Posts Tagged ‘Melenas’

Best of 2020 (so far)

2020’s been a hell of a year, and one that doesn’t feel like definitive statements do it justice. Still, no matter how many seismic changes have occurred during the year, the music has been a source of solace and inspiration. The fact that so many artists have had their livelihoods upended gives it a slightly sour note, especially for some that may have been working years to let these statements out into the world. Keep hitting the Bandcamp revenue shares to support artists and labels directly. If you need some suggestions there’s quite a few below. Keep in mind that ‘best’ is by no means definitive, but these are some of my favorites. We all know that Run The Jewels hits hard, but someone else is gonna tell you about it better than I ever could. Still lots to look forward to musically in the second half, but the first part of the year has been a bounty to be sure.

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Melenas

Pair a new release Friday with the madness of these Bandcamp waiver days and things wind up getting lost among the flurry of tweets and shouted recommendations across the wires. In amongst the clamor Spain’s Melenas released their latest for Trouble in Mind and its worth sinking your teeth into now that some of the dust has settled. The Pamplona quartet picks up shades and shards of indie pop along the twisted trail from kiwi-pop (The Bats and Look Blue Go Purple) to UK favorites, digging into the prim charms of The Pastels, The Primitives, and The Clouds. They shake out all the sounds on the table and reassemble them primed for hooks, but somehow completely unfussed by the idea of pop. The record sounds so lived in and natural, like the band rolled out of bed each day and laid down a rumpled and ripped pop track then popped off for day shifts as if its no big deal.

Blending a mixed bag of jangles with the buzzing bliss of synths, they dip their toes on both sides of the indie pop line finding friends with the Sarah twee-tones and the Creation haze merchants alike. With hushed harmonies that don’t overplay their hand, the group turns pensive pining into a delicate artform. They catch more than a few ears with pastel-dipped hooks, yet the album’s sublimely balanced by songs that hang in the air buoyed by a soft grey fog. The group knows the value of not always being ‘on,’ and when they pull back into an ethereal slouch it ties the album’s more ecstatic tracks together into a patchwork pattern that’s pleasing as hell. If Melenas had dropped into the jangle jungle in the mid-80s there’d have definitely been some tug-o-war to get them into the ranks of Sha La La, Postcard, and 53rd & 3rd – if not one of the aforementioned outposts of pop. No reason not to be that excited now. Dias Raros feels like the kind of future collector’s fodder that you’d want to nab before everyone wakes up to it.



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Melenas – “No Puedo Pensar”

The new album from Spanish quartet Melenas finds the band exploring a few new sides, and while they’re rooted in the indie-punk scratch of many of their country’s brothers and sisters, hunkering down in Pamplona gives them a bit of a different bite from their compatriots in Barcelona. The band brings in a gauzy, shoegazey quality to “No Puedo Pensar.” Translating to “I Can’t Think,” the song centers around preoccupation to the point of constant distraction. The twinkling haze helps set the song aloft on a foam of pastel noise that lets the melodies hide and seek within the track, buffeting the feeling of being lost. This one is slowly worming its way into constant rotation over here. The new LP is out May 8th (dig)/June 5th (Physical) from Trouble in Mind.



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Melenas – “3 Segundos”

Have to say, pretty much everything that I’ve found emanating out of the Spanish underground has been a charmer, from punk blasts to indie strums the bands have a way of making the most of their sound. Usually the offerings are coming from the heart of Barcelona, but Melenas hail from Pamplona and aim to make it a hub of its own. “3 Segundos” is a tightly wound tub of indie-pop with a lock-step drum beat anchoring fuzz guitars at full froth and an incessant chorus full of sing-song ‘ba ba ba ba’ refrains. They pair it up with a memorable video that slices together childhood television memories into green screen chaos. It’s a nice hook into what the Spanish four-piece or proffering on their upcoming LP for Trouble in Mind, out May 1st.



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