I Went To See A Band...

Ries

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And while I am Data Dumping, here is my pick hit list for the first 3 months of 2021, which for no particular reason, features a lot of stuff from London. England Swings, ya know.

Los Bitchos-
In the late 60s, and early 70s, there was an amazing mix of cumbia and garage rock that sprang up in Peruvian Amazonia. Mostly locally released 45s, it took years to filter out to the world- but in 2007, a label in NYC released a compilation album, the Roots of Chicha. Buy it, its incredible.
This band, 4 women who live in London, fell in love with that sound, and began to play their version of chicha. No drama, no gimmicks- they play it because they love it, and I, like most people who hear them, love their love. They have released a couple of singles, and I think they may have broken up now. So if you werent living in London in 2019, this is pretty much what you have to watch. You can buy their singles on bandcamp. But live, they just glow.
https://youtu.be/iPp2fdHMxTM

Goat Girl-
Another all female London band. Reminiscent of many great girl rock bands, from PJ Harvey to the Slits to Sleater Kinney, they calmly, modestly, and competently kick ass. A great band does not need leap around in their underwear to get their point across, they just rock. Again, they have albums out, but this short live set really shows them at their best. https://youtu.be/SSkDBojGowA
I am also a big fan of this remix of them done by Nigerian muscian Tony Njoku. He transforms their sound, without taking anything away from it. Additive drift. https://youtu.be/7uZXQgq7XhE

Escalator Over The Hill- Carla Bley-
I missed this when it came out, in 1972. Although I remember seeing the album cover at people's houses. I guess I just wasnt ready for it. But I sure am now.
Its an opera, a real one. Put together on basically no money, over the course of 3 years in multiple studios, it features an incredible range of musicians, all of whom, except for one professional opera singer, worked for free. Vocals by Don Preston, Linda Ronstadt, Jack Bruce, and Bley's 4 year old daughter, among others. Musicians that were, at the time, the best of the best- John Mclaughlin, Roswell Rudd, Paul Motian, Don Cherry- something like 50 in all.
And through it all, the overarching genius of Carla Bley, the goddess, bruja and denmother, who was constantly writing and rewriting parts, playing piano, composing and coordinating.
Its unique, and prescient in many many ways- it mixes global musics, classical, broadway, jazz, spoken word, rock, and several other genres we havent realized Bley invented yet, but we will.
It can be listened to chronologically, as one composition- but it works just as well as songs, or on shuffle. Its not stuffy, or weird- its just great, timeless music. This is a record you need to immerse yourself in, to listen to over weeks and months. It is wildly varied.
But here are a couple of little bits that show its majesty- a clip of Jeanne Lee https://youtu.be/8KPVlePkZeQ and a more recent performance of Why in europe- this is the song Ronstadt sang on the original album- https://youtu.be/cdTTxaSOLCE

Marilina Bertoldi- Argentine singer songwriter, rough and tumble rocker. Her sister is also an amazing musician, famed for her lead guitar work. A great album, gets a lot of airplay in South America, but, of course, not known much in the US. To their credit, KEXP has a live video of her on youtube as well. https://youtu.be/wy52odfr0AM
https://youtu.be/jThWhJewKGs

Sault-
This music is the exact opposite of the recent Grammy winners. All of the recent Grammy winners. Sault doesnt credit individual contributors- they dont tell you their names. Its a collective, that play the music because they have to, and because they want to. No flashy videos of them dancing in couture, no twitter accounts, no expensive cars, bling, or red carpet interviews. No ego.
Its gospel and funk and soul and hip hop and jazz and spoken word. Its powerful and political and sweet and lovely, its nostalgic and futuristic. Its really a nice record- I get happy when I listen to it. But its also about everything BLM is about, in an aggressive and nonapologetic way. If Nina Simone was still around, and she was working with a dozen other great musicians and producers, she might make this record. Its an important record, completely out of step with commercial pop music, and extremely timely as well.
https://youtu.be/iKWwRdbOhB0

Siri- Its My Jam- I started listening to rap music when it started, with Rappers Delight- that was about 45 years ago. I still like it, when its good. And these days, I mostly listen to women, in any genre. I totally dig this southern India rapper, Siri, and her song, Its My Jam. It illustrates how, in the last 40 years, hiphop has been globalized, loved, adopted, and changed by practically every nation on earth. She raps in Kannada, English, Telugu, and Hindi, which, to her, is completely natural. She has certainly seen american rap videos, but this is totally an Indian record. https://youtu.be/BE7tsk2h6VMS

More in Part 2. (10,000 character limit for one post).
 

