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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Best Songs of the Year 2012: 25-1

And here it is: the end of this music countdown with the 25 best tunes of 2012, always in my modest opinion, of course. Hope you have enjoyed this personal music ride!

25. Ununiversizable Us- The Very Most
24. Chained- The XX
23. Song for Leigh- The Walkmen
22. Silver Lining- Guards
21. The National Health- Mäximo Park
20. Myth- Beach House
19. Ivory Coast- Pure Bathing Culture
18. The Rifle's Spiral- The Shins
17. I Got Nothing- Dum Dum Girls
16. Just for Fun- Alpaca Sports
15. Motoring- Toy
14. I'm So Unclean- Evans the Death
13. You Forget So Easily- ExLovers
12. Capricornia- Allo Darlin'
11. The Right Profession- Hospitality
Best Songs of the Year 2012 (25-1) by Raul on Grooveshark10. Mosaic- Fear of Men
9. Easily Led- Fountains
8. Ruin- Cat Power
7. So Long You Pretty Thing- Spiritualized
6. Off the Wall- Lee Ranaldo
5. On the Spectrum- The Hermit Crabs
4. Follow On Your Own- Young Romance
3. Last Leaves of Autumn- Beth Orton
2. We Can't Be Beat- The Walkmen
1. Leonard- Sharon Van Etten

You can check the complete list of the 100 songs here:
First part: 100-76
Second part: 75-51
Third part: 50-26 

Want to check the 2011's list? You can do it here:
First part: 100-76
Second part: 75-51
Third part: 50-26 

Fourth part: 25-1

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Best Songs of the Year 2012: 50-26

Hope you are enjoying the Bloodbuzzed Songs of the Year 2012 so far. After the previous two chapters now it's time for the tunes ranked between positions 50 to 26, with the mandatory grooveshark playlist to listen them included. The final part, with the top 25 songs of 2012 will be online tomorrow. Have your say! 

50. Slow Trains- Anaesthetics
49. Our Old Centre Back- Cats On Fire
48. Alférez Provisional- Los Punsetes
47. Teenage Icon- The Vaccines
46. No Sleep- Fountains
45. Sing Up for the Boys in Green- The Very Most
44. Revelation Blues- The Tallest Man On Earth
43. Tightrope-Fanfarlo
Best Songs of the Year 2012 (50-26) by Raul on Grooveshark42. I Was Running- Alpaca Sports
41. Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings- Father John Misty
40. Eighth Avenue- Hospitality
39. The Letter - Allo Darlin'
38. Only You- Big Wave
37. I’ve Always Known- Rose Elinor Dougall
36. Even the Blind- Echo Lake
35. Genevieve- Stealing Sheep
34. Train from King's Cross Station- Tender Trap
33. Tendons in the Night- Shrag
32. All Your Gold- Bat for Lashes
31. Afraid of Summer- Lost Lander
30. Never Speak of it Again- The Holiday Crowd
29. Catch Your Cold- Evans the Death
28. Dawn Chorus- Beth Orton
27. Simple Song- The Shins
26. Serpents- Sharon Van Etten

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Best Songs of the Year 2012: 75-51

Second chapter of the Bloodbuzzed Songs of the Year 2012, with the tunes comprised from positions 75 to 51, with the grooveshark playlist to listen them and have your say. Third part coming tomorrow, so stay tuned and enjoy the music! 

75. Nothing Means Nothing- Peter Buck
74. I Don’t Care- Summer Twins
73. Gone Tomorrow- Lambchop
72. Don’t Believe Ayn Rand- Novella
71. First of My Kind- Miles Kane
70. Found You- The Belljars
69. Sweetness In Her Spark- Lightships
68. Cherokee- Cat Power
67. Breathe Deep- Echo Lake
66. Europe – Allo Darlin’
Best Songs of the Year 2012 (75-51) by Raul on Grooveshark65. Wanting More- September Girls
64. Kill My Blues- Corin Tucker Band
63. Astronomy- Nat Johnson and The Figureheads
62. We Were Meant to Meet- Baffin Island
61. All Day Today – Hospitality
60. Stop, Look and Listen- Strawberry Whiplash
59. Waiting On a Dream- Lee Ranaldo
58. This Love Will You Lead You On- ExLovers
57. Deconstruction- Fanfarlo
56. Season in Hell- Dum Dum Girls
55. Electric- TEEN
54. Magic Chords- Sharon Van Etten
53. Show Us Your Canines- Shrag
52. Painted Like A Forest- The Holiday Crowd
51. State of Grace- Beth Orton

