Come in from outside…

avatars-000011886999-hni74c-t500x500I’ve been listening to far too many clunky Latin rhythms lately – I need to hear some white boys playing guitars and stuff…

Fortunately, my friend Lee has come to my rescue on that count, sending me a bunch of CDs wrapped in a post-it saying “try these…” These are the sort of friends a feller needs.

Soft Walls

Soft Walls are a side-project of Cold Pumas’ member, Dan Reeves. Nope, I’d never heard of any of them either – but this is probably something I need to sort out pretty soon. Both bands apparently played good sets at Liverpool Psychfest a couple of weeks ago, though I’d not really think of them as straight psyche acts, myself.

Their self-titled record is at times a bit of low-key, hypnotic affair, full of “found sounds”, bashed chords and shimmering, echo-ey vocals that are hard to penetrate at times. It reminded me of those Atlas Sounds records and even the Johnny Trunk tracks in that Reeves is clearly not afraid to repeat himself. But in other parts, there’s some pretty basic krautrock influences there. To be honest I enjoyed it more than the Cold Pumas’ record.

Soft Walls’ SoundCloud page includes this little review from Suplex Cassettes (nope, nor me – I seem to spend more and more time stumbling around in the dark these days…), which I think catches the mood nicely:

“The Soft Walls dissolves and swelters like the end of the century dance parties past, present and future. Repetition is aligned with invention and experimentation, and The Soft Walls is the amorphous release of a wandering mind, settling into its own cranium. Dense grooves coat the magnetic tape that delivers them, whilst motorik drum machines sit in primal death-rhythms.” 

It’s available here, at Bandcamp, (also on Emusic too), but by the miracle of SoundCloud, we can listen to some of it here:

[I’m off now to sort out a chichi mixtape for Lee…]

I’ve got a trouble in mind…

las-piranas-toma-tu-jabon-kapax{Tenuous link coming up…)

In an attempt to divert me from the galumphing rhythms of Latin America and generally wean me off the Chicha (so to speak) this post is going to  group two bands together who have pretty much nothing to unite them, apart from a common tilde…

Los Pirañas

Surely the most dissonant noise I’ve heard in a fair while, and there’s certainly nothing like it in the rest of South America. Los Pirañas are a sort of scrap yard assembly of Colombian musicians who take basic Cumbia and other Latin styles and pass it through a sort of post-punk mincer.

It’s all quite a resolutely abnormal listen. If I was a musician, I’d be able to pick out all the clever things they’re doing but all I can say is that to these non-muso ears it sounds as if they’ve taken fairly straight forward Latin melodies and shifted each note one-up and one-across. It’s odd, weirdly compelling fare but definitely worth a good old listen (and perhaps an awkward shuffle around the kitchen to).

The bass is chipper, sprightly stuff, the guitars discordant and mutated further through various phasers and laptops, but the real star of the show is the relentless and relentlessly inventive rhythms of Pedro Ojeda on drums.

Great stuff…



The album, Toma Tu Jabón Kapax, is absolutely wild and all the more notable for the fact that it appears to have been recorded live.



LP_Jacket_11073[I don’t often mention my other great enthusiasm on these pages, but last Saturday saw Gloucester Rugby narrowly edging out Perpignan in the Heineken Cup in a tense affair at the ‘Holm. In the pub afterwards I got to musing about the only other thing I know about the French Catalans…]


I’ve written about Perpignan’s finest before (Crystal Anis is a great little record), but someone on Twitter (I forget who, sorry!) pointed me towards a WFMU session recorded in 2011 but available for download on the Free Music Archive, here.

I’m still listening to it at the moment, but there’s very little crossover between these ten songs and the Crystal Anis album, although it has all the same reedy organ sounds and tambourine-driven Bonny & Clyde reference points that made me like them so much in the first place (plus a version of I’m Dead with lyrics…). It’s a very handy stop over until the new album comes out (next month, I think I read?)

I’ve a feeling that if I was a little more skilful with WordPress, I’d be able to embed the player for the tracks here. I’m not, so I can’t. You’ll have to go along to the link above and grab it yourself.

And why wouldn’t you?

Here’s Trouble in Mind…

What’s My Name?

Chicha+Libre+chicha_libreI kinda think I should be over all this, by now. Probably need to hear some skinny white guys playing Stooges covers soon…

Chicha Libre

Chicha Libre are a Brooklyn band fronted by a Frenchman , called Olivier Conan, who founded the Barbes label and was the brains (and the curiosity) behind the Roots of Cumbia collections that I’ve been playing to death these weeks.

I’ve just bought their most recent record, Canibalismo, which is a suitably goofy collection of Chicha rhythms, surf / wah-wah guitars and dubby effects. Think of Conan as a French/Peruvian Joe Meek (or maybe just watch this:)

There’s also a terrific interview with Conan, here, which includes a video section as well. It’s well worth a read.

And here’s a live session, at KUTX in Austin: