I do go on a fair bit about Friends In America, but only because the potential for the Glasgow-based band to one day construct something truly wondrous and permanent has been apparent every time I’ve seen them play live over the past two years. That day is imminent with the release of their first proper studio recordings, a seven-track record (mini-album, if you like) – think of it as a hand of friendship reaching out with the gift of undercover pop songs set to compelling, poetic lyrics. My precious.
Click the play button icon to listen to individual songs, right-click on the song title to download an mp3, or grab a zip file of the full 34-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Friends In America – Quietly Quietly
Such is my love for the sweeping, elegantly crafted indie-rock of Friends In America that their previous lack of recorded material resulted in me going to desperate lengths to consume their music. One time, after taking along my dictaphone to interview the band before a gig, I kept the ‘record’ button on during their live set just so that I could play their songs at home. This month, though, the waiting is over as FIA release their debut record What It Is To Be – from it we have a MAP exclusive download of the brilliantly melodious Quietly Quietly.
June 26, Broadcast, Glasgow (tickets)
July 26, The Wickerman Festival, Dumfries & Galloway (tickets)
Excursiones Polares – La Guerra Psicológica
Concepto Cero, one of La Plata’s finest record labels, just turned four, and they decided to celebrate by releasing a free compilation with songs from all of their artists. La Guerra Psicológica is an original track by El Perrodiablo, but in this case played in a blues fashion by Excursiones Polares. Both bands are from the Concepto Cero family, so we recommend you to download the whole album and check for their latest releases.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Gang Of Youths – A Sudden Light
Harmonies and punch-the-air victory songs are generally always in high demand. Sydney’s Gang Of Youths are next. This sounds like Win Butler singing at your birthday and Julian Casablancas singing at your funeral at the same time. A Sudden Light is a loose, belter of an anthem with a modulating chorus, overbearing references to children, drugs and enough harmonic “WHOAHS” to easily make them your new favourite band.
The Unused Word – Heaven (Testa Remix)
Much like the recent 4AD signing SOHN, Anna aka The Unused Word is not only working and living in Vienna, but also has her finger on the pulse with her soulful mixture of hip hop and new school electronica. Heaven is taken from her debut EP ∞ (Infinity). The version here is a remix by her labelmate DJ Testa.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Rua – Às Bolas De Gude
Rua, also known as Rua Do Absurdo, is an experimental quintet. Às Bolas De Gude shows their minimalism with beautiful vocal melodies and a marimba guiding us through the song.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Ketch Harbour Wolves – The Good Blood
Weaving together history, mythology and their own personal experiences, Ketch Harbour Wolves’ new album, Queen City: Volume One, is their first of what is expected to be a multiple disc project that aims to create a sonic map of their home, Toronto. The Good Blood is an excellent gateway into this sprawling, ambitious project, and to Ketch Harbour Wolves’ majestic, cinematic back catalogue.
CHILE: Super 45
Alex y Daniel – Cada Vez Que Invento Algo Sobre Ti
After reaching recognition and fame through their solo projects, Alex Andwandter and Daniel Riveros (Gepe) – two of the most iconic faces of Chilean pop – got together in a joint project that, under the suggestive name Alex y Daniel, combines their musical curiosity. Their new single Cada Vez Que Invento Algo Sobre Ti (“Every time I make up a story about you”) mixes Andwandter’s penchant for dance music and Riveros’ melodic instinct perfectly, leaving no room to doubt that, together, they’re dynamite.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
La Etnnia feat. Doctor Krápula – La Gran Epidemia
It is our pleasure to introduce you to perhaps Colombia’s biggest hip hop project, La Etnnia, who formed more than 25 years ago in the Las Cruces neighborhood of Bogotá. La Gran Epidemia, a preview of their eighth album Universal, features the stellar appearance of Doctor Krápula, a rock band with long renown in Colombia. You can watch the video for the song here.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Scarlet Chives – In A Ground Floor Apartment
Scarlet Chives is something as rare as a Danish band signed to a Norwegian label and, in a not so distant future, that label, Riot Factory, will release the alternative rock quintet’s second full-length album. In A Ground Floor Apartment, a MAP exclusive download, is the B-side to first single The Timber Will Fall.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: La Casetera
Hache ST – Sebastian Lemba
Culture and rebellion are at the center of this experimental piece, which revolves around the figure of the black anti-slavery advocate Sebastian Lemba Calembo. This track is a portal to that struggle and it’s an essential component of the journey outlined by Hache ST in his new album, Zafra, which portrays the main ideas of life in a shared Caribbean island, and its intricate, passionate toils for freedom.
