January 28, 2013

Identical Chords (II)

This is the second installment in a series that began a while ago. Click here

I swear, every time I start hearing these two songs, I certainly can't say which is which. No kidding. It's only after the first ten seconds, that I realize what I'm listening to, hehe. The basic ukulele opening chords are exactly the same, and the scale extends through the whole compass of the melody. The Spaniards Klaus & Kinski launched the track from their album Tierra, Trágalos in 2010, while Soledad Vélez (Chilean-born but settled in Spain) released her stuff, Black Light In The Forest, just one year later.

Ok, guys. What do you think 'bout it? Coincidence or plagiarism?

January 25, 2013

Identical Chords (I)

Sometimes I have a tune so stuck in my head that I think I hear it when it really doesn't sound. That's exactly what happened the first time I listen to this song by The xx, a band I started to explore in greater depth relatively recently.

Pay attention to the track below, VCR, and tell me its opening chord (also serving as the basis for the whole melody) and Glasvegas' Geraldine don't look exactly the same, huh? The xx might have been inspired by this song cuz Glasvegas released their single long before. What do you think 'bout it? Coincidence or plagiarism?

January 15, 2013

The NOtional

If you happen to be very familiar with the bands that this blog has tended to laud over the past few years, then chances are you already have a pretty decent understanding of what made the following band called NO (yes, a terrible name and near enough un-googleable!) 

Their songs are soaked with a sense of brooding melancholia, featuring atmospheric drums that pulsate, snarling guitars and melodic choruses, suitably textured in a way that suggests emotions like anxiety and sadness. Lyrically, the outfit seems to centre on using casual metaphors to address relatable situations, like a break up or loneliness in a big city. Hang on, doesn't this all sound strangely familiar? NO is going to get a ton of The National comparisons, and for good reasons. It's an easy (and flattering) but inevitable similarity to make. Indeed, the baritone vocals of The New Zealand native, Bradley Hanan Carter, while speaking about the tension between the wanting and waiting for love, sound like a factory-built Matt Berninger double. Check out this video and tell me if I'm wrong.

January 12, 2013

Cutting Cat

Los Punsetes is a household name in the Spanish indie scene. Nevertheless, I don't like them at all. Or at least, I held this opinion for a long time.

Do you know these bands with girls who sing in that monotone naive vocal style that resembles kindergarten teachers? Okey then. They are an example of it.

Nonetheless, I cannot deny that their kind of aesthetic and their crudely humorous, ironic and nihilistic me-against-the-world lyrics (sometimes containing language not suitable for all audiences), led the outfit being simultaneously unique, refreshing and provocative. I don't know. It can be the forthcoming breeze of a band that's entering maturity, but the Madrilenian quintet seem to have settled for finding a comfortable groove since the launch of  their third album entitled Una Montaña Es Una Montaña (A Mountain Is A Mountain). 

As opposed to what we were used to, they've decided to progress within the confines of well executed clean guitar rock more often than making us feel uncomfortably delighted with their enfant-terrible approach. Yep folks, I never thought I would say this, but I find their song Un Corte Limpio (Clean Cut) absolutely amazingly beautiful (despite talking about surgeons and experienced killers, hehe). Seriously, I love the way it grows with intensity and finishes with a massive ending. Superb!

If that track leaves you scratching your head, you probably want to listen to the album in its entirety. Just click the button below and you'll get it.

January 7, 2013

A Call For Forgiveness

You know it. The most telling expressions of sadness, exhaustion, loss, grief, consumption and melancholy are to be found in romance. 

Sometimes, we don't want to accept that love is a relationship where give and take rarely occurs in equal degrees. Sometimes we don't understand it is not the proper moment. Sometimes we don't even realize that people who may feel overwhelmed and losing themselves need to go off on their own and withdraw. Sometimes we screwed up once and again and again. 

This story is one of forgiveness. A strange, delighting and disturbing universe where lyrics delve into something profound: the tears and agony, the accumulation of errors, the acceptance of those personal mistakes, the fight against our cornered animal instincts which are inevitably exposed from time to time, and the frenzied call for clemency and reconciliation with minimal traces of hope.

El Columpio Asesino - Perlas

January 2, 2013

Nihilism About Love

A thinly veiled motive of lacking the sufficient time to do the necessary writing for posts means I'll bring you some new things that I've recently discovered instead, which is probably a good diversion and more in keeping with what this blog is about anyhow.

I can't remember either how I discovered Lorena Álvarez y su Banda Municipal (Spanish for Town Band ). But the thing is that I wasn't expecting it. In recent weeks, I've seen them live twice and this can only mean one thing: this outfit has fascinated me from the very first moment.

They weren't just there to play their songs one after another at breakneck speed and then get the hellout of there, which I've seen with a few bands lately, but there to have some fun themselves. A handful of small children from the audience even jumped on stage to dance and play some instruments with them. It was soooo funny... 

Lorena originally comes from Asturias, in Northern Spain, and she describes her songwriting as a way to reclaim the culture of that region without being archaic or obsolete. Only after listening to the first album, Anónimo, which opens with the sound of a flock of sheep, one realizes how bad it has been used so far the word 'bucolic' to refer to the music. Hehe.

The outfit poke fun at stories of traditions, animals, friendship and love (especially the latter) in sub-two-minute tracks at times humorous and satirical, at times lyrical, but always dazzling. I actually do identify myself with most of the lyrics. Damn, guys! It's a shame if you can't understand what exactly they are talking about. No worries though because the melodies are simply great, covering all types of Spanish folkloric music. Tambourines, guitars, bass drums, friction drums, empty bottles well suited for being transformed into percussion, swanee whistles, vessel flutes which imitate bird calls, castanets, rattles made of dozens of goat hooves, maracas and shakers are some of the instruments they use in their romances, pasodoblesjotasmuñeiras and sephardic songs.

Enjoy the band's rough cut, La Cinta, in their entirety and tell me your opinions below.