Last week, I reviewed MFP’s new album Mindful Beats Vol. 2. for The Japan Times. Read that here. Now, a few days later, the Osaka producer represents Japan in this month’s Music Alliance Pact, wherein more than 30 blogs from all over the world share a great track from their respective country. Check out a bunch of great tunes 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 35-track compilation through Ge.tt here.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
MFP – Theme For The Movement
MFP, the recording name of Osaka’s Masaki Konagai, named his latest album Mindful Beats Vol. 2, but the music within is more than rapper bait. MFP cites the late beat-maker J Dilla as a major inspiration, and album highlight Theme For The Movement carries the same this-does-not-need-rapping-over-it quality so prevalent in the best works of Dilla. It surges with more electricity, though, making it one of the most energetic tracks from an album brimming with them.
Diosque – Melancolía Del Futuro
Diosque is a singer-songwriter born in Tucumán. Melancolía Del Futuro is our favorite song from his brand new album, Bote, in which Diosque enjoys playing with samplers and acoustic instruments like guitars and percussion. It was released by QQ Records on vinyl and can also be downloaded for free by visiting his website.
A Thousand Fuegos – No Up No Down
“Don’t you know that everything we build up once will fall apart someday?” Time and religious metaphors are recurring themes on The Treachery Of Things, from which No Up No Down is taken. The album circles around the notion that we can never grasp the true identity of the things around us; they remain passive while we assign attributes to them. A Thousand Fuegos started out as a lo-fi project and these days focuses on beats, loops and spacey synths that create a mystical atmosphere.
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Siba – Canoa Furada
Canoa Furada is one of the liveliest songs from Siba’s new album Avante, on which the unusual formation of his band stands out with a fanfare vibe and a cool feeling that combines contemporary music and regional rhythms. Avante is available to download for free at Siba’s website.
CANADA: Quick Before It Melts
Kalle Mattson – Water Falls
Kalle Mattson recently racked up over a million views of their Thick As Thieves video, which is impressive for any indie band. The attention generated by the video shouldn’t be dismissed as hype. Kalle Mattson are impressive songwriters and musicians, and have fans across Canada eagerly awaiting their new EP (from which Water Falls comes from) at the start of May.
CHILE: Super 45
Poki Tatane – Esclavos Rumbo Al Virreinato
Behind the peculiar name of Poki Tatane hides one of the most interesting projects in the Chilean electronic scene. Esclavos Rumbo Al Virreinato is from his first EP, Breve Explicación De Las Partes (available for free at Discos Pegaos), which takes elements from a more organic dubstep, adding a particularly melodic sense to the compositions.
Xiban – Drunk Ghost
Xiban is a contemporary world music band who describe themselves as being “fresh, wild, wandering, funny, and direct”, with the added tag of “folk music phoenix nirvana” thrown in for good measure. The musicians are from China, France and the United States. Combine Shanxi opera with Beijing and Jiangzhou drumming, add some Yellow River chanting, Tibetan long tune, Australian Aboriginal music, Indian organs and elements of modern electronic music and you have an idea of how eclectic their brand of music is.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
Crew Peligrosos – Medayork
From Medellín, we present you Crew Peligrosos – 16 people tearing up the scene with their urban sounds and mise-en-scène. Medayork contains the best flavors of old school hip hop with the song title paying tribute to two cities key to the development of hip hop culture in Colombia – Medellín and New York.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Lydmor – Lamppost Light
This acoustic version of Lamppost Light was (and is) originally a video shot in a theater in Denmark’s second city, Aarhus. But since I really, really like Lydmor aka Jenny Rossander’s take on her otherwise electrofied pop self, I had my people tell her people to give all you people the song as a MAP exclusive. Oh, and if you want to watch the video here it is.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Seye – White Noise (Olugbenga Edit)
Seye Adelekan’s urgent floor-stomper gets held gently by the shoulders and told to take a minute thanks to a pitched-up, slowed-down remix by the Nigerian-born scenester’s older brother, Metronomy bassist Olubenga Adelekan. Seye, who’s been a gun for hire for Lana Del Rey, The Noisettes and Ellie Goulding in the past, is just coming into his own through an upcoming debut album of globe-trotting pop that had the Guardian’s Paul Lester hail the Bromley-based star as “like a younger, cooler Paul Simon around the time of his African adventure or Peter Gabriel circa So”. If Seye’s original suggests the woozy slip of a party on the turn, Gbenga’s remix is the regretful aftermath.
Weepikes – What About
Weepikes was an alternative rock band in Helsinki that called it a day in 1997 after three intense years. A little wiser, a little older, the band reformed some months ago and recorded new songs with the help of American producer and musician Kramer. Now Weepikes are ready to deliver more of their characteristic blend of punk and progressive rock, or, as a journalist called it back in the day, PRONK.
