20 AlterLatino Rock en español or Portuguese albums I like (on eMusic & Bandcamp).

I used to get most of my music from foreign countries either at great U.S. stores or by actually going abroad and doing record store tourism, but that’s gotten a lot less fruitful in the past decade with brick and mortar record stores becoming endangered species.  Amoeba Music in CA helped a lot, too, and while I’d love to do a Motorcycle Diaries-style tour of Latin America, I hear it’s kinda dangerous.  One can only fit so many cds in a suitcase, so I’m grateful eMusic and Bandcamp can lighten my carbon footprint.

In approximate order of how much I like them…

1.  “Travesuras” - Ángel Parra Orrego (2019).  Mostly instrumental, but occasional vocal numbers (en español) are quite well done even as moods shift drastically.  This is sentimental, mischievous (to fit the album title), funky, folksy, laid back, and kooky in equal measures from track to track, a longer album that’s, as they say, greater than the sum of its parts.  Unexpected instrumentation abounds, with organs, vibes, pedaled and slid guitars combined soothingly with Southwestern or Latin flavor, electronics as often as vocals.  Unfortunately pricey, and as with anything that could be called fusion there are cheesy moments, but fans of Friends of Dean Martinez or Calexico will be pleased. 

2. “Derivacivilização” - Ian Ramil (2015).   What starts as a clunky, ramshackle sound of a rock band going mad builds by “ba ba bas” to a tightly controlled climax that makes fine use of silence.  The title track follows, with an electronic rhythm and longing vocals rising, with backup, into the falsetto range, again building to the end.  It’s a formula that is repeated over the course of the album, and it works because the guy has command of a near infinite array of ways to be quiet and loud, with anthemic structure and scope in the middle.  By the third track, the going actually gets strange, with a tinkling harpsichord and what sounds like monks chanting “ooo ooo ooo.”  The whole album is punctuated by odd, non-musical sounds and soaring choruses that pop up out of nowhere.  A model in building and releasing tension through song and how to spice up rock and roll for the 21st century.  Mighty fine for over nine dimes or NYP. https://ianramil.bandcamp.com/

3. “A Noite e Mais Eu” - Bruno Chaves (2019).  Rock with synths that switches from acoustic to electronic and back within songs on a short album for 99 cents.  The instrumentation and vocals sound like nothing but himself.  Quite inventive but also inviting to hum along to his harmonies.  https://brunochavez.bandcamp.com/music

4. “Traditore” - Juan Diamante (2016).  Fun, distinctive covers of indie and alt. rock, etc. en español.  It may be especially enjoyable for those who don’t speak Spanish to identify the songs without understanding the titles or the lyrics!  This is not your cousin or your high school classmate posting his/her favorite song using silverware or otherwise novel “instruments” on YouTube but rather is nicely produced, and the novelty of translating the lyrics is enough to hook me.  This is right in the middle range between a short album and long EP.  NYP on Bandcamp.  https://juandiamante.bandcamp.com/album/traditore  

5. “Percepção” - Poty (2018).  It’s hard to get a feel for this album just from sampling it.  The opening track isn’t representative b/c it’s ramped up and strung out, but the mellowest tracks are equally extreme.  There’s psychedelia, blues rock, “dad rock,” soft rock, and other styles at play from track to track.  Good-old-boy rock is not something I expected to hear from Brazil, but it’s here, too.  The singer’s voice can sound strained to the point of breaking, but overall I find it a perfect complement to the spare instrumentation.  It knows how and when to let loose, even if it means going just slightly off the rails with guitar noise.  It’s subtle and it’s cool, with the total listening experience making a strong argument for the preservation of the rock album as a holistic art form, rather than just individual songs.  And it’s 99 cents.  https://poty.bandcamp.com/album/percep-o-2018

6. “Abandono” - Semente de Maçã (2018).  A somewhat trip-hop but also lighter, psychedelic rock EP I feel like I can put on almost any time.  It and potentially the listener float gently into the sky like a soap bubble.  I’ll have to check out the others in the discography on Bandcamp on a NYP basis. https://sementedemaca.bandcamp.com/album/abandono