Ries

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Part 2-

Scratchcard Lanyard by Dry Cleaning- I love the english mix of dub and punk from the 80s- and this new song refers back to those long loping bass lines and skittery guitars, and the powerful female vocals of bands like the Slits and Rip Rig and Panic. But its a very modern song too. And it rocks. You can dance to it. The lead vocalist has been gathering found dialog, writing down snippets of conversation, for years, arranging them into poems, assemblages of analog sampling that are obviously her own work as well. And the video is really great. Full album coming soon, right now all we have is this one song, but its a keeper. Do everything, and Feel Nothing. https://youtu.be/6PuqlOTyJt0

Wu Lu- South-
Wu Lu, whose real name is Miles Roman-Hopcraft, is what the world is now- conversant in a wide range of musical styles, a black Londoner who produces, writes, and creates music with a lot of different people, he made this song that is punk, and electronic, and hiphop, in a very old school rock kind of way, that represents Brixton today, a multicultural neighborhood in a city that is one of the top melting pots of the world these days. Its a really english song, in 21st century kinda way, and it makes me bop all over the room when I play it loud. https://youtu.be/ibE56gf0G4w


Sarathy Korwar-
Born in the USA, raised in India, lives in London, and makes music that spans them all. Technically, its probably Jazz, but nothing is one thing anymore. It all bleeds together. This is feisty, political, danceable, and impeccably performed music. Any Sarathy Korwar is great- from his more polished songs with poet and singer Zia Ahmed, to his long jazz improv pieces with the Upaj Collective, I love everything he does. This live set he did last year gives you an idea, he is well worth diving deeper into. https://youtu.be/U2ErPlt4358

Rosario Blefari-
Sometimes I just have to kick myself for my ignorance. Rosario Blefari died last summer, at 54, from cancer. She had a 30 year career as a musican and actress, and I could have gone and seen her live, but I was too dumb to know. But since her death, I have been listening to music from her entire career, starting with her punk/indie band Suarez, which she formed in the late 80s. At the time, it was one of the first bands in Argentina started and led by a woman. There were female singers, but the rock scene was very very male. She took no prisoners, she was fierce, and the music is great. Then, she embarked on a long career of solo records and other bands she formed, mostly less loud and aggressive, but all equally interesting. If she was from the US or England, we would have heard of her, but she was from Mar de Plata. Early favorite of mine- Nuestro Amigo Asiatico, from their 1994 album, Hora de no Ver. https://youtu.be/mVWSbDaypLw
and a later solo piece, haunting and mysterious- Partir and Renunciar, from 2001. https://youtu.be/Q6m8OhinVWQ

Reynols and Acid Mothers-
This is a Buenos Aires record, with a little help from Japan. Reynols is a band that is more famous outside of Argentina, with a lead singer who unapolgetically has Downs Syndrome. They made an album with the aging Japanese intellectual noise rockers Acid Mothers Temple. Its wierd. If you like wierd, you may like it. I do.

But for those of you who use spotify- The live sets I link to above are not on spotify, I added some album cuts instead.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/5sozoWBBBfNFSNL2OlS1bW...
 

Ries

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Thanks for the links @Ries, good stuff. Instead of Spotify, maybe a youtube playlist is a good compromise.
Thanks, I appreciate it when people listen.
Being an old school cratedigger, I actually have physical copies of most music I listen to. Used to be vinyl albums, although I have been getting rid of those lately, gifting them to younger people who really appreciate them. Still have thousands of CD's, but lately, its been mostly digital. Hard drives full.
So I have playlists on my computers I use to listen to.
I did mostly link to youtube for these songs, but unfortunately, some of the most interesting music is harder to find- I find things on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, and sometimes direct from small labels, or direct from bands. And I do buy CDs more in Argentina, where some bands are still putting them out.
Making an actual youtube playlist sounds like work, though.
 

Ries

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I am so happy to be back in Buenos Aires, after 20 months. Yes, the economy is a wreck- but in many ways, its more civilized and livable than the current madness in the USA, where a tiny portion of the population is rich, and a lot of people are living on the street.
For me, to be able to walk the streets of BA again, to see my friends, and, importantly, to see live music here again, is all a gift.

My first show was wonderful- Clan Caiman at Roseti.

I first went to Roseti, many years ago, when it was called La Playita, and it was a barely renovated house near Cementario Chacarita. On calle Roseti. Later, it changed its name to Roseti. Now, it has reopened in a larger, elegant space on Gallo, near Cordoba. Very pleasant teraza in the back, nice informal performance space, and simple food and drink. The band sits outside and sips beer and eats pizza, fortifying themselves for the performance.

