Primavera es está en el aire, spring is in the air. In Spain, anyway. (Thanks for Marc for the correction… clearly, my Spanish still has a ways to go!) Considering the pilgrimage to Coachella was a bit unmanageable this year, my summer concert festival will be Barcelona’s Primavera Sound 2009. The three-day tunesfest takes place may 28 to 30 (next week) and features a indie-packed international crew that will make your head spin. There are few names on the playbill that we haven’t yet spun here at Ca Va Cool, (as well as some old classics) so I thought I would do the honours and throw the records in the jukebox for all to hear. And, there’s a selection of favourites for good measure.
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01 | Girls – Lust for Life / Lust for Life EP / 2009
Talk about an ingenious way to prevent pirating: Band name = Girls. EP name = Lust for Life. Search results = sketchy. I’m not even sure how to buy this EP, owing to my fear of opening any of the Google hits. But this track holds a lot of promise for the San Francisco group; irony, clarity, and levity. If anyone discovers the proper way to buy this album, comment away.
02 | A Certain Ratio – Teri / Mind Made Up / 2008
03 | A Certain Ratio – Do the Du / Do the Du 12” / 1981
One of the original Factory Records post-punk bands, A Certain Ratio were featured in one of the best music movies ever, 24 Hour Party People. While maybe not explicitly named as one of the forerunners in the Madchester scene, they followed the wave by making the move into house music. Their most recent releases have been more-or-less modernized versions of their original sound, with some exceptions (like the dreamy ‘Teri’ included here).
04 | My Bloody Valentine – Soon (The Andrew Weatherall Mix) / Glider EP / 1990
If you haven’t listened to My Bloody Valentine, do so in this order: Ecstasy and Wine > You Made Me Realize > Isn’t Anything > Anything else they’ve put out > Loveless. I say this because most of their music has something to offer, but the other material tends to pale in comparison to Loveless (which is, of course, one of the more perfect albums ever recorded. And better be, after the ordeal of recording it). If you’re like me, digging for the old remixes is a decent substitute for the new album we’ve been waiting for years to hear.
05 | Phoenix – Too Young / United / 2000
Loving Amadeus Wolfgang Phoenix? Let’s go back to the roots for a minute.
06 | Dan Deacon – Padding Ghost / Bromst / 2009
Dan Deacon hasn’t necessarily had the most positive coverage with us in the past, and I stand by David’s opinion of Spiderman of the Rings. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised when Bromst rolled out in mid-March. It’s still weird with extended rambling electronic sequences, but this time, it’s the good kind of weird… quirky and interesting weird. Maybe it’s what he meant to make the first time around.
07 | Ponytail – Beg Waves / Ice Cream Spiritual / 2008
With vocals reminiscent of a love child of Bjork and Yoko Ono conceived while on a surfing voyage, the Baltimore quartet breathlessly bounces through noise-laden beach rock. The result is interesting and danceable, odd and jarring (as with any work sometime slotted in the math rock genre) and completely fun. I’m betting on a spectacular live performance.
08 | Marnie Stern – Ruler / This Is It and I Am It and You Are It and So Is That and He Is It and She Is It and It Is It and That Is That / 2008
After only two albums, Stern is already garnering accolades for her guitar shredding and engaging lyrics. Pretentiously long album titles aside, the tunes are addictive. The stand-out track is also Marnie’s personal pick. AC/DC, eat your heart out.
09 | The Soft Pack/The Muslims – Beside Myself / The Muslims / 2009
Don’t expect anything religiously pertinent or politically charged from this group; while they changed their former moniker due to “racist comments and criticisms”, their tunes are fairly basic pop-punk. Formulaic, but it works. Could they end up being the next Strokes? Or Jet? (shudder…)
10 | The Right Ons – Thanks / Look Inside, Now! / 2009
I spent nearly a year in Spain before I found some good rock music. These Madrileños have a raucous good time playing fun head-bopping anthems. Thanks, Right Ons.
11 | Jarvis Cocker – Homewrecker! / Further Complications / 2009
One of Britpop’s favourite sons – the former head of Pulp – is back on the scene. For the latest album Further Complications, Cocker teamed up with sound engineer/musician/multitasker Steve Albini, who will also appear at Primavera Sound with his current band Shellac. Check out his homepage to see what shenanigans he’s been creating artistically and musically by asking the question: “What Is Music?”
