ELEFANT RECORDS (SPAIN)
Written by Stéphane Mathé on 7 janvier 2019
Chaque mois, Euradionantes vous présente un label européen à l’antenne et sur le site internet. Gagnez des disques du label du mois de Janvier 2019 en envoyant un mail à musique(at)euradio.fr en indiquant « ELEFANT RECORDS».
Interview with Luis Calvo, founder of Elefant records :
An indie pop record label to make you dance, dream, feel, love, laugh, and cry.
CAMERA OBSCURA, THE YEARNING, THE PRIMITIVES, ALPACA SPORTS, GIORGIO TUMA, FITNESS FOREVER, THE MAGIC THEATRE, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, LA CASA AZUL, BMX BANDITS, LA BIEN QUERIDA, TV PERSONALITIES, HELEN LOVE, THE SCHOOL, SOFT REGIME, ATTIC LIGHTS, CRISTINA QUESADA, LIA PAMINA, IKO CHÉRIE, LIGHTNING IN A TWILIGHT HOUR, PAPA TOPO … Sweet Pop since 1989
Publishing the fanzine “La linea del arco” (1989) was the starting bell for the future of one of the Spanish independent record labels that has had the greatest presence in the national and international music panorama. Since then the roll of the integral members of the label Elefant Records, either as important tour organizers (Noise Pop 92), legendary festival organizers (BENICASSIM) or unforgettable radio programs (Viaje a los sueños polares [Journey to polar dreams]), has been nothing more than the reflection of untiring and passionate activity for music, always with its sights set beyond the Spanish borders. Legendary groups and cult classics have put out albums on the Elefant label and with them the label has grown and grown until it has become a worldwide reference within the indie pop panorama.
But more than that, Elefant Records has always characterized itself by supporting unknown artists and as proof of this we have the current collection of New Adventures in Pop, created exclusively to support the launch of new and emerging artists that fit in perfectly with the label’s philosophy. Because, if there is something that can be stated clearly and without secrets, it’s that after these more than 28 years of untiring activity, Elefant Records has a clearly recognizable identity as a label, and a name that in and of itself says a lot about those who follow its way of understanding music.
THE ARTISTS / RECORDS
mmediately after listening to “Tralará”, the first thought that comes to mind is that TRONCO is a like a group from a story. And now you’ll answer that with this kind of title the play on words is too easy. No. We hope nobody stops at the simplest reading. Not even because Conxita is an illustrator and has created such a special packaging for this album, comic included. No. Their songs are a journey to fantasia, with that mix of imagination and ingenuity, unpredictability and craziness, with just the right amount of irreverence and a certain punk spirit. Something like a Spanish YOUNG MARBEL GIANTS. Folk, pop, bedroom techno-pop, psychedelia, and, we already said it, punk. Yeah, you guessed it. They are unclassifiable. But for real.
Their first album already made it clear that their thing was breaking away, a sense of humor, feelings made out of scratches. “Tralará” maintains its dose of freshness, but grows significantly in musical terms. The musical diversity, very special arrangements and a long list of collaborators, including, obviously, Eloy Bernal (NELEONARD, GÚDAR) who recorded and produced the album, Anna Fredriksson (DIE KATAPULT), Laura Antolín (DOBLE PLETINA, GÚDAR), Elisa Bernal (HIBERNALES), Javi G. Lerín, Marc Ribera (DOBLE PLETINA) and Alberto Rodríguez (GÚDAR, TIRANA).
The thing is that these 15 new songs written by Conxita and Fermí Herrero make a sense of urgency clear. Their urgency. Our own. The urgency to refresh our ears. To break the uniformity. To let the sense of humor flood an ambiance that is suffering from it in excess. Can we talk about irreverence? Read the lyrics to “El Invento”. And Marc Ribera’s saws take care of the rest. Do you understand what we’re talking about now? The freshness of Dent May, the pleasant cynicism of SINGLE, the musical fantasia of F.M. Cornog (EAST RIVER PIPE). This all gives shape to a unique musical option in the national panorama. “La Procrastinadora” is one of those examples – a crazy mix of ingredients that sometimes reach the highest levels of brilliance, and other times gets swept away but the most fun feeling of alienation. Raise your hand if you didn’t smile and sigh after listening to “La La Land” or “La Chaqueta Azul”. And if you don’t feel like they are on a disturbing journey to their own childhood with songs like “La Jungla”, “La Gran Barrera De Coral” and “Animales”. And if you don’t have the feeling of irrevocably loving these two after listening to this album.
It’s who they are. There is such an extreme lack of prejudice on this album, and so much imagination, that in the end we all want to live life like they do. To see it through their eyes. Because deep down, behind all that craziness, we see ourselves. We identify. That’s why we want to be with them all the time, and let ourselves be absorbed by their world. You have a chance. Tralará.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/troncopeic/
THE LAST DETAIL
Interview with Mehdi Zannad from The Last Detail :
Le fait qu’Harvey Williams (Another Sunny Day, Blueboy, The Field Mice, Trembling Blue Stars) ait voulu participer à la promotion du premier album de The Last Detail démontre bien à quel point le groupe est spécial.