FRANCE: Yet You’re Fired
Pegase – Without Reasons
Pegase, known for being the singer of the successful band Minitel Rose, started his solo project with the single Without Reasons. Its immediate appeal lies in the fragile emotion it emanates, the simple rhythm backed by airy and cold synths, and a superb, dreamy choir. Signed to the same label as Rhum For Pauline, Pegase will, without a doubt, be just as successful. Watch the wonderful video for Without Reasons here.
Hundreds – Fighter
The music of Hundreds is breathing, a bit like an asthmatic whose gasps always make a little swish. The Milner siblings tend to garnish their songs carefully, patterns of shivery sounds which texture warm rhythm beats, airy and clasping at the same time. Fighter is taken from their free Under The Icicles EP, which you can download via the lovely label Sinnbus.
Thanos Anestopoulos – Xanarthan Ta Sunnefa
After the blossoms of a long journey with Diafana Krina, Thanos Anestopoulos blazes his own musical trail with a beautiful, bleak and intimate solo album. Os To Telos (“To The End”) is brimmed full of personal memories and wrapped in warmth and emotional sincerity. It works best as a concise listen, as each song segues naturally into the next. Xanarthan Ta Sunnefa (“The Clouds Have Returned”) is a finely detailed hymn with a deceptively light touch, led by his soulful, baritone voice and brittle acoustic guitar.
Prinspóló – Fostudagsmessa
This is the first new song Prinspóló has released since his debut album Jukk in June 2011. Fostudagsmessa most likely does not make sense to you, since it is in Icelandic, so let Prinspóló himself explain: “The song is about the place you don’t want to be at. For example, a dark and dirty nightclub where everybody is pretending to have fun and everything is great.”
Mushafear – Meats In
Even though most people in Indonesia only knew Kurt Cobain from television, magazines, CDs and the internet, there are a handful of devoted fans who still yell their angst to the establishment, family and social system. One of the best bands from the community are Mushafear, who are fronted by Mirantie Boreel, an angry young lady while on stage but a humble girl off it.
Wonder Villains – 33
The sense of exuberance and energy coming from the speakers when a Wonder Villains track is playing is almost too much. This pop punk band from Derry make music that could only come from young minds and (relative) inexperience, but that primal energy makes it so infectious. Revel in their youth. It’s a lot of fun.
Drink To Me – Future Days
“Life is an experiment and that’s why it is interesting,” says the first line of Future Days, and it’s something that could fit with the music of Drink To Me as well, especially with their new album, S. Amazing percussions, a lot of spacey synths, echoes of Animal Collective and MGMT – you can never tell what’s going to happen next. “We’re wide awake and we’re working on the future days”, and judging by this song, Drink To Me appear to have a lot fun doing it. And us too!
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
MegaFun – You’re So Cool!
MegaFun is 16-year-old Daniel Abdilla. When not fronting his band Clandestines, he is churning out bedroom recordings under the MegaFun moniker. He forms part of a Maltese DIY scene which has blossomed over the past couple of years.
MEXICO: Red Bull Panamérika
Centavrvs – El Caudillo Del Sur
The Mexican Revolution started in 1910 and during the centenary festivities, a group of deviant jazz, funk and electro musicians from Guadalajara formed Centavrvs. Their cunning mixture of old “corridos” (speeches and folk songs) from the Revolution and contemporary aesthetics create a Mexi-tronica sound that departs adventurously from the roads explored by the Nortec Collective over the past decade. Viva la Revolución!
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Aafke Romeijn – Stella XVII
Aafke Romeijn is no shrinking violet singer-songwriter. Having fronted the all-female folk-rock band Mister Blue Sky for six years, she recently released a pleasing debut solo album titled Stella Must Die! As a solo artist, she calls to mind Amanda Palmer, not simply because this record is based heavily on piano and accordion, but because the songs are as theatrical and lyrically conceptual as Palmer’s are renowned for. As Aafke says: “It’s a record about pretty girls, secretly making out during school lunch breaks, throwing kitchen knives and, of course, about Stella.”
Xilófonmático – La Aventura De Los Insectos
An album doesn’t require large studios to impress and excite. Take, for example, the home project of Xilófonmático (a compound of xylophone and automatic). His first work, La Aventura De Los Insectos (Ipod EP), mixes instrumental and sung songs with playful and surreal touches. The EP is a rollercoaster of emotions, with the same ups and downs.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Walter Benjamin – Airports And Broken Hearts
Walter Benjamin is the artistic name of Luis Nunes. He is a singer and songwriter from a new generation of Portuguese musicians, some of whom he has played with and/or produced (for instance, MAP alumni Noiserv, Minta, Julie & The Carjackers). His new album, The Imaginary Life Of Rosemary And Me, is out this month and we proudly present the first free download from it.
