Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2007
Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2007

Plurality, but with a characteristic identity. Diversity of styles and languages, but with a single common denominator: it is Pop Rock made in Catalonia, and of the best. There are only twenty songs, but they offer a good look as the effervescence of the pop and rock stage in Catalonia.
The groups chosen by the musical critic of RockdeLux Esteve Farrés reflect the unmistakeable touch of Catalan pop rock, the wealth of tastes and aromas given by the well-digested mix, the proud abundance of unique characters and, obviously, the still powerful and renewing impact of the musical tendencies from other places. All of this and more, makes up the musical panorama in Catalonia: a highly diverse programme and still more promising.

The Pop Rock CD forms part of a series of four CDs intended to promote Catalan music internationally. The rest of the CDs are: Electronic Music from Catalonia 2007, Jazz from Catalonia 2007 and World Music from Catalonia 2007.

If you want to listen to the tracks selected on this CD, click on the links below.

Si els dits fossin xilòfons
Mazoni: “La granja de la Paula" (3.54)
CD: “Si els dits fossin xilòfons”
Author: Bob Dylan

This second CD in Catalan by Jaume Pla consolidates his eclectic pop as a rising star of the future. This musician from La Bisbal adapts Bob Dylan’s Maggie’s Farm to all-out post-punk in an astoundingly natural way. It’s rock’n’roll and you can dance to it.

Hydra rising
Mandalas: “The more I try" (3.20)
CD: “Hydra rising”
Author: Ramir Velasco

Funk and electronica are blended with no hang-ups into a danceable pop music by this Barcelona trio, influenced by Beck and fi lm soundtracks. Ramir’s voice and production really have soul, and the unstoppable rhyth-mic base of this dance-fl oor thriller would make the dead stir.

We push, you pull
The Unfinished Sympathy: “Little scratches" (4.06)
CD: “We push, you pull”
Author: Eric Fuentes, Pablo Salas, Oriol Casanovas

The dizzying non-stop evolution that Eric Fuentes’ band has been going through since its beginnings in the post-core scene has led them to pop music with a capital P, feeling no compunction about drawing their inspiration from Prefab Sprout or The Police on their way forwards. They’ll get wherever they want to go.

Temps i rellotge
Sanjosex: “Dia a dia a dia" (2.14)
CD: “Temps i rellotge”
Author: Carles Sanjosé

As a guitarist, singer, composer and now producer too, the architect Carles Sanjosé is an original talent, far removed from existing scenes and styles. In this second CD firmly rooted in his native Empordà, he reflects on our frantic routine, drawing poetic local colour and Mediterranean pop music from it.

La Célula Durmiente: “The role and the rule" (1.48)
CD: “Eclecticinismo”
Author: La Célula Durmiente

The hyperactive Colomo, in addition to playing keyboards with The Unfinished Sympathy, leading Zeidun and working with Sibyl Vane and Ghouls’n’Ghosts, keeps his ‘Célula Durmiente’ (sleeping cell) band wide awake for a project that finds room for hardcore, folk, electronica, pop, circus and this western.

La nueva era glaciar
Raülmoya y El Trio Miniña: “Bon automne 05" (3.04)
CD: “La nueva era glaciar”
Author: Raül Moya

Raül Moya, guitar player with Élena, Refree and Miqui Puig, takes the helm on this poetic album, halfway between country-rock and the Medite-rranean, with tinges of tango and fado. The homage to Françoise Sagan and the accordion provide a very penetrating French perfume to a song about the headache.

Sa nuvia morta / Hansel i Gretel
Joan Miquel Oliver: “Sa nuvia morta" (4.29)
CD: “Sa nuvia morta / Hansel i Gretel”
Author: Joan Miquel Oliver

After his solo debut with Turistes a càmera lenta and a doubtful Live in Paris, the songwriter of Antònia Font has found a new gold-mine: Sa nuvia morta borrows from Chopin to paint a tragic fresco of prenuptial violence, not far from the fi rst Sisa.

Hidrogenesse: “Fuig llop fuig llop fuig" (4.23)
CD: “Animalitos”
Author: Hidrogenesse

The duet that brings Genís Segarra (Astrud) together with the vete-rinarian Carlos Ballesteros has dedicated an album to their beloved little animals. Here they encourage the wolf to run away from men in order to save his skin, in an rhythmic mantra in the style of the krautrock of Neu!, fi nishing with a children choir that gives us hope for a different future.

Tú no existes
Astrud: “Por la ventana" (3.50)
CD: “Tú no existes”
Author: Manolo Martínez

As a composer for Astrud, Manolo Martínez has a certain amount of fame, and with good reason, to be fixated on black ideas. In his songs he touches upon subjects as serious as suicide, while at the same time he just can’t help to laugh at them: the narrator repeats that it would be prudent to jump, but he never does.