I bought the first album by Clan Caiman in august of 2019, somehow under the mistaken impression it was a Spanish band. They are, instead, argentine, and intricately woven into the musical culture and history of Argentina, going back decades.

They really feel like their music is at its best played live, in a dark space with moody video projections.
The VJ is excellent for them, creating underwater jungles and scribbly worlds for them to inhabit.

The music is trancelike layers of surf, ambient, asian, african, garage and post punk, dreamy and impossible to pin down.
It is built around a "keyboard" of several mbiras- african thumb pianos- which are rack mounted so Emilio Haro can play them with mallets, the way you would play a marimba or a xylophone. He calls it a "Kalimbfon". Each mbira is miked differently, and run thru mild electronic processing, so each of the them sounds a little different, and none exactly like the traditional sound you would expect from them.
Often, it sounds as if he is playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano, but with mallets.

Long ago, Haro was a guitarist in rock bands, but for 15 years or more he has been making music that sounds as if it is electronic, but is actually acoustic, with hints of folklore from many parts of the world, and producing records for other musicians.
The rest of the band are all journeymen, who have played with a wide variety of bands over decades- they get together to play this music as a labor of love.

There is no attack in their music, only layers of decay- its the opposite of arena rock. Intimate, and embracing, the low end is only floor toms and electric bass guitar, thick and slow and fat, each note lingering in the air for a long time before it turns to dust and filters down to the floor.
Above this, there is the mbira, dulcet and mysterious. On top, a sketchy wire frame drawing of stratocaster, subtle and diagramatic.
And, somewhere in the middle, is a very odd sounding instrument. Hard to see in the dark, at first, I think its a theremin, then, maybe samples being played on some sort of touchpad, but I realize- its a lap steel guitar, being played with a slide. Eerie, and elegant, its the sound that a synthesizer heard and tried to copy.
And its being played by Gonzalo Cordoba, a legendary guitar player who was in the amazing feminist rock band of Rosario Blefari in the late 90s, Suarez, and who later played with Gustavo Cerati on most of his post Soda Stereo records.
Sometimes he switches to a regular electric guitar, playing stacatto surf garage patterns he calls "baritone", to distinguish it from the upper register squeaks of Facundo Gomez on the strat.

There are wisps of Ennio Morricone, The Ventures, Tom Verlaine, and Sandy Bull, but the music is uniquely theirs.

The audience, about 50 people, sits, transfixed, in the dark, for the hour or so that they play.
This is an experience you can really only get in Buenos Aires.

 

Ries

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There is really a LOT of live music happening right now- most upcoming nights I have multiple very hard choices to make. On Tuesday, we had 3 choices, all great- La Grande, at Sala Siranoush, Ok Piramides at La Trastienda, and the eventual choice, Cuarteto Divergente at Galpon Guevara in Chacarita.
I will go to La Grande next tuesday- I wasnt crazy about the invited guest this week anyway.
And although I love the jaggedy post punk of Ok PIramides, I didnt really want to sit thru two opening acts I am not so interested in, and end up getting home quite late. Hopefully they will play again soon. I know they are in Mar De Plata this weekend. And the always great Loli Gasparini is singing with them right now, which she does from time to time.

So- we ended up at the Galpon, which is really an indie theater, remodeled with a front room for live music during the pandemic. We got there a bit late, and it was officially sold out, but they were amused that US visitors had even found them, much less were fans of the musicians, so they found a couch for us.
This event was the final tuesday night of their November song cycle, which is called La Perla del Atlantica. This is the historic nickname of Mar De Plata, the first seaside resort in Argentina, which opened to train service for summer visitors in 1887. This song cycle was loosely based on Mar De Plata, and its glory days in the first half of the 20th century, with wonderful projections of historic photos, and the musicians all wearing vintage nautical headgear.
The group, Cuarteto Divergente, is one of the myriad of projects of Alejandro Teran, prolific Argentine composer, arranger, musician, and scene creator.
He considers himself of the punk generation, having started playing professionally in the early 80s, in a range of early argentine rock bands. But like many argentine musicians, he can play in any style, and this project is a string quartet- the classic format, two violins, Teran on viola, and a cello. All of the musicans can hold their own quite handily in a classical string quartet, but the song choices and arrangements here were very wide ranging, with parts that were classical, and other parts that could be tango, jazz, string interpretations of electronic music, along with hints of pretty much everything else you could imagine.
They describe it as friends sitting around the fire- and indeed, they face each other as much as they face the audience, and chat or tell stories between songs, as much to each other as to us.

