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Plus qu'un groupe, Cracbooms est une bande de copains qui partagent un même goût pour une pop décomplexée et chantée en français, à la manière d'Aline (ex-Young Michelin) avec qui ils ont eu la bonne idée de partager l'affiche du festival Tombés Pour La France. Cracbooms expriment simplement les choses complexes de la vie : le soleil, les amis, les jolies filles, avec une désinvolture et une aisance folle. Sonnant comme un brillant mélange entre Wild Nothing, Two Door Cinema Club (parfois) et Aline, mais avec une identité toute propre, Cracbooms c'est du talent et beaucoup de bonheur, à écouter et ré-écouter sans modération. Profitez-en, leur second EP Copains Soleil est presque gratuit.
Cosmo is an indie-pop band which features members or former members of other groups that are well-known to the Buenos Aires independent music scene (Pablo de Caro from Mataplantas, Ayar Sava from Interama, Pablo Font from Les Mentettes and AndrÈs Ravioli from Mompox and Brian Storming, among others). A couple of months ago they released their self-titled first album, with songs that combine vintage synthesized sounds and beats with acoustic instruments and fine arrangements. You can download the whole album for free.
Anna Kohlweis has released three albums as Paper Bird, however these days she prefers her new alias Squalloscope. Goodbyes in bus terminals, long train rides, sitting on planes and bottles of wine have influenced her upcoming album Soft Invasions. Domino is a singer-songwriter take on R'n'B combined with postmodern lyrics: "I'm a copy of a copy of a copy of a woman, you're the copy of a copy of a copy of a guy."
BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Graveola e o Lixo PolifÙnico is a creative band that experiments with MPB (mainstream Brazilian pop music) and makes organic mashups, appropriating themes of bands from various genres to create new works. Their new record is available for download from their website.
Seeing as Amity Beach a) only have a three-song EP to their name and b) look like they're probably still in high school, I might be jumping the gun on praising them. Still, listening to this track (along with the other two), it's hard not to be excited. They've got a great ear for catchy pop and I'd be surprised - not to mention a little disappointed - if this doesn't lead to some great things.
CHILE: Super 45
A couple of years ago, Survey Team was just a frail bedroom duo with singer Carla Bolgeri adding colorful and sweet melodies to folk-guitar patterns created by her bandmate, Francisco MarÌn. They've certainly changed. Today, they are a powerful quintet with sounds that shock and hit with electric sensuality. Valdivia De ViÒa is a summer premiËre, soon to be included in their debut album Suriname, which validates Survey Team as a pop delicacy from the current Chilean pop wave and a highly versatile band by successfully flirting with reggae.
Mr. Graceless is a Beijing-based indie-rock trio. They try to keep a low profile, moving forward step by step. They are tepid and unassuming, and have a clear-cut stand on what to love and what to hate. The love, pain, fantasy and fervor of youth are the best tags for their music. They prefer beautiful melodies and independent attitude. Mr. Graceless is touring around China with their debut release The Tree Ever Green.
COLOMBIA: El Parlante Amarillo
øCÛmo Llorar Al RevÈs o Regresar Al Asfalto o Espantar Mi Propio Cuerpo Inerte o Desaparecer y Volver a Aparecer? - this is the complete title of this piece by singer-songwriter Juli·n Mayorga, born in IbaguÈ. It's an interesting, poetic union between pop and folk that hides, in what he calls La PequeÒa Orquesta SintÈtica (synths and computers), the deep and very personal landscapes that his soft voice creates.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
"We are still wild animals," Spleen United proclaim on Bright Cities Keep Me Awake, from their long-awaited and impressive third full-length, School Of Euphoria. It's a sentiment carrying truth and one somewhat defining for principal songwriter and frontman Bjarke Niemann's lyrical appendage to the dark, synthesized rock reminiscing 90s electro, house and (euro)dance. It makes School Of Euphoria a rather despondent, while immensely awesome, listen.
ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Wild Combination's sound itches and twists in an effort to etch itself across indie's sonic history. It shouldn't worry so much. The Essex trio responsible know how to channel the best of recent backbeat melancholia (Foals, The Postal Service) and that's more than enough. This demo version of Great Expectations - mixed specially for MAP - clips along, the addition of a swarth of dreamy synths tying it just to the right side of funky.