7. “Neuro” - Juliano Guerra (2018).  The penchant for sudden pauses and shifts in instrumentation or song structure on this album might make a listener uneasy or feel unbalanced, and that’s before taking his voice into consideration.  His vocals often play with the beat rather than trying to sing specific notes, but I wouldn’t call it rap.  Then he invites a lady to sing a duet with him on the sentimental “Fica.”  Brass usually but not always takes a back seat to guitars.  Psychedelic guitars over Latin rhythms are always a treat, and I’d call the whole experience quite pleasant and even uplifting, especially the closing title track.  Being a long album makes its 99-cent price extra nice.  Or try this one NYP https://julianoguerra.bandcamp.com/releases

8. “Pedaço Vivo” - Tagua Tagua (2018).  They’ve got several singles and two 99-cent EPs of a little over ten minutes for three tracks of innovative synth-rock.  Impossibly glam.  Keyboards with twang?

9.  “O Gole Que Presta” - Bel (2019).  Female vocals with attitude over slow tempo rock guitars and just a pinch of synths.  A bit darker and with elements of shoegaze/dream pop.  Spacey, abstract undertones are allowed to bloom on the short third song.  NYP https://quente.bandcamp.com/album/o-gole-que-presta

10. “Um Dia Que Já Vem” - Mão de Oito (2012).  I quite like the easygoing reggae rock of “Sai Dessa,” and the rest rocks inoffensively enough for most anyone, more in the alt. rock vein but with one foot still in Jamaica, funk, or something else flavorful.  The single “Beats” reimagines Jack Johnson as Portuguese hip-hop.  Overall highly recommended for anyone who likes brass with their upbeat soft rock.  A fine 99-cent album, as with many, many others on the Laboratório Fantasma label.

11. “Cicatrices de un Cuento (III)” - Los Caramelos (2020).  A dude with a pretty low voice croons and tells stories over understated synth-pop, resembling The Aluminum Group at times.  Layering the vocals, all his own apparently, creates a bit of an echo chamber effect.  Hummable and harmless, sometimes in a way that seems like turning the volume of a dance party waaaay down.  There’s actually quite a bit of variety in the accompaniment, but putting the vocals always most prominently in the mix leads the songs to blend a bit, though hardly unpleasantly.  https://discoswalden.bandcamp.com/album/cicatrices-de-un-cuento-iii-2

12. “Bambini” - Caetano Malta (2018).  Surprisingly little tropicalia made it onto this list or into my collection, but the first track here is strongly flavored that way on a long EP or short album for 99 cents.  The tracks that follow are more rock oriented but with throwbacks like a moody saxophone solo.  A duet and an acoustic instrumental close out the proceedings quietly.  https://pipamusic.bandcamp.com/album/bambini

13.  “Ese es el Cielo y Este tu Lugar” - COLONIkOCOLOkIO (2013).  Judging by the cover, one expects acoustic folk music, but from the opening track, electronic elements actually are the foundation of these rather long, interesting songs on an unusual album.  The opening instrumental actually reminds me a bit of Telefon Tel Aviv, though on a lower pay grade.  TransAm again comes to mind on the shorter tracks, and overall it’s kind of minimal synth-rock with a consistent but not overwhelming beat, except the Latin reggae of the closing track.  This won’t blow anyone away, but it’s a nice listen I don’t mind having paid $3 for despite it being free on Bandcamp (where I would never have stumbled upon it).  Their 2016 follow-up improves the production by leaps and bounds, and most of the Rompe label is also well worth a listen for free. https://rompecrea.bandcamp.com/album/ese-es-el-cielo-y-este-tu-lugar

14. “Haciendo el Fuego” - Peregrinos (2018).  Acoustic guitars carry this one from start to finish, but the album overall fits best on the fringes of progressive rock (despite iTunes categorizing it as jazz).  Vocals are introduced in the second track, which sounds almost like an Irish folk song.  At just half an hour, it’s over by the time most albums are just hitting their stride, but at $3 it’s still a bargain.  https://peregrinosmusic.bandcamp.com/album/haciendo-el-fuego

15. “Lanalhue” - Dadalú (2020).  This band is an outsider, lofi folk rap powerhouse.  Their simple guitar parts can carry two-minute songs themselves or work in tandem with electronics.  Definitely not for everyone, but there’s a rawness here that appeals like the best of bedroom pop.  Flaring the last syllable on their vocals is a thing they do on the opening and closing tracks.  NYP  https://dadaluuu.bandcamp.com/album/lanalhue-ep

16. “S/t” - Gravitones (2015, free on Bandcamp).  I made a whole post dedicated to rambling about this as being priced unusually and representing obscure albums that stream for free in their entirety here https://www.reddit.com/r/eMusicofficial/comments/gltw9o/the_curious_case_of_gravitones_fully_streamable/ But I didn’t actually describe the music other than as being “progressive folk.”  There’s an alternation throughout the album between instrumentals and vocal tracks, and the overall vibe is pretty upbeat.  Electric guitars are introduced on the third track, which is closer to jazz fusion, shifting seamlessly and beautifully to post-rock after about seven minutes, then back again before the 11-minute mark before closing on a quiet note.  That and the final track are each over 15 minutes long, allowing the band to unwind and explore different styles in the same song, something I support anyone with the chops to include on any otherwise conventional album.  In the middle tracks, there’s a campesino ballad similar to DePedro, a Latin math rock instrumental akin to Beaten by Them or Ui, a longish and minimalist meditation, and a short, playful vocal track.  In sum, quite an enjoyable hour-long journey full of experimentation.  https://gravitones.bandcamp.com/releases


17. “Nuestros Días de Invierno” - Chico Bestia (2018).  I’m not generally a fan of emo, but maybe that’s just because I haven’t heard much of it en español.  Or maybe this skirts the edges of emo right in the sweet spot.  Finding the right balance in rock between abrasiveness and actual noise is something every individual needs to grapple with, and this album is ecstatic to help, and they’ve brought some lovely guitar ala Explosions in the Sky and Shimmering Stars.  https://sellorecolector.bandcamp.com/album/nuestros-d-as-de-invierno

18. “A través de tus ojos” - Degong (2019).  A bouncy EP w/ m/f duet vocals.  Upbeat indie pop rock on the first track, followed by a mix of the same and sentimental acoustic numbers.  Nice bells on “Tu nombre,” and “Escapar” is based around a piano.  https://registromovil.bandcamp.com/album/a-trav-s-de-tus-ojos

19. “El primero es el último” - Shaman y los Pilares de la Creación (2018).  I’m kinda torn about this one b/c the variety of instrumentation was enough to entice me to buy it without sampling first, but I have limited appreciation of the singer’s  delivery in a very low register something like Murder by Death.  Fully and maximally chamber pop, the baseline is as likely to come from an upright bass, cello, or tuba as a combination of them.  Maybe Voltaire or Loch Lomond is the model to emulate, and I strongly prefer the latter over the former, with this album coming in third.  The guy’s vocal affectations seem to me to carry more melodrama and histrionics than genuine emotion.  It’s never unpleasant, sloppily arranged, or out of control, but a different mix or production would help, IMO.  https://discosdeshaman.bandcamp.com/album/el-primero-es-el-ltimo

20. “Rampas y tuneles” - Cromattista (2020).  I actually like this one a lot more than most, but it’s the only fully instrumental entry and so doesn’t quite fit with the rest.  Post-rock like this needs to be heard and highlighted not only to beat back being engulfed by “crescendocore” but also to keep rock music itself vital.  The high-wire circus fantasy of “Fellini” is also a good reminder that the saxophone used to fit well in rock and roll.  Most of the tracks are pretty brief other than the conclusion.  Highly recommended.    https://discosdelsaladillo.bandcamp.com/album/rampas-y-tuneles

On other lists:     “Maiúsculas Cósmicas” - Walfredo em Busca da Simbiose (2019).  “Narcisos” - Caco (2018).      Los Amigos Invisibles.  Francisco y Madero.  Fasat Alfa.  Peces Raros.               Laboratorio Fantasma label and several more discoveries from the past six months need to be added to this list I haven’t updated my list of labels for a long time, but it seems to be mostly intact.  https://www.reddit.com/r/eMusicofficial/comments/cst70g/estudios_hisp%C3%A1nicos_emusic_labels_from_the/.  