PUERTO RICO: Puerto Rico Indie
Similar – Cíclope
Similar began as a studio project between Daniel Vicente and Ariel Hernandez back in 2009. Their debut EP showcased a mean pop sensibility with striking noise textures and was well received. The duo recruited musicians to perform as a live ensemble, but with the departure of Vicente to concentrate on his solo project, Pasajero, Ariel moved to consolidate a more psychedelic and aggressive sounding band. Cíclope is the first track recorded by its most recent line-up, which includes guitarist Gaby Vidal of local metal group Ongo. It will be part of the band’s first full-length, expected later this year.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Mojo Barrel – Catch The Devil
Mojo Barrel are a young band from Cluj who successfully merge rock with funk and blues. In their own words, they have the mojo – the magic, the charm, the inspiration, the creative trigger, the talent – and the barrel – the place where it all begins, blends, becomes and finally breaks through.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Videatape – Coastal Lights
Parad Planet, the debut album of St Petersburg rock trio Videatape, combines amazingly melodic songs both in English and Russian with soft lyrics, a great vibe and beautiful sadness.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
JERC – ADHD
JERC is the alter-ego of self-confessed music obsessive James Campbell. The 22-year-old from Aberdeen started producing hip-hop tracks for local artists when he was a teenager before moving on to DJing in clubs, remixing and setting up his own label, Why Not Records. Most significantly, he is creating his own solo work and the pounding, delirious, sleazy-synthed electro house of ADHD is as intoxicating a debut track as you could ever hope to discover.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
Winterhalter – Squirrel Land
Don’t take the music of Winterhalter too seriously. It’s great if you can name all the references in any given song, but doing so seems counterintuitive to what’s intended by Shaun Soh, the brains behind the project. Performing sporadic shows within Singapore’s shores, Winterhalter is a sort of myth, but recordings of the music are available if you ask nicely, just like we have. So go on, have a listen. A real treat would be the four-track EP, I Am Worthy of God’s Love, released as an entire song on Soundcloud.
SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Saintfearless – Conventional Love Song
With their dynamic, rich sound and equally watchable stage performance, Saintfearless is making waves around the country as well as within the music industry. With a frontman to rival any other and talented musicians to back him up, Saintfearless offer fresh, catchy indie-rock songs.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
Byul.org – Pacific
For as long as they’ve been around, Byul.org have been one of the most interesting entities in Korea’s music scene. Last month the collective had their first proper album Secret Stories Heard From A Girl In An Opium Den released in the US and Europe through Burnt Toast Vinyl, putting a decade’s worth of intriguing work on display. Though Byul.org are not usually afraid to experiment, Pacific (see video) is a retro pop number on the electronic side with an invitation to both dance and dream.
Evripidis And His Tragedies – Teeth
Evripidis And His Tragedies are a familiar face in Barcelona’s indie music scene. Led by Evripidis Sabatis from Athens, Greece, they deliver carefully handcrafted pop, inspired by 60s innocence. Evripidis opens up his heart in every song, as we can tell by the sincere, melancholic and emotional lyrics that most of us will feel like our own. Teeth may be the darkest but most necessary song they have recorded, and there’s also a video for it.
Domi Chansorn – Leaving In A Gentle Way
A tragic incident brought Domi Chansorn to his first drum kit. His dad, also a drummer, died in a car accident. Now, 15 years later, he has won the m4music Demotape Clinic – Switzerland’s most important contest for young musicians – with his first album Bright Times Can Be Dark As Well (free download), which he recorded completely on his own. His singer-songwriter-approach is genuine, playful and brisk.
Farfara – Water Air
Farfara is a dream-pop trio from Istanbul and Berlin. The members say the band invented itself with a psychedelic brew of kraut drums, shoegazing guitars, airy synths, ethereal vocals, lots of Love and a clear commitment to pop. They convey a simple though profound expression. Their second album is released this month – keep an eye on their Bandcamp page and drown yourself in the dreamy waters of Farfara.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Alabama Shakes – On Your Way
We often try to give you some unearthed gems every month and who knows, maybe you’re unfamiliar with Alabama Shakes? If so, we’re gonna change that ASAP by introducing you to the soulful Southern rockers and their gem On Your Way. This band blew up from obscurity last autumn, signed to ATO Records and will open for Jack White on his solo tour. It’s good to know all the new fame won’t change their sound, though.
VENEZUELA: Música y Más
Alfred Gómez Jr – On The Ground
Alfred Gómez Jr has changed everything with his new album Simple (name your price on Bandcamp). In his previous album, La Reina Peinándose, we could hear urban and Latin rhythms merged fairly harmoniously. This time he has incorporated elements of jazz and pop-rock that will take his music to a whole new audience.