Monday, December 24, 2012

Best Songs of the Year 2012: 100-76

And finally, after gigs, books, EPs and records, the time to reveal the 2nd edition of the Bloodbuzzed Best Songs of the Year has arrived. The most impressive 100 tunes (in our opinion of course) being released during this 2012. As we did on 2011, we will split the list in fourth posts of 25 songs each. So here's the first one, comprising from number 100 to 76. The songs that weren't available on grooveshark for the playlist have alternative direct links below its title. Stay tuned for the rest of the songs. Have your say and enjoy the music!

Best Songs of the Year 2012 (100-76) by Raul on Grooveshark100. Fool for Your Love- Baby Grand
99. Vertical Walk- Dunes
98. Taste It- Jake Bugg
97. Brains- Lower Dens
96. Do It Wrong- The History of Apple Pie

95. Siberia- La Habitación Roja
94. Santa Fe- The Pear Traps
93. Saratoga- The Soft Pack
92. La Nueva Reconquista de Graná- Grupo de Expertos Solynieve
91. Fred- Sweater Girls
90. Moles- Cape Canaveral
89. Chapel Hill- StarTropics
88. Trainspotting- All We Are

87. One-Sided- Arc In Round
86. Shadow- Wild Nothing
85. Coming True- Guards
84. Cameraman-The Spook School
83. Tribeca- South of France
82. You Will Know- The Belljars
81. Open Arms- The Garlands
80. Cold Feet- Lost Lander
79. My Sense of Pride- Cats On Fire
78. This Ladder is Ours- The Joy Formidable
77. Chasing Consummations- Shrag
76. Groundhog Day- Corin Tucker Band

Friday, December 21, 2012

Bloodbuzzed Goes to London!

Next Friday, Bloodbuzzed will have a short but very exciting holidays on London!

It's our first time, so we need your help and advice. Which are the best record shops of the city in your opinion? And music pubs (indie music please), or clubs in your opinion? Places that any music lover should visit? Of course any other recommendation will be more than welcomed!

Thank you in advance!! London's Calling!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Best Records of the Year 2012

As promised yesterday, after the EPs' list, here's the review of the year in what regards to the best records of 2012. In my humble opinion of course. Compared with 2011 I have reduced the number of albums because I wanted to be completely honest. Just records that I have listened and enjoyed fully.

The digital age is a blessing for music lovers, as the amount of music you can discover is virtually  unlimited. But it has a negative side: there's a compulsion, a dramatic acceleration on the way we listen to it. How many spins you give a record before moving to another artist? How many records you have stored in your computer of which you could only name 2-3 songs?

Don't know if the LP idea as we know is fated to disappear, but personally it makes me sad. Anyway, this sort of thoughts should go on a different post. But it serves my purpose to tell you why the records from Lightships, BMX Bandits, This Many Boyfriends, Corin Tucker or Motorama didn't make the list. They sound terrific on a first listen, or from what I have heard by now, and that's exactly why they deserve to be listened properly and not to be included on a list just for the sake of mentioning more albums. Having said that, here's the list!

25. Arts & Leisure- Baby Grand
24. Leaving All Behind- Partido
23. Falling- Seapony
22. Nocturne- Wild Nothing
21. Reading Too Much Into Things Like Everything- The School 
20. Sun- Cat Power
19. Rooms Filled With Light- Fanfarlo
18. Mr. E- Lambchop
17. Wild Peace- Echo Lake
16. Hits In The Car- Strawberry Whiplash
15. All Blackshirts To Me- Cats On Fire
14. Una Montaña Es Una Montaña- Los Punsetes
13. Over the Bluffs- The Holiday Crowd
12. Moth- ExLovers
11. Toy- Toy
10. Bloom- Beach House
9. Canines- Shrag
8. Sweet Heart, Sweet Light- Spiritualized
7. Sugaring Season- Beth Orton
6. Evans the Death- Evans the Death
5. Heaven- The Walkmen
4. Between the Times and the Tides- Lee Ranaldo
3. Europe- Allo Darlin'
2. Hospitality- Hospitality
1. Tramp- Sharon Van Etten

Want to check last year's albums list? Just click here

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Best EPs of the Year 2012

After the books and concerts, is time to review 2012 in music releases. It's been a year full of wonderful EPs (only EPs, no singles, 3 to 5 songs), so they deserved a list of their own. Needless to say, this is a very personal list (comments on each band clicking on their links). Hope you enjoy it!

