Catalan! Arts

Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2017
Compilation CD Pop Rock from Catalonia 2017

Tracks selected by Joan S. Luna (music journalist) in collaboration with Anna Cerdà (coordinator Pop Arb Festival), Xavier Cervantes (music journalist), Jordi Herreruela (coordinator, Cases de la Música), Marta Salicrú (music coordinator, Time Out Barcelona), Guillem Vidal (music journalist) and ICEC.

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Available also on Spotify, Deezer, Napster and other streaming services.

Chinook Wind
Maika Makovski: Chinook Wind (3:47)¹
CD: “Chinook Wind ”
Author: Maika Makovski

Throughout her career, Maika Makovski, a Majorcan singer of Macedonian descent now based in Barcelona, has focused on developing a variety of aspects of her music. And it is wonderful to see that she has never stopped progressing or offering us projects that are a pleasure from start to finish. Chinook Wind, again produced by John Parish, sticks to the parameters but opts for an intimacy which, yet again, works so well for her. By courtesy of Warner Music Spain

Lonely Heart Reverb
Joana Serrat: Lonely Heart Reverb (2:47)
CD: “Lonely Heart Reverb ”
Author: Joana Serrat

Joana Serrat has a special talent; one that evolves and develops with each of her records. Cross The Verge, recorded in Canada and featuring topflight collaborations with the likes of Neil Halstead (Mojave 3, Slowdive) and Gavin Gardines (The Wooden Sky), is a country folk album that deals with the loss of a loved one and which exudes, with every guitar stroke and every inflection of her voice, a warmth that contrasts with the darkness and sadness of the lyrics.

Isabella Cantó
Cala Vento: Isabella Cantó (3:14)
CD: “Isabella Cantó ”
Author: Cala Vento

Hailing from Catalonia’s Baix Empordà and winners of various music contests, Aleix Turón (guitar and vocals) and Joan Delgado (drums and vocals) make up one of the region’s most dynamic duos. Combining post-hardcore energy with the spontaneity of great pop, Cala Vento released their debut album, Cala Vento, in 2016 on the BCore Disc label, an album in which it can be immediately recognized the band’s ability to create addictive songs with an indie-rock anthem calling.

Todo para todos
Enric Montefusco: Todo para todos (5:29)²
CD: “Todo para todos”
Author: Enric Montefusco

The former singer, composer and leader of the now disbanded group, Standstill, one of the most individual hardcore bands to have ever come out of Catalonia, Enric Montefusco, has entered a new stage of his career with Meridiana. With this first solo project, Montefusco broadens his stylistic range, incorporating a strong folk and Mediterranean element into his music and moving one step beyond his lyrical and emotional universe. (P) 2016 Enric Montefusco Masip under exclusive licence to Sony Music Entertainment España, S.L. (extracted from the album “Meridiana” by ENRIC MONTEFUSCO). By courtesy of Enric Montefusco and Sony Music Entertainment España.

En sitios que no llego
Jose Domingo: En sitios que no llego (3:51)
CD: “En sitios que no llego ”
Author: Jose Domingo

Former lead singer of the psychedelic rock band Psychoïne, Jose Domingo, made a real step forward with his album Almería (2014), a necessary move towards achieving the complexity of Vertical, a project which features collaborations with artists such as Soleá Morente and Niño de Elche. As his latest album to date represents an even more developed musical exploration in which rock, flamenco and psychedelia are given free rein.

He creuat el riu
Isaac Ulam: He creuat el riu (3:16)
CD: “He creuat el riu ”
Author: Isaac Ulam

Ratpenat is one of the most extraordinary singer-songwriter albums recorded in Catalonia in recent years. Over the course of eighteen songs, Ulam lets his creativity soar in a way previously seen only on the great works of the seventies, bearing his soul on each track (along the way we discover how he has beaten his addictions and how he now feels able to look life in the eye once again), exorcising his demons in front of us and defying all labels on a truly moving psychedelic journey.

El cor
El Petit de Cal Eril: El cor (2:47)
CD: “El cor ”
Author: El Petit de Cal Eril

Joan Pons lives far removed from the clamour of modern civilization. That is, perhaps, the key to understanding how this singer-songwriter from Guissona is able to infuse his music with a contagious sense of calm and manages to steer each of his projects without external distractions. With La força, we rediscover the Pons of the past, the more intimate Pons, the Pons that is a master of what we know as rural folk; in short, the Pons that shines brightest the further his sound distances itself from all that is electric.

