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Sunday, June 26, 2016

United We Can: A Playlist

As you might know, today is General Election Day here in Spain. A day that hopefully means the beginning of a new form of government for my country. One where corruption is not the norm and putting people (as Bernie would say, the 99%) first becomes the fundamental doctrine. One where neoliberalism is not a mantra and public service recovers its true meaning. One ruled by the unity of the people, not the will of the few powerful and rich. I'm not shy of sharing what I'm voting (I have always voted the real left) but, I'm hopeful this time we have a real chance to determine politics in Spain (as is already happening in cities like Madrid and Barcelona). So I have prepared a quick playlist with some politically charged and personally meaningful bands and songs (tried to skip the most usual political artists, like Dylan or Marley, and Sam Cooke/ Creedence have a lot to do with what my father taught me) for this long and important evening. So, if you don't share my political views, at least I hope you enjoy the music!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 107

With #Brexit and our own election day coming tomorrow was unsure you people were going to be in the mood for a a new TOP TEN Jukebox and, therefore, had my doubts about whether or not to post it. But the amount of excellent tunes, including Blog favourites like Teenage Fanclub (finally back!!), Night Flowers or The Tallest Man on Earth plus our regular dose of exciting findings, makes this playlist a wonderful option to disconnect for a while enjoying a bunch of terrific songs. And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Direct links to 2016 Jukebox playlists

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Best Songs of the Year far

Following the best records /EPs list, here's the list with our favourite tunes (trimmed down to 30) of 2016 to date. We have listed them in alphabetic order (remember we rank them at the end of the year), taking in mind only "two rules": songs have been released during 2016, and just one song per group (a really hard decision in some cases). The Spotify playlist (plus some soundcloud links for the ones missing) below the picture, as well as the complete list. Enjoy!

Ámenme, soy un liberal- Nacho Vegas
Ariana- Mercury Girls
Baby Blue- Soft Wounds
Coastal California- Maths and Physics Club
Cold to See Clear- Nada Surf
Crooked Cop- Beverly
Crowd- EGO
Different Shades of Blue- The Buildings
Easier Said- Sunflower Bean
El Progreso- Sr. Chinarro
Évoli- Terrier
Full Moon, Hungry Sun- Kane Strang
Infamous- Basia Bulat
La progresión exponencial- Doble Pletina
Lazarus- David Bowie
Moon- Beth Orton
No Woman- Whitney
One Fine Summer Morning- Britta Phillips
Out of control- Lush
Scattered Ashes (Song for Richard)- Minor Victories
Second Skin- Zen Mantra
Squirrel vs Snake- The Posies
Strange Torpedo- Lucy Dacus
The End of Things- Bob Mould
The Wheel- PJ Harvey
Under London Skies- Close Lobsters
Under the Sun- DIIV
We Are Dreamers- Tindersticks

And if you want to check the previous years, click on 2011,201220132014 and 2015 selections!

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Best Records and EPs of the year 2016... so far

Half of the year 2016 is about to say bye. So, it's time to honour one of the Blog's favourite traditions: gather the 25 best records and EPs of the year so far (until half June). As we did in previous years, the albums and EPs are listed in alphabetical order (because the complete, final list ranking them arrives when the year ends). Hoping you enjoy these great albums/EPs* as much as we do! Stay tuned, our favourite songs of this six months of music coming next!

Algo nos va a pasar- Espíritusanto
Breaker EP- Phosphene
Canciones Populistas EP- Nacho Vegas
Crystal Cafe- Witching Waves
Cut and Paste- Oscar
Everybody’s Dying to Meet You- Flowers
Fading Lines- Amber Arcades
Fall Forever- Fear of Men
La Puerta Giratoria- Invisible Harvey
Lost Time- Tacocat
Luck or Magic- Britta Phillips
Minor Victories- Minor Victories
Next Thing- Frankie Cosmos
Postal- Chicharrón
Psiconáutica- Linda Guilala
Psychopomp- Japanese Breakfast
Red Returns EP- Desario
Resort- Tuff Love
Séance for Something EP- Pale Lights
Some Other Places- California Snow Story
Split Milk- Pete Astor
Up to Anything- The Goon Sax
We. the Pigs EP- We. the Pigs

Click on the years to check our 2011201220132014 and 2015 selections!

* Note I: Currently listening Mitski's "Puberty 2" and Margaret Glaspy's "Emotions and Maths" which seem fated to be on the list.

*Note II: Technically speaking, 'Canciones Populares' by Nacho Vegas came out digitally on December 2015. But as the physical release arrived this past January, when I heard it for the first time, it has been included (love it too much not do it).