15. The Stammer- The Stammer 
14. Shy Little Jane Presents: The Dramatic Tale of Her AnimalsJane Joyd
. The Belljars- The Belljars 
12. Baffin Island- Baffin Island 
11. Pale Lights- Pale Lights 
10. We Hunt- All We Are 
9. The Fake Stories About You & Me- Pale Sunday 
8. StarTropics- StarTropics 
7. Pure Bathing Culture- Pure Bathing Culture 
6. Young Romance- Young Romance
5. Ununiversalizable Us- The Very Most
4. The Distractions- Rose Elinor Dougall
3. Time Relentless- The Hermit Crabs
2. No Sleep- Fountains
1. End of Daze- Dum Dum Girls
The "Records List" coming shortly!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

"All Tomorrow's Parties", an alternative holiday

All Tomorrow's Parties

What a difficult movie to review! I thought I was going to watch a proper rockumentary celebrating the then 10th Anniversary of the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival (ATPs), arguably the best one in what regards to indie music (I repeat, arguably), and the expression of one of my music dreams: curating a Festival line-up. But I found something quite different instead...

"All Tomorrow's Parties" is not a director's work... but an editor's work. Nick Fenton collected more than 600 hours of footage from the fans and the bands themselves. Video cameras, mobile phones, super 8s and a few archive footage of the holiday camps in East Sussex and Somerset, where ATPs takes place, compared with what it used to be in the 50s and 60s. Can you make a film with that material?

The answer is yes and no. If the goal was capturing a vibe, and show that the Festival is unique, sort of a holiday break full of music, like the familiar activity it was on the 60s, but full of beards, "hipsters", drunk and stoned people, and of course, great musicians and loads of fun, then this film should be considered a masterpiece. But if you're looking for a documentary on the motivations, general aims, difficulties and evolution of the Festival, opinions of the musicians taking part on it, or just a film about music performances... well, then "All Tomorrow's Parties" is not what you're looking for. 

In my opinion, it's lack of coherence (it's disjointed) and/or structure (of course, there's no plot whatsoever) harms it, because at the end there's no real point on the development of the film. It could go on forever, it could end any second and it wouldn't make any difference. But in terms of visual experience is quite an intriguing one. Even if you don't care that much about the line-up proposed by Explosions In the Sky or Portishead, the film provides a fascinating take on young adults genuinely "abducted" by music. Among them, a bunch of the coolest musicians on Earth, capable of making music almost everywhere (the other biggest impact of the film). The scenes with Daniel Johnston, Grizzly Bear or Lighting Bolt are pretty mesmerizing, regardless whether their music appeals you.

To summarize my impressions: Is "All Tomorrow's Parties" a great documentary? Honestly, I couldn't really say. But would I like to go to one of the ATP's Festival? No doubt about it. Will definitely love to. 

SCORE: 6,25/10

Saturday, December 15, 2012

"The Dictator", inoffensive political parody

The Dictator

Probably the worse thing that can happen to a comedy is not that it doesn't make you laugh (probably the person next to you will be falling off his knees, laughter is a subjective issue). The worst is that you just don't care about it after the first ten minutes, and since then passes unnoticed. Unfortunately, that's what happened to me while watching "The Dictator".

It's quite sad, because the premise was promising. The idea of Sacha Baron Cohen playing the role of a very stupid, crazy, cartoon tyrant ruling the imaginary state of Wadiya, becoming a major concern for international community, who threatens his reign of terror, had potential. Cohen's ability to push the limits with his gags, and the political background of the film was an attractive combination. In principle.

