Everything in Hop Along revolves around Frances Quinlan. Because, as well as being the founder of the band, Quinlan has one of those magnetic personalities that charms you from the word go. It is said, and it is true, that she doesn’t have one voice but 10: she can carry whatever song you want sounding tough, sweet, bluesy or screaming her head off, whatever the occasion requires. She makes you to actually believe in something. Luckily her bandmates (that include her brother on drums) are a versatile and nervy combo that carries Hop Along straight to the golden era of Pavement, Neutral Milk Hotel and Modest Mouse. But this is 2018 and they are in Philadelphia. So besides their indoubtable indie rock skills, they offer a wide stylistic range and an empowering feminist discourse. Get on board, this is addictive.
In Spiritualized’s music three states of matter exist in harmony: the foundations of his songs are as hard as silex and his arrangements pour out, flow and fill spaces like a liquid. The fact that from this combination comes a music that rises gas-like to the skies is a mystery that only Jason Pierce himself holds the key to. With both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized, Jason has been the guardian of an alchemical secret that transforms noise into gospel, traditional blues into futuristic avant-garde music and psychedelic garage into chamber music.
Now after the stellar show with an orchestra and choir in the Auditori del Fòrum at the recent edition of Primavera Sound, Spiritualized are coming back to perform live in Barcelona, this time with a classical formation to present the songs from their recently announced eighth album, And Nothing Hurt, after 6 years of studio silence. An album composed and recorded solo by Jason Pierce, on which bedroom folk sounds like a sonic Big Bang Theory. With them, neither the number of musicians on stage nor how the tracks were originally recorded count: what is important is the matter (and its three states) which constitute their songs. Tonight at Razzmatazz.
If revenge is a dish best served cold, Iceage have waited for it to be frozen before serving it up. They don’t really have any scores to settle, as the first three records by this post punk quartet from Copenhagen (Denmark) were unanimously acclaimed by audiences and the musical press. But Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Dan Kjær Nielsen, Johan Suurballe Wieth and Jakob Tvilling Pless have waited patiently for four years to give shape to their fourth album, the first that was recorded all-analog: it will be called Beyondless, and will be released on May 4th on Matador.
If the two tasters that they have already released are anything to go by, there is no doubt that the fourth album will not be a disappointment: the first Catch It, is an amazing apocalyptic post punk anthem; whilst Pain Killer, with the collaboration of the damned diva Sky Ferreira, is an ode to love with trumpet, saxophone and trombone. In this new incarnation, Iceage are deeper, more incisive, and more powerful. Beyondless sounds like the culmination of an unapologetic career, which started with the dark debut New Brigade in 2011 and from then on each album has brought glimmers of light into the cavern. Iceage will display all these credentials at their visit todayat La (2) de Apolo.
There are artists who only know how to write from anger, and there are those who know how to turn everyday life, the day to day, into a universal pop song. Jaume Benedito is the latter, as you can clearly appreciate after just one listen to Oh, Tokyo!, an uncomplicated story of a journey to the Japanese capital with a declaration of love included: “I always wanted to be the man who took you to Japan”, says the chorus. This everyday life epic performed according to the teachings of maestros of refined chamber pop such as Neil Hannon, Edwyn Collins and Jens Lekman, is the backbone of Silent James. His songs are fleeting embraces of life to enjoy a sunny morning, to cheer up an afternoon or to let yourself be carried away by a calm nostalgia, the type that can condense our whole story into the best song in the world. Today in concert at 1PM at Centre Cultural Albareda, Primavera Club.
Fa anys que el Primavera Club, edició de tardor i sota cobert del festival mare, ha abandonat el model del reclam a cop de cap de cartell a favor de l’aposta pels grups que preveuen que ho petaran aquesta temporada, alguns dels quals ja acumulen milions d’escoltes en alguns hits (encara que penseu que no els coneix ni sa mare). Per gaudir en les distàncies curtes de bandes que potser d’aquí a no gaire tocaran davant de milers –alguns potser al Primavera Sound–, i a preu de gran ganga, fitxeu tot el cap de setmana a l’Apolo, o un d’aquests dies.
Gran dia per als ritmes vintage, amb el mambo i el son cubà d’inspiració anys 50 d’Orquesta Akokán, i Altin Gün, homenatge al folk psicodèlic turc dels 60 i 70, tot plegat rematat per Habibi Funk i Athens of the North, vinilíssimes sessions de disco, soul, boogie i nuggets àrabs. Atenció també a l’R&B futurista introspectiu de Tirzah, i al (hip) pop domèstic i simpàtic de Jimothy Lacoste i Boy Pablo.
Kadhja Bonet fa soul sofisticat i retro; Serpentwithfeet, soul futurista i devastador. Halo Maud fa pop afrancesat somiador; Flohio fa por a cop de flow. Més promeses (complertes) del rap? Octavian, Jpegmafia i Slowthai. I el refugi pop? Hop Along. Però el must serà el sabor galego amb autotune d’Esteban & Manuel.
Festí de noves veus femenines amb coses a dir, amb substància en el fons i alegries en la forma a càrrec d’Ama Lou (R&B), Stella Donnelly(folk) i Buzzy Lee (pop de cambra produït per Nicolas Jaar). Snail Mailpodrien repetir el triomf d’Alvvays fa quatre anys, i Palm fan math pop wilsonià. No us perdeu tampoc la presentació de Cupido, la ‘boyband’ pop de Pimp Flaco i els madrilenys Solo Astra.
If jazz is undergoing a sweet resurgence it is thanks to names like Kamaal Williams, the artistic name of Londoner Henry Wu. The keyboard player and producer has had a meteoric career in the last few years, a career that includes the album Black Focus in 2016 together with Yussef Dayes. 2018 sees the confirmation of his talent with the brilliant solo album The Return,an album of visionary jazz with snippets of urban London music, with the textures, sounds and the traffic signals of the busy streets of of his hometown.
Critically acclaimed and praised for its combination of timeless R&B, cosmic soul and bubbly psychedelia, The Return is the soundtrack for a retro futuristic, foggy London where every corner hides a secret. Kamaal Williams will come to present this album to us on the stage of La  de Apolo de Barcelona on tonight.