Letters Have No Arms have packed their bags, put their travel hats on, and moved to a new land!

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

Sin Canciones


As you probably read in the last post, my beloved fellow co-blogger (also known as Steven in this thing called "the real world" or something) is now in Spain. And so I'll take advantage of this opportunity to make a little tribute of my own to this sunny sunny country which we love.. The reasons I've never posted any songs in Spanish are pretty self-evident: according to Statcounter, only 5.40% of our visitors are from Spain. And some Latin-American countries are at about 1%. But that shouldn't stop me from sharing something I really love, right? And I really really really passionately love the Spanish (indie) music scene! For some reason most of the bands there make happy indiepop/tweepop that makes you wanna lie down in flowerbeds and wear Alice-bands with butterflies on them and dress in colors. I would've maybe said it's the sun, but I live in Greece and know that sunshine lends no helping hand in the making of a good twee band. And then there's also Sweden...but I digress. Here are some of my favorite Spanish songs and/or bands.

How much catchier can indie pop get?? If you want to find out what this band is all about their name will tell you everything you need to know: The Rebellious Strawberries. As in, we might be twee but we're not afraid to use guitars - our musical influences might come straight from the 50s, but our attitudes don't. This is twee in the days when is was still associated with punk, this is sweet and in-your-face at the same time, this is fruit, but Rebellious fruit! Rock on little strawberries!
There were/are so many people out there who hate Yoko Ono and blame her for the "transformation" of John Lennon and what happened to The Beatles that someone had to write a song describing how things (possibly) happened from her perspective. And what an sweet song it is.

Lovely lovely lovely song about...well...Zombie Boy! It's a little hard to convey what makes the song so sweet, funny, and sad at the same time without referring you to the lyrics. And I'm a little hesitant to translate myself. But here's the story. Zombie Boy is a kid who goes to school and eats his schoolmates, but doesn't really mean to. He just can't help it. And of course this would be just a silly song if only the lyrics didn't make it so painfully obvious how awful Zombie Boy feels, how hurtful is the realization that he's different from the other kids, and how they all make fun of him and how he knows that it's never going to stop. It's a sweet little tune this one, filled with discrete handclaps and shoopapas. Listen to it side-by-side with the Besties' "Zombie Song" - they make a good couple :)

This is the song you played that lazy Sunday morning, that surreal Sunday morning when you woke up and found that nothing had changed. When you knew that for a while nothing felt real anymore, nothing seemed to have any meaning, any reason for existing. So you woke up and...well, you figured, at least you'd try. "Good morning little heart! How sad are you today? Did you wake up feeling better? Is the world treating you any better?" This is the song you had in your head while you strolled down flea markets with a bottle of cheap wine that you knew will give you a horrible headache afterwards and that made you sleepy. But that's a good thing. Sleeping is good. Tomorrow you'll feel better.

The most atmospheric and nostalgic from this bunch of songs, Plásticos y Metalos (whose title, by the way, means exactly what you think it means), is a song I find myself playing either when I'm very very sad or very very happy. Beyond jumping-up-and-down happy. Calm-happy. It is also a song that always makes me imagine a beach scene - perhaps because the name of the band means "swimmer" or because of the fragile-sounding instruments, or because of the girl's ah-ah-ah-aaaahs which seem to come and go like waves. Genre-wise you should know that it tends a little more towards shoegaze and post-rock than the rest of the songs I've selected. So if you like that kind of thing, this one's for you.

My best friend doesn't speak a word of Spanish. Yet in a certain hotel room in Barcelona, two summers ago, she couldn't stop bellowing "Como te llamaaaaaaaaaas indie girl??" for 7 days in a row. "Tell Me Your Name" is the only bilingual song in this post. And even if you only sing along to the English parts, lyrics rarely come in packages as danceable as this. I rather have a preference for the Spanish parts (and the girl's voice), although the English verse does start with "Cute girl, loves the Smiths..."

Guy Milkieway a.k.a. the genius behind La Casa Azul is inviting the girl of his dreams on a date. "Nothing fancy, just casual... er... maybe go downtown and have a cup of coffee? And then we can...you know...talk about Tommy James songs and some good books and stuff....come on! What do you say?? We could go see a Woody Allen movie afterwards if you like!" Okay, I just added the errs and uuhmms and maybes for nerd-effect, but how can you refuse an invitation like that?
This song is quite simple really. A girl laments over the fact that her boyfriend left her. Yeah, well, what' else is new? She keeps wishing that he loved her more and wondering whether one day he'll come back to her. Over and over. And if you think that becomes annoying, if you think you'll mind in the least that this song has only two main riffs and keeps repeating the same verse and the same chorus again and again, think again. It doesn't change a thing.


* All illustrations in this post by the amazingly talented Tim McEvoy!

There is one more Spanish band that needs to be mentioned and, at first, I was planning to include it in this post. But I started writing about it and then got totally carried away, as it was bound to happen since it's one of my favorites and I truly love their songs with all my heart. So make sure to check out my next post for this very special band.


Kevin said...

This is the first time I've visited this site. Thanks very much for the great amount of music from Spain and the amazing art that accompanied this post. I was surprised that there were no comments.

I'm happy I've found a new site to add to the "best" file in my favorites.

Thanks & best wishes, -K