I was hoping for a mix between "Four Lions" and "Borat" (both unbalanced films, but also brave and interesting). But you don't need many minutes to realise that "The Dictator" is nowhere near both films. General Admiral Haffaz Aladeen could have been an hilarious new incarnation for the British irreverent comedian, but it doesn't have a proper script to shine or develop. Director Larry Charles develops a lame story, including some pretty ridiculous situations (some involving such an actor like Ben Kingsley, completely lost in the film) and a quite embarrassing love story, in which Cohen's tries to introduce his gags. But the slapdash style works in very few occasions, and the whole Brooklyn's organic-vegan-multicultural food store (Anna Faris' role is incredibly shallow) is annoying. All in all, it harms what should have been the main focus of the film, the political parody, which looks inoffensive, patronised, too planned and predictable... and not very funny. As, I said, very far from the radicality of "Four Lions", or the funniest moments of "Borat".

With the exceptions of a couple of gags and half of Aladeen's final speech (there's a glimpse of brilliance there, before it quickly goes back to the "mundane"), "The Dictator" keeps going with fluidity, but nothing to remark. Or laugh about it.

SCORE: 4/10

Friday, December 14, 2012

Best Concerts of the Year 2012

Less concerts, due to the crisis, attended this year, but still there has been many worth to remember. Here are my 10 favourite live performances of this 2012! Hope you like it!

From Arc de Triomf. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
10. The Wedding Present (Primavera Sound Festival, Arc de Triomf, Barcelona, May 30th)
The concerts at Arc de Triomf weren't precisely the highlight of a fantastic Primavera Sound edition. Massification, people not interested at all on the music... But there was a great discovery for me, that compensated the day: seeing David Gedge and Co. performing "Seamonsters". Jumped on their music bandwagon since then!
9. Mäximo Park (Festival Plaça Odissea, Maremàgnum, Barcelona, May 12th)
Didn't remember how fun was being at a Mäximo Park concert! Paul Smith is a beast live and he proved from the very first second: restless, hyperactive, passionate as few on stage. He turned an otherwise quite unremarkable Festival engaging, propelling new songs and band classics to addictive indie-rock hits. What a difference a great frontman can make!
8. Los Planetas (Primavera Club, Sant Jordi Club, Barcelona, December 7th)
Judging just from a sound quality point of view, they wouldn't make it on this list. But this is a personal blog, and watching Los Planetas for the first time had many intimate implications (memories) associated. Besides, I was lucky that their live comeback included playing many of the timeless classics. After "Corrientes Circulares en el Tiempo" was followed by "Nunca Me Entero de Nada" the concert became something very very very special.
7. Fanfarlo (Sala Apolo , Barcelona, October 14th)
Trumpets! Never-ending choruses! Tunes you'll sacrifice (almost broken with "The Walls Are Coming Down, and completely gone at the end with "Harold T. Wilkins) your throat to happily! Fanfarlo insuflates life and rhythm to indie pop. It was another first-time mandatory gig for me, and the confirmation this is a band with a "shiny" career ahead.  
6. Real Estate (Primavera Sound Festival, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 2nd)
I chose them instead of seeing Beach House, who were playing almost at the same time, so that's a pretty good measure of how much I wanted to see them, don't you think? Did I made the right choice? Sure  I did. Their gig was superb, flawless, proving what an incredible record is "Days", also live. 
5. Neil Hannon (Festival Temporada Alta, Auditori de Girona, November 2nd)
If you check this blog regularly (thank you my friend!) or just occasionally (welcome, see you around!) you should know by now: I love The Divine Comedy. There aren't many indie-pop genius out there, but Mr. Hannon is one of the "chosen ones". In Girona, alone with his piano or guitar his music was again a banquet for the listener and a lot of fun (he is also a wonderful comedian). Besides, his music was even more special as I wasn't alone...
4. Lee Ranaldo (Primavera Sound Festival, Fòrum de Barcelona, May 31st)
Never a Sonic Youth's fan, I was completely blown out by "Between the Times and the Tides", and his performance live just made me a converted fan. Mesmerized by his guitar style and the melodies that recall to R.E.M, Ranaldo has been one of my discoveries of the year.
3. Sharon Van Etten (La [2] de Apolo, Barcelona, September 29th)
Little trick here, because I've been fortunate enough to see Sharon twice this year, first at Primavera Sound, then at Apolo. Whether her rockier version of her folky side, Sharon has that spark. Her voice can be moody, nocturnal, heart-wrenching or joyous. She deliver lines as if you were boxing against Muhammad Ali. She pours a torrent of emotions over the listener. And proved to me live two times on this 2012. One of the best artists of the year, so look for her, very high, on the forthcoming "songs" and "records of the year" lists of this blog.
2. Kings of Convenience (Primavera Sound, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 2nd)
Had more curiosity than expectations with the Norwegian duo. I like them, but only in "small doses", and couldn't imagine them playing their quiet music at the main stage of the Festival. But how wrong I was. Brilliant as the modern "Simon and Garfunkel", friendly and natural, with a crystal clear sound, then they became a full band, giving a "funky" vibe to their mellow and acoustic tunes. They came, put a spell on you, then surprised you & made you dance. They won the audience completely.
Big Star's finale. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
1. Big Star's Third (Primavera Sound, Fòrum de Barcelona, June 1st)
One of the best concerts I have been in my life so far. No, much more. One of the most beautiful and touching music experiences I have been lucky to be part of. Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers special tribute became an option for me because R.E.M.'s Mike Mills was one of the guest stars playing (and 3 hours of The Cure was too much). So grateful I made that choice. Even before the music started, there was something in the air. A privilege to see so many wonderful artists doing sincere and passionate renditions of the songs of Alex Chilton and his band. How magic music can be.

