Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2013
Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2013

Pop Rock from Catalonia 2013: 20 tracks selected by Marta Salicrú (music coordinator, Time Out Barcelona) in collaboration with Anna Cerdà (coordinator, Pop Arb Festival), Nando Cruz (music journalist), Jordi Herreruela (coordinator, Cases de la Música), Albert Puig (music journalist) and Guillem Vidal (music journalist).

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11 de Novembre
Sílvia Pérez Cruz: Lietzenburgerstrasse 1976 (3.26)*
CD: “11 de Novembre”
Autor: Feliu Formosa, Sílvia Pérez Cruz

Sílvia Pérez Cruz is the most vibrant voice to come out of Catalonia in the last decade, a voice able to move even the stoniest of hearts. The singer from L’Empordà has also proven herself to be a gifted songwriter with the debut of her solo project, a mix of singer-songwriter, folk music and avant-garde pop, influenced by traditional Catalan music, flamenco, fado and traditional Brazilian music.
* By courtesy of Universal Music Spain S.L.

Producto Interior Bruto vol.2
Joan Colomo: El xiprer (2.59)
CD: “Producto Interior Bruto vol.2”
Autor: Joan Colomo

With a long career fronting power rock groups like La Célula Durmiente and Zeidun, in his prolific solo project—three albums in four years—the Sant Celoni musician demonstrates his talent as a pop alchemist, capable of conjuring, apparently effortlessly, the magic formula for making truly catchy tunes. His songs are enriched with simple lyrics that hit home.

Renaldo and Clara: Lilá (2.39)
CD: “Lilà”
Autor: Clara Viñals

Be careful with the songs of this young singer-songwriter from Lleida: listen to them, and you run the risk of ending up with a broken heart. Deliciously sad, charmingly melancholy, Clara Viñals sings them with a sweet voice that reflects her Western Catalonia roots, caressing them with her guitar and adorning them with exquisite acoustic arrangements. She delivers them in small doses, to avoid doing too much damage all at once. And you always want more.

L’aigua del rierol
Ferran Palau: Terra de blat (4.14)
CD: “L’aigua del rierol”
Autor: Ferran Palau

Ferran Palau is one of the voices of the band Anímic, the titans of Catalan indie-folk, and is the man responsible for the most pastoral songs in their repertoire. His debut solo album, L’aigua del rierol, is like a walk in the forest, intimate and warm, in which his voice and guitar are accompanied by delicate string and wind arrangements, composed by the jazz guitarist Jordi Matas.

De bosc
Pau Vallvé: Un gran riu de fang (3.50)
CD: “De bosc”
Autor: Pau Vallvé

The Barcelona multi-instrumentalist and producer -founder of Amniòtic Records, one of the most personal and interesting boutique labels in Catalonia- has created a singer-songwriter work which is as highly intimate as it is epic, introspective as well as a chronicle of his times. Times in which social rights are under attack, seen through the piercing and moving gaze of one of the great talents of the Catalan indie scene.

Isaac Ulam: Viure amb tu (3.34)
CD: “Murtra”
Autor: Isaac Ulam

The myrtle which gives its name to Isaac Ulam’s second album is a Mediterranean plant, as Mediterranean as the pop-folk of this singer-songwriter from Blanes, the port of the Costa Brava, the ‘Big Sur’ of Catalonia, where sea and mountains meet. Ulam’s songs are bright and warm like the sun, heartfelt, vital and authentic, beautiful and intense like the land of their roots, with a hint of American folk which doesn’t obscure their origins.

Miquel Serra (2009-2010)
Miquel Serra: Opilions (3.18)
CD: “Miquel Serra (2009-2010)”
Autor: Miquel Serra

This Majorcan musician inhabits the precise middle ground between the Balearic Islands and the Appalachian Mountains, a land of Mediterranean folk and contemporary psychedelia. Oplions —included in the compilation published now by the Barcelona label Foehn that reunites the two albums he released himself between 2009 and 2010— is like he whisked off Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes and The Dodos to sail in a llaüt, the typically Majorcan boat.

Sueño triangular
Maria Rodés: Cae lo que fuego fue (3.31)
CD: “Sueño triangular”
Autor: Maria Rodés

After spending a year writing down her dreams, Maria Rodés from Barcelona used this nocturnal collection as inspiration for her third album. The result, Sueño triangular, is a recording of dreamlike landscapes and textures, painted using an extensive musical palette, in which songs mutate and take unexpected paths, as in the nightmare-made-song that is Cae lo que fuego fue, enigmatic and suggestive.

Elèctric mustela
Esperit!: Elèctric mustela (2.56)
CD: “Elèctric mustela”
Autor: Mau Boada

That the solo project of Mau Boada (one half of the influential experimental duo Les Aus) was chosen to open for Daniel Johnston in his last visit to Barcelona was no random choice. His music, packed with brilliant and delirious imagery, is a psychedelic trip which he projects on stage as a one-man orchestra with a hallucinated smile, using voice, guitar and tape loops. The crazy genius from Montseny.