« Quel est la réaction appropriée quand deux de vos chanteurs-compositeurs préférés décident d’enregistrer un album ensemble ? Mehdi Zannad a une carrière sans pareil derrière lui – sous son propre nom et en tant que FUGU – tandis qu’Erin Moran (A Girl Called Eddy) a sorti un des meilleurs albums du siècle en 2004. Les enjeux étaient importants, et j’avais de grandes attentes. Heureusement, The Last Detail ne m’a pas déçu. Aérien et songeur, mélancolique sans être larmoyant et toujours résolument optimiste. S’il y a des signes pointant vers les carrières individuelles des deux artistes, l’album a une personnalité propre – comme c’est le cas des plus grandes collaborations. Bien sûr, il y a des clins d’œil à la grande histoire de la pop tout au long de l’album : de telles références sont inévitables pour un duo aussi fin connaisseur et passionné de musique. Mais les chansons sont bien trop émotionnelles et honnêtes pour être reléguées au rang de simple post-modernisme – ces morceaux vivent et respirent. Même s’il est difficile de choisir des moments spécifiques, je trouve que « Places » est particulièrement exceptionnel – les paroles se souviennent affectueusement d’un temps révolu sur une mélodie vibrante de joie. On croit arriver au refrain, puis le vrai refrain arrive. Et puis ça recommence. Magnifique. »
Alors nous y voilà. Erin Moran (A Girl Called Eddy) et Mehdi Zannad (FUGU) ont écrit un album ensemble. L’idée d’une collaboration a vu le jour quand Zannad est tombé amoureux de la voix d’Erin sur son premier album A Girl Called Eddy, elle-même fan de FUGU depuis le début.
Le casting est cinq étoiles : Julien Barbagallo (Tame Impala), Raphael Léger (Cléa Vincent) et Jean Thévenin (François & the Atlas Mountain) à la batterie, Olivier Marguerit (O, Syd Matters, Halo Maud, Chevalrex) à la guitare, Didier Perrin (Christophe, Tanger) et Jean-Yves Lozac’h (Bertrand Belin) à la basse et les cordes de l’orchestre de Skopje. Au son Angy Laperdrix (Of Montreal), Frédéric Deces (Grand Blanc) et Julian Simmons (Guillemots).
Erin Moran est née dans le même hôpital que Frank Sinatra dans le New Jersey, mais c’est à New York City qu’elle se sent réellement chez elle. Quand son premier album est sorti en 2004, elle a reçu le soutien de la presse mais également de grands artistes comme Burt Bacharach, Robert Smith et Jane Birkin. On l’entend chanter sur Super Furry Animals de Ron Sexsmith et sur le morceau à succès « Parlez-Vous Anglais Mr. Katerine ? » en duo avec Philippe Katerine.
Nombreux sont ceux qui se demandent quand sortira le deuxième album de A Girl Called Eddy, et nous avons enfin une réponse à cette questions – en 2019 ! Pendant ce temps, les fans peuvent compter sur cette collaboration pour rendre l’attente moins interminable.
Mehdi est un raconteur pop : il est non seulement un musicien, un compositeur et un producteur, mais aussi un maître du dessin d’architecture. Il a exposé son travail dans des galeries aux quatre coins de sa France natal, et a enseigné dans les plus grandes institutions françaises. Il a sorti deux merveilleux albums sous le nom de FUGU, a partagé des singles avec STEREOLAB et Saint-Etienne, a co-écrit la bande-son du film La France de Serge Bozon, a arrangé pour Barbara Carlotti et Tahiti 80 et a produit pour April March.
Erin et Medhi se sont retrouvés à Londres, Paris et Nancy pour composer et ont enregistré dans le studio de Tahiti 80 à Rouen. Erin a écrit des refrains que Medhi a transformé en chansons, et vice-versa. Les deux musiciens avaient également amené quelques-uns de leurs propres morceaux déjà écrits. C’est en 2014 qu’ils ont été repérés par le label Elefant Records, qui leur a offert la possibilité d’enregistrer un album avec un orchestre et des membres de FUGU, Tame Impala, Syd Matters et Tahiti 80.