Want to check last year's concerts list? Just click here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Primavera Club 2012 in brief, day 3

After a few "technical issues", here's the last chapter of the review series of the Primavera Club Festival.

The Good
Standing Against Heart Crime. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Stand Up Against Heart Crime- Nice surprise. Convincing sound: a bit of synth-pop, some kraut-rock, some post-rock with an eye on the dancefloor, a slightly dark atmosphere, and foremost, solid songs. Pretty sure it won't be the last post about them.
Toy- My "big name" of the night, all the expectations were quickly confirmed. Their music is fierce, polyhedral, a sonic blast. Even despite the sound wasn't the best, what a band.
The Vaccines. Photo: Bloodbuzed
Mark Lanegan Band/ The Vaccines- Lanegan was powerful & flawless, as expected, and his band was impressive (spectacular guitars). Sadly, his gig was misplaced, he should have played on a more intimate venue, interested people would have enjoyed it more. On the other hand, The Vaccines, despite sounding quite shallow on great tunes like "Post Break-up Sex" or "Teenage Icon", proved they already have an impressive "army" of infallible pop-rock songs.

The Bad
Shut your mouth! (part 3)- We suffered a new modality of this despicable catalogue of lack of education/respect for the artist or the people attending a gig. During Stand Up Against Heart Crime, at the very front row, the band's crew/people didn't stop talking for a single second. It's a strange way to help your supposed friend/partner on the stage, don't you think?
Toy in Barcelona. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Toy- A very short gig, that didn't include the mind-blowing "Motoring", because it ended abruptly. Was the band so furious about the sound? Frustrated? The audience was for sure...
Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti- I don't care about Pitchfork's (add/replace for whatever magazine/blog/music reference you prefer instead) opinion. The music of this guy is beyond horrible. He is capable of taking all the (admittedly) dubious music styles, like soft-rock or sunshine-pop and transform into forms of torture. Add that he sounded plain awful at Sant Jordi Club (atrocious volume). Like being at the dentist without anesthesia. Poor ears....
Strange line-up- Probably it has to do with the problems the organization has faced, but the running order of the gigs was a bit weird. Deerhoof tried very hard to connect with the audience, and have to be praised for that, but their music is too "special" to reach such a big crowd. Same applies to the music of Mark Lanegan. But one thing is for sure: they don't fit together. Add more confusion with the disastrous gig of Ariel Pink's following Lanegan. The result? Quite a tired audience leaving before what it was, in principle, the biggest gig of the night, The Vaccines.

