They are not only a cool image, although you must see how scandalously magical their photos are. The temptation to get hooked on r.e.a.l just for their fashion design is overwhelming. The music by Isabel and Sara is above the rhetoric of fads and capital letters. The experimental electronic pop music, according to their own definition, of these two Madrid-based Galician artists draws you in because it appears before you soft and elegant and very refined. That is until you stretch out your hand and, ouch, it pricks. Like some of the names that they mention here and there in their interviews (Warpaint, King Krule, Jon Hopkins, Olafur Arnalds, Grimes…) their beauty is all the more beautiful because… it hurts.
Surfing the tsunami of therapy often means realising that the simplest answers are the right ones. “Write, write, it’s therapeutic”, say the couch professors. But whilst most people would do it in a small notebook that lives on their bedside table, Adrianne Lenker cures her insomnia, her ghosts of the past and present, the names in her life (Haley, Mary, Paul, Lorraine, Randy)… through songs. For the album covers of Masterpiece (2016) and Capacity (2017) Big Thief steals the most sacred memories, family snaps that show strange moments caught just a second after saying “cheese”, just when they let their guard down. That is what her songs are like too, sung with echoes of both Hope Sadoval and Joni Mitchell: comforting and strange, beautiful even though they thresh out childhood accidents and traumas (Mythological Beauty), and are recognisable as we recognise ourselves in our mothers and fathers, and they in us. Because often, not only are the simplest answers the right ones, but they are usually the same for everyone.
Her first album hasn’t been released yet and she hasn’t even debuted live in our country, but Billie Eilish is on a roll. The new post-millennial pop star will be tonight in the Sant Jordi Club,
Every step of this Californian artist is a new milestone… and she isn’t even 18 yet! Any statistic or fact Billie Eilish one day has drastically changed the next: keeping track of her hundreds of millions of listens on streaming platforms is impossible, as is counting her army of followers or trying to predict her limit (if she has one that is). So for now we will content ourselves with the latest facts we know about her: her first album comes preceded by the icy Bury A Friend, probably her most ghostly and rawest track to date, and she has also contributed a song, When I Was Older, to the soundtrack inspired by Alfonso Cuarón’s film Roma.
The tectonic plates move every time Erykah Badu wants them to. The first and strongest earth tremor was her debut in 1997, Baduizm. All those nostalgic for soul classics agreed about the excellence of that game-changing album (Erykah was the last link in the Diana Ross-Ann Peebles-Chaka Khan chain), as did the gourmets of black pop who came from the school of Janet Jackson and TLC and even the hip hop generation understood that that R&B was another dialect of the same language. But the earthquakes didn’t start and end then: with Mama’s Gun and Worldwide Underground Ms Badu even took on black rock (a terrain usually reserved for imitators of Hendrix) and with the incredible diptych New Amerykah, she took on the world of p-funk. Now after years of studio silence, only interrupted by a few mixtapes, the queen of afro has come back to the studio and stages to remind us that her elegant live performances are like a reverse striptease: every note, every word and every collaborator that dresses her show, make her more sensual, more exposed and more… Erykah.
Where were you in 1977, Amy Taylor? The foul-mouthed singer of Amyl & The Sniffers wasn’t even born! As a matter of fact she was still a long way off (her birth certificate says…1996). Thinking about it, at that time her parents were kids who didn’t even listen to punk rock, they listened to AC/DC and Fleetwood Mac. Even so, when you’re hit with the ten angry eruptions of Big Attraction & Giddy Up you could imagine that Amy has shared rehearsal rooms, stages and pyjama parties with Poly Styrene, Ari Up and Ana da Silva. That’s how pure her Brit-punk repertoire sounds. Or better said, Aussie-punk, as they’re from Australia and pray to The Saints, The New Christs and The Birthday Party.
Kathy Yaeji Lees’ ever more crowded live appearances have become famous, among other things, for the way in which the artist picks up the mic and sings over the tracks she is playing. It isn’t a session, nor a pop concert, but a hybrid format that, against all odds, works. The method is also applied to her recordings, in which the non-singers English and Korean whispers, rhythmic and on the edge of rap, fly over the club sounds, without ever being completely integrated into the mix. In some ways, Yaeji has tumbled upon the musical translation of a childhood that took her from the United States to South Korea, before being able to grow roots in either of the cultures. She has turned this fascinating lack of belonging into an infinite source of fascination.
The first thing that hits you in Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes’s live shows is seeing their frontman coming out on stage in a flashy, impeccable suit, which he takes off as the voltage reaches boiling point, and ends up displaying all the tattoos that cover his body. In some ways, the striptease is a metaphor for the band itself, with which Carter intends to stylise the rage that he displayed with Gallows, his former band, pushing the seductive potential of his voice to the forefront, which with every new inflection announces a coreable anthem. But the energy that the vocalist and his rattlesnakes project can only be contained to a certain point, and inevitably the shirt is ripped off revealing a vein which, with its beat, sends a message to which the audience immediately responds: pogo!