Et finalement, nous voilà avec ce fantastique résultat entre les mains. Sur cet album on peut entendre le travail de compositeurs profondément amoureux de la musique. Avec énormément de respect et d’inspiration, de soin et d’affection. C’est une collection de chansons parfaite dans laquelle les deux artistes chantent à tour de rôle.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/eddyandmehdi/
After meeting all expectations with the first album, “Las Causas Perdidas”, which made them the next big promise of pop sung in Spanish, the powerful live show NELEONARD showed off on the tour for that album became one of the biggest keys to making “Un Lugar Imaginado” the culmination of such a thrilling proposition. Because “Un Lugar Imaginado” beats its predecessor in intensity and dynamics, and it makes an incredibly intelligent read of all things epic in pop, that roller coaster of emotions made out of melodies, arrangements, starts and stops. Nothing needs to be confirmed; it’s already done. Let yourselves go.
We open the doors with “El Mismo”, with its summery, lazy air, and that beginning that feels like an homage to DOBLE PLETINA (in fact, Laura Antolín is present here on the choruses). It’s a story about break-ups and disappointment, with an emotional crescendo based on really delicious, exquisite choruses and chords. “Sorpresa, Vacío” (the second advance single for the album) steps on the gas, with echoes of HOUSEMARTINS and early CARDIGANS, backing up a reflection on the idiosyncrasy of giving and not receiving. And we have an amazing example of a whole gallery of structural changes, stops, starts… A roller coaster, remember? “Por No Hablar” is a huge slap in the face. Clear and evident traces of sadness that Nele Navío explicitly recognizes himself in, exposing his limitations, his inability to explain himself in certain situations, in a song that is, musically, a leap into the emotional abyss, overflowing with intensity. It’s ironic, isn’t it? And the cherry on top is Fermí Herrero’s (TRONCO) participation in the vocals, solid and perfectly timed. “Mi Mentira Favorita” is new proof of that song dynamic and structuring that we mentioned before. The way it builds until it reaches the breaking point, exuberant, delicious, groundbreaking… “Llegaste a ser mi mentira favorita” (You became my favorite lie). What we want to be but isn’t, no matter how much we wish for it. We already know “El Bufón”, the first advance single for the album. It’s a revenge-song that elevates the musical hypotheses of CAMERA OBSCURA to the highest levels (this group was an obsession while “Un Lugar Imaginado” was being written). Castanets, playing around with vocals, strings, echoes of soul. Marvelous. Side A closes with “Undostrés… Y Adiós”, a song to emptiness, to melancholy, to the ephemeral.
“El Último Segundo” is a luminous opening to Side B, with touches of funk and electro-pop, somewhat unusual for the band, somewhere between LE MANS and SUPER FURRY ANIMALS at their most danceable, showing us the band’s predisposition for trying out other sonic territories, but always with their own personal mark. “Jonas”, a tribute to WEEZER, or how music is part of the most important moments of our lives. It’s new pop perfection. “Camareros” begins by getting our attention with the three-four time and an rhythm & blues beat. It’s the beginning of one of the most incredible tours de force on this album. At three and a half minutes there is an electric leap, immediately followed by that pause that you know is that moment when you are so close to the ground, getting ready to take off running for the highest point possible. And there it goes. “Lo Más Importante” goes into top gear, as if it were compensating. But not. Impossible dynamics made with such simplicity that they feel totally natural. “Mil Y Un Detalles” takes us back to the best Scottish folk-pop, like (once again) CAMERA OBSCURA, BELLE & SEBASTIAN, AZTEC CAMERA… With those northern-soul choruses and those winds that sound like rays of sunshine. Exquisite. Energized. This amazing collection of songs closes with “Qué Asco Me Doy Cuando…”, which is darker and rougher, finishes up with a wonderful soul development, the kind that makes your chest swell. Marvelous.
It’s hard to say exactly where the magic of NELEONARD comes from. It could be Nele’s lyrics, which range from cynicism to confession, always with the highest level of sensitivity. The exceptional vocal play of Laura Alonso takes all the songs a new level of reading them, and brings seduction into the mix. The instrumental solidness of the group (Eloy Bernal, Elena Comas, Guille Rodríguez and Pedro Señalada), who are like a perfectly-oiled machine, allows them to make something so tremendously complex feel easy. Or maybe it’s that behind this complicated machinery, they are just trying to make pop songs, the kind that are timeless without even trying. And do they ever!
Saying that following the trajectory of Andreas Jonsson and ALPACA SPORTS is like travelling all around the world is no understatement, and in fact, sometimes it’s literal. Their videos, songs, and albums have repeatedly reflected the different cities they’ve traveled and lived in. Their melodies reflect their adventurous spirit, which has grown even bigger on their new album, “From Paris With Love”. In 2014, Andreas moved to Paris, and he and Lisle Mitnik began writing songs together about what the city transmitted, about what it means to start again in a new place, and about what you have to leave behind. All of these feelings are captured and expressed in this collection of twelve songs full of sincerity that will help you hold onto experiences that can be forgotten and get lost with the passing of time.