Rather than reposting repeatedly, here’s my lists of what’s left on eMusic:  http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/eMuReddit.html 

& by my evaluation http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/eMusic%20Labels.html

& by genre https://www.emusers.net/forum/discussion/comment/94512/#Comment_94512 


  • edited October 2021

    AlterLatino Mostly Rock en español or Portuguese 2 (20+ more albums)

    Hispanic heritage month ended Oct. 15th for reasons I don’t know, and I wanted to get this list done before then but had a cascading computer failure. Consider this a slightly belated celebration, even though not all entries are actually Hispanic. I wish I could say I had it marked on my calendar and saved these albums, but it’s just serendipitous timing that this was the most bulging category in the backlog.

    eMusic can continue to justify its existence for having great albums available in this category at a deep discount over Bandcamp and also many that are exclusive to eMu. The quality here is on par with what I’d expect from top U.S. artists on the best indie labels, but a lot more effort is involved in finding the very finest.

    These albums are as usual ranked in the order I’d like to listen to them…

    1. “Bolloq” - Doppler (2019). This is a lightning-in-a-bottle, turn-on-a-dime, tight 27-minute album that has several standout tracks, accomplishing that increasingly difficult feat of sounding fresh with the standard guitar-bass-drums-vocals rock combo. The opening instrumental plays w/ tempo, distortion, and the listener’s expectations well enough, but the vocalist’s tuneless attitude fits the songs where it’s featured perfectly. I hear Wire in the guitars but should probably get someone who’s a bigger fan to confirm it. The flippant instrumental “Caronte” replaces a vocal chorus with a catchy riff and gets a five-star rating from me. “Ctrl Z” bursts w/ punk energy. “Piloto…” is the most aggressive song, and the title track at the end burns itself out w/ fury, smoldering, and a final build to an exuberant burst.

    2. “Lingua” - Octa Push (2015). Worldly electronica first caught my attention, like many, w/ Deep Forest & Loop Guru, and I’ll still listen to the latter occasionally but find the former a little too cheesy. In 20 years time I don’t know if I’ll have to make a similar judgment of this album, but for now it seems fresh and well produced. Somewhat dancey but w/ more vocals than I’m accustomed to (by a rotating, looooong guest list, and thankfully none in English), this also pulls off a rare feat of not seeming at all like just a series of loops. The vocals, fast pace, unusual sounds and samples (though many are probably live recordings) distract one almost entirely from the fact that this is EDM because the songs all have a progression to them and are unpredictable. This is the album Groove Armada and Basement Jaxx wish they could have made before collapsing inward on themselves in dubious pursuit of the perfect mix of pop and electronica, before every song of theirs just became a vehicle for another mercenary/celebrity vocalist. Every song here feels not only unique but also compelling, and being a cohesive whole in one electro-Afro-tropical style rather than trying to do it all or try everything is something I think producers should return to. Finding gems like this make it worth clicking through mountains of self-released garbage in pursuit of more revelations. https://octapush.bandcamp.com/album/l-ngua

    3. “O Que Vem” - Guache (2018). Apparently a duo of a man and a woman who both play guitars and sing in Portuguese, this is entrancingly understated and cool music for, though I despise the phrase, chilling out. Don’t come looking for virtuosity or rhythmic variety, but very few albums are able to set and sustain a mood like this for a whole album. Fans of restrained, early Low will find a lot to like here, especially if one prefers their harder edges to be sanded down. There’s also something about the language—without understanding what they’re singing—that adds to the effect whenever they sing a Spanish cognate with a ʒ (voiced postalveolar fricative). Mus has some similar phonemes that just resonate perfectly w/ the music, but she tends to let her songs get catchier and more whimsical, often using a wider variety of instruments. Guache have a perfect, minimalist sound that sticks to a winning formula and can sound almost post-punk at times, if it were slowed and quieted down so that percussion is just a subtle murmur or barely audible click. To put them further in comparative perspective, their effect is more soothing and ambient than a lot of ambient music I’ve heard. This is an album to have at the ready for emergencies and played often. https://guache.bandcamp.com/album/o-que-vem

    4. “S/t” - Tono (2018). The other release by this excellent rock band is on a different label and is just as engaging as 2008’s “Auge”, apparently a very good year for them (though Discogs says it’s from 2008, eMusic disagrees). I’d call the opening “Distante Demais” Latin blues rock, complete w/ brass and a beat that shifts subtly between rock and samba, punctuated by a chorus of “Ohs”. This is followed by the likely single, which follows a well-known tendency as the most immediately catchy song on the album (an electronic loop and simple chorus are behind its memorability) but also the one I’d skip after having heard a few times, maybe even keeping me from playing the album as much as I would otherwise. Other than that song, this self-entitled album is slightly mellower than “Auge.” Sparing use of the band’s female vocalist, who appears on track three, is again a secret weapon used to great effect. I wish I could find any information at all about the band online, especially whether they have any other albums and if they’re touring. Apple Music says this is their 2007 debut, and they’ve got one more album from 2013 with a guest appearance by Gilberto Gil, but there is absolutely no dust on their exuberant sound. Can Portuguese-fluent readers help me out? To avoid any confusion w/ the common name & title: https://www.emusic.com/album/152139018/Tono/Tono