The incredible musicianship is low key and subtle- its about them having fun, not showing off. They play the Rocky film theme, they play popular argentine songs from decades ago, they improvise and hop genres with ease.

Fernando Samalea was bartending, mixing summer apertif's- I had a gin, cinzano and campari soda which hit the spot. This would be kind of like Charlie Watts from the Rolling Stones bartending, except Samalea has been the drummer in 4 or 5 of the most well known rock bands in South America, as well as playing with literally dozens of other great bands live and on records, over the last 40 years. He is modest and generous, and just enjoys bartending and interacting with his friends while they play- at one point, he deliver cocktails to the musicians on stage. While I was waiting for a drink, a kid came up and gave Samalea a bag with a couple of cassettes of their own music, and Samalea is so kind- no american rock star, even a bar band wannabe, would be so affable and kind to a random fan.

I cant find any video of this- but here is a link to a previous song cycle earlier this year, in which they re-interpret Charly Garcia. This is not classical musicians trying to be cool by playing "rock"- these guys have actually played every kind of music themselves, and Charly is as much their contemporary as muse.


Here is another Teran project, pretty recent, that gives you another look at his arranging and bandleading-
He is one of the sax players in the immortal video of El Bar en el Calle Rodney, and he played at the gigantic stadium concerts of Soda Stereo's Ultimo Concierto - but his range is vast.
 
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Dougie

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I am so happy to be back in Buenos Aires, after 20 months. Yes, the economy is a wreck- but in many ways, its more civilized and livable than the current madness in the USA, where a tiny portion of the population is rich, and a lot of people are living on the street.
For me, to be able to walk the streets of BA again, to see my friends, and, importantly, to see live music here again, is all a gift.

My first show was wonderful- Clan Caiman at Roseti.

I first went to Roseti, many years ago, when it was called La Playita, and it was a barely renovated house near Cementario Chacarita. On calle Roseti. Later, it changed its name to Roseti. Now, it has reopened in a larger, elegant space on Gallo, near Cordoba. Very pleasant teraza in the back, nice informal performance space, and simple food and drink. The band sits outside and sips beer and eats pizza, fortifying themselves for the performance.

I bought the first album by Clan Caiman in august of 2019, somehow under the mistaken impression it was a Spanish band. They are, instead, argentine, and intricately woven into the musical culture and history of Argentina, going back decades.

They really feel like their music is at its best played live, in a dark space with moody video projections.
The VJ is excellent for them, creating underwater jungles and scribbly worlds for them to inhabit.

The music is trancelike layers of surf, ambient, asian, african, garage and post punk, dreamy and impossible to pin down.
It is built around a "keyboard" of several mbiras- african thumb pianos- which are rack mounted so Emilio Haro can play them with mallets, the way you would play a marimba or a xylophone. He calls it a "Kalimbfon". Each mbira is miked differently, and run thru mild electronic processing, so each of the them sounds a little different, and none exactly like the traditional sound you would expect from them.
Often, it sounds as if he is playing a Fender Rhodes electric piano, but with mallets.

Long ago, Haro was a guitarist in rock bands, but for 15 years or more he has been making music that sounds as if it is electronic, but is actually acoustic, with hints of folklore from many parts of the world, and producing records for other musicians.
The rest of the band are all journeymen, who have played with a wide variety of bands over decades- they get together to play this music as a labor of love.

There is no attack in their music, only layers of decay- its the opposite of arena rock. Intimate, and embracing, the low end is only floor toms and electric bass guitar, thick and slow and fat, each note lingering in the air for a long time before it turns to dust and filters down to the floor.
Above this, there is the mbira, dulcet and mysterious. On top, a sketchy wire frame drawing of stratocaster, subtle and diagramatic.
And, somewhere in the middle, is a very odd sounding instrument. Hard to see in the dark, at first, I think its a theremin, then, maybe samples being played on some sort of touchpad, but I realize- its a lap steel guitar, being played with a slide. Eerie, and elegant, its the sound that a synthesizer heard and tried to copy.
And its being played by Gonzalo Cordoba, a legendary guitar player who was in the amazing feminist rock band of Rosario Blefari in the late 90s, Suarez, and who later played with Gustavo Cerati on most of his post Soda Stereo records.
Sometimes he switches to a regular electric guitar, playing stacatto surf garage patterns he calls "baritone", to distinguish it from the upper register squeaks of Facundo Gomez on the strat.

