June 22, 2012


Dog days are here. Swedish duo of Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander (aka jj) have just released a brand new five-track EP, High Summer, which is now available for free download.

Despite every song is absolutely beautiful and light-tripping, the soulful tune that gives the record its name has become my favourite one of the whole album.

Grab the full EP for free by clicking the button below. It's sincerely yours.

June 16, 2012

The Wanderers

D' you know what have in common Arcade Fire, ColdplayLCD Soundsystem and Beirut? Easy: Kelly Pratt, the multi-instrumentalist best known for his brass work in these bands. Pratt is also the singer and chief songwriter of Bright Moments, a Brooklyn-based indie rock band, formerly known as Team B.

Here you can see the cover art from their debut project entitled Natives, which was released three months ago. Overall, this LP showcases Kelly Pratt's growth as a musician and composer, his voracity for music (he did record the entire album in his own apartment) and his capability of excelling in several genres.

But even more so, this LP is a microscopic examination of a place where so many people interact, influence and juxtapose one another, examining the perspectives of the players that contribute to the land (the album) as a whole.

Throughout the 10-song journey, the album provides a lot of the majestic moments. Honorable mentions go to Travelers, Drifters  and Tourists. As you can see, every title is a direct reference to globe-trotting. Holidays are just around the corner, so I'm afraid my mind is playing tricks on me when it comes time to select songs. Just sayin'.

June 10, 2012

Hip Hip Hooray!

The band captained by Noel Heroux has launched one of the debut albums that have been better able to exploit the very peak of electronic pop. This outfit should be added to that list of bands like Cut CopyYeasayer or Passion Pit, who've managed to pull that feat off. You only have to listen to their album, True Loves, which begs for a celebration. Hooray for them! Ermmm... I mean, Hooray For Earth

These New Yorkers bring a new twist to revivalist 80's synth pop. Their sound fits both the club and the beach, but might be even better suited for a pair of headphones. Though sounding more like a singles collection than a coherent album-length vision, each song sweeps the listener up in massive hooks from the first track to the closer.

I don't even know where to begin with their new video for the anthem that lends its name to the album's title. I've watched it a dozen times already and I have no idea WTF is going on. Thus, I shall limit myself to point out the music. It drifts over a punching beat with a floating melody, which only explodes with excitement during every chorus.

True Loves

No Love is another sweet and psychedelic cut that will make you lose your marbles. There's a creepy monkey howling in the background of Hotel.  While Sails  nears the edge of darkness and harkens back to the 80's, owing more to Depeche Mode and new wave.

 No Love


In short, with these tracks alone, the band Hooray For Earth creates very contrasting yet exciting atmospheres that make you nod your head either way.

June 6, 2012

Primavera Sound (III)

Saturday: Quiet Music Day

What I remember from Saturday was that bands of that day were peaceful enough for people who were so tired as I was in that moment (outfits like Kings of Convenience or Beach House were gonna play).

Missing Björk, one of the most amazing moments that day, was the show offered by Jeff Mangum. Jeff is a mystic man, best known for being the lyricist, vocalist and guitarist of Neutral Milk Hotel,  as well as one of The Elephant 6 Recording Company cofounders. After disbanded the former troupe (by 1998), Mangum has been kept largely out of the public eye and only rarely he's playing acoustic sets (I really count myself lucky!). We were advised by the organization that the use of any image recording device was strictly forbidden during the show. And quickly you discover that he has something special to offer... At the very beginning, the artist claimed to his public to come closer and feel the music up to the stage itself. I've to confess that it was the most magic concert I've ever seen, not only for listening to live music that few people could hear but also for being in a place where few people could be in. The whole audience seemed to love him and some sincerely greeting words were given to the artist constantly.

Engine by Jeff Mangum on Grooveshark 
Oh Sister by Jeff Mangum on Grooveshark

One of the bands I've discovered during the festival was Senior I El Cor Brutal. They come from Valencia (Spain) and I'm sure that it's a matter of time before they grow to become a critically acclaimed band like Els Amics de les Arts or Antònia Font (read the post about "Catalan Indie Music" by clicking here). Their songs contain funny lyrics in Catalan about daily, social and political facts within an indie rock style that sounds similar to Pavement or Guided By Voices. This only involved a very small number of people (no more than fifty I think) and it impressed me a lot. If you are a Spanish music follower, please trust me, keep this name in mind… We're gonna listen more about them, seriously!

Tots els ianquis que vull by Senior i El Cor Brutal on Grooveshark 
Lluna de mandarina by Senior i El Cor Brutal on Grooveshark

Now it was time for Kings of Convenience. The Norwegians really had a beautiful intimate live performance and they are excellent as a duo, winning the audience with their friendly and natural attitude, and a crystal clear sound that allowed the crowd to enjoy their superb talent creating unforgettable melodies.