Friday, June 17, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 106

While we finish the traditional Best of the year so far posts (always a hard but pleasant task) here we have prepared a new TOP TEN Jukebox for you, a mixture between noisy, rockier and rough (always within the Blog's idiosyncrasy) and blissful, poppier and melodic. A couple of friends returning to form (The Fireworks' tune is a killer, Bubblegum Lemonade's classy), a little tribute to the great Bob Mould and the gloomy, terrific first song by Preoccupations (formerly Viet Cong). Plus, of course, several new bands to get excited about  And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Direct links to 2016 Jukebox playlists

Monday, June 13, 2016

Discoverer 144: new indie findings

Here comes another trio of new proposals in our discoverer seriesTake a listen, here's indiepop fuel for your upcoming summer!

Amber Arcades. Let me introduce you to Annelotte de Graaf, a Dutch legal aide on UN war crime tribunals (recently worked helping people to leave Syria) who also happens to be a great musician. She began writing songs around 2010 while temporarily living in Philadelphia. Her initial solo, bedroom folk approach, had one release in 2013 in the form of self-titled debut EP, after coming back to the Netherlands. But Annelote wanted to move from the singer-songwriter constraints, so she flew out to New York in 2015, teaming up with producer Ben Greenberg (Beach Fossils, The Men) and a studio backing band formed by members of Real Estate, Quilt and Kevin Morby. In the meantime, she released the 'Patiently' EP that October, a collection of stripped-down versions of the forthcoming debut album plus some lo-fi recordings. But finally, here's 'Fading Lines', debut LP out just now via Heavenly Records, a stunning and diverse indiepop album, full of jangly guitars, floating melodies, dreamy ambiences and ethereal vocals. An artist to admire & follow closely.

Blue Jeans. We move to Ann Arbor, Michigan, US, to meet Tim Sendra (guitars, vocals) and Heather Phares (bass, vocals), formerly known as Santa Monica Swim & Dive Club. curious moniker under which they released EP 'Mild Honey' in 2009 on Little Pocket Records, and a split single on Oddbox in 2011. The indiepop pedigree goes even back in time, as Tim was part of the great but really short-lived Veronica Lake in the early '90s. Not enough? Well, here's more, as the couple has just released debut album 'Song Are Easy' via our friends at Jigsaw Records with the help from David Serra on drums, Justin Dykehouse on synths, plus Fred Thomas from Saturday Looks Good to Me on production duties (and a little bit of everything). and the masterisation of legend Archie Moore of Black Tambourine and Velocity Girl. The result is summery pop with a twist and an edge, echoing glam, garage and a 60's rock vibe that makes this collection of songs instantly addictive. Looking for a soundtrack to your summer season? Listen to the Blue Jeans!

The Crystal Furs. And we end in Fort Worth, Texas, to meet this indiepop quartet formed just this 2016 by Amanda Camille (guitar, vocals), Kevin Ross (keys, vocals), Harley Dear (bass, vocals), and Tanner Brown (drums). Although we began to know about them and their lovely music in late 2015 as Pentacon Six, first incarnation with just Amanda and Kevin, Harley and Tanner joined in 2016 as the band prepared for live performances and the recording of its first full-length album. The ensemble became such a new beginning last month decided to rename themselves as The Crystal Furs, putting online (name your price at bandcamp) 'The Pentacon Sessions', debut EP where they have gathered three singles released as Pentacon Six. Three slices of blissful indiepop, heavily based on guitars and organ sound (a farfisa too), irrepressibly melodic and immediate. Looking forward to the album!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Bloodbuzzed Jukebox Week 105

Here we are, back to the Blog's regular posts after surviving the Primavera Sound Festival week and ready to offer you a new TOP TEN Jukebox. Full of indiepop bliss this time, with the great Math and Physics hidden songs, several exciting finds plus another terrific tune from Minor Victories, who are clear frontrunners for one of the best records of the year so far (yes, already preparing these posts, keep checking the Blog!). In any case, a lot to enjoy and discover. And remember, all songs are listed at our Soundcloud page (Join Us!).

Direct links to 2016 Jukebox playlists

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Primavera sound 2016 in brief, day 4

Ready for the third round? Here's the last of our Primavera Sound's quick chronicles, devoted to cover Saturday 4th, another day full of music attractions and must-sees. Come on!

