Née: Oscar Rodríguez
Sounds like: Alan Palomo holding hands with Sufjan Stevens on a picnic with a sedated Teen Daze
You should listen to Maldita Manzana because… you were once a boy scout or girl scout who loved camping, selling cookies or popcorn, depending on your gender (at the time?), and you’ve always been one for dreamy adventures across the quiet and twinkling countryside.
So Oscar Rodríguez is a 23 year old living in Mexico City. He released a couple of sensational EPs under the moniker, Matilda Manzana, including Trópico del álgebra and Todas las ciudades inundadas. This previously bedroom recorded darling introduced the world to the very introspective and slightly dismal perspectives of a young artist on the rise. According the the man in my recent interview with him, these first jets of light sprang from his heart, and head using “only one computer, a guitar, and music software.” But on his first EP, he pulled out all the cards and invited friends to collaborate, “creating a little universe for the songs.”
The landscape, typography or what have you, invented for this album is definitely felt and surely heard. Rodríguez notes on the long process, evoking a year of his time, which simultaneously saw him undergoing “a strange emotional crisis,” serving as the primary influence for the lyrics behind the album. Inspired by normal, everyday things like Nickelodeon cartoons from the ’90s and shows like Ghost Hunters, this isn’t one of those rockstar elite personas you might be used to from Mexico City blue milk spewing socialites.
This is just your average joe making bedroom music with a sincere and healthy dose of catharsis. And that might be the trick behind the success of Matilda Manzana: absolute sincerity, no frills, no trills, just honest music. Earnest creation lies in every inch of his latest album, Conjuntos Cartográficos. One of my favorite tracks is, “Ciencias Paranormales” which features his girlfriend Nancy reading a short story Oscar wrote himself. It’s about a young man who falls in love with the girl who runs him over with her car. Can you get any more cute and weird? On the title track featured below, you’ll sense a little more of a lively and upbeat side of the apple. Take a bit. It’s bitter sweet to the last warbling, choral morsel. And, is that a kazoo in the background?