Capsula’s “Santa Rosa”Is A Time Capsule Of Punk Rock Excellence

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Consider the case of Capsula, the Argentine exiles who now use Bilbao as their base for contra-European conquest, and who Tulip Frenzy once declared was the Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band in the World.  With three albums already recorded in Buenos Aires, and in Spanish, they leapt to our attention in 2006 with what still remains one of the 21st Century’s single greatest platters of tuneful punk rock, Song And Circuits.  Five English-language albums later — one of them live, another a note-for-note rendition of Ziggy Stardust — in late April they released Santa Rosa, their best album in a decade.  And yet — when Tulip Frenzy writes about certain of our favorite bands, there is always an “and yet” — the only way we found out about it is because we follow their Twitter feed.

The world of art is cruel, good novelists going unpublished, photographers like Vivian Mayer having their work discovered even as they lay dying, her death as much caused by poverty and neglect as blunt-force trauma.  Our mind went to these depths because we heard Santa Rosa the same week Radiohead’s unquestionably gorgeous, if not grammatically titled A Moon Shaped Pool was released, and while the entire internet groaned from the peak-load strain of global downloading of that masterpiece, we think few others were probably as excited as we were to download this one.

For those who really want to learn about why Capsula is, in our estimation, as important a band as Radiohead, you can link here for full-on rhapsodic overkill.  Now seriously, do.  Or if you want just the capsule description of Capsula, try this one for size:

Capsula take all of the excitement of Under The Big Black Sun-era X, add to it a rockabilly twang showcasing how incredibly this ace trio swings, run it through the psychedelic soundboard of simpatico producers like Bowie’s Tony Visconti (2013’s Solar Secrets) or ex-Richard Hell and the Voidoids ace guitarist Ivan Julian (2009’s Rising Mountains), and out comes music that thrillingly plies a narrow line of punk rock skirting the coral along a pirate coast.

Santa Rosa is their best album since Song And Circuits because the songwriting is so exciting, because Martin Guevara plays guitar and sings with the revolutionary fervor of his father Che*, because Coni Duchess is a royally great bass player and singer, and because Ignacio Guantxe plays drums with the manic force of a Nadal backhand. We think it’s the first album they’ve produced since they moved to Spain that features both English and Spanish singing.  We know that on songs like “Santa Rosa” and “Moving Mutant,” everything we hold dear in the world is expressed with melodic thunder.

As rock’n’roll fanatics, the team at Tulip Frenzy have long grown used to the two-city split between the successful and the great, with the former not always the latter, and too often the latter not the former.  Why did the Police go on to earn fortunes when the Fleshtones, the band that each night on that 1980 tour blew them off the stage, are household names only among a special breed?  When our son was very young, and his sense of what bands had achieved immortal status was based on what his parents played in the car, he was stunned to learn that the Ramones weren’t actually as big as the Beatles.  Of course they should have been, but ponder that too long and you’ll go crazy.

Here’s an idea instead: just download the two Capsula songs mentioned above, then the whole of Santa Rosa, and then just keep downloading ’til collectively we make ’em bigger than Radiohead.

*Not his father.  Though, hmm, both Guevara’s hail from B.A.

 

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