Going Underground: New Music from Venezuela| 11 August, 2011
It all started with a band called Jovenes y Sexys from Venezuela, or it did for us anyway. Their quirky electronica and pop styles on the Bruno EP were some of the most refreshing sounds we’d heard in a long time. Seemingly Jovenes y Sexys are now on hiatus, but half of the duo, calling himself Algodon Egipcio released an incredible album of forward-thinking electronic music this year. Now La Vida Boheme have stormed out of Caracas, causing a stir in the US with their wild, punk showcase. It seems as if Venezuela really has something going on!
Let’s start with Algodon Egipcio, also known as Cheky from Jovenes y Sexys. Earlier this year he released La Lucha Constante, essentially one of the albums of the year. By mixing trance beats, hazy vocals and a seemingly love for all indie-pop music from the mid-90s onwards he created a whirlpool of sound that is also distinctively his own. Even when he remixes other people’s songs he always manages to bring something of his own aesthetic, which is quite a rare thing these days.
You can read our review of La Lucha Constante here.
La Vida Boheme
La Vida Boheme really came to prominence after making their debut album Nuestra available for free on record label All Of The Above. It seems sometimes you have to reach out to your fans as following the album’s release things have been on a massive upward slope for the band. They have recently played a number of shows in New York as well as announcing that the album will soon be distributed in the US by Nacional Records. Not bad eh? Their music is an energetic mix of punk and Latin rock. Their live shows however are completely mental and one of the reasons why so many people have fallen in love with this band.
You can read our interview with La Vida Boheme here.
There’s also a great portal of videos and articles on La Vida Boheme at MTV Iggy which you can access here.
You can download Nuestra from All Of The Above.
Dias de Septiembre
Post-rock from Caracas most closely resembling Explosions in the Sky, but also bringing to mind the widescreen compositions of Cul de Sac or Hurtmold. Sticking to an instrumental formula, which is augmented by visuals during live shows, this is a band all about dynamics and texture.
Their first album is entitled simply Dias de Septiembre, was released earlier this year and can be downloaded for free from their website.
Three-piece from Caracas with a sound that mixes epic pop with often surprising melodies and an ear for vocal harmony. They released their debut album Sigo in May this year. The group cite Beach Boys, The Whitest Boy Alive, Phoenix and Smashing Pumpkins as influences though in truth it’s hard to hear the influence of any of these in the music. Due to the band’s knack for harmony, crisp guitar riffs and bass runs I would say they more closely resemble Weezer or Surfer Blood, albeit with a singer with a more theatrical, rather than deadpan, delivery.
Download their debut disc Sigo at americania.com.ve.
Jan Pawel occasionally collaborates with Algodon Egipcio (who we’ve already mentioned) and Ulises Hadjis (who we’ll mention in a minute). His music exists in the same territory, trying to explore pop songs through the use of electronics, resulting in songs as affecting as “Zapara” and “El Gran Pintor” below, which often posses something of the romance of Italo-disco or 80s electro-pop about them.
You can listen to his album Demasiado Para Morir Joven at facebook.com/janpawelmusic
New wave with a touch of grunge from TLX. They released 33 Minutos Y En Auto last year, compiling songs from EPs they had released in 2006 and 2007. This is a band unafraid of looking at the past, as evidenced by the retro feel underpinning many of their songs, which somehow manage to feature the music of the 80s and a vocal sound from the 90s, and fit these two elements together successfully.
You can download 33 Minutos Y En Auto from cronicasdeunviejoverde.blogspot.com/2010/08/tlx-33-minutos-y-en-auto-2010.html
Gentle, inventive pop with shades of Pedro the Lion and The New Year in the song’s precise, dreamy melodies. Ulises Hadjis is one of those artists that may not dazzle you at first with their songs, but once you listen two or three times you will find that you no longer how to get by without these songs in your life. So far, Hadjis has released one album Presente as well as a number of remixes and singles that can all be downloaded from uliseshadjis.bandcamp.com.
Despite possessing a certain polish the music of Famasloop is one of the most distinctive out of all the Venezuelan artists. His quirky persona and inventive use of electronics allows for songs that continually surprise and with a charm that never grows tiresome, as displayed in the video below for “A Reves”.
You can download Famasloop’s second album Casa 4 as well as it’s predecessor Casa 3 at famasloop.com
It’s testament to how good the scene is in Venezuela – a scene often labelled Movida Nacional de Venezuela – that there are plenty more bands we could have mentioned. So, if you’re in search of more interesting bands from Venezuela you can do a lot worse than checking out Los Mesoneros, Sunsplash, Viniloversus and La Clem de La Clem.
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