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Utopians – Pepe Le Pew
Utopians is a garage rock band led by singer Barbi Recanati. They usually sound like a wild rampage of 70s-like guitar riffs and distortions, especially on their new album Freak. This song is the exception – an intimate acoustic ballad with Spanish lyrics inspired by a cartoon character.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Seekae – Gnor
Seekae’s new album +Dome is out on March 25 and I’m super excited since their previous album, The Sound Of Trees Falling On People, is one of my favourite Australian albums of all time. When I say “I’m super excited”, I am talking on your behalf – I already have a copy of the album and can confirm that it is fantastic. Gnor, the first ‘official’ single from the album (presumably because 2010 single Blood Bank features an updated and better mix here), is one of the closest songs to the sound of their debut, making it a good jumping-off point for people looking to get enveloped by their ‘ghetto ambiance’ all over again.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Nuda – Maruimstad
Preparing to release their first album in the coming months, Nuda is a promising band that mixes regional Brazilian rhythms with alternative rock and experimentation. Maruimstad expresses the most exciting facet of the band and shows their ability to innovate while pleasing from the first listen.
Meligrove Band – Heart Attack
Looking for power-pop perfection? Then look no further than Meligrove Band’s Shimmering Lights. It’s one of those albums from which you could pick a song at random – be it Heart Attack, Bones Attack!!! or any of the other eight tracks without the word “Attack” in the title – and you’d be guaranteed to come away listening to one of catchiest tunes you’re ever likely to hear.
CHILE: Super 45
Prehistöricos – Como Las Piedras
Prehistöricos formed during the summer of 2010, when actors Tomäs Preuss and Jessica Romo merged their musical ideas to create a collection of acoustic songs about teenage love. Their debut album La Orquesta Ocúlta (“The Hidden Orchestra”) – released last October and available for free download here – received great reviews, focused mainly on the bright and naive nature of their repertoire. Mentioned in many Latin American media ‘best of the year’ lists, this duo are one of the highlights from a growing list of Chilean pop bands.
Omnipotent Youth Society – The Less Than Omnipotent Comedy
Formed in Shijiazhuang, Hebei province, in the late 90s, Omnipotent Youth Society take their influences from the Blind Melon sort of alternative American bands in the 90s, as well as jazz, blues and psychedelic noise. They released their debut album last year, which has been highly praised by critics and fans.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Two Flow – Como Te Llamas
Two Flow is a duo consisting of Charly and Fabio, singers from Barranquilla. Como Te Llamas is a collaboration with Punto G, a tropical band from the same city, and was named the No.1 song of the Barranquilla carnival. This combination of tropical and urban flavors have made Como Te Llamas a hit on the radio and in discothèques.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Powersolo – I Love You But I Hate You
It’s 10 years since the release of “donkey-punk” duo Powersolo’s debut album, Lemon Half Moon. To mark the occasion, Kim Kix and The Atomic Child (aka the Railthin Brothers aka Kim and Bo Jeppesen) have released their fifth album, Buzz Human. It’s a generally great and always entertaining mash of psychobilly, 60s garage rock, punk, psychedelia, utter madness and catchy hooks.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
AlunaGeorge – Disobey
Aluna Francis is the one with the impossibly high, breathy-girly vocals and George Reid is the one responsible for the electronic production that seems to be as steeped in pop mores as it is aware of dubstep and R&B techniques. Imagine a 21st century Dollar if they’d formed in the shadows of FWD>>, if you can picture such an exciting proposition. Disobey is a final mix exclusive, so now you can make your own minds up about the duo described variously in our New Band Of The Day column as “fabulous” and “itchily glitchy”.
Kosmofon – Kvasar
Kosmofon is a spaceship built in 2008 and commanded by Martin Laksberg, Rasmus Lill and Marten Kuningas. They listen in their secret laboratory to Sirius and examine neutron stars to open a new dimension to the music of outermost depths of space. Kosmofon’s works are the memoirs of heroic astronauts and announcements of thousands and millions of light years formatted into progressive electronic music.
Blackbird – Did I Say That I Loved You?
Captain Cougar’s Jussi Petäjä discovered Jenna-Miia Kaivosoja one night while watching TV singing competition Idols. Impressed by her performance of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, they started collaborating and making real music. Now with the addition of keyboardist Matias Tyni, they have formed Blackbird to create a surprising combination of folk and bubblegum pop. If this first song is a good indication, their debut album due out in the summer will be catchy, cheesy and fun.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Young Michelin – Les Copains
Young Michelin is a four-piece band led by Romain Guerret, an accomplished solo artist who made two albums under the name Dondolo. Signed to American label Holiday Records, they are trying to merge their 90s English indie-pop influences with the use of French language. Inspired by The Wake, The Field Mice and labels such as Sarah Records, they aim to make music that is simple and honest, and succeed brilliantly, as this instrumental shows.