The Queen
Farewell Primavera Club- There was nothing quite outstanding or memorable on Saturday. As a matter of fact, for me there was an atmosphere of... exhaustion. Something that makes sense if you think on the decision the Organization of the Primavera Sound announced on Sunday. Won't be another Primavera Club in Spain. After the unacceptable behavior of authorities in Madrid and (to a lesser extent) in Barcelona, the shameful rise of the VAT to cultural events, their decision is absolutely understandable. From a human perspective, of the entrepreneurs with a consolidated and successful event fed up of dealing with such a stupid (sorry but that's the word) bunch of people, makes even more sense. But for me, and I assume that for any music lover located or able to visit Spain for Primavera Club, this is just a let-down of gigantic proportions. It's very simple: it feels like I have been abandoned for the ones that were able to bring us the music I love.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Primavera Club 2012 in brief, day 2

Tired, but here's the quick review of what we lived yesterday night at Primavera Club 2012!

The Good
Fernando Alfaro. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Spanish Indie Day: Going to Sant Jordi Club on Friday meant being part of "La Alineación de Los Planetas" a series of gigs with some of the best Spanish indie bands, as selected by Los Planetas. It was an interesting line-up comprising Fernando Alfaro, La Bien Querida, Sr. Chinarro, Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, before Los Planetas closed the night. It was nice to hear the very diverse styles and the solid performances of each artist. Spanish indie, at least in what refers to music proposals (not talking about money, resources, support, future perspective, these are much harder and very different issues), has good health.
Fernando Alfaro: Los Planetas aside (more below), among the Spanish bands the highlight for me was the veteran, former member of the mythic Surfin' Bichos and leader of another referential name on the Spanish alternative scene, Chucho, Fernando Alfaro. He might look like your history teacher, but believe me, the guy knows about indie rock and how to fill a stage with music, putting down a flawless show with several moments to outline, like "El Detonador" (that was on the soundtrack of Alejandro Aménabar's "Abre Los Ojos") or "Un Viaje Largo, Largo". Serious stuff.
Little Wings. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Little Wings: Before we started our trip (quite an adventure by foot) to the "magic mountain" we made a quick stop at the Arteria Paral·lel to watch and hear the folkie and soul sounds of Kyle Field. A wandering spirit, his music is hard to define. Eerie but soulful, chaotic but heartfelt and compelling. Even if his voice, again, couldn't be heard as it should had sometimes, yesterday we discover a unique artist.

The Bad
Shout Your Mouth! (part 2): It was bound to happen. If the majority of "chatting" people probably didn't have a clue about the artists that were watching on Thursday, the possibility of having even more people attending Friday gigs only because it was a special event (Los Planetas back live after two years) was something to expect. But frankly, I don't get why people who are only interested in "showing up" wants to be at the front row. Oh, and second comment, at least in Barcelona, live music is on the verge of being completely ruined thanks to IPhone and modern mobile phones. Thank you, Steve Jobs (note the irony). 
La Bien Querida. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
La Bien Querida: No bass and no drums? Umm, didn't look very promising. And sadly, it wasn't. The electronic percussion wasn't the best choice for the venue. I missed all the richness and subtleties of her music, replaced and ruined by a much monotone, cold and anodyne club sound.
Sant Jordi Club: We are very lucky compared with the Madrid Primavera Club (that would deserve a post on its own, what a country). The venue itself is quite ok, and the sound, well, not excellent but pretty decent. But it is a horrible place to get there. Mobility issues, that will increase today (several accesses will be closed as another activity takes place in the area).

The Queen
Los Planetas. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Los Planetas: Now I can say it (proudly): I have seen Los Planetas live. Yes, there were "sound issues", like Jota's guitar, a few slightly out-of-sync tunes, or a few a bit blurred, so the eternal debate on the band from Granada playing live can continue. And yes, if, like me, you are not into their latest records (where they embraced flamenco to merge it with their trademark space-rock), you probably think you heard too many of them last night. But it doesn't matter. After I got "Corrientes Circulares en el Tiempo" followed by "Nunca Me Entero de Nada", time stopped for me. So many memories and emotions aroused. With wonderful and hypnotic visuals they played "Santos Que Yo Te Pinté", "Segundo Premio", "Un Buen Día", "De Viaje"... Did I need to keep writing? They are, arguably (of course, this is music, not maths), the best Spanish band ever. And they have tones of songs to prove it. As they did yesterday.

