Going Underground: Indie Music from Argentina Part 2 (Selections from Mr E)

By 23 October, 2010

After becoming slightly addicted to Premio Mr E, the blog set-up by the indefatigable Mr E which regularly reviews all the latest releases and concerts in Argentina, we felt it was only right if we asked Mr E himself to recommend some of his favourite Argentinian indie rock bands. Thankfully he obliged.

Argentina has one of the most important rock scenes in South America. It was the first country in the continent where people started to play rock in the early sixties, inspired of course, by English and American music. As time passed by Argentinian rock fathered a big indie rock scene with plenty of excellent bands and great musicians. But this is a huge country and there are very few people living in it and so the indie rock market has always been very small with the bands struggling to live from their art. It is sad to say this but when you see these guys working on their records, making their shows, recording with no money in this third world country, it is really moving. I´m sure that if some Argentinian indie rock musicians were born in England they would be real rock stars!

Because I love indie rock (not only from my own country, I am a British and American indie rock specialist too) I´ve created The Mr. E Price. It consists of 1000 Argentine pesos given to the best Argentinian record of the year. Who make the choice? Mr. E on his own, of course. No panel of judges, no CD sending. I just choice from all the cds I buy, the record I consider is the best. Fanciful? Of course! But it is my price and the bands love it this way!

As rock is an international urban expression you will find that many of these bands sounds like their English counterparts. I want to tell you which are, in my opinion, the best bands of indie Argentinian rock. I will not say too much about them. I hope you visit their Myspaces and come to your own conclusions:

– The first winner of the Mr. E Price in 2008 was NORMA. This is an excellent band from La Plata city, near to Buenos Aires. This city is “the place” for Argentinian rock nowadays. It has plenty of colleges and many students making music just for fun. Their album Norma was the best of the year and they make a nervous rock like Wire with very creative guitars and voices. One of the best bands in the country.

– The 2009 winner was MI PEQUEÑA MUERTE and their album Un futuro brillante. Melodies in a Beatles way, intelligent pop, with hard guitars and lovely voices. They talk about life and love in their lyrics. The album is full of light and melancholy.

CREMA DEL CIELO is another band from La Plata. More political, but very melodic too, they have one of the best albums of this year. They know both how to rock and be smooth. Great band.

FANTASMAGORIA is from Buenos Aires. With a folk air in their acoustic guitars and a charismatic singer making marvelous songs, they are lovely.

VALLE DE MUÑECAS is Manza Esain’s band, a great producer, singer and guitar player. They do power pop with urban lyrics and tango smell. Their last album is from 2007 so they haven’t taken part in Mr. E price yet. I’m waiting for their new album.

VIVA ELASTICO is a melancholic pop band with an enormous singer. They do sad, elegant pop.

THES SINIESTROS is a band that mixes rockabilly and Mexican corridos. Very fast, hard and funny. They sing about the devil, the desert and the Mexican people mixing English and Spanish. But in Argentina! I love them.

LOS TOLCHOCOS are the best new band of the year. Punk, surf rock and rockabilly reminding one of the Pixies. Great work!

MOSTRUO! is perhaps the band that represents the roots of Argentinian rock. They sound like those proto-bands from Buenos Aires mixing blues and hard rock. Amazing.

ENCIAS SANGRANTES works with ska, pop and Argentinian Cumbia. Maybe they are the band that would sound the most strange to european music fans.

D-CHAMPIONS make an elegant pop with many influences and great personality. Very good.

BRIAN STORMING is a hypnotic and really big orchestra. They sing in English with a lot of instruments and colours.

These are a few of Argentina’s independent rock bands. A lot of bands are working in the garage just waiting for their moment. I´m proud of Argentinian musicians and our amazing rock scene. I hope you like it too. Enter the Mr. E blog and check out many more bands doing great things. I´m sure that you will be surprised.


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