I Don't Know What I Can Save You From by Kings of Convenience on Grooveshark 
Days I Had With You by Kings of Convenience on Grooveshark

If we wanted calmer music, Beach House was definitely the next gig to see. In fact, I noticed that it was the most expected show for the majority because all people (seriously, ALL people from the festival) were there waiting for them. The light disposition created the usually mystic ambient that both Alex Scally and Victoria Legrand tend to like (they search some kind of austerity in public). 

Walk in the Park by Beach House on Grooveshark 
Silver Soul by Beach House on Grooveshark

Shellac is a band that visits Barcelona just to come to PS every single year. So, going to his concert is like an annual tradition. Who cares if they haven't recorded anything since 2007? Their particular rock based on the guitar-bass-drums equation and their constant jokes while presenting their repertoire is always enough to see them live. 

The Admiral by Shellac on Grooveshark

Even if you don't like electronic music at all, you must see Justice live at least once in your life. It's such a great visual performance, a perfect combination of music and lights hard to explain here in words. Just see a video to figure out more or less what I'm talking about.

Civilization by Justice on Grooveshark

The night finally finished with the annual show of DJ Coco (from Apolo club) and here nobody but Spanish people were dancing and having fun realizing that the festival was on its lasts hours. Can you imagine who I met there? A friend of mine introduced me to one of the members of Kings of Convenience. I was so lucky!!

Sunday: Spanish Music Day

Here we're on the last day, which again was full of free concerts carried out in the city center of Barcelona. I wanted to start with Veronica Falls who played in the middle of the Parc de la Ciutadella with a surprisingly cozy atmosphere. Of course, they played their favourite ones Bad FeelingStephen or The Fountain just to put some examples. 

Then I moved to another stage to see Lorena Álvarez Y Su Banda Municipal which was my discovery of the day. This sympathetic band was a kind of bizarre. It's said that 150 copies of their homemade demo is everything they needed to make a big impact on the musical scene and to soar to the level of La Bien Querida when talking about traditional folk revival. They dives into popular song and modernize them playing with lo-fi key. They were really funny and Lorena was laughing all time. She confessed to be fascinated  because so many people were attending their own gig.

But the best was yet to come. Joe Crespúsculo, another Spanish indie revelation, started ten minutes before it was planned. As soon as he started, he danced during forty five minutes while he was singing electronic pop songs such as Tus Cosas Buenas or La Canción De Tu Vida. You'll notice that he has a special sort of singing as well as a special personality (he likes to collect penknives as one of his peculiarities).

Tus cosas buenas by Joe Crepúsculo on Grooveshark 
La canción de tu vida by Joe Crepúsculo on Grooveshark

Nacho Vegas is one of the Spanish indie artists who everyone is talking about nowadays (although he's singing since many years ago) because he has recently launched a new album called La Zona Sucia (2011). It was really funny to see lots of families with their little children dancing while Nacho was singing songs with references to drugs or sex. Anyway, these things happen in an open concert.

Perdimos El Control by Nacho Vegas on Grooveshark 
Actos inexplicables by Nacho Vegas on Grooveshark

Just in the moment when Nacho Vegas was saying goodbye to Barcelona, it started a downpour and I really though that maybe I wouldn't be able to see one of my favourites of that day: Yann Tiersen. But the rain decreased the intensity in the precious moment when Tiersen began to play. The French musician presented us the best electronic version of himself. If someone was waiting for some references to the film "Amélie" surely he returned home very disappointed, because the best fans of Yann know that he hates being related to this movie (although he deserves the fame because of it).  Holding the umbrella in one hand, we could listen to his latest works Dust Lane (2010) and Skyline (2011) in a very multinstrumental way. But also he played Monochrome and that's when I realized that for me the festival could never finish in a better way.

Rue Des Cascades by Yann Tiersen on Grooveshark 
Finding the Money by Yann Tiersen on Grooveshark 
Fuck Me by Yann Tiersen on Grooveshark

June 5, 2012

Primavera Sound (II)

Thursday: Superday 

Here we go with the best hours I could spend in the festival. By that day, all the shows were played at Parc del Fòrum (we had to be wearing our festival wristband at all times).

It was 5 p.m. and I was listening to Doble Pletina, a Spanish twee-pop group from Barcelona, which didn't disappoint me at all in live. Of course, they played their debut record that became a classic recently, Música Para Cerrar Las Discotecas (meaning "Music For Closing Discos"). This is an odd title, taking into account the festival was just beginning, don't you think so? Since they released this album, their legend has done nothing but expands and gathers speed.