    5. “Acapulco en la Azotea” - Francisco y Madero (2011). Just nine minutes and a little more sample-based than their other EPs, this is another joyful listening experience in brevity w/ Latin, electronic, and guitar highlights aplenty. I’ll always wish they’d try a whole album, but w/ morsels this tasty it’s hard to complain. The first two are instrumental, while the third is a mildly warped Latin surf oddity sung in English that almost seems a parody of the genre. https://franciscoymadero.bandcamp.com/album/acapulco-en-la-azotea

    6. “Bestia” - Hello Seahorse! (2009). An unusual case where I bought and enjoyed a full-priced album and then circled back to a 99-cent album, this Mexican band’s vocalist is an acquired taste but obviously soulful and soothing. A little shorter, more straightforward, and less atmospheric than 2010’s “Lejos…”, the rock here is still mid-tempo and not too loud. Electronics add to the catchy buoyancy of the songs, not unlike Stereolab at times, and she sure knows when to let her angelic voice just hold a note for a while. I’m not usually one to pay attention to things like chord progressions, but there might be something going on with them there to keep things always a little unpredictable. Vocal layering is always nice, as is adding male back-ups on “Siberia.” They could be faulted for not rocking the boat, but soft rock definitely has its place, in heavy rotation for these ears.

    7. “Paparí” - Porrosivo (2019). I had assumed from the cover that this was another of eMusic’s reissues of something that had been on vinyl for many decades, specifically the one before I was born, but apparently this received enough critical acclaim to make it onto some “best of 2020” lists, albeit obscure ones w/ unusual geographic focus & written en español: https://www.semana.com/musica/articulo/los-10-mejores-discos-de-2020-para-juan-carlos-garay/202002/ . It’s probably very unfair that Santana gets the lion’s share of the credit for incorporating Latin elements into rock & roll, and I’ll take this album over any of Santana’s any day, not least because this is closer to being Latin music w/ a guitar than just being Latin rock. Sure there’s some muscular solos, but the ritmos only occasionally conform to rock expectations, and these mostly instrumental songs are better off, far more interesting for that insistence. That said, this sounds more like the classic rock era than contemporary, and serious Santana fans should take him and this short review to task in more detail. At least one needn’t worry that the Matchbox 20 singer will do guest vocals at the first opportunity, the fourth track, “El Preso”.

    8. “Tagadá” - País Violento (2017). If Peces Raros is a little too dancey/insubstantial and Turbina is too weighty/experimental and not danceable enough (entries 9 & 14, below), this one gets the balance just right for my tastes. Many songs are unpredictable or have a nice build to them, and the vocals have a dramatic quality that raises the stakes considerably, to the point where these feel urgent and important as musical statements. There’s a lot more than just laying down a beat or being glitchy for glitchiness’s sake. With a little more gravitas, a song like “Matapajaritos” could approach Underworld, but even if they’re not quite there it’s a fun, engaging listen. Indeed, all this album is glaringly missing is an epic on that level and, critically, that length, to endear themselves to listeners forever. A skilled remixer could provide it, or I hope they’ll read this and put one on their next album (being apparently self-released, anything’s possible). “Cuando Todo Se Mueve” is another highlight that could teach countless electronic acts how to inject some variety & breadth in their sound. Kinda strange that they’ve got both a song w/ the album title and the last song on the album is the same as the band name. Overall, they’re a strong reminder not to dismiss titles not supported by a record label, partial reinforcement to keep clicking away in the darkest recesses of eMusic.

    9. “Anestesia” - Peces Raros (2018). This electronic dancerock album stayed on my wishlist for years out of fear that it’d be derivative of bands like VHS or Beta (itself not the most original), and while those fears were not entirely unfounded, it’s an easy listen when you want something in the style for a quick pick-me-up en español. At mostly 4-5 minutes, the songs here are long enough to establish a groove, get the listener to shake it, and end before wearing out their welcome. This won’t blow the roof off any clubs, but it does what it sets out to do quite well. As evidence: they’ve got a lot of views & subscribers on YouTube.