12 | Art Brut – Summer Job / Art Brut vs. Satan / 2009
By now, we should have Art Brut’s schtick figured out: catchy pop-rock rifts and spoken quirky and often sardonic vocals. But for some reason, it always works. Why fix it if isn’t broken?
13 | Bloc Party – Little Thoughts / Little Thoughts EP / 2004
Yeah, we know about Bloc Party already. I could have put a song from the newly released Intimacy Remixed, but it’s just too depressing (and unfortunately not surprising). What the hell happened to “Ion Square” through all the distortion? We still love them, in good remixes and bad remixes, but it doesn’t mean we have to listen to the throw-away pseudo-dancehall versions just because they’re available. Here’s a throwback to the Japanese EP, from when we became enamored with the Londoners for the first time.
14 | Carsick Cars – Rock n’ Roll Hero / Carsick Cars / 2007
There’s a few gaping cultural holes in my indie-pop knowledge, and one of the huge gaps is Asia in general. I lack any collection from nearly this entire continent, which is pretty embarrassing. One of the few I know is Carsick Cars, a Beijing post-punk band who apparently rip the stage apart live and a few years back were clamouring to open the set for Sonic Youth. Not necessarily culturally representative, but it’s a start, at least.
15 | Sonic Youth – Tom Violence / Evol / 1986
No wave. Experimental. Alternative. Post-punk. Rock. Call them what you will, depending on the point in their career and their contemporaries at the time. Not only did Sonic Youth challenge the status quo regarding guitar tuning and rock in general in the 80s and 90s, but they appeared on the Simpsons too. Cool to the extreme. New album The Eternal out June 9th.
16 | The Horrors – Scarlet Fields / Primary Colours / 2009
Always on the lookout for new shoegaze bands, The Horrors jumped out at me as an opportunity to fill this niche. I’m not sure if Primary Colours deserve the hype it has received, or if this is the direction I want shoegaze to go next. Or even if it really is shoegaze, instead of Muse-esque goth. But then, the album rolled on to ‘Scarlet Fields’ and my opinion changed. Overall, it leaves me intrigued but wanting a bit more clarification.
17 | Condo Fucks/Yo La Tengo – The Kid With the Replaceable Head / Fuckbook / 2009
18 | Yo La Tengo – Upside Down / Upside Down EP / 1992
Not such a secret: I listen to a lot of Yo La Tengo. Few bands are capable of so much quantity and quality while maintaining a paradoxical level of anonymity and cult status within the music world. Their latest antics involved assuming a pseudonym and a 60’s garage-rock attitude with the release of the Condo Fuck’s Fuckbook. The crunchy lo-fi nature isn’t really a departure of their sound, but more of a reflection back to their earlier discography.
19 | Saint Etienne – Nothing Can Stop Us Now / Foxbase Alpha / 1991
This description comes courtesy of Ca Va Cool master Daniel: “Basically, the story goes: a couple of music critics hire a pretty singer to be the face of their glam-indie pop-inspired but essentially euro-dance band. Nothing deep, just really good tunes, which means the singles are the most important (especially the early ones, mostly covers).” ‘Nothing Can Stop Us Now’ is their own, and one of the best.
20 | Klaus & Kinski – Rocanrolear / Tu Hoguera Está Ardiendo / 2008
Mentioned previously by Dona, Murcia, Spain’s Klaus & Kinski are one of the top dreampop bands out there right now, punto. I’m hoping to get my hands on their new mini-CD Por Qué No Me Das Tu Dinero (Translation: Why Don’t You Give Me Your Money) during the Primavera set.
21 | Andrew Bird – Fitz and Dizzyspells / Noble Beast / 2009
The violin virtuoso is back with Noble Beast, and continues to impress. Again a showcase for Bird’s multi-instrumentalism and flair for wordplay, the album features some of his most mature songs and best whistling yet. I’m not sure if anything will ever break past the level set by The Mysterious Production of Eggs, but that’s what happens when your breakout album is also your opus (see Bloc Party for more information).
Download | Primavera Sound Festival 2009 Preview
Tags: Andrew Bird, Art Brut, Bloc Party, Condo Fucks, Dan Deacon, Jarvis Cocker, Marnie Stern, My Bloody Valentine, Phoenix, Ponytail, Primavera Sound, Saint Etienne, Sonic Youth, The Horrors, The Muslims, The Right Ons, The Soft Pack, Yo La Tengo