Música para cerrar las discotecas by Doble Pletina on Grooveshark

Archers of Loaf were playing not far from where I was, so I had no excuse for not staying there and seeing their show. With their unruly sound, their sharp guitars and teasing melodies they were the darling of the indie world in the mid'90s. I saw them live recently in another festival, so I preferred to focus on other bands.

Dead Red Eyes by Archers of Loaf on Grooveshark

I keep on walking to see Lee Ranaldo live (ex-member of SonicYouth), leaving us fascinating with this distinctive guitarist.

It was still 10 p.m. when one of the most expecting outfits of the day were on stage: Death Cab for Cutie. They hadn't visited Spain since they published Plans (and this was around 2005) thus, the expectation was maximum. And well, I have to say that for me it was finally disappointing. I love them, especially for their lyrics. But definitely it wasn't their best day: they faced technical audio problems while they were playing Doors Unlocked and Open and even Ben Gibbard (the lead vocalist) suddenly started playing the drums for fifteen minutes. I was like WTF?! So, yes… that was my first disappointment of the festival.

Doors Unlocked and Open by Death Cab for Cutie on Grooveshark
I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie on Grooveshark

After the band from Seattle, it was the time for Beirut who played all their hits such as Vagabond, Nantes or Santa Fe. We've talked about Beirut many times in this blog (clik here), so I will only add that it was a pleasure to see their cute singer, Zach Condon, live! 

Vagabond by Beirut on Grooveshark 
Nantes by Beirut on Grooveshark
Santa Fe by Beirut on Grooveshark

At the same time, Wilco was playing in the opposite part of the showground one of the most perfect gigs at this year's festival

 I Might by Wilco on Grooveshark 
 Impossible Germany by Wilco on Grooveshark 

The night was just starting in that moment, because The XX were ready to play an amazing show. I only regret that they performed their hit Crystalised in a weird slow way that many people didn't like and the audience even expressed their displeasure with some whistles.

Fantasy by The xx on Grooveshark
Crystalised by The xx on Grooveshark

I hadn't enough for that day, so I moved to the main stage where Franz Ferdinand was introducing us to some of the latest hits that surely will appear in their fourth album. Some of these title names were Right Thoughts, Brief Encounters or Fresh Strawberries. But, of course, the outfit from Glasgow also played the "classic ones" Take Me Out and Do You Want To.

Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand on Grooveshark
Do You Want To by Franz Ferdinand on Grooveshark

Finally, the last group I could see was Japandroids, who were not very happy with the sound problems they found. They started playing a little bit late, but finally it was worth the trouble because they showed one of the most overpowering live performances of the day.

Younger Us by Japandroids on Grooveshark

Friday: Facing The Dilemma

If Thursday was an amazing day, Friday was second to none. Without many hours of sleeping, I started with Bigott (we already introduced him to you, so click here to read the article). His performance was so funny and he made me laugh a lot. He engaged and really worked the public well. Even a fan through an apple at him, he caught it and ate it during the show. Let me tell you that before going to his concert, I'd only listened to his single Cannibal Dinner, but he has so many songs that I like. Bigott actually surprised me positively.

Cannibal Dinner by Bigott on Grooveshark 
Cool Single Weeding by Bigott on Grooveshark

Then, I moved to the ATP stage where Siskiyou was playing. This band from Canada has some kind of charming that sounds great despite that it was hard to listen to their voices (I've some suspicions that there was audio problems at the ATP stage). I have to say that the way they sing reminds me sometimes to ModestMouse. What's your opinion on that?

Never Ever Ever Ever Again by Siskiyou on Grooveshark 
Edit the Sad Parts by Modest Mouse on Grooveshark

At the same place, we waited for the Swedish dream pop and shoegaze outfit I Break Horses. I was very excited because I'm super fan of Swedish bands (and Scandinavian in general), so this was one of my “must-see” at the festival. They basically presented their last work Hearts (2011) and despite the beautiful voice of Maria Lindén, I could hardly listened to her, what made me think that there was definitely something wrong with the sound system in the ATP stage. Anyway, it was nice to see them finally!

Winter Beats by I Break Horses on Grooveshark 
I Kill Your Love, Baby! by I Break Horses on Grooveshark

One of the biggest gigs of the day was The Cure, who performed a three hours (yes, three hours!!) spectacular show. At the beginning, only one hour and a half was planned for this classic band, but their fans claimed they wanted more tunes, so we finally got the longest concert in the whole festival. Of course, we could listen their super-popular songs such as Friday I'm In Love, Boys Don't Cry, Just Like Heaven and many more (even the less popular ones). What is more interesting in listening to this legendary group is that in a short period of time you are able to revive thirty years of music with an heterogenic repertoire that brings a magic sensation of transporting yourself through the time. 

