In an effort to reflect the dominant trends in Japanese indie music, we chose Osaka indie-pop outfit Wallflower to appear in the May 2012 edition of the Music Alliance Pact. There “Cure Your Heart” is one of the peppiest songs with twee DNA to pop out of the country this year…and there have been many. They have a new album out new month, as well. Check out “Cure Your Heart” along with a bunch of other great songs from all over the globe below.
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 whole 34-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Wallflower – Cure Your Heart
Indie-pop music never left Japan, as bands trying to sound twee have been popping up since the C86 tape dropped. Yet this year has seen a boom in jangly rock groups, with Osaka outfit Wallflower being one of the catchiest. They take cues from The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and even opened for that American band when they came to Japan earlier this year. This song shows they learned well from The Pains, as they nail dreamy indie-pop yearning in just over three minutes.
Prietto Viaja Al Cosmos Con Mariano – Ey, Esa No Es Forma De Decir Adiós
PVACCM is a psychedelic rock duo (Mariano, drums and vocals; Prietto, guitar and vocals) from Buenos Aires. Their first recordings were kind of lo-fi experiments but in the last couple of years they’ve developed a unique sound with melodies and lyrics that grow on you in a melancholic way. This track is their rendition of Leonard Cohen’s classic tune Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye and features on their last album, a 28-song double record that you can purchase from Bandcamp.
Mile Me Deaf – Wild At Heart
Mile Me Deaf is one of the other bands Killed By 9V Batteries’ Wolfgang Möstl plays in. And although side-projects – such an unfair name for a 500+ songs oeuvre – are usually a space for weird shit your band mates didn’t agree to, their first album Eat Skull, and especially the first single Wild At Heart, is surprisingly free of noise and distortion. Instead, it creates the last-day-of-summer-holidays feeling you know from Girls and Beach House.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Leonardo Marques – Linha Do Trem
Nostalgic melodies are the hallmark of Dia e Noite No Mesmo Céu, the debut album of Leonardo Marques. His songs recall a bucolic scenery, romantic and lonely, as we can hear on Linha Do Trem. Leonardo recorded all instruments on his solo work (except drums) in a homely, intimate setting. His music is likely to appeal to fans of Elliott Smith, Clube Da Esquina and Jon Brion.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
The Rest – Always On My Mind
The story of The Rest’s new album, SEESAW, will be one of legend. First, their dear friend and producer Dan Achen passed away suddenly just as they started recording. Then, a month away from finishing the record, a hard-drive glitch deleted everything they’d done so far. It took a black box recovery team six months to retrieve it. Now, more than a year later, it’s here. And it’s stunning. The beautifully hazy Always On My Mind just hints at SEESAW’s orchestral brilliance.
CHILE: Super 45
Daniel Klauser – Simply Swag
If we had to put all our money on one name from the Chilean dance scene, it would definitively be Daniel Klauser. The young producer skillfully brings together elements from 90s house, ghetto-style hip hop and tribal music, and has so far gathered a considerable amount of positive reviews from local and international media. This track open his Simply Swag EP, which you can download for free from Diamante Records.
Snapline – Sustaining
Beijing-based trio Snapline just released their second album Phenomena through Maybe Mars Records. Their music puts a contemporary Beijing spin on the sounds and ideas produced by the noise and minimalist musicians of the 70s and 80s, especially focusing on the New York scene of that period. They also explore the dark, industrial music coming out of England during that period, especially from bands such as Joy Division and The Cure.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Like Some Cat From Japan – Johnny Ramone
Like Some Cat From Japan (LSCFJ) take their name from a line in one of David Bowie’s masterpieces, Ziggy Stardust. This electro group from Bogotá have a dance-punk sound that is perfect for the sweaty throng of a nightclub and dancing from dark until dawn.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
SLOWOLF – See U In My Dreams
This summer Andreas Asingh, one third of lauded electro-pop outfit SMALL, will release his debut as SLOWOLF. Not much is known about the project but he says that black metal, hip hop and dream pop will unite, perhaps for the first time, on the album which will also feature a chorus written by a seven-year-old boy and Raekwon of the Wu-Tang Clan. Here’s the excellent first single See U In My Dreams, a Music Alliance Pact exclusive download.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Sarah Young – Ajambo Si
Sarah Young, noted the Guardian’s New Band of the Day writer, is the queen of moombahton, the genre that fuses Dutch house and reggaeton, soca and dancehall. If anyone is going to cross over and “do a Katy B”, as such a manoeuvre is becoming known, it’s this 22-year-old graduate of the Academy of Contemporary Music turned DJ, producer and all-round moom-bassador. Ajambo Si, the opening track on her new EP, features Lioness and Slick Don and is based on a kuduro rhythm, but to the NBotD writer it sounded “like dubstep meets dancehall or Caribbean grime, like Dizzee if he went to St Lucia on holiday and never came back”.