Silent Portraits – Mama
Music recorded in one take always has the charm of authenticity. And music recorded with lo-fi equipment in a bedroom can have wonderful results. As you listen to Silent Portraits, you feel the raw energy behind these sketches. Imperfect, powerful and benign, Maxi’s voice and reverbed guitar create a warm and somewhat melancholic soundscape reminiscent of PJ Harvey or Becky Lee. You can download the other songs of this unsigned Berlin-based artist via MySpace or Bandcamp.
Zebra Tracks – Isabelle Creeps
Zebra Tracks collect their darkest impulses and put them on stark display. The single Bicycles / Isabelle Creeps brims with their vehement energy and constitutes an intriguing step in the evolution of their simple, yet oddly affecting, and certainly promising sound. A start-to-finish rush of invigorating riffs and pointed narratives that heightens with repeated exposure. A thrilling, incontrovertible evidence of their bright future.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Ikea Satan – The Wait
The trio Ikea Satan plays satanic blues-metal. Unnar Kolka drums, Pétur Úlfur plays guitar and sings, and Hannes Þór plays bass. The Wait is taken from their three-song Sound Of The Planet EP, released last year on Icelandic label Ching Ching Bling Bling.
Bombay Bassment – Hip-Hop [Never Be The Same]
Mumbai electro rockers Bombay Bassment have lofty ambitions. Their brand of hip-hop meets drum ‘n bass meets funk takes on established conventions of those genres – a careful mix of curated samples, some pro MC chops and an affinity to bass-driven melodies. Hip-Hop [Never Be The Same] puts those ambitions front and center. This is a band that’s sure-footed and ready to, as cliched as it may sound, “make it to the top”. We’re certain they have the chops to do just that.
Amazing In Bed – Circle
Amazing In Bed never stop growing as they keep making music with new approaches and refuse to take notice of critics. And now, even if we are able to trace the roots of their garage-punk songs, we still understand and recognize them as Amazing In Bed.
We Are Losers – Cheerleader
The brainchild of Gavin Elsted, who has been joined by members of Super Extra Bonus Party and Grand Pocket Orchestra, We Are Losers have been directing shafts of sunshine lo-fi indie-rock into ear canals for the past six months. Cheerleader is a fine example of what the band do best. Catchy choruses, a hint of 50s pop, handclaps and happy melodies.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Sonne Adam – We Who Worship The Black
Jens Prueter, head of A&R at Century Media Europe, puts it best: “We are proud to sign a young band from Tel Aviv, Israel that knows the meaning of death unfortunately better than most of us. Sonne Adam mix the old doom/death of early Paradise Lost and technical insanity of early Morbid Angel with a fresh passion and raw energy that reminds me of the hunger and dedication I heard 20 years ago, without sounding retro.” Black Sabbath dirges mix with rabid speed to create an aural monstrosity. Check them out.
Casa Del Mirto – Faces
Let’s put aside the obvious comparisons to Washed Out and Neon Indian. Yes, you can call Casa Del Mirto ‘chillwave’ or ‘glo-fi’, but I feel the songs have a different mood, something more intimate, melancholic and familiar. Not to mention those gorgeously brilliant sounds. Casa Del Mirto is the project of Marco Ricci, from Trento. His new album, 1979, is out now on Mashhh! Records.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Toño Tranquilino – Candyflip
Hipekinetik is the solo album of Toño Tranquilino (drummer of stoner rock band Yokozuna), in which he explores many other forms of making music. Its sound tastefully blends 60s Brazilian psychedelia and heartfelt folk songs, led by a jazz-influenced piano. Candyflip stands out on the introspective 12-piece set, as a cathartic moment in his captivating relief which eventually becomes a self-discovery quest.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Blues Brother Castro – Walk In The Park
Few Amsterdam rock ‘n’ roll bands play with the same swagger and passion as Blues Brother Castro. Be it onstage or on record, their sound is typically raunchy guitars, waves of energy and savage calls. From beneath their well-worn 90s indie overcoat emerges elements reminiscent of Rob Tyner’s howl, Ron Asheton’s growl and even James Brown’s scowl. It’s been almost five years since they’ve had new songs to showcase, but their third album, Out On The Beach, will be released via Excelsior Recordings on April 4.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
Orchestra Of Spheres – Boltzmann Brain
Otherworldly psych and alien trance unite in Orchestra Of Spheres’ hypnotic jams. The group has been entrancing audiences in their native Wellington and further afield for years, and never fail to leave jaws hanging at their free-spirited but tightly-wound motorik dance. Live, they’re a spectacle of concept costumes, handmade instruments including a cake tin guitar and rack of keyboard foot pedals played by hand, and look as though an alien troupe descended the stage. Boltzmann Brain will induce in you their contagious mystic madness.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Sandra Kolstad – The Devil
Sandra Kolstad is a young woman who will release her debut album, Crux, in the spring. There’s already quite a buzz around her here in Norway and this summer she’ll play one of our biggest festivals, Øya. Her music is characteristic, peculiar electro-pop with a finesse that many other artists lack. Maybe it’s her education in classical piano, maybe it’s her gift at writing. I don’t know, but I can hear hints of another great artist who masters both classical and indie, Owen Pallett, as well as traces of Fever Ray, Jenny Hval/Rockettothesky and maybe Dirty Projectors.
