Here is this month’s Music Alliance Pact, which somehow managed to be the only regular feature on The Pop Cop which wasn’t a casualty of Googlegate.
If you’re a new reader, here’s how it works: each MAP blog picks a song from their own country which is then made available as a free mp3 download on all of our individual blogs. Since MAP’s inception in October 2008, it has been my job to take charge of the organising, editing and diplomacy, but because of youknowwhat, my colleagues in Romania, Babylon Noise, took over the reins.
We do this on the 15th of every month so have a helping of what we picked for July, starting with some very likeable Scottish pop upstarts…
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Kid Canaveral – Good Morning
Kid Canaveral offer a free return ticket to the mainstream indie-pop sound of the 90s, favouring the irrepressible joy of melody ahead of racking up cool points. The frantic chug of Good Morning takes in some typically Scottish themes – drinking and going out – to give a welcome indication of what to expect from KC’s forthcoming debut album Shouting At Wildlife, which is released on July 5.
Springlizard – Docks Of The Okinoh
Two guys with acoustic guitars, ancestral melodies and lyrics, and Dreams Of The Wolf, a record with a limited edition of just 297 hand-made copies (you can get a digital version for free, just check their MySpace). Oh, and to Blogpartei readers: Springlizard will be touring Germany next August, so you better check them out!
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
World’s End Press – Golden Child
Not the easiest band name to roll off the tongue, but World’s End Press have done very well with their disco jams meets the Stone Roses sound. The live show is a full-on party set, selling out parties in their hometown, Melbourne. Also check out their previous track, Only The Brave, on their MySpace. Their debut album is being produced by fellow Melbournian electronic whiz Qua.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Superguidis – Nao Fosse O Bom Humor
Nao Fosse O Bom Humor is the main song of the third album of southern Brazilian band Superguidis, released a few months ago. Its heavy riff and melodic lines remembers some of the best times of Foo Fighters, an impression that gets even stronger live.
Ghostkeeper – Don’t Come Knocking
If The Libertines had grown up somewhere in the Canadian Prairies, Ghostkeeper is probably how they would’ve sounded. The band’s self-titled debut is one of the most creative and exciting things to come out so far this year, and this song has ample evidence of why that is.
CHILE: Super 45
El Sueno De La Casa Propia – Voluntad De Oro
Sample-based artist El Sueno De La Casa Propia (ESDLCP) started his music career moulding his own electronic version from Chilean folk music. But in his new album, Historial De Caidas -available on July 15 on Chilean net label Pueblo Nuevo – Jose Manuel Cerda (ESDLCP’s real name) takes a giant leap by adding elements from R’n’B and rock music that converge on a dynamic pop album. An essential and long awaited album, introducing a stronger organic sound; a clear improvement from previous works.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Kellermensch – Black Dress (Live)
Kellermensch (who incidentally were also this blog’s very first MAP contribution) released their awesome debut album last year, which – apart from much praise – earned them invitations to do both an XFM and a BBC Radio 1 Live Session. At the end of July, a revamped version of the debut including four brand new songs will be released in the UK. First – and great – single, Army Ants, is out now but here’s a live version of Black Dress, recorded last November 21, to give you a sweet taste of the band’s supreme performances.
Junk Riot – Black Widow
Junk Riot is a four-piece garage/indie/experimental band from Tallinn. Their sound is built on high-pitched vocals and heavy usage of pitch-shifting/delay effects on guitar. Formed in late 2006, it took about a year to gain reputation as an exciting live band, a fresh breath of air in smoky clubs. Junk Riot was among one of the first Russian-speaking Estonian bands to be fully accepted by the Estonian indie scene.
Kim Curly Band – Passerby
With the alias of Kim Curly, singer Kimmo Numminen delivers sharp songwriting that combines intimate moments with full band Americana. Passerby, included in the Kim Curly Band debut album, is an uplifting rocker that reminds us of the most traditional Ryan Adams.
Sickcity – Julia
To name a constant insider’s tip, Sickcity is a good choice. This four-piece from Munich does manifold music, from danceable indietronics to waltz-rock. Although Julia has been around a while, it’s still one of my favourite songs. A tripping waltz accompanied by the intense voice of Daniel Shah, reminiscent of Marilyn Manson.
My Wet Calvin – Laps
My Wet Calvin is an experimental act with a DIY aesthetic that offers unconventional live performances and delivers a blend of shoegaze, pop, noise and intense drumming with shimmering guitars, synths, electronics and fragile vocals. All Great Events convincingly balances the scales of different sounds and textures, without sacrificing anything in terms of musical ideas or melody. Each song sounds like a distinct ray of light and although it’s packed into something both surprisingly subversive and cohesive, it’s the strength of each of them that makes the whole album stand out. Laps is a thrilling evidence of compelling, thoughtful craftsmanship. Just close your eyes and enjoy it. It’s even more satisfying.
ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Feldberg – Dreamin
Feldberg was formed in January 2009 by Einar Tonsberg, better known as Eberg, and Rosa Birgitta Isfeld, the singer of the band Sometime. The duo decided to meet every Tuesday night for a couple of months and write some songs together. One of their songs, Don’t Be A Stranger, was used in an ad and later on released as a single. Debut album Don’t Be A Stranger was released by Icelandic label Cod Music last year. The song Dreamin was Song of the Year at the Icelandic Music Awards 2009.