There have been a lot of expectations about the arrival of this second full-length album from the Swedish group, considering that their previous album, “Sealed With A Kiss” came out four years ago. The band, however, has not stopped their record-label activity, as we saw with the Mini-LP and the Singles released with Elefant. And at this moment in time, ALPACA SPORTS is possibly the best representative of that crystalline, luminous Swedish pop that the Labrador label represented back in the day with groups like CLUB 8, SAMBASSADEUR and ACID HOUSE KINGS.
These twelve songs have also travelled around the world to reach their final destination. They went all the way to Brooklyn, where Gary Olson (LADYBUG TRANSISTOR) recorded the trumpets, and Hampus Öhman-Frölund (who already recorded on the previous album) recorded the drums. They stopped in Chicago, where Lisle Mitnik (TINY FIREFLIES) recorded his parts (keyboards, guitar, bass, strings…) and gave them a good push forward. The next stop was London, where Ian Catt (THE FIELD MICE, SAINT ETIENNE, TREMBLING BLUE STARS, SHAMPOO, THE SCHOOL…) mixed and produced everything, though not without first recording the album’s vocals, including two songs where, for the first time, Amanda Åkerman sings solo vocals. They went on to Tokyo, where Ray Kimura created another set of delightful illustrations for the album artwork. Lastly, they flew all the way to Spain where Elefant is releasing them on a 500-copy numbered, limited-edition, white vinyl, on CD Digipak, and digitally. Now, finally, the songs are being sent back into the open world, where they belong.
All of Alpaca Sports’ trademarks are here: huge melodies, intricate arrangements and abundant sweetness. Touches of disco-soul (“I’ll Do Anything You Want”, “Summer Days”), crystalline pop (“Nobody Cares But Me”), jangle and sunshine pop (“Books I’ve Read”, “A New Boyfriend”), precious folk (“Birds”, “Baby What Can I Say?”), THE CURE meets THE SMITHS meets ABBA (“Feel Like Going Home”, “Saddest Girl In The World”), Burt Bacharach goes out partying with CAMERA OBSCURA to that well-known tower (“Eiffel Tower”), unforgettable choruses (“Without You”) and even a little evocative melancholy (“Luxembourg Gardens”). It is everything that has made ALPACA SPORTS a reference for lovers of indie pop in all the corners of the world they keep travelling across again and again.
Their inspiration to make us travel farther is growing. It’s unstoppable.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/alpacasports/
This is what they call love at first sight. The instant we heard the two songs that made up what in the end was the introductory Single by this trio from Madrid, we knew right away that a fruitful relationship was just beginning and that we were going to be totally won over by their songs. And they haven’t taken long at all to give us new fruit. “Movidas” is a numbered, (500 copy) numbered-limited-edition, pink-vinyl 10” Mini-LP that, obviously, is being included on our “New Adventures In Pop” collection, dedicated to pop music’s new names and emerging groups. CARIÑO are freshness, ease, and unstoppable fun. Somewhere between LOS ROMEOS and HELEN LOVE, between PAPA TOPO at their most punk and AEROLÍNEAS FEDERALES. It’s impossible to hold back your smile.
Because their songs overflow with cynicism, with craziness, with the unexpected flourish, but at the same time with naturalness, with awakening, with the most innocent feelings. That’s why, after hearing María, Paola and Alicia’s songs, you have the feeling that what lies beneath is an instantaneous, urgent and immediate need to shout out the love they feel in a way that no one else has ever done before: simply and straightforwardly, with its whole brutal spirit and hazy feelings, with all its sweetness and bitterness. The pristine, adolescent honesty of “Canción De Pop De Amor”; the sharply hilarious irony of “Bisexual”; the disproportionate innocence of “Todos Los Días”; the anger full of amazing rhymes of “Su Portal”; the uncontained vitriol and the punk spirit of “Mierda Seca”; the enchanting frivolousness of “Momento Inadecuado”; the impossible and terribly fun occurrence of “Souvenirs”; the wicked-tongued existential emptiness of “Nada Sigue Igual”.
With this new release, in record time, CARIÑO has managed to perfect what they do, maintaining their immediacy intact. And like George Martin, the fifth Beatle, we have Martín Spangle in the shadows, as the fourth member of CARIÑO, essential for everything to take shape, putting those melodies in perfect order, recording, mixing and producing with all his love.
This is an album that sometimes inevitably moves us to the eighties, but they are so contemporary and modern, with those always excellent melodies, that break down even the most pleasant and innocent emotions. CARIÑO are LOVE.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/cariniopop/
THE PERFECT KISS
Joe Moore is incredible. Sometimes we wonder how time will treat the work of such a multifaceted, open-minded author. He offers us music as a whole, as an absolute. The arrangements, the melodies, these are the ends to which everything else is the means. Styles don’t matter, labels don’t matter. There are just songs. His new Mini-LP, “Filter”, released under the name of THE PERFECT KISS, the moniker he reserves for his most electronic compositions, makes this clear. Because just as he has played different styles of pop, the sixties sound and chamber music with his main project, THE YEARNING, with THE PERFECT KISS his musical language takes a major turn. Where “Disconnect”, THE PERFECT KISS’ debut Mini-LP, was a marvelous electro-pop treatise, “Filter” dives head first into italo disco, without letting go of the synth-pop. And again, it’s a triumph.
