March 27, 2008

International Record Reviews: ArgenTunes

Print More

In the netherparts of South America, they kind of listen to mostly a lot of the same crap we do, with a lot of British influence. Globalization and proliferation of the likes of Coldplay and, for a blast from our ’90s past, Oasis en el radio have influenced a lot of Argentine youths to whistle “Clocks” while they walk down the streets of Palermo SoHo. The Arctic Monkey’s tour de force “Fluorescent Adolescent” is one of the most spun tracks on the Buenos Aires radiowaves (as rightly it should be.) However, the non-Clear Channel radio DJs spin a great variety of tunes from all over, and here are some of the artists popular with college kids down way south of the border:

Andrés Calamarod
Currently the king of the Argentine rock scene, and a force there since the ’80s, although his music is kind of painful on non-rioplatense ears. But check out that mane (to the right)! No wonder he rules the scene like the lion that he is.

Fabiana Cantilo
The first lady of Argentine rock, Fabiana Cantilo often makes guest appearances on tracks from every other notable band in the country.

Bersuit Vergarabat
Bersuit named their 2000 album Hijos de culo (rough translation: “Children of the ass”) and put googly eyes on a little girl on the cover. The gimmick certainly got me a-listnin’, and I found an eclectic mix of folk, ska and candombe, which is a Uruguayan drum music.

Gustavo Santoalalla, mastermind behind the scores of such movies as 21 Grams, The Motorcycle Diaries and Brokeback Mountain (among others), convened this Bajofondo Tango Collective in order to mix Argentina’s national music — the tango — and its newest obsession of electronic music to come up with something along the lines of South American trip hop. Mar Dulce is their latest effort. At 56, Santaolalla may be old, but he’s certainly come up with one of the newest sounds in music, and the Argentines respect their elder rockers much more so than Americans.

Jorge Drexler
The best is definitely this last one, even though technically he’s Uruguayan (read: Argentina’s version of Canada.) Drexler won the oscar in 2005 for “Al otro lado del rio,” the song he composed for The Motorcycle Diaries, and all of his compositions are just as orchestrally soulful. If you pick up 2003’s Eco, check out the tracks “Polvo de estrellas” and “Todo se transforma” for poppy, orchestral electronica. His 2006 release, 12 segundos de oscuridad has an unbelievable cover of Radiohead’s “High and Dry.”