Hans Laguna: Mejor (3:39)
CD: “Mejor ”
Author: Hans Laguna

Step by step, Barcelona resident Hans Laguna has developed a personal and every day more daring sound, driven by a restlessness that leads him to cross stylistic and geographic frontiers (musically speaking, of course). Mejor is the perfect way to sum up the richness of registers and imaginary hidden among his fourth album, Manual de fotografía, without a doubt the work that best demonstrates all he is capable of.

Paul Fuster: Magnetosome (3:49)
CD: “Magnetosome ”
Author: Paul Fuster

Paul Fuster is a Catalan musician, who was born in Minnesota and raised in New York, and a free spirit who roams without worrying about where he will lay his hat the next day (completing a two-month-long, fifty-nine concert tour by bicycle). Something that, as you would expect, he also transmits through his music; in a constant state of flux and always restless. After his folk-style Repte (2012), he has returned to Catalonia and gone back to English to develop Go/Between, a guitar-led album which showcases a voice that is more expressive than ever.

La Serotonina
Manel: La serotonina (4:13)¹
CD: “La Serotonina”
Author: Manel

In addition to being one of the most interesting and popular groups in Catalonia right now, Manel is also a Catalan project that is highly respected by audiences and critics all over Spain. And that, put simply, is down to the fact that they represent a combination of personality, talent and risk-taking, all rolled into a single entity. Their fourth album, Jo competeixo, is undoubtedly one of the most eclectic of their career so far; a trip that transports us from pop to electronica, from rock to more dancing Latin sounds. ¹ By courtesy of Warner Music Spain

Algo distinto
Extraperlo: Algo distinto (4.15)
CD: “Algo distinto ”
Author: Extraperlo

This Barcelona quartet has sailed against the tide from the outset, opting to look back in order to move forward. Although also open to more modern musical styles (mainly developed in their parallel projects or when performing live with El Guincho), Extraperlo draw on the sophisticated pop of the late seventies and the eighties for inspiration, respectfully aligning themselves with names like Roxy Music, Steely Dan, The Blue Nile and Golpes Bajos.

Bad Gyal: Mercadona (3:23)
CD: “Mercadona ”
Author: Bad Gyal

Twenty-year-old Alba Farelo is a natural born pop star. A millennial who has everything worked out and whose calling is to get her generation up and grooving with her combination of auto-tune, dancehall and trap, Jamaican rhythms and Atlanta-style bass; a girl who has grown up in the digital age, which she uses to her advantage when releasing mixtapes such as Slow Wine and in the successful distribution of her popular YouTube clips.

Llarga vida al tarannà
Power Burkas: Llarga vida al tarannà (2:43)
CD: “Llarga vida al tarannà”
Author: Power Burkas

If there is one Catalan group that exemplifies the youthful effervescence that has always been associated with rock, Power Burkas is undoubtedly it. A quartet from the city of Vic who imbibe from the classics to later scatter them on a high-speed, brakes-off journey. Punk, pop, garage, power pop and even post-hardcore sounds converge in a web of ceaselessly frenetic guitars, vocal melodies that shun the obvious and lyrics to be belted out at one of their concerts.

Necesito saber
Las Ruinas: Necesito saber (1:36)
CD: “Necesito saber ”
Author: Las Ruinas

Hyperactive and hypervitaminised, the Barcelona power trio Las Ruinas never take their foot off the gas. With an album every year (they have released a total of seven since 2010), their inspiration is ever-present, as is their ability to portray that which lies behind Barcelona’s tourist facade and delve into an urbanite society that they describe to perfection. Furthermore, they do it with a formula that they themselves describe as ‘heavy pop’ – a mixture of frenetic guitar and an inspired, razor sharp sense of humour.

The Mojo Train
The Excitements: The Mojo Train (2:44)
CD: “The Mojo Train”
Author: The Excitements

Veterans of the rhythm and soul scene and fronted by one of the strongest female lead singers of the moment—the visceral and adrenalin-fuelled Koko Jean Davis—The Excitements are one of Catalonia’s best live groups. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that they have performed in more than sixteen countries around the world in recent years, showcasing a body of work that includes their latest album, Breaking The Rule, recorded with American Mike Mariconda, a project on which their sound most closely reflects the strength of their concerts.