The eight songs on this 500-copy-numbered-limited-edition, magenta-colored, 10” vinyl are marvelous. While we listen to undeniable hits like “Indebted To You”, “Glitches” and “At The End Of The Rainbow”, we are reminded of FUTURE BIBLE HEROES and CHVRCHES, of ELECTRIC YOUTH and SAINT ETIENNE, of A-HA and YAZOO. With the beauty of “Talking To Myself”, “Compete” and “Trying Your Patience” we are taken from THE POSTAL SERVICE to OMD, from VISAGE to Ryan Paris. When we hear the sonic deformation of “Polaroid Dream” and the solid “Filter”, we think of Amanda Lear and THE HUMAN LEAGUE, of Giorgio Moroder and TELEX, of GAZEBO and YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA.
But the most important thing is that, in the end, we have a collection of absolutely perfect, solid, inimitable, exciting melodies – the kind that won’t let go of us while we move across the city in the wee hours of the morning. This is a perfect piece of work, without one unnecessary second, one unnecessary arrangement, with just the right touch of riskiness, without one single note that is not absolutely amazing. And all of this is also thanks to the essential, delicious voice of Holly Vanags, in all its dreaminess and freedom, perfect for Joe Moore’s songs.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/TPKElefant/
It’s always exciting, and equally difficult, to introduce a new group to the general public. How do you figure out in words what their music is and express it to receptive ears in a way that doesn’t demystify it or seeming grandiloquent? But we enjoy exploring new, different worlds, like the one RUSH WEEK offers. The duo from Philadelphia was formed in 2016 by Rachel K. Haines and the producer James Benjamin Thomas, who update the NU Disco, Soul and R&B sounds from the end of the seventies and beginning of the eighties. Their first album, “Feels”, sounds like the elegance and melancholy of ROXY MUSIC and TALK TALK, modernized with ST. VICENT, Étienne de Crécy and JUSTICE, with an irresistible pop filter that brings it closer to TENNIS’ more recent songs, and that also feeds the dance floor.
To start things off, “Feelings” breathes life into the New Jack Swing, and gives it a sense of mystery and of emotional strength, like a version of THE XX full of light. It’s just enough to express an abstract, intangible, but powerful feeling. “Stranger Danger” talks about the mysteries of the night, of fear and danger, but with sweetness and an addictive chorus, and a melody that brings us back to Cindy Lauper at her most enchanting. On “Crush”, we can see RUSH WEEK’s disco vocation more clearly, on a song that would play non-stop on the MASTERS AT WORK’s stereo, and that Kylie Minogue, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Sarah Cracknell would be thrilled to sing, just to get an idea of the range we’re dealing with. Songs like “Be Like Mine”, on the other hand, are where we can most clearly see the reality of what they’re offering: a song that can evoke a contained Ellie Goulding, the elegance of WARPAINT, a chorus that Philip Oakey would adore… And pointing out the influence of the best-selling producer Greg Kurstin makes everything perfectly clear. Or it does just the opposite. This definition is slippery, unpredictable, but always exciting. “Under The Gun”, one of the group’s oldest songs, develops the silkiness of Tracey Thorn andEVERYTHING BUT THE GIRL toward poppier, more luminous territory, to narrate a journey along California’s coast.
The B-side opens with “Barcelona”, an imaginary party celebrating the ’92 Olympic Games that DAFT PUNK could have DJ’d at; a summer night that we don’t ever want to end where everyone loves everyone else and we’re having fun and dancing, dazed by the first light of dawn. “Slide” follows, slowing things down a notch; it is a song for the night and for freedom, and could have fit perfectly into the “Drive” soundtrack. “Young” takes a new turn, with beats, with a more syncopated, faster-paced base that takes them closer to the territory of Lana del Rey or Lorde. But they always have their priorities in the pop perspective and the melody, planning out emotional vengeance after one of those toxic relationships that consumes everything, the same way that the chorus of this song sets you free. “Last Dance” is an offering for the dance floor: vital, luminous, catchy, and where Nero Catalano’s participation with the bass turns out to be crucial. Curiously, the closing track, “Better Off”, comes out of the darkness, with that storm in the background recorded in New York on a rainy Sunday in November, giving the smoothness of Sade with the downtempo ambiance of LAMB.