All Will Be Quiet – The First Day Pt. 2
Post-rock band All Will Be Quiet releases its debut album On The First Day this month. It is a concept record about the collapse and rebirth of society with an optimistic view on the how the future will be for mankind. Equally ambitious is The First Day Pt. 2, a grandiose and cinematic instrumental song that opens the second part of the album.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Birkii – Holy War
Birkii brought us the joyful pop song Shade Of Doubt last year on the great Kitsuné Parisien compilation, and then appeared in many mixes and playlists, including Edwin van Cleef’s April mixtape. Now she’s back with Holy War, a catchy synth-pop song from Kitsuné Parisien II that will also be on her debut EP out on June 4, with remixes from Equateur, Pol Rax, Pegase (last month’s MAP artist) and Zemaria.
Christian Loeffler – Eleven (feat. Mohna)
There are many subtle things in Christian Loeffler’s debut A Forest which make his music very contemporary – there is swishing, there is rustling, there is clacking, there is tinging. In the pleasantly moody track Eleven, Mohna, singer of former MAP band Me Succeeds, adds another level to Loeffler’s calm but vivid opus.
The Lovely Lion – Into The Forest
Representing the new wave of Icelandic folk-pop revival, The Lovely Lion are ones to watch for the future. Though this young and extremely talented band have only recorded a handful of songs and are still unsigned, their unique approach to songwriting and polished sound is sure to grab the attention of music lovers everywhere.
Not Squares – Fall Far
Northern Irish electro punks Not Squares have ditched the ultra high-energy in favour of a more restrained dancefloor synth-pop sound for their new single. While Fall Far’s new direction can be compared to the kind of stuff coming out on the Kitsuné label, it must be said that this is a very good look and a surprising one for the band. The best Irish song released in April bar none.
The Mojomatics – You Are The Reason For My Trouble
You Are The Reason For My Trouble is the fourth album by The Mojomatics, one the best and coolest garage rock bands around Italy and Europe. The duo from Venice brings into their sound echoes of Rolling Stones, Kinks and Dylan, but what I deeply love about their songs and concerts is their tireless energy.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Stolen Creep – Throw Your Heart To The Sea
Stolen Creep is the brainchild of childhood friends Marie Borg Alden (guitars, vocals) and Rebecca Theuma (drums). The band has had many different members, recently settling into the current line-up of Marie, Rebecca and Katryna Storace (guitars, vocals). Following a busy year of writing, rewriting and rehearsals, they chose their favourite songs and retreated to record their first EP, Throw Your Heart To The Sea.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Andy Mountains – Hoy Me Gusta Mi Peinado
The title of this song, translated into English, is “Today, I Like My Hair”. With the naive viewpoint of early college students, this Mexico City quintet portrait everyday existential nuances with an optimism only an iPod advertisement would reach. But don’t classify Andy Mountains as cheap, feelgood jingle-makers. Their sound thrives in high-brow references that go from Animal Collective to the minimalism of La Monte Young. Give this tune a try and have a good hair day!
