Remember last November, when someone (and by someone I mean me) wrote a heartfelt review of The National’s gig here in Lisbon, comparing them to a semi-famous Portuguese poet and denouncing them as plagiarists (albeit in a very comical/satirical fashion)? Back then, I had never heard of NO, a band from Los Angeles who recently put out their debut LP, El Prado.
And what does that have to do with anything? Well, for starters, NO are incredible plagiarists - and I mean that as a compliment. I’m reminded of that Simpsons episode where the whole family’s in Italy and there’s a gag poking fun of Family Guy and American Dad, plagiarismo and plagiarismo de plagiarismo respectively. NO sound exactly like The National. All down to the last note, the vocal stylings, the empathy one feels when listening to such an anthemic song, if indie rock can be anthemic, like the opener: “Leave The Door Wide Open”. The door and my arms as well: I embrace them and their copyisms. Because they KNOW how to copy perfectly, they’re the #1 counterfeiters of the indie rock game.
El Prado is a magnificent record because it puts away any notion of an identity - there’s just music, these songs, stay with me we were never meant to be apart, that kind of sappy bullshit that gets us through the day and makes us want to write texts like in November, although there’s no really point to it. Well, fuck it, because Bolachas is not my personal divan. But it is a way I’ve found to tell you all: NO are awesome. Buy their records, go to their shows, fall in love. Plagiarism is necessary, Progress implies it.
It may not look like it - because almost everything we ever talk about is a genre I like to call “pansy folk” because “choninhas” has no immediate translation (I think) - but we at Bolachas.org love to dance. We love it so much some of our writers formed a DJ collective who specializes in Eurodance and top 40 pop (which is basically everything you hate to admit you love) and we’re currently touring around Portugal spreading joy to everyone who wants to listen. Or maybe just around the Minho region. [Just kidding: we’re a bunch of trolls.]
All this to say there’s something really, really good coming out of Brazil, a.k.a. our blood brothers (brothers, as in, we hate a love/hate relationship like most brothers do). 40% Foda/Maneiríssimo is a Rio label who has been putting out some really good, lo-fi techno/house EPs over the last few months, the latest of which we now share with you. Seu Lugar É O Cemitério (literally: your place is the graveyard, so you can understand the punny/stupid title I’ve chosen for this post) is an EP by SeixlacK containing two nice techno-ish tracks and one really good, spacey house track named “Tele-Sexo”, which probably doesn’t need to be translated. You can check it out above, if you like these kind of sounds. Even if you don’t check it out anyway because it’s worth it. Because no one can fucking dance to Wilco anyway despite what Bolachas’ owner might tell you.
Optimus Primavera Sound 2014: the unsung heroes, part I
A couple of weeks ago, while at the official presentation of Optimus Primavera Sound 2014’s full lineup at the Porto city hall, I was surprised to see a lot of people cheering uncontrollably whenever a band they liked appeared on the big screen. Seriously, when “The National” appeared printed on the jacket of one of the characters on the (great) short video that announced the festival’s lineup, I thought FC Porto had scored or something. Shouts of similar magnitude could be heard when Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Kendrick Lamar or Haim were announced, but a lot of names went unnoticed and are naturally confined to the last few lines of the lineup poster.
Courtney Barnett is one of those names. Sure, the Australian 90s-slacker-indie-rock-inspired (read: Pavement and Built to Spill) singer-songwriter hasn’t even released a proper album besides A Sea of Split Peas, a compilation combining her two first EPs released last year, but there’s enough juice on it (“Avant Gardener”, “History Eraser”, “David”, “Lance Jr.”…) to make sure we’re in for a treat next June.
Following the demise of the shoegazy Sian Alice Group, who back in the day toured with artists as big and musically as far apart as Spiritualized and Florence and the Machine, Sian Ahern may have stopped for a while but couldn’t stay away for long. Eaux is her new band and, like Courtney Barnett, a full album is still to be released, but their debut EP, i, is enough to make us pumped for their shows in both Porto and Barcelona. Track picks: “New Peaks”, “Too Dark to Tell”.
Speedy Ortiz has caught my eye last year with the spectacular Major Arcana, top 20 material in my albums of 2013 list that I didn’t bother to publish here, but who cares. Indie rock like it used to be, you know, in the good ol’ days. Something to make up for the lack of Superchunk in the Portuguese edition of the festival. “No Below” is easily one of my favorite songs of this decade. It could be yours, too.
Source: SoundCloud / FatPossum