Final day of the Primavera Club today, so stay tuned for the last chapter!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Primavera Club 2012 in brief, day 1

Update on the first day of the Primavera Club 2012!

The Good
Dusted at Arteria. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Arteria: After the amount of incredible and despicable obstacles the Organization has faced regarding the venues of the Festival, I was thinking the unknown Arteria Paral·lel wouldn't be a suitable place. But on the contrary, it is such a wonderful venue for having concerts. It's even a very pretty and comfortable place. Now, can you imagine how nice it would be having a Primavera Club just between Sala Apolo and Arteria (they are in front of each other)?

Dusted & The Soft Moon
One of the best things about Primavera Sound/Club is discovering new bands. It always happens and that's precious. Dusted was a total surprise. Fantastic melodies, somewhere in-between space-rock and folk-rock, like Neil Young or Fleet Foxes being helped by Dave Fridmann on production. Definitely band to check. And the last act of the night, The Soft Moon,  although not really my taste, wow! Sounded terrific. It was nice to be in madchester or an 80s dark club for a while.
Bjorkas from Cats on Fire. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Cats on Fire: Wasn't the best of sounds and there were some other issues (read below), so not all the gig was that remarkable, but some songs were outstanding ("My Sense of Pride" was amazing) and folks, we do have a frontman here. Mattias Bjorkas looks like a young David Bowie, moves likes Ian Curtis (spasmodic dances), stares at talks to you like with a naughty and intriguing face... and hey! The guy can sing and deliver all the jangle pop wonders their fantastic tunes have on record live. Cats on Fire will become bigger and bigger.

The Bad
Shout Your Mouth!: This is becoming very worrying and frustrating. People comes to gigs to talk and comment with his/her partner/group. They don't give a damn about the music. I'm not that innocent: I know there's a huge amount of people who goes to Festivals like Primavera because is "an event to be". It looks "cool". But this is ridiculous. I go to the concerts to hear & watch the artists I like or to discover new proposals. I can chat with my friends in between concerts, comment about a song when it is finished, before a new one starts, or outside the venues. But I don't need to hear the f****** annoying beeep from your Iphone every second. I don't care you are chatting through whattsapp or saying how cool you look on twitter with your new hat! If you don't care about the music, at least show some respect for the ones playing, or trying to listen them.
Low voices: Don't know if it has to do with mics or singers, but Brian Borcherdt from Dusted and Mattias Bjorkas from Cats on Fire's voices in particular sounded very low (and I was at the front row). In both cases, this limited the impact of their otherwise excellent performances.
Organization & the Press: Why the press has a much more reduced schedule to pick up their accreditation? Don't seem very logic for me to put such an obstacle for the ones that would like to see as many bands as possible to review them. Besides, press has the same accreditation as the regular audience, so why the restrictions?

The Queen
Great Lake Swimmers. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Great Lake Swimmers: Sure, this is a personal choice, but the Canadians were, as I hoped, sensational. Their delicate folk sounded elegant, subtle and rich, with plenty of moments to be remembered. I have to highlight the moments were Tony Dekker and Miranda Mulholland's voices intertwined. Plus, the fact than despite being a short gig, they played personal favourites from "Ongiara" and "Lost Channels", like "Your Rocky Spine", "Pulling On a Line" or "I Am Part of a Large Family". Even the aforementioned disrespectul people was unable to harm the beauty of their music. Finally saw them live, and it was completely worth it.

Many more bands today and tomorrow, so more updates coming very soon. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Best Books of (My) Year 2012

December has arrived. So, it's time to begin with the best-of-the-year-lists. Songs, albums, concerts, movies will follow, but I'll start with the books today. Here are my favourite 10 reads of this 2012. What a great year of literature (and music) this has been. Hope you like it!

10. Hollywood- Charles Bukowksi
The connection with the "Fantes" (John & Dan) made me come back to Bukowski. What a refreshing re-encounter this proved to be. Focused, fast-paced and amusing, his tale about the miracle that was that "Barfly" became a movie, might be, in my opinion, his best work alongside "Ham On Rye". Crazy, hilarious situations to describe the difficulties of mixing literature with cinema, portraying an industry with little glamour and much to be scared about, full of the strangest people in front of which a mature Hank can only laugh about. You'll do too.