Evripidis and his tragedies
Evripidis And His Tragedies: “Abroad" (4.02)
CD: “Evripidis and his tragedies”
Author: Evripidis Sabatis

Evripidis Sabatis is a Greek youngster with a classical music training, who has surrounded himself in Barcelona with local friends in order to produce a simple and baroque pop, with multiple overlapping voices and pianos which, as with Belle & Sebastian, make you move between nostalgia and escapism.

Cuentos chinos para niños del Japón
Love Of Lesbian: “Noches reversibles" (4.52)
CD: “Cuentos chinos para niños del Japón”
Author: Santi Balmes

Years ago this band lead by Santi Balmes emerged enlightened by the most precious of British pop and has now reached maturity with a style all their own. In their second album in Spanish they look like Nacha Pop, a mythic Spanish group, when they wish to relive the nights that ignited a passion that is now being extinguished.

Matem els dimarts i els divendres
Quimi Portet: “Hostessa" (2.55)
CD: “Matem els dimarts i els divendres”
Author: Quimi Portet

Throughout his now long solo career, this former 50% of the group El Último de la Fila has been honing his music to the point of distilling this ballad, which utilises the immediacy of groups like Nirvana. The more basic the music is, the more powerfully it comes across, and the fewer the fancy bits, the greater the intensity.

Amb lletra petita
Conxita: “La tieta Assuncion" (2.44)
CD: “Amb lletra petita”
Author: Helena Casas

From playing the tambourine and singing in the electrofolk duo Pomada, Helena Casas has gone to lead an intimate pop group “amb lletra petita” (in small handwriting) but with great songs. La tieta Assuncion is not as dramatic as Serrat’s in portraying loneliness, but it has striking images.

Ghouls’n’Ghosts: “Back to ’96" (2.01)
CD: “Ghouls’n’Ghosts”
Author: Víctor Garcia

The friends brought together in Sant Feliu de Guíxols by Santi Garcia – member of No More Lies and a ubiquitous producer (in Catalonia alone: The Unfi nished Sympathy, La Célula Durmiente and Sibyl Vane) – fluctuate between emocore and a derivative form that is just as intense but much more pop. A refreshing return to the past.

Turismo de interior
Sibyl Vane: “Madre soltera" (2.46)
CD: “Turismo de interior”
Author: Bob Dylan

Few of today’s groups manage to combine the positive aggressiveness of punk with the lyrical immediacy of pop music as successfully as this energetic trio of bold young ladies. Somewhere between The Breeders and The B-52’s, here they play a genuinely feminine song from a very fresh perspective.

Ovni: “Tu necesidad" (4.06)
CD: “Aterrizaje!”
Author: Ovni

The swift rise to popularity of these recent arrivals from Argentina and the freshness and timeless quality of the rock’n’roll they showed on their first release strongly recalled Tequila, but their second CD updates their points of reference, bringing them closer to the sound of The Strokes.

Vol. II
Pirat’s Sound Sistema: “Digues què faràs" (4.25)
CD: “Vol. II”
Author: Pirat’s Sound Sistema

More than a hip-hop group, this trio from Barcelona’s Sants district is a Sound System in the Jamaican style, with a DJ who throws out reggae and dancehall bases and two MCs – or toasters in Jamaican parlance – who spit out rhymes with a strong political content and full of the new urban slang of the young.

Xerramequ Tiquis Miquis: “Canto" (4.17)
CD: “Obrador”
Author: Àgata Casas, Marc Serrats, Yacine Belhcene

This duo of producers and programmers devoted to create danceable pop using a personal mixture of styles – from the past, the present, and everywhere – is back again, with the help of an impressive list of voca-lists invited for the songs of their second record.

Sol y sombra
El Chico con la espina en el costado: “Promesas que cumplir" (2.52)
CD: “Sol y sombra”
Author: Rubén Pozo - El Chico con la espina en el costado

At the end of a record in which he refuses to tie his banner to any mast, the Girona-born Rubén Pozo, who took his artistic name from a song by The Smiths, promises eternal love and to change his love like changing socks; and where he writes Promesas que cumplir (‘Promises to keep’), he clearly says ‘to break’. No compromises here.

Quart creixent
Òscar Briz: “A Ca la Rosa" (2.55)
CD: “Quart creixent”
Author: Òscar Briz

We started off our route through the landscape of current Catalan pop rock in the Empordà, from where we were bounced off La granja de la Paula, and we finish at A ca la Rosa, where Òscar Briz welcomes us. The former member of Banderas de Mayo grows with every step of his solo career.