Noise, pop, fuzz, sound experiments. Black Twig is one of the hottest bands in the Finnish indie scene at the moment with their just-released debut album, Paper Trees. In their own words, Black Twig's sound has echoes of modern fuzzed-out pop experiments as well as of 60s garage-rock gems, sometimes developing a sensibility for hypnotic, repetitive drones.
The two guys behind Wooden Peak are getting famous for their gigs where they occupy a whole stage while just sitting on their stools, carefully watching each other. Although their set-up with guitar and drums seems quite like a garage band, their singing and acoustic play triggers very different emotions - calm and dizziness, homeliness and wanderlust. Pills Start Work is a great MAP exclusive which slightly resembles early Whitest Boy Alive. The album Lumen has just been released on the lovely label Analogsoul.
Nine years is a long time to wait, but new album Mass Vulture finds Bokomolech embracing and sifting through the finer moments of their past over the course of 10 outstanding songs. The record is once again exceptionally crafted and gorgeously composed, richly textured and potently rhythmic, instilled with instrumental mastery and consistent music ideas, powerfully expressive vocals, remarkable melodic turns, lovely harmonic noises, sleek and slippery riffs. They have created a sparse and thrilling work of strikingly expansive ambition with the arresting delicacy of the quieter, dreamier tunes capable of ripping up your emotions.
Animals is from Vigri's debut album Pink Boats. The band decided to travel around many of the small churches in Iceland's countryside to record the song, but the end result is from what they recorded in the Flatey island church.
Spring/Summer come from Bandung and are the freshest breed of (what we Indonesians call) Britpop revivalism. With a twist of The Smiths, Joy Division and Blueboy and a bit of attitude, they make tasty, raw music. They probably won't be the next big thing, but their music provides enjoyable reminiscing of teenage years spent looking for second-hand Smiths CDs at the local thrift store.
If I could, I would pick the entire Loud Mouth collective as Ireland's MAP representatives this month. They are a coterie of producers, rappers, musicians and DJs who have released three volumes of freely downloadable new music taking in electronica, rap and post-dubstep. Redahan is one producer at the heart of the collective and his evocative and expansive Ru In Daejeon is indicative of the collective's scope and vision.
On their sophomore album, Crowd Surfing, the young Heike Has The Giggles pin down even more precisely the range of their influences - from the lighter Nineties pop-punk full of fun to the stronger Noughties punk funk ‡ la Gossip. And damn, they are very good at mixing these. Breakfast is the new album's first single.
JAPAN: Make Believe Melodies
Cloudy Busey takes many cues from house music on Up To You (If You Love Me), yet this long-burning song never feels exuberant. Rather, the Osaka-based Busey inverts the sounds of a club into something apt for a shadowy alleyway. The beat pounds on relentlessly, but the spacey synths and singing evoke the loneliness of long, solitary walks home early in the morning set against neon lights. If nights out tend to bring you down, here is the jam for you.
MALTA: Stagedive Malta
Besides being a maverick club DJ and an accomplished musician in his own right, Danjeli is also a member of the renegade Maltese folk band Brikkuni. This year he released another solo album, KontroNatura, available for free download from Complex Sound Sagacity.
MEXICO: Red Bull PanamÈrika
"Playing dreampop since 2005," is the slogan of this pioneering band. De Tantos Universos Paralelos is the gigantic overture to their new album El Desprendimiento, which promises to be an overload of feedback and chaos restrained under a structure. Uvilov might be intending to picture a party where the mankind of tomorrow is invited only if its conscience allows it to.
NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
There's been a buzz brewing for Amsterdam's Wooden Constructions for a year or two already, their edgy live performances stealing the limelight from a host of international indie wannabes along the way. Well, it's all set to reach boiling point when they finally unleash their debut album People Now People in spring. A barrage of taut dance grooves, minimalistic riffage and unsettling narratives, they provide a contemporary glimpse of post-punk at its maniacal best. Check out first single Full Brother for a taster of their danceable gloom, making the bold promise that the intensity of their live shows will carry over onto tape.
NEW ZEALAND: Einstein Music Journal
If hissing noise and warm melodies are your buzz then Auckland four-piece Grass Cannons should be on your radar. They've just released their debut EP Vet Dream, containing five darting guitar songs that each take a different path but ultimately lead to the same satisfactory conclusion. While a noisy mess rides heavy throughout their music and kidnaps a bit of their style, within each song there are several minutes of genius song structure that highlights their ability to write amazing pop-influenced punk music. Deerhunter, The Clean and Grooms come to mind when describing their sound, but Grass Cannons seem good enough to leave those influences out of the equation.
NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
You never know quite what to expect when listening to a song by Storm The Bastille. Their schizophrenic and mildly cacophonic music is unpredictable, strange and full of surprising twists. The only constant is the great energy the band possess. It's fast, energetic, melodic and a bit dark with a sense of impending doom that creeps up close.
Los Zapping began toying with music when they were still in school, but their garage-rock soon won a place in Lima nights and an authentic touch of freshness was about to be born. Their first EP, released in 2007, was considered the best of that year. TeorÌa De La TelevisiÛn y La Radio was released in 2011, an album that reaffirms the strength and talent of this band.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Victor Ferreira aka Sun Glitters, born to Portuguese parents in Luxembourg, has been praised by The Guardian, FADER and Pitchfork. For this reason, his newest release, High EP, which came out on January 30, was highly anticipated. On it, Victor continues his voyage through a dreamy electronic world. This track is a remix of one of the songs on the EP.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Methadone Skies are a bunch of young guys from Timisoara playing the music they themselves like to listen to - psychedelic, progressive, stoner, post-rock, ambient or just noise - most of the time jamming in the studio with excellent results. Keep your ears opened for them as they're about to release their new album, Enter The Void.
RUSSIA: Big Echo
Brodsky plays beautifully-orchestrated romantic folk with flowery melodies, youthful vocals and sad eyes that might remind you of Beirut or Jens Lekman. Nowadays, it's truly a blessing to find such an artist in Russia.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
Grass Stain is a musical head-turner - an 8.5-minute electro/house fusion with an outstanding soulful female guest vocal that takes you on a trip of a lifetime labelled bliss-euphoria-bliss. Craig_FS has been been making and uploading songs to Soundcloud for the past year, and the potential is certainly there for him to follow in the mainstream footsteps of compatriot Calvin Harris.
SINGAPORE: I'm Waking Up To...
The first release by 60s indie-pop distributors Happy Teardrop Music is the debut self-titled EP by Obedient Wives Club, and what a hit it's been with all physical copies selling out within a month. The band, cheekily named after a controversial Muslim organisation of the same name, plays a delightful blend of girly noise-pop - or what they helpfully term "Spectorgaze". Fragments indulges its Jesus And Mary Chain obsession with generous doses of saccharine melodies and interstellar fuzz.
SOUTH KOREA: Korean Indie
DJ duo MDS released their first album in July last year, full of remixes of songs from some of the best artists in Seoul's indie scene. In January, they released a digital single with a couple of songs of their own, showing that they're also capable of crafting great pieces of music themselves. Insomnia is a smooth electronica track that lends itself very well as a soundtrack to a walk just about anywhere.
Novedades Carminha are a garage-rock three-piece from Santiago de Compostela, and they're starting to be the talk of the town. Their songs are energy-packed and irreverent, making fun of everyday topics but vindicating them at the same time. Their lyrics hold true punk spirit. Pesetas, taken from their first album JÛdete y Baila, released in early 2011, is a true jewel of dirty Spanish rock.
Electronic pop duo Kids are shockingly good. Sure there a few cheesy moments in the single My Sincerest Apologies but it gives the song a bit of fun and doesn't take itself too seriously.
John Caroline is a young six-piece from Baden who make playful, jittery and dreamy indie rock. Their debut EP is released as a free download on February 18.
The Ringo Jets, consisting of two guitarists and a drummer, is a rock 'n' roll band inspired by 60s garage music and blues rock. They made a big splash in Istanbul indie circles with their Limited Lunchpack EP, which you can download for free from Bandcamp. After signing with Aisha Records, they're planning to release their debut album by the end of the year.
UNITED STATES: I Guess I'm Floating
Californian lo-fi bedroom artist That Ghost has been making music since before he could drive a car. His sound has grown and changed as much as he has from tween state to young adulthood. OK, he was never a tween but a pure artist whose latest EP Rosalind is a gem. Check out the slow-burning Morning Now, like, right now.
VENEZUELA: M˙sica y M·s
Mcklopedia is a young man who, back in 2001, identified with a genre and took it as his philosophy and way of life. He explicitly shows the reality of the world's great cities, the everyday stories that come to a close in households every night. Superlirical, his debut album, seeks to represent a new concept in urban music, combining soul, reggae, funk and hip hop.