The Good
Primavera a la Ciutat (part III): Yep, again the day began quite early at CCCB, but there were plenty of reasons to do so. The first one, Invisible Harvey with a short but charming full band gig. 'La Puerta Giratoria' is a blissfully beautiful debut album that deserves to be celebrated. And the second one was fated to be even more special. The great Mr. Robert Forster backed with full band too, including Karem Bauler at violin and backing vocals (sorry to insist, but the violin, the violin!)... Finally, being able to hear Go-Betweens' tunes in full...Oh, that was simply a moment to treasure deep in the heart.
Robert Forster, head full of pop. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Richard Hawley: After leaving Brian Wilson's gig (see reasons below) we went straight to Ray-Ban stage to watch Richard Hawley. What a great choice turned to be! Killer presence, masterful guitars, solid vocals and impressive tunes like the slow storm of 'Standing at the Sky's Edge', the beauty of 'Tonight the streets are ours', 'Heart of Oak' or 'Don't Stare at the Sun'. True artist.
Richard Hawley, blue is the colour. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

The Bad
A.R.Kane: As much as I enjoyed their show at Adidas stage on Friday, on Saturday at CCCB their volume was just insufferable.
Brian Wilson: Of course this has NOTHING TO DO with the musician, but with the organization and, mostly, with the audience. But if the living legend and his band doesn't want/can't deliver a show for such a big venue as the Heineken stage why having him there? Without enough volume for the masses gathered, and 'Pet Sounds' being a not so catchy (in terms of immediacy) record, aside from the most well-known tunes, people just wander around talking, etc, paying no attention for the show. So unconsidered & sad we decided to go for another option.
PJ Harvey: Again, this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO with Polly Jean Harvey either. She is, to keep it short, one of the most incredible artists I have ever seen live. And the show she put at Heineken, with the help of an incredible cast, was mesmerizing (that death march at the intro of 'Chain of Keys', the scary, otherworldly 'When Under Ether', the way she transformed 'Down by the Water/To Bring You My Love' into a funereal dance). Songs, attitude, performance, art, politics, all in an experience that goes beyond music. But at times, it was also one of the most annoying situations I've ever faced at a concert. I believe we weren't that far away, but the people was unbearable, zero respect for the music and/or the person right next to you trying to listen/watch (I'll be polite and leave it here...). I'm pretty sure that if festivals didn't have alcohol the amount of public attending would be appalling. For many concertgoers, music is just the excuse to get drunk. And that's depressing. Period.
PJ Harvey, let consciences and ears shake. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

The Queen
The Chills: Expectations were high, of course. Even higher after enjoying them at Indietracks a few years ago. But I believe their gig at Ray-Ban stage was even better. Not just because their classics sounded hypnotically magic as expected ('Pink Frost' for sure, but particularly 'Doledrums', they played 'Doledrums'!), but also thanks to new tunes like 'Silver Bullets', 'Underwater Wasteland' and 'America Says Hello' that resist the comparisons with the old ones gracefully. All in all, a glorious 45 show, crowned by 'Heavenly Pop Hit' where this humble blogger and, guess you know by now, Antipodean music lover, "gave all he had", leaving his throat (happily) at the best show of PS 2016, in our modest opinion.
The Chills, the heavenliest pop from down under in BCN. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Here are the links of the previous chapters!

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Primavera Sound 2016 in brief, day 3

Here comes the second of our quick chronicles of how is Primavera Sound 2016 developing for us. After the first post devoted to Wednesday and Thursday, it's time for what many stated as the main on this edition, Friday 3rd (also known, not our case though, as the 'Radiohead day'). Keep the music coming!

The Good
A ton of good music: That's why Primavera Sound can't be beat. Yesterday in a journey that could have lasted longer (options were everywhere) I manage to see 11 gigs (9 in full).
Primavera a la Ciutat/Day Pro (part II): Like on the previous briefing, I began the day at midday at CCCB, having the chance of seeing live 3 acts and attending a conference. And what a trio of great live shows they were! Big Summer put a flawless, rock-solid show as expected (check their latest album 'Trigger', you won't regret it). Julien Baker was terrific in her disarming, affecting solo offer (can't believe her age). And Cass McCombs showed his range as musician on a gig that deserved much more time. Fabulous way to head into the Fòrum.
Julien Baker, blossoming folk. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Glimpses of brilliance: On a day so stocked with music it's hard to choose particular acts, and several concerts had memorable moments. The crazy fun that is watching Titus Andronicus (The Pogues meeting The Clash) and Royal Headache (what a collection of effervescent, immediate tunes Shogun and Co. have already) live. Beirut's 'Postcards from Italy' and 'The Riptide'. The glorious interpretation of 'The Age of the Understatement' from the Puppets. Savages' Jehnny Beth giving all that she has inside, once and again, to reach the audience...
Jehnny Beth honouring the local "castellers" tradition. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

High and higher with Royal Headache. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Dinosaur Jr.: Yep, we missed Radiohead. But we don't regret it one bit, thanks to Mascis, Barlow and Murph. It was a stormy set. Fierce, epic, straight to the jugular. An hour of guitars, distortion, feedback and throwaway classics. A blast.