ECUADOR: Plan Arteria
El Extraño Comportamiento De Un Torso Animado – ¿Dónde Están Tus Amigos?
El Extraño Comportamiento De Un Torso Animado is an indie band with a lot of attitude. Formed by Ernesto Torres and twins Nicolás and Felipe Meneses, the trio have a punk-rock spirit with a guitar sound that invites you to dance. From their first EP, Mujer Pulpo, we present the single ¿Dónde Están Tus Amigos?
ENGLAND: Drowned In Sound
BODYWORK – Tame
English avant-pop or alt-rock or whatever the kids on the cobbled streets are calling it these days hasn’t had the respect it deserves for quite some time. Percolating beneath the Mumford mirth and Adele success, there’s a throbbing underbelly of eccentricity and experimentation that flirts with radio-friendly melody. Leeds’ BODYWORK are one such act, muddling Roxy Music’s odd shuffle with Wild Beasts and Heaven 17′s falsetto into a sublime cocktail of alien grooves. Download their LP for free from their website.
Forgotten Sunrise – Sisters, Brothers & Other Hellborn Creatures
Forgotten Sunrise is a cult band who are pleasing the ears of the world with negative music for positive results. They have just released their seventh album, Cretinism.
Constables – Ludovico
With all its members born in the early 90s, Constables is a very young band and is simply inspired by the three most important things when you are 20: sex, girls and alcohol. Musically, Constables offers melodic guitars and fast rhythms with a post-punk approach. The band has just released its debut Bedroom Culture EP, which is available on SoundCloud.
Poétique Électronique – Irregular Heartbeat (Video Edit)
Poétique Électronique is a clever group: they have a good band name, they know what they want to do and they know how to do it. Their musical approach stands out from the crowd as they realise when to pause and when to push. Irregular Heartbeat is a fine example of the current penchant in electronic music for soft vocals and punchy bass. As this is my final MAP submission due to time contraints, I want to say goodbye to you folks and many thanks for the great time!
Playground Noise – The Plan
Playground Noise’s second album, 8 Songs, brims with endlessly replayable, perfect pop tunes that glimmer with pure magic. Every note and transition is smooth and effortless, and there is such a wealth of brilliantly executed music. Brass and strings swarm beautifully around soaring guitars and vocals, and intense crescendos linger over delicate passages.
Drawing Short Straws – Predator
Drawing Short Straws is a prog-rock band from Pune. This is their first single and a taste of what their debut LP will sound like. A combination of electronic and rock elements make for an interesting sound, which DSS are trying to hone.
White Shoes & The Couples Company – Tam Tam Buku
One of Indonesia’s most beloved bands, White Shoes & The Couples Company make us proud. Purveyors of quality music, they’re coming with a new EP that rearranges traditional Indonesian songs and invites us to dance with them. After playing around Europe in June, they’ll release another EP documenting the tour.
IRELAND: Harmless Noise
The Violet Roadkills – Solar
Taken from their debut album Lead Kindly Light, Solar has everything The Violet Roadkills need to make a good first impression. The four-piece hail from Dublin and use electronics and instruments to take vintage concepts in a fresh direction, resulting in songs that are simultaneously geeky and cool. Solar’s assertive, warm bassline and beat build up to spangles of synths that sound like small studio commissions for 70s television shows. When the outer drift subsides, the beaming krautrock core of Solar begins to blast out, reaching a blisteringly heated finish.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Ykiki Beat – Garden
Something something summer jam. It is that time of the year when everybody starts nominating songs as the soundtrack to the warmer months, and here is the strongest candidate from the ever-sprawling Tokyo indie scene. Garden is giddiness reduced to sonic form, powered on by handclaps, neon basslines and yelpy back-up singing. At the center, though, is an irresistible jogging melody that rarely slows down. Recommended if you like: running on really hot days.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Andre Camilleri – Same Old Fool
In 2000, Andre Camilleri moved from Malta to Australia, where he continues to follow his musical ambitions. Having served his apprenticeship playing the streets of Berlin and Malta’s capital Valletta, wearing his trademark cowboy hat, his world is one of nostalgic reflections, acute and often intimate observations. Andre has released nine albums to date, with his influences including The Flying Burrito Brothers, Big Star, Uncle Tupelo and Hank Williams.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Santos – La Cosita
There are plenty of people religiously devoted in northern Mexico, even the drug dealers have their own sacred figure there. Santos come from that cultural background, belonging to the ‘ruidoson’ musical scene of Tijuana. Santos is the brainchild of two brothers who have embodied their faith, but their faith comes from their lust and it is well printed in this new single. La Cosita has a very intense carnal desire and highly erotic resounding kettle drums.