Futuro Incierto – Fue Ayer
Futuro Incierto is one of the most symbolic Peruvian hardcore bands. Fronted by Pedro Allemant, their 20 years of melodic punk are proof of the musical experience they have gained. For their most recent record, Ego, some problems arose that forced them to re-record the content, yet it resulted in the best album of their career. In this work, the songs delve deep into personal themes, mature feelings and the conflicts caused by ego.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Mazgani – Beggar’s Hands
Shahryar Mazgani was born in Iran but moved to Portugal when he was just five. In 2005, Mazgani was considered one of the 20 best new European acts by French magazine Les Inrockuptibles. He has three albums and 2010′s Song Of Distance, where this month’s track is taken from, was acclaimed by the Portuguese media as one of the best rock records of the year.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Robin And The Backstabbers – Soare Cu Dinti
Robin And The Backstabbers made their debut almost a year ago in Bucharest. The guys mix indie with what they call ‘melodramatic pop’ and the result is an upbeat nostalgic sound that gets to you in the best ways. They have released two singles, both very well received by the public and underground radio stations. This is their third one and, by the sound of it, I’m sure it’s going to be another success.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Little Eskimos – Start It Up
You’d never guess that Little Eskimos’ anthemic debut album Are You Still With Us? (available on Bandcamp) is the work of just one man – chief songwriter Kevin Harper played all the instruments and recorded it himself before getting a band together. Little Eskimos clearly owe a huge debt to the West Coast slacker rock sound, and the infectious Start It Up will leave you counting the days until their second album comes out in the summer. Keep up with them on Facebook in the meantime.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Caracal – Bears
Brazen smatterings of post-hardcore and hard rock are the name of Caracal’s game, something they do exceptionally well. There are shades of Underoath, Fugazi and mewithoutYou all over their straight-shooting, swashbuckler of an album, Bear. Shark. Wolf. Even if the music’s genre isn’t your cup of tea, one thing you can never fault this young band on is how proudly they wear their hearts on the sleeves, beating loudly for all the world to sit up and take notice.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
aKING – The Runaround
When aKING embarked on their new album in 2010, they were ready to explore and venture into new territory. The Runaround, the first single from the band’s third studio album The Red Blooded Years, shows off their formula of acoustic rock, distinctive vocals and riffs. There are also new sounds and influences that have crept in, with a distinct 80s feel shining through on many of the new tracks. The change has taken aKING to new heights.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
J Rabbit – aMorejo
Super-lovely duo J Rabbit has been gathering a bit of attention since November last year when they first started posting music on YouTube via friendz.net. In March, the two girls released their first album, It’s Spring, and they are now hoping it can provide their audience with delight and fresh energy. Supported by an acoustic guitar, aMorejo is a sweet song with lyrics that’ll stick even if you can’t understand the words.
Oso Leone – Rebellion
Formed in Majorca, Oso Leone started to make their name at Levi’s Unfamous Music Awards contest, in which they were finalists. They didn’t win, but they were chosen as the supporting band for These New Puritans’ Spanish tour and later signed to Foehn Records, home of Spanish indie acts such as Emilio José and Marina Gallardo. Using structures similar to Vic Chesnutt’s, echoes of Americana and contemporary folk go hand in hand on their music and show that the boys are just a breath away from success.
Impo & The Tents – Bubblegum Machine
Punk-inspired garage rock from Stockholm’s Impo & The Tents. Not much else to say about something so simple and forceful.
Cryptonites – Hey Kidz
The two blokes behind Cryptonites surely do not intend to diminish the power of any superheroes. On the contrary, their objective is to strengthen young kids with their electrifying sound. With their new EP Hey Kidz in stock, these two sound manipulators might just accomplish their mission because the four-track material is a bona fide crowd pleaser. The centerpiece Hey Kidz is the heart and soul of the release on Freakz Me Out.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Cloud Nothings – Understand At All
Cloud Nothings has it all: DIY bedroom charm, memorable melodies and
jangly guitar work lost somewhere in an era of grunge and punk rock.
This solo project from the outskirts of Cleveland, Ohio, packs a punch
live too – something I plan on seeing for myself this month.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Planeador – El Regreso
Planeador is a rock band with influences of folk, country and blues formed in Anzoátegui in 2006. After playing at major festivals around the country, they finally released their first album in April 2010, which launched the single El Regreso. It has remained on the playlist of several radio stations with the video rotated on MTV Latin America. They are currently working on their second studio album.