The Spanish music scene is a hard one to navigate. There’s just so much. In the past few years we’ve tended to look to Spain when we wanted something messy, something immediate. And we got a lot in return. Between Fuckaine, Guadalupe Plata, Univers, Lasers, El Columpio Asesino, Triángulo de Amor Bizarro, Deers, Juventud Juché, BFlecha, El Guincho, El Pardo (or anything Raúl Querido really)—I can go on for days. But the buck doesn’t stop here. Every day we find new SoundClouds, new Bandcamps, new labels, new videos from up and comers and to make your life easier (as we’re wont to do) we’ve narrowed it down to seven we think you definitely should be paying attention to. Some are pop, some are punk, some are barely legal. All are interesting in their own way.
COMPUTADORA / MADRID
If this five-song EP from 2012 is any indication, we should all be on pins and needles for Computadora’s return. The Toledo/Madrid foursome comes equipped with a baritoned frontman, orchestral flourishes, and jangly guitars. The reason they get a spot on this list, despite not having much to go on? It’s all in how well they combine electro-pop and post-punk, dance frenzies plus despair.
On October 1st they’ll be back with their proper debut LP, Naturaleza Utópica, off Nueva Monarquía, the public-minded label that brought us El Pardo’s self-titled debut last year. Basically, they’re in good company. Tomorrow, keep your eyes peeled for the first teaser for Naturaleza Utópica, a clip for single “La Muerte” directed by frequent collaborator Ángel Mellizo.
VIOLETA VIL / MADRID
We’ve lauded Madrid’s Violeta Vil in the past, finding endless enjoyment in their unhinged brand of trash-pop. Last year’s Lápidas y Cocoteros gave us eerie and awkward, while their just-released Mujeres Ulaga (Gramaciones Grabofónicas) packs more of a destructive punch. It’s the album that will make them and make you break stuff. Violeta Vil’s sound is more polished than many of the bands on this list—more art house for sure—but it retains the grime and claws I’ve come to admire from Spain’s diverse scene.
MOURN / BARCELONA
Babies making music: doesn’t always turn out so well. But Mourn, unlike other teen efforts, exudes more maturity than you’d expect from 18 year olds. None of your shitty high school bands ever sounded this legit.
Leaders Jazz Rodríguez and Carla Pérez—along with 20-year-old drummer Antonio Postius and Rodríguez’s sister, 14-year-old (!!!) Leia—translate a mini Sleater-Kinney attitude through Rodríguez’s bawdy vocal vigor and ‘90s intuition. Just listen to the only two tracks they’ve uploaded to date and you’ll hear the mature power in their voices, all those pent-up riot grrrl hormones and outrage. “Otitis” and “Your Brain is Made of Candy” forge a niche outside of marketing gimmick and well into the realm of “oh shit this is good.” Their debut is set to drop September 30th on Sones.
In the meantime, just watch this video and ask yourself, “What am I doing with my life?” It has become very clear to me that I did not do my formative years right.
CÓMO VIVIR EN EL CAMPO / MADRID
I consider almost anything released by El Genio Equivocado a safe bet. The impeccably curated Barcelona label rarely disappoints, bringing consistently interesting electro, pop, rock, and folk acts together under one roof. If Murciano Total, Algora, and Cosmen Adelaida aren’t enough proof for you, maybe this new addition will make you come around. This year Genio welcomed Madrid-based trio Cómo Vivir en el Campo and recently dropped their sophomore album, CVEEC 2. The album goes from hand-clapping, So-Cal pop to expansive Broken Social Scene levels, all in just eight tracks. You too should bet on Cómo Vivir en el Campo.
FUTURO TERROR / ALICANTE
Asturias’ Discos Humeantes is hands down one of the most authentic feeling labels in Spain. All that Spanish post-punk and goth-pop we love so much? Discos Humeantes traffics heavily in this area. Their latest release is the debut LP from Alicante’s Futuro Terror, a trio of noise-rock dudes who at times mix the gruff of punk with the speed of metal. It’s a strong showing and even though Spain seems patently submerged in this type of music (see: Fuckaine, Juventud Juché, Trajano, etc.), Futuro Terror still stand out.
TREMENDA TREMENTINA / PAMPLONA
For a decidedly less violent product, look to duo Tremenda Trementina’s sophomore LP, Sangre Pop (Everlasting Records). The title says it all. Epicness, despair, soaring love…it’s all there in the ballads and paired-down pop tunes Adriana de la Fuente and Pablo Villafranca have fashioned.
CUMBRES CARRASCOSA / ISLAS CANARIAS
Afroxander said it well back in May when he described Cumbres Carrascosa’s style as inhabiting “a vast and dark dreamworld.” Miguel Cámara whimpers instead of sings, creeps instead of moves. This was made clear in the two tracks released back in January and later in his debut, Silenced No. Every track hints at an underbelly, but I can’t think of a better example of how mixed-up Carrascosa’s music is than in producer Sutja Gutiérrez’s recent remix of “Warm.” He adds drumlines, dance beats, and layers upon layers of goth energy. Here’s hoping Cumbres makes that LP soon.