There are wisps of Ennio Morricone, The Ventures, Tom Verlaine, and Sandy Bull, but the music is uniquely theirs.

The audience, about 50 people, sits, transfixed, in the dark, for the hour or so that they play.
This is an experience you can really only get in Buenos Aires.

Wow, great description...you made me feel like I was there.

Cool band too. Glad you got to enjoy it.
 

Ries

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I have seen a lot of concerts in my life, but I dont think I have ever seen, in the course of one week, 2 different lap steel guitarists, and two string quartets.
This week, however, I did.

Thursday was the triumphant Grand Debut of Lucy Patané at Teatro Coliseo.

Lucy Patané was born into a family of musicians, and grew up playing, mixing, and recording music. She was in her first band at the age of 9, and by 19, was touring the country as the only woman, playing lead guitar in an all male punk band.
Since then, she has played with all kinds of bands, on many records, toured Russia and Israel backing Natalia Oriero, played lead guitar with Diego Frenkel on his solo records, and put out a few records of her own.

Lucy can play anything with strings, which could mean banjo, or charengo, and is, in my humble opinion, an extraordinary guitarist, but she can also play keyboards, doubles on bass, and gleefully will take over on drums.

Plus, she can sing. She can really sing.

For many years, she has been the backbone, the modest rock on which many bands were based, but finally, in 2019, she released her album Lucy Patané, which is a declaration of her readiness to take on the world, full tilt.
In 2020, the album won the Gardel Award for best alternative rock album of the year.

And in the Coliseo, to an almost full house, she summed up all those years of practice, of playing every genre of music, and showed how she can combine all her influences and experience to create something uniquely her own.

Over the course of the night, a stunning 22 different musicians came and went from the stage, with songs ranging from Lucy solo with acoustic guitar, to perhaps 14 people on stage at once, from quiet ballads to raging rockers.

Lucy finally rates her own guitar tech, which was handy as she was constantly changing back and forth over her 4 basic guitars, 6 and 12 string acoustic, and 2 electrics.

The staging was precise and complicated- the opening song featured her core 4 piece band, 3 women she has been playing with for years now, who easily range across many styles, with the addition of both the aforementioned lap steel, and the string quartet, along with two drummers. And that string quartet- it featured the same first violin I saw earlier in the week in Cuarteto Divergente.

At various times in the evening, the backing vocals reached 4 part, and, even for one song, 6 part harmony.
And yet, musicians flowed and ebbed effortlessly on and off stage.
Seeing the two drum kits, I thought of Ornette Coleman, and, indeed, the sax player, Melina Xilas, can insert free jazz skronks into a rockabilly beat over traces of Argentine popular music from the 1950s.
Kind of like how the pedal steel merged with grand piano, two synthesizers, timbales, and Lucy's vocals, to create acoustic electronic folk trance music.
On the telecaster, Lucy was tending towards rockabilly, and her searing solos had the crowd screaming.
But then she could switch to a segment where she sat alone on a stool, playing her 12 string, and Paula Maffia climbed up out of the audience to duet with her.
Lucy encompasses multitudes, her natural love of all kinds of music meant that the range of types of music was natural and apt, not incongruous in the least.
She played extensively from her award winning album, including the crowd pleasing hit En Toneles, which had a big segment of the audience singing along for the chorus, but the covers she selected were, like Lucy herself, unabashedly feminist, queer, and fierce.

At one point, the poet Marisco Carmona, from the middle of the audience, added spoken word to a cover of Que Hago en Manila, the 1983 song by Virus. It was unexpected, fiery and was hip hop, when hip hop is made of poetry and acoustic guitar.

For the finale, the curtain rose on two Grand Pianos, face to face, with two amazing pianists accompanying her cover of Rosario Blefari's song Viento Helado. And Lucy finally got a drum. Drums always make her happy.

It was, all in all, incredible. If you cant tell, I liked it.
If Lucy was a man, she would be much more famous- she can outplay, outwrite, and outsing a lot of much bigger “stars”. But this performance indicates what she is capable of, and she cant, and won't, stop.

Look out world. Lucy Patané is coming.

Lucy with her core band, a couple of years ago.

Here is the studio version of her recent single, Nevada with many of the same musicians as her concert.
 

Ries

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Lucy covering the Virus song Que Hago en Manila with Marisco, last year.


Lucy on piano with pedal steel, synth, and timbales, not this show, but pretty recent.

The only video I can find of the actual show- One of the last couple of songs, with the two pianos. She got her drum brought onstage, a floor tom, right after this.
viento helado
 
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