It’s the last Music Alliance Pact of the year so feast your senses on these free, downloadable treats from around the world. All of the 35 artists below have been hand-picked and written about by the blog representing that country, with the entire list simultaneously posted on all of the websites.
This month, The Pop Cop invites you to love the angelic, Carrbridge-dwelling, gravity-defying, SXSW-bound, genuinely sweet RACHEL SERMANNI.
To download all 35 songs in one file click here
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Rachel Sermanni – Eggshells
Rachel Sermanni is a talent worth swooning over. The 19-year-old from the Highlands cites her idols as Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy, which makes perfect sense when you find yourself enchanted by her pure, fragile vocals and poetic lyrics. A star in the making for sure.
January 16, ABC2, Glasgow (tickets)
January 23, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow (tickets)
January 27, Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow (tickets)
Nairobi – Minerals
Nairobi is a dub band based in Buenos Aires. Approaching dub from a diverse perspective, they create vibrant climates and fresh interpretations of the genre. This song is the first single from their second album, Wet, which was mixed at Mad Professor’s studio in London and features Roberto Pettinato on saxophone.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Miracle – A Big Jet Plane
I recently discovered this 18-year-old rapper born in Ghana but now residing in western Sydney. The word is that he got signed to his label based on a song sampling Pete Murray’s Better Days, a track he made for his high school music assignment and eventually became his first single. Personally, I liked his version of Angus And Julia Stone’s hit Big Jet Plane better.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Diego e O Sindicato – Amigo
Influenced by 70s Brazilian rock and tropicalism, amongst other musical styles such as psychedelic rock and even samba, Amigo is a great taster of Parte De Nós (“Part Of Us”), the first full-length record by Diego e O Sindicato, released last month. The album is available to download for free at Compacto.REC, a netlabel focused on independent Brazilian music.
Olenka & The Autumn Lovers – Sparrow
Olenka & The Autumn Lovers’ newest album, And Now We Sing, is just about the finest folk-pop album you could ever ask for. It brilliantly blends together Eastern European-tinged folk, smoky jazz, country and a variety of other elements to create an album that’s easily one of the best to come out in 2010. Sparrow showcases Olenka’s Eastern European roots.
CHILE: Super 45
Los Nadieh – Lisa y llanamente
Los Nadieh are members of Potoco Discos, the independent label that houses Como Asesinar a Felipes (an excellent jazz trio with a DJ and MC), who proclaim to play “the other kind of rap”. That claim also defines the approach of this band from Valparaíso, homesickly looking at the harbour city but showing their feelings by experimenting with the formal structures of hip hop. This scorn for risk is reflected on Desde El Último Lugar, their debut, backed up by local heavyweight Foex (ex-member of FDA and a contributor to the increasingly successful Ana Tijoux).
Rainbow Danger Club – Neighbors On The Rooftops
With riveting, epic melodies that soar and patter along majestically, the Rainbow Danger Club manage to effortlessly skirt the line between beauty and ugliness, light and dark, innocence and depravity. One of the greatest bands to emerge from the Shanghai music scene lately, they never cease to amaze audiences with their grandiose musicality and adeptness at crafting songs that don’t seem to leave your head. Their debut EP, The New Atlantis, is not to be missed.
COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Capzula – Lo Dejamos Asi
Capzula have been the surprise of 2010 in the pop/rock scene of Colombia thanks to their popular single Rock. Big things are expected of them in 2011 and their new single Lo Dejamos Asi clearly shows they can rise to that responsibility.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Sleep Party People – A Dark God Heart
In late November, Danish label Vuf released the sixth in their renowned series of compilations titled The Vuf Compilation #6 – Back To Nature, sporting 12 tracks by established and upcoming Danish and Swedish artists, half working in alternative pop/rock and half in electronica. Among them is critically acclaimed one-man dreampop act Sleep Party People aka Brian Batz, whose hauntingly beautiful B-side A Dark God Heart is the final Danish MAP track of 2010. If you crave more, the compilation is available for free download here.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Fantastic Mr Fox – Brandy – Angel In Disguise (Fantastic Mr Fox’s Nature Boy Rerub)
Stephen Gomberg alias Fantastic Mr Fox is one of the most in-demand dubstep producers and musicians around – The xx took him on tour with them to the States and Warpaint commissioned him to remix one of their tracks. His songs have been described as “digital symphonies” and result from painstakingly chopping up pieces of pre-existing music – sounds, melodies, handclaps and so on from his favourite urban tracks such as R&B queen Brandy’s Angel In Disguise, as featured here – and reassembling them in new shapes. In the Guardian’s New Band Of The Day column, Paul Lester hailed this as “abstract R&B arranged with a Cubist disregard for form”. Sheer futurist invention.
Multiphonic Rodent – Printsess & Page
Multiphonic Rodent is the nom de plume of multi-instrumentalist composer Erkki Hõbe. Mainly known as the founder member of Opium Flirt, he has been doing home recordings since 2005 and playing live as a one-man big band on guitars, percussion, keys and wind instruments since 2008. His multi-layered style is influenced by classical minimalism, avant-garde jazz and psychedelic rock, to name a few stylistic origins.