As we said, it is tremendously difficult to describe RUSH WEEK’s music, considering that in the different songs the references jump from one decade to the next, dancing between styles and bringing us closer to the future of pop. The title of the album itself is the best definition of their music, but it there is definitely a word that can express what we can find on “Feels” and that word is “emotions”. On the surface and running high. If there are any gaps, fill them in yourselves.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/rushweektheband/
One of the collections we are proudest of here at Elefant Records is “New Adventures In Pop”, an initiative dedicated to giving opportunities to new groups. Names that are now well-known by pop fans have been come through this collection, like PAPA TOPO, EL PALACIO DE LINARES, NELEONARD, BELLE GHOUL, SAGRADO CORAZÓN DE JESÚS, AXOLOTES MEXICANOS and LIA PAMINA. And now we are bringing you a new group that we are sure you’ll be talking about.
NOS MIRAN is a techno-pop duo comprised of Sergio Rodríguez (CAPITÁN SUNRISE, THE SOLVERS) and Marta Quintana (VENTOLÍN). They met at the Elefant Records stand in a LA BIEN QUERIDA concert, Santi from CAPITÁN SUNRISE introduced them and a few months later they were already working together on the songs we’re releasing now. “Humo” is their first release, a purple, 10”, 500-copy limited-numbered-edition Mini-LP, where synthesizers, 8-bit arpeggiators, and even some distorted guitars play. But the most important thing is how wide an expressive palette they show in only six songs, from melancholic techno-pop to bubbly pop-punk, and with moments of europop or delicate synth-pop. But not only in the musical aspect; the lyrics also range from an evocative look back to brazen events, from carefree to critical.
“Amor Y” reminds us of AU REVOIR SIMONE and FUTURE BIBLE HEROES, a cosmic lullaby about love and the fear of falling in love again and failing again. “Humo” is a song that Sergio wrote when he heard TINDERSTICKS’ “Another Night In”. Hypnotized by the song’s structure, he decided to do something similar but with a touch of dance, evoking LA CASA AZUL’s early songs. The lyrics look back at that person that was there but is not there anymore, and whom you remember in so many mundane, everyday moments. “Dinero Para Nada”, with choruses by Santi CAPITÁN, takes us back to our childhood, that magical time we lived in and that will never come back, but that we remember constantly and wish we could go back to so many times. “La Montaña Del Amor”, somewhere between LA BUENA VIDA and BAND À PART, talks about that first love, when you were still just a kid and you felt something you had never felt before. That special, primal feeling that can happen again over the years, but will never be as intense as it was that first time. “No Te Veo Enamorado (¿Por Qué Será?)” is pure candy-sweet pop-punk, the perfect combination of HELEN LOVE and GUATAFÁN. “No Puedo Ser Hipster” closes this first release from NOS MIRAN with a touch of distress, in a story about the extreme madness of modern times, passing fads, and how to be accepted by doing what the system requires of you.
With collaborations from Javier Castellanos (SALVADOR TÓXICO), Santi Diego (CAPITÁN SUNRISE), Javier León and Alberto Rodway (DETERGENTE LÍQUIDO), NOS MIRAN have created an open and diverse cover letter with “Humo”, which offers a collection of immense possibilities for a future that we imagine will be filled with hits and solid pop songs.
MORE INFOS : https://www.facebook.com/nosmiranband/
Surrender to the SOFT REGIME. Is it the sound of the underground, or is the sound of the overground going underground? Either way, SOFT REGIME is a pan-European group of musicians intent on exploring the glorious electronic pop sounds that pump through their hearts and grease their gears.
Christian makes the music and production, Tim (previously leader of electropop band BAXENDALE) writes the words and melodies, and Astrid sings the songs, bringing it all together. Astrid first met Christian in the Bavarian Forest, soon switching the conversation from flora to pop, discovering a shared love for dancing, and recruited Tim to join forces to help things take shape.
Ever since then, there was no looking back. This 8 track « Hard Feelings » 10” Mini-LP follows their continental disco hit from 2017 « Michelangelo », with its huge chorus and controversial banned video.
Over the course of the year, they added studio crack Nomen Nescio to the mix and delivered this all new set of songs for 2018.
As you’d expect, they had yet another explosive europop cocktail on their hands: think Lio, Icerink Records, GIRLS AT OUR BEST, LA BIONDA, MIKADO, LA CASA AZUL, Kim Wilde, only different.
Eventually, the takes have been sent to Ian Catt‘s (ELIZABETH CITY STATE, THE FIELD MICE, ALPACA SPORTS) studio down in Croydon for extra mixing and mastering.
Et voilà! Europop at its fizziest, ideal for dancefloors and walkmen.
1. The Soft Regime
Opens with the mission statement of intent. The federation of mild extreme announces its arrival with those first three notes, which are something of a rallying cry to the masses. When you hear this signal, you and your family will be able to give yourself to the regime. You’ll be hearing more from them soon… It’s how they lure you in.