Audioley – Same Old
Audioley is a new project by Francois Peglau and Jules Drade, two Peruvian musicians based in London. Audioley started as an experiment, with the duo meeting one night every week to make a song a day. First single Same Old is feelgood electronic pop and comes with a curious and funny video.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
T(h)ree – Starlight
T(h)ree was featured in MAP in February 2011. T(h)ree is not a band but a project which brings together musicians/bands from Portugal and, for this second volume, Philippines and Singapore. In the featured track, we have Stealing Orchestra (Portugal), Maze (Portugal) and The Analog Girl (Singapore) playing together.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Harry Rag – Tiny Painting
Harry Rag is the solo project of Kristian Prieto (Coleco, Alegría Rampante), who wanted to figure out just how many sounds and moods he could generate with his acoustic guitar. Prieto has released seven ‘web albums’ under the Harry Rag name, all recorded in his bedroom straight to a four-track, each one expanding on his guitar experiments and polishing up his sound. Tiny Painting is a great recent example of his prowess as a young musician and is taken from his latest album, The Ghastly Adventures Of Ghost Goat.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Jazzadezz – Fairy
Jazzadezz is a dream pop/new wave band formed by Alin Zabrauteanu (synths, guitar, production) and Dezdemona Mihaescu (vocals). For their 2010 debut album Inimani Mal, Calin Torsan (Domnisoara Pogany and NU & Apa Neagră) joined the band playing clarinet, recorder and caval. In 2012, another two members were added, Alex Stanciu on guitar (also in Domnisoara Pogany) and drummer Eduard Gabia, a renowned choreographer and contemporary artist. The second album, Panta Rhei, was released last month and experiments in new areas such as ambient, post-rock and trip-hop.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
2muchachos – Striwi Kri4at
Striwi Kri4at is a beautiful instrumental piece from romantic dream pop band 2muchachos, who released their Vesnywki!! EP last month, a perfect soundtrack for spring.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Julia And The Doogans – Down The Line
Julia Doogan has everything you’d want from a pop singer – a genuinely distinguishable voice, a breakable heart, just the right amount of melancholy, and lyrics that are honest but not mushy. MAP exclusive free download Down The Line is taken from Julia And The Doogans’ achingly graceful new five-track Diamonds EP (buy on Bandcamp), and shows off the talents of Julia and her lush band to near perfection.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Sze Kiat – Once In A While
No man is an island, yet one gets the sense that the musical ideas that transpire in Sze Kiat’s mind were born from the stillness of time. There’s an unhurried approach to his songwriting and an intimacy that evokes a strain that could only come from a sort of crying out from some terrifying or forsaken place. Featuring traditional Chinese stringed instruments such as the erhu and the zhongruan, the sparse instrumentation serves as the background to Sze Kiat’s simple yet emotive lyrics.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Nate Maingard – The Open Space
Nate Maingard is an indie-folk singer-songwriter from Cape Town whose music often brings the likes of Damien Rice, Coldplay and Jack Johnson to mind. His voice has been compared to Thom Yorke and Ben Gibbard, and his easy style and sense of melody shine through on The Open Space with a passionate undertone throughout.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
E9 – My Little Flutter
E9, short for Edward Nine, wish to combine the pureness of Edward Scissorhands with the rampage of Nine Inch Nails. Their sound is influenced by groups like Placebo and Muse, while their lyrics tell fairy tales. The band has been around for several years and are preparing to release their first EP. My Little Flutter is a perfect sample of E9’s mixture of grunge, punk and Britpop with electronic sounds.
Boreals – Luciérnagas
Boreals are probably younger than any of you beloved MAP readers but that doesn’t mean they don’t know what they’re doing. And what they do is deliver a fine mixture of cosmic post-rock (clearly influenced by Explosions In The Sky) embellished with clouds of synths that makes their sound epic and heart-touching, just as post-rock should. Luciérnagas, one of their most atmospheric tracks, is taken from their second EP, Grecia, released through Barcelona-based label Irregular, home of former MAP acts Lasers and The Suicide Of Western Culture.
Skatan – Control
The new record from Skatan is out on May 23 and is called Seven Trees. The first single, Control, features a little more eclectic instrumentation than in the past and Simone Andersson Wingfors’ voice is less processed and more immediate, resulting in a song that hits all the right chords.
Baba Shrimps – Angel
This five-piece from Zurich play impulsive pop music with a blend of country and rock. Baba Shrimps will release a new record at the end of 2012, but to shorten the waiting time they have dropped a live version of a new, unreleased song called Angel.
Solardip – Leap Of Faith
With their French electro/indie-influenced sound, Solardip is one of the few live acts of their genre in the country. In a short time, these three Istanbul youngsters have attracted a big audience. Debut album Future Now came out in March through Remoov Records after the release of the spectacular single and sexy video of Dance Like Wolves.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Nicole Miglis – Stay Small
There’s no hiding my affection for Gainesville’s Hundred Waters, one of 2012’s best new bands. Just as bewilderingly complete, elegant and worth exploring is the solo work of their frontwoman, Nicole Miglis. Stay Small is from her debut self-titled EP, which you can download for free here.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Ulises Hadjis – Donde Va
Ulises Hadjis is a young artist from Maracaibo. Despite his fledgling career, he already has two albums and a Latin Grammy as a music producer to his name. His second record, Cosas Perdidas, was released last month. In his own words, it is “an honest collection of songs” and shows more maturity in his lyrics and compositions than its predecessor, Presente.