The Friend – New Berlin Wall
The Friend play melodic indie-rock music to make people dance, or, in their own words, they play “songs that are brisk, atmospheric, playful, three-and-a-half-minutes-long compact packages”. Take a listen to their first single, New Berlin Wall, while we wait for their first full-length to be released early next year.
Dizzy Errol – Pride
Dizzy Errol is the one and only Turkish beatnik in Germany. His name perfectly describes his fuzzy, straightforward sound. Pride is the most powerful song on the album Motherlamp from 2010. Dizzy Errol is part of the artist collective Kamerakino, who recently released a compilation named Infant Munich Hits Rock Bottom, which is quite a nice sample of the city’s underground music.
Abbie Gale – Terry Torry A List
Abbie Gale’s third studio album, No Inspiration, an impressive addition to their catalogue, showcases a sweeping collection of 11 songs that are at once riveting, dreamy and sonically lush, swelling and tranquil. Gripping melodies are embellished with whirling arrangements, spirited outbursts and Evira’s wide-ranging, emotive, splendidly affecting vocals. Terry Torry A List feels simultaneously familiar and challenging. It’s a compelling, intricate song in which to lose yourself. It gets under the skin and unfurls its majesty from the first play.
ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Nóra – Opin Fyrir Morði
Nóra started in a dark garage on the west side of Reykjavík. In 2006, brother and sister Egill and Auður, along with their friend Hrafn, started as a trio. In 2008, the band became a quintet when Bragi and Frank joined. They play honey-glazed indie-pop influenced by Radiohead, Bob Dylan, TV On The Radio, The Mars Volta, The Pixies, Roy Orbison and Neil Young. Opin Fyrir Morði is taken from their debut album, Er Einhver Að Hlusta? (“Is Anyone Listening?”), which was released in early summer.
Tempo Tantrick – Psychoblabber
Tempo Tantrick is a trip hop duo from Bangalore. Their sound palette ranges from downtempo to pulsing EDM that finds a likely home in clubs open to both electronica and experimental. Psychoblabber falls squarely in the latter end of the Tempo Tantrick soundscape. The track features an irresistible, throbbing refrain reminiscent of Shiny Toy Guns.
Kelelawar Malam – Suara Kegelapan
Kelelawar Malam means “Night Bat”; Suara Kegelapan means “Voice of Darkness”. The band name and song title already set a hint of horror, and their lyrics were written as though they were intended for horror B-movie scripts, with old Indonesian villages as the setting. The music is heavily influenced by The Misfits.
James Vincent McMorrow – If I Had A Boat
Having captivated Ireland with his falsetto folk ballads, McMorrow has signed to Vagrant Records in the US. A self-titled EP is currently acquainting itself with international ears and here’s your chance to do the same. If I Had A Boat is the first song from the EP and a perfect introduction to McMorrow’s oaky timbre.
ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Winterhorde – The Tenth Wave
Winterhorde is a blacker than the blackest black metal band from the north of Israel. Unfortunately, Israel’s north is pretty black right now itself with hundreds of acres of forest destroyed by the largest fire in the country’s history with a death toll of over 40. In any case, Winterhorde’s sonic path twists from symphonic melodies to sheer straight-up metal intensity, melding these two extremes with elegance and professionalism. Winterhorde will freeze your soul with its echoes of longing, darkness and unrelenting desperation. Good stuff created in a classic vein.
(m+a) – (we)
Michele and Alessandro (hence the name of the band) are two young, talented boys from the town of Forlì. That’s more or less all I know about this project. But then there are these amazing sounds: gloomy glitch electronica with a warm acoustic heart and a cool touch of fresh pop which goes from Radiohead to Plaid via Hot Chip, if you need some kind of weird recipe. This is a song from their incoming second album but you can download their first one for free at their website.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Troker – Planeta Terror
Guadalajara-based ‘jazz vinyl’ band Troker was formed in 2005 by six conservative musicians and has developed into a powerful, danceable and naughty funk-rock sound – a groovy horn section, violent drums, a sexy piano and spicy scratches that make the turntables work as a roll ‘n’ roll instrument through a jazz-based structure. Planeta Terror is one of the delightfully sour tracks from their second album El Rey Del Camino.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
The Benelux – Pet Needs Friends (Bear remix)
This Amsterdam indie quartet are fresh, frisky and dancefloor flammable. There are certainly retro guitar-pop elements at play here, such as their saucy bursts of swaggering guitar jangle. But any hints of classic garage rock are mixed with quirky synths and fun, big beat grooves. So much so that their Girl Singer EP is topped off with remixes by NON Records labelmates Palmbomen and Bear. The tracks lend themselves perfectly to dance-friendly interpretations – Soulwax come to mind in this sense – which is why we’ve chosen the Bear remix of Pet Needs Friends as a party-starting introduction.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Pikachunes – Nervous
Miles Loveless’ commanding baritone strides atop his lofty synth lines and unrepentant drum machine tracks, riding a dance wave like that of LCD Soundsystem. On the bedroom producer’s song Nervous, a Knight Rider-esque bassline cavorts with a floating, flutey synth that comes in with Loveless’s emotionless, almost monotone voice providing a laconic environment for his social awkwardness to shine. Pikachunes released his debut self-titled album on Lil’ Chief Records last month, and he has a great video for the song Shout It Out.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Uno Møller – Your Quiet Little House
Singer-songwriter Uno Møller plays beautiful minimalistic pop with just the sound of his fragile voice coupled with the playful tones of an acoustic guitar. His debut album was released a few months ago on the British label Lazy Acre Records. He’s also a part of Team Me, a promising band that has been praised both in and outside Norway. They’ve been booked to play at Øyafestivalen and by:Larm next year, but let’s hope Uno has more time for his solo project too.