    10. “Albatros” - Mundaka (2019). Alt. rock w/ brass from Peru checks all the right boxes and gets the nod over the entry at #12 on this list for being a whole album. Cool album art, too. The songs are on the short side, and while they’re all unique, unusual, and interesting, I’d have trouble focusing on a favorite that really jumps out and demands to be heard on, say, college radio. Maybe the vocalist’s low-key delivery takes the wind out of their sails a bit, but if you like a jazzy or light Afrobeat (“1992”) sound w/ your rock from Latin America, I’d be hard pressed to recommend anything over this. https://mundaka.bandcamp.com/

    11. “Leve Embora” - Thiago Ramil (2015). I presume there’s a familial relationship between him and Ian from the name, and the connection could easily be made musically as well. It’s both acoustic and electric, with Latin and tropicalia elements but well grounded in alt. rock overall. It’s an album for those who appreciate songcraft, and while I’d appreciate it more if it were edgier or took more risks, I can’t fault him for achieving catchy listenability instead, as on the stutter-stepping “Desculpa” which slowly reveals itself in pieces that add up quite nicely and then unwind smoothly. I like the Beatles-esque but disjointed “Dizharmonia” too. For anyone wondering when I’ll tire of 99-cent good but maybe not great alternations between acoustic & rock singer-songwriters from Brazil, the answer is still “not yet.” https://thiagoramil.bandcamp.com/album/leve-embora

    12. “Tombamento Inevitável” - Tagua Tagua (2017). A nice alt. rock brassy band that seems to work in 3-song EPs is recommended for those who like their Latin rock upbeat, short & sweet with a big sound. Again, good but not great…gimme a full album for some real staying power. I’m ready for a fierce debate on whether to go w/ the 99 cent or $2 price. https://taguatagua.bandcamp.com/album/tombamento-inevit-vel

    13. “S/t” - Musa Híbrida (2012). This is a short alt. rock album that manages to dabble in both the folksier and more electronic sides on the opener and elsewhere, with a female vocalist and musical craftsmen who all do a good job at unadorned but enjoyable music that won’t offend anyone. While mellower than both, fans of PJ Harvey or Liz Phair will likely find elements in common and enjoy some songs a lot. Some have a male vocalist in a back-up role, while “El Preservativo” and a few others let him briefly have the lead over fully electronic beats, again accompanied by acoustic guitar or ukelele. I’m beginning to think there might not only be an unlimited supply of similar-sounding bands and albums but also that most of them may be had for 99 cents on eMusic.

    14. “Leti' Hum Eek Inda Jani Mish Masadi II” - Turbina (2013). Mixing rock and electronic elements might still be novel where they’re from (see also entries 8 & 9, above), but at nearly an hour and with four tracks over seven minutes long, I think they need to do a little more with the formula to escape mediocrity. The second track is the clear single, with soaring vocals, a straightforward beat with strong guitar lines and electronics around the margins, undoubtedly losing most listeners w/ the harsh outro. “Philia” has the most different sounds coming together for a purpose. With the album title and several of the songs evoking spiritualism, they’ve got very deep intentions for a message, but the music reminds me of a lesser version of the early 2000s band Woven, who tried the dramatic electronic-glitchy rock song deal in earnest and were critically panned as well as popularly ignored. I’ve played this album almost ten times, so there must be something that keeps me coming back; I just can’t articulate what exactly it is or make it sound the least bit appealing to the average listener. It’s too electronic for prog rock fans, not innovative or committed enough to please electronic listeners, and I’m not fully convinced that there are enough fans of industrial music en español to fill a gimnasio. Definitely caught in an uncomfortable middle ground or auditory no man’s land. Well worth $3.99 on a tiny, interesting label. https://turbina.bandcamp.com/album/leti-hum-eek-inda-jani-mish-masadi-ii

    15. “Lucero” - Nano Stern (2018). Beginning w/ a complaint about our internet age, with lyrics mirrored by a jagged guitar, this 99-cent EP by a prolific artist is at least rather adventurous. The urgency gets ramped up to a level that will lose pop listeners but interest those who have some aggression to let out. There’s an almost ramshackle feeling to these harder, bluesy rock songs, but the style has been thoroughly covered since the 90s by early Collective Soul, decidedly less popular bands like Soulhat, and countless Japanese bands. His singing voice is quite close to speaking and is better at matching the rhythm than hitting notes. Still vastly preferable for unpredictability over the average pop rock song, and the guitar work is often impressive.

