Bands Worth Watching:
Juan Pablo Oczkowski (Jan Paweł is his name in Polish) is from Maracaibo, now based in Margarita, and is a giant, both literally (he’s over 6-foot-6) and musically. After having great projects like Os Brokolis and Un Loft Sobre El Mar, and a bunch of solo songs never released officially, Jan Paweł is now about to release an EP and a compilation. Conejillo De Indias will compile some of his old songs, recorded in a lo-fi kind of way with a folk-y vibe. The Demasiado Viejo Para Morir Joven EP will be his first proper release, with a more polished sound and a wider sonic palette, playing more with rock and synth-pop. His songs are brilliant, and they feel like they were made effortlessly.
Un Paseo Antes De Partir (con Enrique Alossi) by jan pawel
This is a Brooklyn-based duo formed by Venezuelan Alberto Stangarone (from Caracas and also an ex-member of Todosantos) and Brazilian Clarissa Steed. I think it’s a perfect blend of both cultures, and the result is a super fun and exciting mix of dance, baile funk, house and even a little punk (at least at heart). Sunsplash has a single with Alexander Technique’s DJs Are Not Rockstars, and its first album, Live At The Maracana, is ready and will be out very soon. NYC, beware: Sunsplash will play a show by the end of April, right before its South American tour.
Ulises Hadjis is a singer-songwriter from Maracaibo. He released his first album, Presente, in 2008, where he crafted these unusual pop songs, grabbing from his folk, ska, bossa nova, indie and jazz influences. His lyrics are full of metaphors and images, like pictures of his thoughts. His second album, Cosas Perdidas, will be ready by June. From what I’ve heard, it’ll be a collection of little gems of short duration, very beautiful and diverse.
An ex-member of the awesome Todosantos, Pacheko, aka Francisco Mejía, is a producer and DJ who makes his own brand of bass-heavy music, grabbing sounds from dubstep, U.K. funky, reggaeton, house, etc. He’s released some stuff with labels like Senseless and Murder Channel, and he is about to release an EP called Kosmicare on Tigerbeat6. He is now preparing an EP for Enchufada with his partner in crime Pocz, exploring the changa tuki (raptor house), which is a Venezuelan analogue of Brazil’s baile funk or Angola’s kuduro.
This might be my favorite Venezuelan project right now. José Ignacio Benítez is a musical genius. He records under the name Domingo En Llamas, and he pretty much does whatever he wants. Since 2005, he’s made about seven full-length albums, where he has beautifully integrated classic rock, folk, orchestral arrangements, jazz and Venezuelan folklore. He’ll release yet another album (a double album!) sometime this year, called Lugares Y Espacios, and this will be his first physical release.
Domingo en Llamas – Más dura será la caída by chekyster
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