2008-09-23

The Barcelona Scene - New Music from Coconot (Pablo Díaz-Reixa / El Guincho), DC/LuvLuv, And More

I've been exploring new Barcelona music by way of El Guincho, the solo project of Barcelona-based Pablo Díaz-Reixa. While his first major (noticed) release was this year's Alegranza (drawing apt Animal Collective-meets tropicalia comparisons), his first LP Folías (more of a Panda Bear solo inspiration compared to AC) didn't draw much notice until after Alegranza had made waves, and especially after Gorilla Vs. Bear posted the album link. Folías was released on one of my new favorite labels, DC/LuvLuv (Discos Compulsivos), also from Barcelona and run by Cristian Subirà. I've been hard-up for some good new music (which seems to be in a lull right now) so I've been diving into this scene, and loving everything I've found. Cristian is also a part of Coconot, Pablo Díaz-Reixa's pre-El Guincho band, as well as other bands in the eclectic new Barcelona scene which seems to have a love of drone/avant garde/tropicalia/the best of modern indie/and some booty bass. Pablo Díaz-Reixa's cousin Alfredo Montes, who he started Coconot with, is no longer in the band, but Cristian is playing more instruments and the producer for their first album, Jens Neumaier, is now playing guitar and singing. Coconot have just finished recording a brand new album, and where their first major release, 2006's Novo Tropicalismo Errado, seemed to be Sun Ra-influenced modern-prog-yet-4onthefloor rock, on their newest Cosa Astral (judging at least from the one preview track on their myspace) they've definitely let things soak up some Mediterranean heat and coast-life flavor (and olive oil and wonderful anchovies and dried meats and papas bravas w/ garlic aioli and Gaudi and street sweepers late at night asking me for a light for their blunt amid a calm atmosphere that somehow still feels slightly charged so that it seems anything could happen but not usually in an overly dangerous way, oh man do I miss Barcelona). This first preview track definitely has me excited for the new album:



Coconot "Conservad El Rayo" (Cosa Astral)


Coconot "Argentina 2, Pablo 0" (Novo Tropicalismo Errado)


Coconot "We Travel - Eo - The Spaceways (Variaciones Sobre Un Tema De Sony'r Ra)" (Novo Tropicalismo Errado)






Coconot live a couple of years ago:
















Cristian of DC/LuvLuv and Coconot also plays in other bands in Barcelona, and from what I've heard they are much more radical and experimental than anything Coconot (or El Guincho) have done, some really out-there ambient, noise, even Black Dice-type stuff. The release for the following LP states: "For some reasons I wont talk about right now Matt Ortega (Mir, Socio) moved from New Jersey to Barcelona on June 2008. There he met Cristian Subirà (Summer Recreation Camp, Coconot). They both became friends and music colaborators. The result of many jams and lofi recordings is ´Dead Geography´ a collage of sounds and rare ambients."








And Cristian is also a part of Barcelona's Gärgamel (not to be confused with the Norweigan progrock or Floridian funk metal bands of the same name), another side project definitely not in it for the money. They also, like a lot of these more experimental Barcelona bands, know both the role of repetition in creating musical altered states as well as the importance of exploring off those repetitions and constantly taking it some place new:


Gärgamel "Llet Fosca"









Gärgamel consists of Cristian Subirà and Aleix Clavera. I'm starting to see a trend here of Barcelona musicians playing in both "respectable" bands and avant-garde side projects, as Aleix Clavera (also in El Guincho's live band) plays bass in Barcelona's Evripidis and His Tragedies, who are on Barcelona label Touch Me Records (Spanish label of Castanets, Sufjan Stevens, Half-Handed Cloud), and in the UK on Rough Trade, and in the US on Darla. They're sure to appeal to fans of the crooning sounds of Jens Lekman and piano-pop of Ben Folds:


Evripidis And His Tragedies "Ru Ru, I'd Love You"

Evripidis And His Tragedies "Gregory"






And DC/LuvLuv isn't exclusively for Barcelona bands: ""Baltimore's Teeth Mountain combines driving polyrhythms with hypnotic drones to create a powerful and enigmatic sound. The instrumentation is unique: four drummers, musical saw, 'cello, microtuned keyboards and sampler. A similarly unique musical vision keeps the sound from descending
into mere gimmickry, despite the novel instrumental grouping. Members of Teeth Mountain also run the Comfort Dome, a live-in show space which hosts a wide variety of experimental music.
The band tours frequently in the United States, and has shared the stage with
(among others) The Ex Models, Dan Deacon, WZT Hearts, the Death Set and
 Marnie Stern, as well as members of Raccoo-oo-oon, Nautical Almanac and Destroy All Monsters. Teeth Mountain will be among the featured bands at Wham City's Whartscape festival this summer, and will be going on a Wham
City tour this fall with many of the above-listed bands as well as Jana Hunter,
Videohippos and other related groups.
"" RIYL: a more tribal-ish Parts & Labor






And 2/3's of this DC/Luv Luv band, from what I've read, hail from Deptford, South London, just down the road from where I lived for a year in New Cross Gate (but their myspace says Glasgow, which is grey enough to be a good stand in for my analogy if that's the case). I've read and heard about several bands from this area, which isn't necessarily the safest, it was previously a Caribbean enclave, the site of racial rioting in the past, and the scene of a few recent notable London crimes. But it's definitely cheaper than oh-so-hip Shoreditch to the north, and home to Goldsmith's College and many art students, and the Deptford Market where a main street and part of that neighborhood is transformed into what Americans call a flea market every weekend. This band were previously called On Fire and are now called Helhesten, and their music reflects the chaotic, gritty, south-of-the-Thames feel I remember coupled with an insane Boredoms-style anything-can-happen free-jazz attitude.





Helhesten Vs. Michael J. Fox:




And a Borbetomagus/Metal Machine Music style freak jam from Helhesten at one of my favorite London spots, the tiny Windmill in Brixton, South London, just a couple of months ago. Not for the faint of heart:






And DC/Luv Luv apparently has a soft spot for a small touch of booty-bass mixed with their noise, as evidenced by music from Richmond, VA's bootilicious Shams and New York City's gritty Car Clutch, who both have upcoming releases on the label






Car Clutch in london last year:






And while looking into Coconot/El Guincho/DCLuvLuv, I found this Barcelona band that I really like with the dare-to-be-googled name of Internet 2. They're on the quirky, playful side of experimentalism:





Internet 2 video for "Dar Penita" (gather the kiddies)






And there's still lots of other connections to explore - for instance Jens Neumaier of Coconot is also a member of the established Barcleona prog-jazz outfit 12Twelve:





El Guincho's Alegranza makes it's official (legal) stateside appearance October 21, order it from the link on his myspace- and El Guincho's Folías was DC/Luv Luv's first release, and it's now completely sold out, so don't waste any time in heading over there and picking up any of their other obscure eclectic releases that catch your ear before they're gone, too. Head to the DC/LuvLuv myspace for buy links, in the US they link to GoldenAge.

And to my three regular readers, sorry about the wait - if you want to keep up on this and other blogs that update sporadically get yourself an RSS reader and subscribe.