Nouveau Vélo – Kite
A gang of best friends from small towns home-recording dreampop. Much like bike-life in Holland, Nouveau Vélo has a touch of romance to it. Kite, from their new Daze EP, could be described as upbeat melancholia, one of those songs that makes you feel nostalgic for the things that are happening right now. Possessing a chorus that catches you straight away with its blurry guitar licks and far-off vocals, Kite is a dreamy summer anthem.
TOURISTA – Requiem
One day Rui Pereira decided to leave his job as a publicist to follow his true passion – music. He moved to the beach and began to make songs that would form part of his first EP, Déficit de Atención, recruiting a group of experienced musicians who soon formed TOURISTA. The band mixes its electronic concerns with indie-rock, although the labels don’t matter when you start to feel a connection with the musical passion of its creators. Requiem is TOURISTA’s latest single, take a look at its funny video.
POLAND: Łukasz Kuśmierz Weblog
Milcz Serce – 22.22
Although Nawyki/Kolizje is their first studio album, Mysłowice-based trio Milcz Serce are experienced musicians. Their debut LP talks about a break-up which starts at 10pm and ends at 9am the next day. So what you hear in 22.22 is the beginning of the whole dramatic story.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Elektra Zagreb – Kesey Palms
Elektra Zagreb began in Croatia, of course. After an EP, many concerts and experience, this Portuguese quartet, now living in Lisbon, recently released their debut LP, Dreams About Dying In California. Mostly inspired by rock bands, their sound is harsh, sort of The Stooges meets Suicide. Kesey Palms is a genial piece of music in which you never know what is going to happen next, a feeling that its video achieves even more.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
MoreIra – Pao
José Iván Lebrón Moreira (Las Abejas, Venera-3) created MoreIra after buying a second-hand Alesis Micron keyboard from a local musician. His mind racing with new musical possibilities, José embarked on an electronic solo project that is now slowly evolving into a fully-fledged band. Pao is the first single from his debut EP, available later this year. Noisy, glitchy, yet filled with heartfelt melodies, Pao is both powerful and personal – dealing with Moreira’s paternal love toward his younger sister.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Valerinne – Ins Meer
Taking inspiration from everything that surrounds them, this three-piece from Bucharest started creating atmospheric, loud and emotional instrumental music at the beginning of last year. Combining their sound with equally haunting visuals, they will transport you to twisted worlds. If you like this song, you will definitely love their album, available on Bandcamp.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
John Empire – Dead Stars feat. Drunk Beggar Thief
Two honours students – hip hop artist John Empire backed by producer The English – created a meeting point between hip hop and indie influences that pushes the understanding of both genres. With their song Dead Stars, the added feature of Drunk Beggar Thief gives their sound an extra dimension. Their mixtape Drunken Night Make Up has recently been released and further shows off the duo’s range and diversity.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
Asian Chairshot – Mask Dance
Asian Chairshot formed in 2011 and released their first official EP, Mask, in May this year. Equipped with drums, bass and guitar, the trio merges rock with Korean melodies in a powerful fashion, crafting a unique sound. Mask Dance starts out calmly but soon turns into a hard-hitting fest for the ears. The song’s refrain borrows the rhythm of traditional Korean mask dance.
Prisma Circus – Paradox
Prisma Circus was formed in September 2010 in Barcelona. Inspired by 70s psychedelia, with a lot of wahs and fuzz, they have toured Spain, Portugal and France, becoming the ambassadors of a new but old sound.
Da Poet – Other Side feat. Ince Sarj
Da Poet, one of the most showy producers in the Turkish hip hop scene, creates an innovative, sharp sound. He tries to connect with his audience just as much without speaking and expects listeners to pay attention to the instrumental parts of hip hop.
UNITED STATES: We Listen For You
Kaleidico – Pretty Panasonic Dear
Kaleidico is a band that has been around for a few years but, being perfectionists, scrutinized every detail before releasing their first album this month. It’s dreamy, smart, catchy and all too perfect for the summer moments creeping up on us.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Los Mentas – Cacería (live)
Los Mentas formed in Caracas in 1998, influenced by punk and rockabilly from the early 50s, resulting in a fusion that went down well in the music scene in Venezuela. After six studio albums and 15 years of experience, they have released their first live album, Arriba Carajo!, recorded in the main rock bars of the country.