Kid Solano – Solano Swing
Think of a perfect party in a place where night is eternal and the collective dancing turns everyone into a jumping mass. Now imagine the perfect song to accompany those moments and the result would be something like Solano Swing. Make space in your record collection for the amazing lounge/breakbeat of Kid Solano.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Minta & The Brook Trout – Large Amounts
Minta is Francisca Cortesão – a talented singer, musician and composer who has been in other bands and works as a session and live musician. The Brook Trout are Mariana Ricardo, Manuel Dordio and José Vilão, friends of Minta who collaborated on her first album, Minta & The Brook Trout. Minta’s sound will please fans of the likes of Beth Orton or Belle & Sebastian.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Makunouchi Bento – Anchorshaped Siren
Makunouchi Bento is an experimental project with influences from musique concrète to IDM. Their lunchbox has many more surprises than anyone could imagine. There are two main directions in their sound – the use of electronic gadgets (Spectrum, C64, Amiga, Atari) and sampling as the key for a haunting cinematic atmosphere. This could easily be the soundtrack of a David Lynch film or a rainy, gray Romanian December afternoon. Their album, Swimé, can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
The Lard Brothers – Wish You’ll Never Leave Time (Ownself Remix)
The Lard Brothers have carved a niche for themselves remixing and reworking songs by other Singaporean bands, sometimes roping in outside collaborators in the process. Their approach ensures their work isn’t so much a rehash of existing material as it is a means of bringing the music community together, and giving us a fresh take on Singaporean music. Their latest release, the Bonsai Warriors EP, stays on the same track but fittingly leaves room at the end for a remix of themselves, a glorious uplifting on their 2008 original.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Reburn – Outta My Mind
Reburn is a five-piece alternative rock band whose mix of catchy beats and a quirky feel has seen them rise to the forefront of the local scene. Outta My Mind encompasses the band’s sound, which is distinctly British-influenced with its polished tone and a slight indie edge. Reburn’s motto is that the band was brought to life for no reason other than to make “music for pleasure” and that they do. Stylishly so.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Image – Empty Universe
Female singer-songwriter Image has already been active for more than a decade, but it wasn’t until fall this year that she presented her first digital EP, Metaphoricalizing. Determined to make music of veracity, Image combines both acoustic and electronic elements when giving life to the folk ethos she wishes to express. Empty Universe is the main track off Metaphoricalizing and will be recorded in an English version for her upcoming first CD album.
Odio París – Ya No Existes
We don’t have any reason to hate Paris, but apparently this five-piece band from Barcelona does. Odio París, who have supported The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, are influenced by shoegaze legends The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, but they also take inspiration from Spain’s biggest indie band, Los Planetas. Ya No Existes, their first single, is living proof of that as it recreates the characteristic distortion of the Andalusians’ early releases.
Le Days – Ring Baby Ring
Le Days aka Daniel Hedin has announced the upcoming release of a debut album titled Dead People On Tape. The predominant instrument may be an acoustic guitar but this is by no means folk music. It’s a disturbing blend of over the top emo and confessional rock à la Jeff Buckely. The first single in all its tormented glory namedrops Judas, curses violently and lays its heart on its proverbial sleeve.
The Bianca Story – Coming Home
You thought Switzerland was neutral? It’s not. We’re totally asking you to take sides with our quest to bring better music to the world. Our weapon of mass seduction: The Bianca Story, a five-piece from Basel. Their sound is best described as “pop taken seriously” – you get the catchy tunes but with added layers of depth. Their latest single, Coming Home, is an appetizer to their second album due for release in 2011.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Painted Palms – All Of Us
San Francisco’s Painted Palms aren’t the first experimental pop band to take cues from Animal Collective, but they’re perhaps the most unique of the bunch. Combining a wild assortment of genres from Afro-pop to krautrock to electro-pop, the tracks on their debut Canopy EP (free download here) are equally addictive as they are artful, bringing a smile to even the most jaded of listeners.
Viniloversus – Ruleta Rusa
Viniloversus started rocking Caracas in 2004, both live and on record. One of the many reasons for their unique sound is the presence of two bassists in the band. Impeccable performances and sharp, strong notes hit the audience like thunder in their shows. Ruleta Rusa is taken from their Latin Grammy-nominated latest album Si No Nos Mata.