Monday, April 6, 2015

Brazil Connection #00 - Balaclava Records Sampler

When people think about Brazilian music, I believe they usually think of bossa nova. Maybe Tom Jobim with Elis Regina. Part of the hip crowd will think of Jorge Ben Jor, Os Mutantes, maybe some Gal Costa, perhaps Novos Baianos or some older samba, if they’re really hip. Or maybe Sepultura, if they’re metalheads. While I like all of those artists (I didn't pick these songs and albums by chance), there’s still a huge array of music from Brazil that is not very well-known even back there, let alone overseas.

Brazilians can make music with matchboxes, if need be.

I recently started going after some of the Brazilian indie bands that were active when I was a teenager, and I’m glad to say most of their work still holds up. From there, I was exposed to loads of newer bands, and was impressed with how much good music my compatriots have been producing recently.

That’s when I decided to start writing about Brazilian indie music right here at Culturally Significant! I want to make this a weekly feature, each time bringing a brief write-up on a Brazilian independent band (either current or from past decades), a track or two to listen to right here and preferably a link to where you can get their music.

Since this is the "trial run" of this feature (hence it being numbered 00), I won't recommend one band this week, but instead a record label. Balaclava Records (whose website is also in English) comes from my home city of São Paulo, and in the three years since they got started, they have managed to release a number of great records from many different bands. Some of those bands have been touring in Brazil and abroad, and this year they're bringing two bands to the excellent Primavera Festival, in Spain. Last year, Single Parents, another Balaclava band, were there.

The label has made this sampler available, with 12 songs from 12 different bands, many of which I believe I will write about in the future. They all sound different, some sing in Portuguese and some in English, but they're all good tracks that should start giving you an idea of the diverse indie scene in Brazil.

The song below is by the aforementioned band Single Parents, one of my favourites from the sampler. According to their artist page, they're influenced by Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr., among other great bands, and it shows. I dedicate this song to our dear M. E. Strange, a true lover of VHS if there ever was one.

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