On your marks, get set, go! This fully realised smash has the band expressing their hard feelings in pure city sound. Of course, you can dance to it. Complete with heart stopping breakdown. Peak time stuff, like SHOCKING BLUE on nutritional supplement. Remanding a huge pop beast in custody is not easy. Armed guards need to be called in. The pop beast is engaging, upbeat, and full of thrilling surprises, but they are not giving anything away to Astrid. She will approach with trepidation.
3. Futura Ad Acta
A change of scenery. Sketches the glories of educated pop designs from the past. Think RAVISHING BEAUTIES, ACT FUSELI, SOFT VERDICT. Just like that love affair from thirty years ago, it is over before it even begins. Quotes Marguerite Duras.
4. Wild Swimming
SOFT REGIME are all serious swimmers, and mid-recording will take any opportunity to seek out a wild aquatic escape from urban city living. “Beyond the trees, the river is waiting patiently” they say. On one such occasion, they made acquaintance with a gentlemen guitarist with a pedigree of searching pop, it was Mr. Dickon Edwards from the groups FOSCA and ORLANDO. A connection was formed and Astrid hit upon the idea of singing a duet with him about their swimming adventures.
Sometimes life can take you all the way to the departure lounge, but its up to you if you get on the plane. No matter how luxurious the jet is, sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. This song is based on an interview with an ageing 60s socialite in the London Times.
6. Capri Underground
« In August, most of Europe goes on holiday. » – Luchino Visconti
From the surface, all you can see is yachts and glorious sunshine, but to the initiated, if you head below the surface, you can find the next level of culture and inspiration. Like music: when you reach the underground level, all wonders are revealed… It was written on the band’s works outing to the Phlegrean islands this summer. An ode to secret knowledge and happiness money cannot buy. It features a devastating key change.
7. Nothing Really
Back in the late 80s, synth musician Howard Jones opened a restaurant called “Nowhere” in New York. The idea of course is that people would ask where they are lunching, they would say “Nowhere”. The restaurant burnt to the ground within a year. When listening to this track, if people ask. What are you listening to, the title is the response, and flames are inevitable.
8. A Propos
Here is the signal again, and what follows are instructions on how to be inducted into the SOFT REGIME, these are secrets from the dawn of humankind recently uncovered on the dance floor in a Romanian Discotheque. You take the bass, they’ll take the drums, let’s save the world before morning comes. Thank you for paying attention.
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The untiring Joe Moore is back with a new reference from THE YEARNING, in his endless search for beauty in music. In fact, some of the songs on this mini album were conceived as continuations of the songs included on the last album, “Evening Souvenirs”, after the adventures with Lia Pamina and THE PERFECT KISS.
Accompanied again by Maddie Dobie and Mark Kiff, Joe Moore continues addressing his usual inclinations: the chanson, chamber pop, bossa, and above all, the perfect song. And once again, he is handling all the production work, the recording, and the songwriting, and is playing almost all the instruments. “How Do You Make Somebody Fall In Love?” insists precisely on everything that “Evening Souvenirs” aimed toward: the fragile delicateness of Claudine Longet and Françoise Hardy, elevated by baroque arrangements and exquisite nuances. “Do You Remember?” is pure energy, festive and agile samba with orchestration that evokes musicals (that bridge that reminds us so much of “La La Land”) with a nostalgic look at how much music has changed. Side A closes with “Everything Is You” – elegance with echoes of Astrud Gilberto and Elis Regina, and that sax solo that Stan Getz would have been happy to have written. A beautiful bossa piece dedicated to his family.
And the Brazilian breezes that are the clear stars of this album also open Side B, with “Airplane (Fly Me To Mexico)”, the song that the title of this CD Digipak and 10” Mini-LP comes from. The song opens as if it were on Broadway, Gal Costa takes over the excitement of this mid-tempo, suddenly the song breaks out into swing and jazz, to ultimately go back to bossa and confirm its return to the real world. “Learn To Love” is a duet like those sung by Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood, but Joe Moore’s wonderful vocal intervention harmonizing with Maddie Dobie is so amazing it could bring us to collaborations between Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan or Kylie Minogue and Nick Cave. It’s baroque pop, a waltz with echoes of Shostakovich, the continuation of where “Nightingale” left on the previous album. The same way “Something I Should Know” brings back the story laid out in “The Moment Your Heart Would Say Goodbye” through a piano piece and a sad, emotional, hopeless voice.
This is the latest delicacy to add to the collection the Joe Moore offers us. He is without a doubt an artist with a calling, who will make an indelible mark on all lovers of chamber pop.