Sunken Foal – Sailing Architrades
Signed to influential electronic label Planet Mu, Dunk aka Sunken Foal’s music is a compound of stringed instruments, analogue synthesizers and ambience, matched with a healthy dose of innovative beats. This once-off tune hasn’t found a home on a release yet, but if you like what you hear, check out his 2008 debut, Fallen Arches.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Spawn Of Evil – Screamager (Therapy Cover)
Spawn Of Evil is a rambunctious death/thrash Zionist metal band with straight up metal influences mixed with Middle Eastern groove and a sense of humor. This is a cover of Therapy?’s hit Screamager, approved by Therapy? themselves.
Les Mange-Tout – Weak Week
If you are invited for tea, just bring this album by Les Mange-Tout with you. One girl from Genova, one from Le Havre: they sure know how to rock the hell out of a tea party. Folk twee-pop with a magnificent attitude for weaved melodies, lovely choruses and nursery rhymes. Just add some glockenspiel and melodica, a double bass and a driver lent from the band The Calorifer Is Very Hot, too many super-cute vintage dresses and you’re done!
JAPAN: JPOP Lover
Kafuka – Tracer
Check the unreleased track from Hyogo’s underground electronica scene. Kafuka – just like the famous 20th century bohemian novelist – is an indie bedroom musician with ambient taste, playing lo-fi guitar. Deeply weird, but satisfying post-rock with synthwave jams.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Torreblanca – Parece Navidad
Juan Manuel Torreblanca is a multi-instrumentalist (and illustrator) from Mexico City. His talents on the piano and accordion have been recruited by quite a few in the Mexican scene. His own compositions however are the real deal, as he fronts a full ensemble. Torreblanca counts on a quintet armed with a strong rhythm section and wind instruments. He and his fellow musicians recently released a debut titled Defensa, an astonishing first EP with just four songs full of great arrangements and confrontative, existentialist lyrics. Parece Navidad is the second and the most complex cut from this promising EP, after the homonymous first single.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Thieves – Seizure
The first wave of iconic NZ label Flying Nun was the jangly indie-pop that became known around the world: bands like The Clean and The Chills. The second wave came in the 90s – the music was noisier and darker – and it was some of my favourite music of all time. It’s this second wave of Flying Nun that Thieves invoke on their excellent self-titled EP. Thieves’ brooding alternative guitar rock is showcased on the EP’s centrepiece, Seizure. They have two EPs available to download from http://thievesss.bandcamp.com
Suspicious For The Winter – Empty Streets
Suspicious For The Winter is a project formed from two of Oslo’s freshest indie bands, Casa Murilo and Like Spinning. The two bands joined as Suspicious For The Winter on EardrumsPop’s free compilation, Between Two Waves, where all songs are made as collaborations between bands. You can download the full 40 songs compilation on eardrumspop.com or listen on http://soundcloud.com/eardrumspop. Check out the two bands’ music on http://www.myspace.com/casamurilo and http://www.myspace.com/like_spinning.
Electro-Z – En Ficcion
Electro-Z was one of those strange flashes that sometimes happen in music. His self-titled album is 10 years old and is remembered as the glow of innovation that ended with the war of styles in the Peruvian music scene of the last decade. Electro-Z made his sound from the link created between the distortion of rock and the coolness of pop, and found his key in the unification of these genres. En Ficcion is a good example of all these. Although the style seemed unclassifiable at that time, it would be later known as indie.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Pop Dell Arte – Ritual Transdisco
We are proud to bring here one of the most important Portuguese alternative bands, celebrating their 25th anniversary this year. Led by Joao Peste, they have been exploring and composing lyrics and sounds that you never heard anywhere. Ritual Transdisco is their first single from the just released new album, Contra Mundum.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Butterflies In My Stomach – Another You
Butterflies In My Stomach started as a project in the spring of 2005. They are one of the few bands in the acid jazz/nu-jazz/trip-hop area in Romania. The name comes from the wonderful sensation that takes you by surprise and leaves its traces for a long time.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Elsa X – Baby Steps
On paper, Elsa X is a one-person experimental outfit that combines elements of post rock and electronica, under a pseudonym for a girl who suffers from mental disorders. Actually, it’s a project meant to raise awareness on mental illness. The music however was released as a two-sided EP written by one principal songwriter, Wang Wei Yang, who has deftly combined various emotional undertones based on research by his project mates. The air of bipolar emotions constantly flits through the soundscapes, hopeful and hopeless all at the same time. Elsa X is not real, and the music may not have been conceived from an artist’s vision, but in this schizophrenic world, who can truly say what is what?
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Jambinai – Miro
All trained in traditional Korean music, the three members of Jambinai play piri, geomungo and haegeum, respectively. Currently performing musical experiments in the realm of post-rock, they are working their instruments to create a fresh and natural sound and hope to make their first official release later this summer. Starting out slowly before proceeding into a fascinating display of prowess, Miro is a sonic delicacy not to be missed.
De Montevert – High On You
De Montevert’s style is all over the place from indie-pop to indie-folk to experimental electronica and everything in between. I chose the song High On You because it has the most accessible sound and that indescribable indie-pop naivety and purity. I could honestly go on and on. But I’ll just ask to do yourself a favor and check out her MySpace page, listen to DKT, All Happy Endings, Both Human and/or Galpal.
Solange La Frange – Wakawak
To capture the special energy of a live show on a record is a complicated undertaking. For Vevey-based trio Solange La Frange, it was a piece of cake. The band got famous for their dynamic and powerful live performances and managed to put that atmosphere on a proper record. The special blend of electro and rock would make CSS and Karen O envious.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Oberhofer – I Could Go
Oberhofer started as the solo, lo-fi bedroom project of Brad Oberhofer in Tacoma, Washington, only to develop into a full band once he moved to eastward to Brooklyn, New York. I Could Go is a great song with catchy percussion, climatic melodies, and wonderful whistling.
To download all 28 songs in one file click here