The Bad
Massification (part II): "Mordor" (H&M and Heineken stages) was already appalling on previous editions, but this year is simply excruciating. Armies of people just wandering around, transformed into a cast of zombies (alcohol without measure has never been a good idea), and getting anxious when the "big name" approaches. Avoiding both stages much as possible has become a pretty clear strategy, which is quite sad...

The Queen
Ben Watt Band: Didn't know what to expect really... a gig too quiet for Ray-Ban stage and a Festival audience probably? Luckily, how damn wrong I was. Gentle and moody yet on full electric mode, on a combination that, at her rockier moments, didn't sound very far from The War On Drugs or Kurt Vile. Of course, Ben was in such good company it's easy to understand how impeccable was the sound of the gig. Kudos in particular to Bernard Butler, terrific in his guitar playing without going flashy or bombastic, just adding what the tunes needed. 45 minutes of wonderful musics played by truly talented musicians.
Butler & Watt, guitar-driven to wonder. Photo: Bloodbuzzed

Brief of the third and last "big day" of the PS16, Saturday 4th, arriving tomorrow!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Primavera Sound 2016 in brief, days 1 & 2

Here we are, in the frantic, exhausting (adding some Primavera Pro activities) but always remarkable Primavera Sound Festival days. So, like we always do, here are our quick chronicles of what's going on for us within this 2016 edition. To begin with, the first couple of days, the opening day, Wednesday 1st, and yesterday's first "big one", Thursday 2nd. Let's begin!

The Good
First Day Pro: First time attending, and finding it pretty interesting. Liking the mixture of conferences (I attended a couple on the not very bright future of music journalism with members of Billboard, Stereogum, Pitchfork and Intro) and music (the plan is watching several gigs there). Letting aside the criminal midday sun, the CCCB is a comfortable and interesting place to be.
Núria Graham: Precisely, my first gig at PS16 was Núria Graham on Wednesday... and what an incandescent talent she is! Alone, just armed with her guitar and haunting voice, she can be effortlessly epic, lightweight poppier or St.Vincentnesque in a matter of seconds.
Ms. Graham, young magician. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Spanish indie: Also on Wednesday, our main interest of the afternoon at the Fòrum was my beloved Doble Pletina, who nailed it despite the hour and the huge stage for their minimalistic indiepop proposal. But to my surprise, the real winner of the afternoon (at least for me) was Sr. Chinarro, who managed to deliver a very powerful set, combining some of his expected greatest hits with several strong takes of new album 'El Progreso', that were the real highlights of his show. A veteran glowing.
Sr. Chinarro, still progressing after so many years. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Algiers/Protomartyr: Although their gigs weren't perfect they are two terrific bands. Algiers couldn't beat their mindblowing set at Primavera Club (the bar was so high with what they did at Apolo) but they are such a fierce presence, musically, lyrically, live, you always have to rise the white flag with them. Same can be said about Protomartyr. A very fun mess, with Joe Casey being such a chaotic yet ravishing frontman. Will follow closely.
Protomartyr, indeed it shakes, wildly. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
The Bad
Massification: PS might die due to success. Going to "Mordor" (H&M and Heineken stages) is always a punishment, but this year, even on Wednesday Primavera stage was incredibly full. Can't even imagine what's going to happen today with Radiohead's gig...
El Último Vecino: Sorry, just don't get it. And the live show hasn't improved a single bit...
Primavera Sound on strike: Living pretty far from Fòrum (as almost every person in the city who is not a tourist)? What about having to deal with a combined strike from subway and bus on the days where Primavera takes place? Nice, very nice... Years complaining on how ridicule are the lame transportation options every night of the Festival and now this...

The Queen
Daughter: I really don't qualify as a Daughter fan (not that fond of their records, my previous live experiences with them have been so-so), but what happened yesterday evening at Heineken stage was really something. An incredible mass of people gathered (the whole Mordor esplanade, scary and impressive at the same time, as Elena Tonra pointed out), to listen such a subtle music proposal. It's true that Daughter opted for some "muscle" at times, like the forgettable 'No Care', but the whole majority of the gig was simply arresting, with incredible moments as the surprising, very respectful silence (there's hope! there's hope!) while the quartet delivered 'Smother', the affecting power of 'Human', 'Youth' and 'Numbers' or the dreamy bliss of 'How'. Add that you can't help it but fall for Elena's adorable shyness and you have it: a wonderful, bewitching gig.    
A very joyful Elena. Photo: Bloodbuzzed
Brief of the second "big day" of the PS16, Friday 3rd, coming very soon here!