it!
The Auditorium day: In 2011's edition I didn't get into the Auditorium, so I was really looking forward to do it. As recommended by Jeremy Jensen from The Very Most, Nick Garrie was ace (except one song near the end, when the sound, literally, faded for a long while). Following him came Laura Marling, who also gave a solid show, although being a bit cold with the audience. And the best was yet to come...
The Chameleons. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Chameleons: Sure, the looks are not the same (time takes its toll in all of us) but Mark Burgess and Co. played a very solid show. Was nice to hear such epic tunes live.

The Bad
I Break Horses: Awful sound, the gig was totally ruined for me and we decided to leave cause our ears were hurting. Shame because their record is so wonderful.
Overlaps again: On this day I missed Lower Dens, The War On Drugs and and hour of The Cure. Not the worst day, but still.
The Cure: Nothing bad to say about their gig. I was among the ones that didn't watch in its entirety, but I have the feeling, judging from the area where I was sitting, that many many people got tired of such a long performance. Sure devoted fans won't say the same. Just my impression..
Ray-Ban Unplugged: It's a very nice idea, but in such a huge Festival, I doubt you can really enjoy this sort of intimate performances. I couldn't enjoy Beach Beach's show due to the amount of people and heat.

All-stars playing Big Star tunes.
Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Queen
Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers: One of the most haunting music experiences of my life. I admit I was going because the idea of watching a 3 hours gig from The Cure was too much for me (like them, but not such a devoted fan) and because R.E.M.'s Mike Mills was one of the guest stars playing. But from the very beginning (I arrived while they were at soundcheck/arranging things) I could feel something was going to happen. It was fun, emotional, sincere, passionate. Wilco's Jeff Tweedy enjoying himself singing "Kizza Me", Teenage's Fanclub's Norman Blake teaming with Mills for the joyous "Jesus Christ" and Hot Chip's Alexis Taylor making an irresistible rendition of "Femme Fatale", Sharon Van Etten and Django Haskins doing "Holocaust", and many many more... I was a privileged witness of an unforgettable music session, played by incredible musicians celebrating the songs of Alex Chilton and his superb band. Thank You Primavera Sound for introducing me into Big Star in such a unique way. Thank You Friends.

Saturday's report following very soon!