9. Fante: A Family's Legacy of Writing, Drinking and Surviving- Dan Fante
As the prose of both writers, this Fante's memoirs will puzzle you, grab you and shake you as few literature can do. Monstrous, vitriolic reality bites, on which the heroes doesn't look too nice. A double life of self-destruction, one by selling himself, the other by trying to kill himself, that amazingly, were rescued by literature. It hurts, but it also redeems in its own, unique way.
8. I Was Bono's Doppelgänger- Neil McCormick
Watch the movie, but foremost, don't miss the book. Neil McCormick's biography is the story of a recurrent struggle towards an obsession: being a rock star. The failures of his bands, the Dublin and London music scenes, a pretty ugly portray of the music industry merge beautifully with hilarious situations, self-deprecating humour... always with increasing and (amusingly) excruciating shadow of U2. Fun, revealing and a must for the Irish band fans.

7. When the Nines Roll Over and Other Stories- David Benioff
The "emotional point of no return" is a recurrent, central element on literature, but there are few writers who are capable of capturing, dissecting that existential turmoil and bring it to us, readers, in the form of hilarious situations or devastating dramas. Whether the stories are, on the surface, mundane, or on the contrary, thrilling, adventurous, very peculiar, feelings and behaviours of the main characters are very recognisable. Modern adult life, in all its forms. 

6. Dreams from Bunker Hill- John Fante
A masterful writer in one of his finest hours? Indeed folks, this is the great John Fante giving us another dose of the impulsive and passionate alter ego Arturo Bandini, but this time in the form of a joyful satire of Hollywood, where our character involves himself on a never-ending collection of very fun disasters. Add an impossible love story. Add an Italian wrestler. Add the incomparably vital prose of Fante. And add the spectacular love letter to literature that is chapter nine. Precious read.

5. The Gonzo Writer- Hunter S.Thompson
The letters of one of my most beloved literary heroes? Reading was mandatory for me. But I wasn't really expecting such an absorbing reading. A person creating a character of himself while he struggles to make a living as journalist and writer, a creator of a literary style (more consciously than I thought), a father and a husband, and a politically committed person. Bitterness, wild fun, craziness, all together in a vast compendium of correspondency. This book would be topping the list, but it rates lower because Anagrama published just an anthology, a selection from the originals "The Proud Highway" and "Fear and Loathing in America". And that's is not enough for a real Hunter's fan.

4. Knockemstiff- Donald Ray Pollock
Hell on Earth could be in Ohio, specifically in this rural black hole that allows no redemption or mercy. A novel of a very specific place and a time on its own that could be anywhere. "Knockemstiff" is anywhere where there's no future, because there's zero hope for the present. Scary? It is. There are no lessons here, just the cruel and raw "reality". A mind-blowing and painful collection of stories. Read it with care.

3. A Thousand Violins- Kiko Amat
Novel? Biography? Compilation of essays? And much more. It is one of the most engaging love letters music has ever received. If your passion/obsession is music, this book is for you. This is an emotional and personal work, because that's what music is made of and produces on us, and because Amat deconstructs part of his life through songs and groups. So, even if your tastes in music are not very similar to the author's, it will connect with you. A very special one.

2. Everyone Loves You When You're Dead- Neil Strauss
More books about music topping the list. This time with an incredible, gigantic collection of interview snippets with some of the most well-known celebrities on music. Strauss makes art of every interview. "Everyone Loves You..." is not a full of surreal conversations, unbelievable situations, unexpected adventures or grotesque, absurd moments he witnesses or takes part on. Is also an outstanding task on deconstructing the minds of celebrities, showing, with very few exceptions, an amount of traumas, inner conflicts and difficulties of dealing with fame. Must-read for anyone, not just music lovers.

1. Company K- William March
And our number one is a masterpiece about the horror of war, that despite being somewhat neglected when it was originally published, and being written after WWI feels completely modern and fresh. That's because "Company K" is a triumph both in style and content, offering a devastating semi-fictionalized account of a military unit's experiences. Each chapter is a story on its own, very brief snippets of a soldier's life. And together they are the most mesmerizing account of what means being at war.

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