Friday I'm in Love by The Cure on Grooveshark
Boys Don't Cry by The Cure on Grooveshark
Just Like Heaven by The Cure on Grooveshark

After this mythic gig, it was time to see The Drums. I was faced with the dilemma of choosing this band or M83, who was playing at the same time (it was very far away from where I was at that moment). Finally, I chose The Drums, and I did it well because they managed to do a perfect show having the crowd jumping and dancing through well-known hits contained in both of their first two albums. I enjoyed it a lot. One thing I learned in that concert is that one of their top anthems, Best Friend, was dedicated to one of their buddies who was dead (so sad!!).

Best Friend by The Drums on Grooveshark
What You Were by The Drums on Grooveshark

At the end of the day, The Rapture was playing at the main stage. I loved so much seeing them live, with their cocktail of rock, funk and electronic music. They gave an energetic and good performance with their top hits How Deep Is Your Love or In The Graze Of Your Love (OMG, so much love!!). It was already late in the night and time to go home and wait for another day in the festival.

How Deep Is Your Love by The Rapture on Grooveshark 
In The Grace Of Your Love by The Rapture on Grooveshark 

June 4, 2012

Primavera Sound (I)

<<You get home with the feeling that in three days of partying you have lived 40 years of music, where past, present and future come together constantly.>> That's how Vincent Arquilliere, a music journalist from France, defined in 2008 San Miguel Primavera Sound Festival. And seriously, now I can say he was on the right track.

As usual, the festival brought to Barcelona (Spain) an amazing line up with most of the best international bands of the year. An unenviable experience to other capital cities which also organize such events. Maybe this is the reason why there were more foreigners than local people in most of the shows. 

I got the opportunity to participate in this jollification as an irrelephant correspondent. Yay! And I had firm intention of going to every concert I could. The festival would start on Monday the 28th of May and would finish on Sunday the 3rd of June. One week of live music! Does anything better exist?

This post will be divided into three parts, addressing each of the days in the report.

Monday: Indie Soul Day

Primavera Sound (PS) started with some indoor concerts at Sala Apolo (one of the most famous indie clubs in Barcelona). I've to confess that I didn't know anything about the bands that were playing that night, but is that really a problem? One of the things I enjoy the most is meeting new bands (sometimes some of them become famous after few months!). 

That night was the time to meet Lisa & The Lips from California whose music is a mix between soul and rock and the voice of the singer is rather than impressive. 

The following artist was James Hunter, Grammy Award-nominated English R&B musician and soul singer. One of the songs that they played was Jaqueline which I realized that was dedicated to his dead wife in 2011.

Jacqueline by James Hunter on Grooveshark

Wednesday: Free Music Day 

One of the particular strengths of the PS this year was that free concerts were offered in the city center during two days. Wednesday was one of those days and, in my opinion, the outfits that came were excellent for a non-paying event. 

The first band I could see was Jeremy Jay who has some similarities to Patrick Wolf and was my first great discovery of the evening.

Just Dial My Number by Jeremy Jay on Grooveshark
Armistice by Patrick Wolf on Grooveshark

Then, it was the time for The Walkmen, a band which I absolutely like, playing great hits such as The Rat or Little House Of Savages.

The Rat by The Walkmen on Grooveshark  
Little House of Savages by The Walkmen on Grooveshark

The next outfit was definitely the best of the night. The garage-flavored punk rock band Black Lips, made a great performance that day. I really love them. We could see the singer Cole Alexander many times in the festival that week. It's funny because he really dresses like a beggar. However, don't worry if you meet him! Cole is totally inoffensive.

Bad Kids by Black Lips on Grooveshark 
O Katrina! by Black Lips on Grooveshark

June 1, 2012

Singing Bird

Mr. Andrew Bird, Chicago-based multi-instrumentalist, lyricist and whistler, is full of surprises. The release of his brand new album entitled Break It Yourself, is another colorful and quite introspective exercise containing wonderful intimate tunes. In this recent stuff, Bird sounds more luminous and powerful playing songs with simpler chord structures and accessible lyrical content.

This American fowl, unique in its kind, had been publishing a LP per year from the moment he started his solo career, but on this occasion it has been different. Three years have passed since the edition of Noble Beasts, something very unusual taking into account he's a super-active musician. The album shaped up in a highly personal way as he focused on managing the entire process, self-producing and thereby taking full control of the record, achieving just what he wanted with the final outcome.

In his recent video for Eyeoneye, the singer-songwriter gets the animated treatment, becoming a cartoon cutout to explore his inner workings. Hey, if you remember, Belle and Sebastian were turned into this kind of figures in their latest clip for Crash (click here). Cuddly paper cutout characters seem to be in vogue, huh? Really awesome!