Free Download: 12 More New South American Albums10 July, 2014
South America is a hot-bed of innovation and this is no less the case when it comes to music distribution. In defiance of capitalist theory many South American artists release their music digitally for free, relying on the quality of the music to generate interest, leading to tours, vinyl editions and international recognition.
The schedule of these free-to-download releases across the whole of South America is heavy, constantly filling up the Sounds and Colours inbox. So, every now and again we like to highlight some of the most interesting releases. A few months ago we picked out 12 of our favourite new free-to-download releases from the start of the year. Here, is another dozen for you. If someone now asks you what new and interesting music is being made in South America, here’s your answer:
Eduardo Herrera & Zelmar Garín – Ahí Vienen (Argentina)
experimental / folkloric / vocal / noise
It’s impossible to predict what’s coming next from this Argentinian duo. Their sound constantly veers from experiments in noise to vocal-led canciones and heavy junk-yard percussion to gospel chants and accordion-led Mexican ditties. One of the most surprising and satisfying albums of the year.
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Negro Leo – Ilhas de Calor (Brazil)
post-tropicália / no wave / free-form
The spirit of tropicália continues with Rio de Janeiro’s Negro Leo. And when I say, the “spirit of tropicália” I’m talking about the spirit that saw Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil exiled from Brazil for “threatening” the Government. Behind a sometimes-gonzo exterior, Negro Leo’s songs lash out at conformity, capitalism and standing still. Backed with members of Chinese Cookie Poets and Abayomy Afrobeat Orchestra, who concoct a no-wave free-form jazz platform from which Negro Leo spews his vision, this is what the dark side of Rio sounds like.
Barda – Arena (Argentina)
electronic / cumbia / minimal
Minimal electronica with a strong cumbia influence, yet quite like all the other digital cumbia out-there. This is John Carpenter-esque at times, yet also able to throw out big dancefloor-friendly moves. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
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Chicago Toys – Color (Chile)
rock / grunge / indie
If you like your rock reverb-soaked and grunge-fuelled with occasional nods to The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth then this may be your ticket. Santiago, Chile’s Chicago Toys’ latest is like a trip back to the early 90s for all the right reasons.
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Carmen Sandiego – Ciudad Dormitorio (Uruguay)
new wave / pop / indie
Uruguay’s finest indie-poppers deliver up another great album with latest release Ciudad Dormitorio, and a worthy follow-up to breakthrough LP Joven Edad. Once more the band play to their strengths, focusing on strong pop melodies backed up by guitars that veer between jangly and distorted, and vocals that occasionally rise above the indie-pop surrounds, hinting at a new venomous side to the band.
V/A – Papasquiaro (Latin America)
pop / indie / electro
You can guarantee that a new compilation from Club Fonograma is going to be worth the effort, and that is most certainly the case with Papasquiaro. Club Fonograma’s shtick is to promote Latin American pop, indie and electronica and this compilation features 25 new tracks from some of Latin America’s most interesting new artists, including a number of exclusives. This one should keep you occupied for a while.
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Escuela de Trance – [Volveremos] A Ser Amigos (Argentina)
rock / pop / indie
These Argentinians have been around for a little while, but this may just be their best release yet. In our review they were described as mixing “indie rock structures, delayed choral guitars and electro beats to create catchy pop hooks that always feel fresh and upbeat”. When indie pop/rock is done well, this is what it sounds like.
HAB – HAB (Brazil)
rock / math / percussive
This debut from São Paulo’s HAB is all about repetitive, percussive hooks, with the band achieving the kinds of dynamics in three or four minutes that many post-rock bands struggle to achieve in twenty. With just two guitars, bass and drums, and little use of effects, this is an example of what can be achieved with a standard rock line-up, quite astonishing indeed.
Villa Diamante presenta Sara Hebe – Mashupera (Argentina)
bass / cumbia / mashup
This was released in 2013 but was recently made available as a free download so worth a mention here. Here’s what we previously said about the release: “Argentinean singer/rapper Sara Hebe got together last year with DJ/producer Villa Diamante to re-work some of her best-known tunes in one of Diamante’s trademark demented mash-ups. We’re big fans of Sara’s reggae hit ‘Otra Vez‘, which here undergoes the full digital cumbia treatment. Mean as hell. And is that the riff from Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ we can make out towards the end? The rest of the Mashupera EP darts through realms of bachata, hip hop and utter bastard electro.”
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Rincon Sapiência – Festa No Gueto (Brazil)
rap / conscious / boom bap
Despite rapping on various records since 2000, this is the first full-length release from paulistano rapper Rincon Sapiência. Social problems are addressed, as on first single “Transporte Público”, a tale of the worsening situation of public transport in his city, but there is also lots of variation in the productions, with guitar riffs making many an appearance, that keeps the album interesting from start to finish.
Alpha Stronggah – Nuestro EP (Chile)
dub / beats / sampling
Chile’s Alpha Stronggah builds on his previous works with a complex new EP full of whirrs, effects and samples. If you like to lose yourself in sound then this one is for you, an intriguing listen that uses electronic equipment and tricks learnt from dub, hip-hop and EDM to create a hallucinatory map of influences, sounds and traditions.
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Andrés Gualdrón – Canciones Animales (Colombia)
En Orbita are certainly proving their worth in Colombia with a series of compilations over the past year or so that’s now up to Volume 12. After starting off with compilations highlighting a variety of new Colombian artists they have now started focusing on individuals, putting out free downloads of songs by Edson Velandia and Eblis Álvarez before putting out this compilation of tracks by Andrés Gualdrón, featuring his works with his Animales Blancos group as well as some earlier material. This is definitely a great way to hear some of the best new music coming out of Colombia.
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