Radio clotxa
Very Pomelo: Xino xano (3.49)
CD: “Radio clotxa”
Autor: Xarim Aresté

A clotxa is a Catalan variant of pita, bread which can be filled with the most diverse ingredients. The title of Very Pomelo’s third album serves as the perfect metaphor for the music produced by the virtuoso band from Tarragona, led by Xarim Aresté—one of the hottest guitarists in Catalonia. An eclectic offering of rock with American roots, blues, folk, rockabilly and even Catalan rumba.

Vida animal
Mates Mates: El pinsà (2.26)
CD: “Vida animal”
Autor: Mates Mates

This very youthful quintet is one of the main exponents of the rising indie scene of the Vic area, in the heart of Catalonia. It’s said that they inherited their music directly from Ona Laietana, Barcelona’s home-grown version of progressive rock in the 70s. But the result, crazy and arrhythmic with a bright trombone, ends up halfway between the more extravagant pop of British New Wave and the iconoclasm of Pavement.

Vostè és aquí
Antònia Font: Sol de taronges / Per jo i tots es ciclistes (1.03 / 1.55)
CD: “Vostè és aquí”
Autor: Joan Miquel Oliver

Purely and simply, these Majorcans are the best pop group in the Catalan-speaking regions, largely responsible for the highly creative period which Catalan music—and in Catalan—has been experiencing in the last decade. Their latest stroke of genius is Vostè és aquí, an eclectic collection of 40 micro-songs (many not even 2 minutes long; not one makes it to 3) from which we’ve chosen two: just one would leave you wanting more.

Elephants Never Forget
The Free Fall Band: When the Apple Tree (4.21)
CD: “Elephants Never Forget”
Autor: Jan Bosch Schips

The debut of this very youthful group from Mataró—all of them barely twenty—was one of the most pleasant musical surprises of 2012 in Catalonia. What’s their secret? An inborn talent for melody, which manifests itself in more or less explicit tributes to The Zombies, Orange Juice, Dexys and The Wave Pictures, a gathering of instruments which includes saxophone and clarinet, and a spectacular live show, highly unusual in people so new to the scene.

Un altre temps
Fred i Son: Un altre temps (3.54)
CD: “Un altre temps”
Autor: Fred i son

In Barcelona, Fred i Son are heirs to the most elegant aspect of New Wave, privileged students of the most intimate Prefab Sprout and the guitar pop of the cult label Sarah Records, as well as the melancholy of La Buena Vida, together with the Mediterranean nuance which taps into Spanish guitar. The string arrangements and the trumpet embellish the songs of Xavi Rosés.

Tinieblas, por fin
The New Raemon: Risas enlatadas (4.41)
CD: “Tinieblas, por fin”
Autor: Ramón Rodríguez Quintana

After finishing his spell at the head of the Anglophile emocore band Madee, Ramón Rodríguez reinvented himself as the Spanish-language singer-songwriter, The New Raemon. But in his last two albums, the two facets have been fused, resulting in electric, breath-taking original songs with sharp and aggressive sounds and lyrics, in his mother tongue.

L’amor feliç
Mishima: Els crits (4.13)*
CD: “L’amor feliç”
Autor: David Carabén

They are currently one of the most relevant groups in Catalan pop. Mishima have taken the leap from the indie scene to the large audience by building a solid career over the last decade based on the lyrical and moving songs of David Carabén, embellished with muscular instrumentation and an epic touch. Their latest album, one of the best of their musical career, experiments with typical krautrock rhythms.
* By courtesy of Warner Music Spain S.L. under licence by The Rest Is Silence

Pegasvs: La melodía del afilador (4.30)
CD: “Pegasvs”
Autor: Pegasvs

Two veterans of the Barcelona indie scene, the Asturian Sergio Pérez García, right-hand-man of the techno troubadour Joe Crepúsculo, and the Argentinean Luciana della Villa, a member of the defunct female trio Sybil Vane, ride a winged horse to a motorik beat. An atmospheric, rhythmic and euphoric electronic rock, based on vintage synthesisers and the voice of Luciana, who was heard at the 2012 Primavera Sound and Sonar festivals.

Un dígito binario dudoso
Hidrogenesse: Enigma (3.36)
CD: “Un dígito binario dudoso”
Autor: Carlos Ballesteros, Genís Segarra

The conceptual electropop produced by the Barcelona duo Hidrogenesse is the most intelligent popular music currently being made in Spain. Proof of this is their album on the life and work of the mathematician Alan Turing—the man who deciphered the coded messages of the Nazis with the Enigma machine, the father of modern computing and who was condemned to chemical castration for being homosexual—released in his centenary year.

Pla B
Prats: Sookie (3.58)
CD: “Pla B”
Autor: Marc Prats

The keyboardist of the band The New Raemon, and previously also of Madee, Marc Prats, takes on the role of front man in this new project, with his surname as its title and with his own songs. Infectious, melodic pop, inherited from 90s indie rock, adorned with forceful instrumentation, edgy electric guitars and powerful drums.

Oh My Love
Quimi Portet: Oh My Love (3.29)
CD: “Oh My Love”
Autor: Quimi Portet

One half of the defunct El Último de la Fila, a Barcelona pop band with flamenco and Andalusian influences who were massively successful in Spain at the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, since their break-up, veteran Quimi Portet has recycled himself as an iconoclastic singer-songwriter, brilliant and clairvoyant, with highly personal imagery. A rare bird. A national treasure.