    16. “Al Borde de un Tiempo Perdido” - Strange Color (2020). The big, bright, and pounding sound comes in strong on the opening song, and looking over the tracklisting—all 5-7 minutes long—one expects some epic quasi-prog rock, but unfortunately the band isn’t able to deliver much variety. The vocals over keyboards and guitar formula stays pretty much the same over the whole album, they don’t seem to want to play more than a few notes in any given song, and I wouldn’t say there’s a highlight that stands out. English vocals on the opening single seem a bit strained and not very distinctive. For 99 cents it’s still a bargain and worth a few listens, but it colors me less than enticed to try the rest of the catalog on Devil in the Woods for higher prices. Maybe one to fill a space and show how extraordinary the best prog & psych-rock is. https://strangecolor.bandcamp.com/album/al-borde-de-un-tiempo-perdido

    Bandcamp Only (all NYP unless otherwise noted):
    “Intermedio” - Leyendas del No Age (2017). After a rather desultory intro, these legends in their own mind make a strong case to be widely heard, with a powerful chorus over twinkling accompaniment on “Vida y Muerte”. From there, a couple of long tracks strike a balance between experimental & psychedelic, and the short album alternates vocals, instrumentals, and a variety of styles adeptly. https://registromovil.bandcamp.com/album/intermedio

    “El Egotismo de Nildo el Suspirante” - El Egotismo de Nildo (2016). Free & excellent. Rock w/ speedy vocals seemed to be reaching too much for a pop sound in the first verses of the opening track, but there’s an oddness and edge to the chorus and the rest of the album to redeem itself in my ears. The instrumentation swings mercurially from overly conventional to strange, often lulling one into an expectation of a soft or light song only to crank up the volume suddenly. The vocals are usually spoken in the verses and sung in choruses, great for practicing listening comprehension. https://elegotismodenildo.bandcamp.com/releases

    “Celia” - Francisco y Madero (2019). This pair continues to impress w/ atmospheric Latin rock stylings & kooky vocal harmonizing (as well as other sounds) like Animal Collective, this time including a Trump sample about a wall. “Psychic Novia” is in English. A mighty fine EP. https://franciscoymadero.bandcamp.com/album/--2

    “Exposición” - Calavera (2017). I’m divided on whether this is rock w/ prominent keyboards or fully synth-pop, but it’s often catchy and very well produced and accessible overall. I usually highlight female vocalists in this style, and this guy works in the falsetto range a lot. Unlike many pop artists, he’s able to work w/ both short & long songs, and given how electronically the melodies are led w/ keyboards, the usually acoustic drums are a really nice touch. Lyrics seem substantial. Recommended w/out reservation for fans of The Aluminum Group, Gary Numan, and maybe Depeche Mode, Peter Gabriel? https://montventoux.bandcamp.com/album/calavera-exposici-n

    “S/t” - Semente de Maçã (2016). Comparing Brazilian rock the demigods, Os Mutantes, is especially lazy for newer music, given that there’s so much old Brazilian rock that would be a more apt comparison, but working the wa-wa as much as they do on the opening track of this EP makes it inevitable. Mellow and psychedelic. Their discography includes a Beach House & Mac DeMarco cover each. https://sementedemaca.bandcamp.com/album/semente-de-ma-ep

    “IAN” - Ian Ramil (2014). I was hoping for a prequel to 2015’s excellent “Derivacivilizaçao” , which absolutely every fan of rock should own, and by that high standard this was a little disappointing, much closer in style and quality to Thiago Ramil’s album above. Well worth owning cheaply, and there are some enjoyable songs here, aided by lots of brass & reed instruments. Fans of more straightforward & acoustic songwriting might even like this album better, and it’s fully ten minutes longer. A couple of forays into English may be novel to his fans in Brazil, but to me they’re quite apparently his weakest songs. https://ianramil.bandcamp.com/album/ian

    Rather than reposting repeatedly, here’s my lists of what’s left on eMusic: http://www.omnifoo.info/pages/eMuReddit.html
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