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LA BIEN QUERIDA
LA BIEN QUERIDA’s fifth album, “Fuego”, marked a turning point in Ana’s career. Musically speaking, it meant going back and travelling forward at the same time. The impeccable collection of songs is captivating both the press and fans all over the world. “Dinamita” is the album’s opening track, and the star of this new video. Once again, directed by Juanma Carrillo, LA BIEN QUERIDA’s music takes on a new dimension through the images, as Juanma himself explains:
“Is it possible to hope to know the world from a lost corner of the universe? From the first moment I heard “Dinamita” I imagined the opening scene, I visualized an adolescent on the edge of puberty, so many questions, and a strict, authoritarian father. The idea of a girl stepping out of a straight line of adults and escaping through a door bathed in light filled my head for months. Seeing things so clearly is good, but it is also painful and complicated to visualize something for so long; it makes things more difficult. That’s why, when I saw that image take real shape with one of the actors I pushed for, the young Alejandra Bittini, and the decorated set, I couldn’t believe it. “Dinamita” is a love song, a hymn to freedom and romanticism. So even though one of the clearest references that had been knocking around since a few videos ago was the pureness of adolescence from the young Sophia Coppola’s “The Virgin Suicides” and my obsession from the trilogy with Tarkovsky’s complex framing, I knew I couldn’t let the darkness that had such a strong hold on me cover the light that permeates from this song. I knew there needed to be a happy ending, no matter how open it was. Our protagonist needed to leave us with the suggestion of stepping out of line, looking for new paths and not being afraid of disobeying the rules and traditions that are imposed upon us every single day by the society we live in.”
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We are really enjoying this process of looking back and recovering some of the albums that we have released at Elefant during our first 25 years as an independent label. Giorgio Tuma has been one of those artists that we have handled with special care. His music, so far from the stereotypes of the latest music trends, hides a true genius who is inspired, evocative, and has a psychedelic, melancholic, elegant pop spirit. A musical goldsmith.
That’s why we are so happy to be able to re-release, for the first time on vinyl, his first album with Elefant (second in his discography), “My Vocalese Fun Fair”. It is a delicious album, exquisitely arranged, where the psychedelia, the lounge music and the Brazilian samba all join hands to make up a banquet of an album. It’s because of all of those influences, that let us catch a glimpse of other small ingredients that make the final result richer, like the soul on “Coney Island Memories”, the funk-pop on “Marsico”, the baroque folk of “Musical Express” or the northern soul of “Saltamontes”. That is the definition of banquet that Giorgio Tuma proposed on that album: dishes full of all the ingredients imaginable, mixed with elegance, color, sometimes exoticism, sophistication, sometimes seriousness, but always achieving excellent results. Like “…And Three Parasol Stars”, “Let’s Make The Stevens Cake!!!”, “Astroland By Bus”… And ultimately that feeling of melancholy that stays with you after such a feast – sweet, sad, unrepeatable, unforgettable…
This electric blue vinyl will be released as a 300-copy, numbered, limited edition and it will have two extra songs for the digital version that were not included on the original LP (which will also be available for download as MP3 included with the vinyl). “Flying Bicycles To Reykjavik” is pop, jazz and soul, one of the most agile songs that forms a part of this fantastic collection of songs. “Innocent Thoughts Fluorescent Words” is a silent but luminous goodbye. Petit fours? There are no small dishes when we are talking about Giorgio Tuma’s banquets. Every last detail counts, used completely, enjoyed to the last drop. It’s a way of living made into sound.
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Sometimes, looking back can bring us a tremendous surprise. Time passes and plays with our memory. If we think about the more recent releases from the Italian group FITNESS FOREVER – super danceable albums like “Cosmos” and “Tonight”, marvelous hits like “Canadian Ranger”, “Tonight” and “Lui” – and suddenly we start to sift through the memories, we are suddenly hit with the freshness and immediacy of that debut called “Personal Train” that won us over so completely back in 2009, with its fresh, sunny, Mediterranean airs, far from the nocturnal, urban spirit of some of their more recent songs.
That’s why, among other reasons, we wanted to bring back such an incredible album as a part of our collection of reissues in honor of Elefant Records’ 25th anniversary. To be able to enjoy again the perfect pop bull’s eyes that “Probabilmente”, “Bacharach” and “L’anarchica Pugliese” are, because “Vacanze A Settembre” breathes Italy with a vitality that raises even the lowest spirits, because “Je Je Jeox” and “Quando Ho Tempo” make clear all the marvelous lounge music albums Carlos Valderrama’s crew could have made, because “Se Come Te” gave us a peak at what path the group was going to take (ah, how clearly we can see things with hindsight), and for a million reasons more, many of which are tied to scenes of your lives that these songs are part of the soundtrack of. We can think of so many.
What’s more, this is the perfect opportunity to recover the two songs that were included in the now out of print “Mondo Fitness EP”. Both the title track and the “Diego Mon Amour” are further proof of the group’s nose for pop music, on the one hand, and, on the other, the melodic richness and elegance of the arrangements that FITNESS FOREVER are capable of laying out, which have undoubtedly been an important nuance in the concept of disco music that they developed on subsequent albums.
So, we’ve got an album plus two extra tracks, released on a precious transparent red vinyl, in a 300-copy numbered, limited edition. What a delight.
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