Archive for “Solar Secrets”

For A Moment Last Night At DC’s Black Cat, Capsula Were The Greatest Rock’n’Roll Band In The World

Posted in Music with tags , , , on November 24, 2013 by johnbuckley100

Capsula 2

All lifelong aficionados of real rock’n’roll have essentially the same fantasy, which is to see their favorite band play ten feet away.  Some burly mothers regularly achieve this by muscling their way to the front of the crowd and staying there for an hour before the show starts.  Others — including the team at Tulip Frenzy – like a little breathing room, a little distance.  Unless circumstances allow us to get real close without bother.  Last night, alas, the Nation’s Capital did not show up in force to see Capsula open for Brazilian legends Os Mutantes.  But you sure couldn’t have told that from the way Capsula played.  And so we stood there, maybe five feet away, while they put on one of the best shows we’ve seen in the modern epoch.

Capsula, for those who don’t know — and if you don’t, we pity you — are the finest punk rock band to ever emerge from South America, though for the past 13 years they’ve used Bilbao as their locus for world domination.  It’s been paying off, too, as Solar Secrets, their recent album produced by Tony Visconti — fresh from his handling the chores for David Bowie’s The Next Day — has been topping Alternative charts in Europe.  They may be the hardest working band in rock’n’roll these days.  Based on the commitment they showed last night, wherein Martin Guevara and Coni Duchess bounced off one another, and then the ceiling, like those ping pong balls about to be plucked for the Powerball lottery, they may, at moments, also be the single best live band working today.  The drummer — was that Ignacio Villarejo or someone else? — was like a locomotive, minus the smoke, and even when Guevara and Duchess were doing synchronized back flips, the musicianship would have made the Berlin Philharmonic seem like amateurs.

Longtime fans of Tulip Frenzy know we’ve been wild for Capsula for years and years.  Ever since hearing 2006’s Songs & Circuits, we’ve viewed them as some magical combo of the Cramps, the Stooges, and the best ’70s radio pop.  We can’t put it better than… we already have: “Capsula is a throwback to an era of punk rock that may not ever have existed, a remnant of a Platonic world where all songs are played fast, where the drummer keeps an animalistic beat for hours on end, a place where the pogoing guitarist can fill the stage and stage the fills with melody and soul as the girl bassist with the bunny ears rocks harder than Izzy Stradlin. When Songs & Circuits came out five years ago, we could scarcely believe our luck, pinched ourselves to find a modern punk band that played fast and offered steaming parilla of smoking riffs and still poured on melody like it was hot sauce.”

We still feel that way, even as we would rank Solar Secrets a half-notch below both Songs & Circuits and 2011’s In The Land Of The Silver Souls.  The set list last night was long on new material like “Constellation Freedom,” and a cover of Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” which they played on their Ziggy Stardust homage, with a dip back into the catalogue with songs like “Communication,” their update of the Stooges’ “Penetration.”

Capsula 1

At one point, Guevara hung his guitar from the ceiling and then wrapped his mike around a pipe, singing into it while it dangled above him.  Although on record, they can be very smart classicists, in their first-ever DC concert they showed themselves to be the kind of hams that the Fleshtones can be, willing to do virtually anything to extend that rock’n’roll moment one minute longer, to turn the dials to 11.  There should have have been 1000 people there, not a couple of hundred, but here’s the essential thing to know about Capsula: the set they would have played for that larger crowd wouldn’t have been any different than what they did for us last night.

Two New Albums By Capsula and Crocodiles Each Extend The Late Summer Rock’n’Roll Party

Posted in Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 29, 2013 by johnbuckley100

We hadn’t been paying close enough attention to the happenings of one of our favorite bands, Capsula, to have gotten the word that Tony Visconti was producing their new album, Solar Secrets, which came out earlier this week.  What a great pairing!  Visconti, of course, is the producer of several of Bowie’s best albums, including this year’s The Next Day, and Capsula are such Bowie fans, last year they put out a note-perfect replica of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.  Now, unfortunately, we viewed that homage to Bowie as something of a misstep, an unfortunate career detour, but happily, with the excellent Solar Secrets, they are back on the strong form exhibited in 2011’s In The Land Of The Silver Souls, which we ranked as the #4 best album of the year, and which caused us to ask whether Capsula is the greatest rock’n’roll band in the world.  Based on Solar Secrets, they are still in contention for such an honor, even if it is not as spectacular as 2006’s Songs & Circuits, which we consider perhaps the finest punk rock album of the Aughts.

If you don’t know Capsula, drink deep from this nutshell: An Argentine band that played animalistic punk rock while scratching at the tree of South American psychedelica, they moved to Bilbao a decade ago, viewing Europe as a better staging point for world domination.  Since then, they’ve only put out three of the most thrilling records of our age, which given the albums they put out in Buenos Aires prior to emigration, gives them, by our count, eight excellent long-players.  They’ve gone from singing in Spanish to singing in English, though on Solar Secrets, Visconti has them singing in Spanglish.  But even if you’re bilingual, you don’t listen to Capsula for the words — you listen to hear a band that sounds like the finest Cali punks from the ’80s occasionally dial up the rocket boosters to propel listeners into deep space.  This is not their very best album, but it is a great place to begin, if you’ve yet to get hip to their cross-Atlantic trip.

We’d missed the earlier records by the San Diego band Crocodiles, but oh brother, Crimes Of Passion is so everlasting yummy we are willing to put it up on our current roster of California Hall of Famers including Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and Mikal Cronin.  We can understand why there have been comparisons to the Jesus and Mary Chain, but while such references usually refer to a band fuzzing up a Velvets’n’Beach Boys sound, this reference is different: singer Brandon Welchez sounds a fair bit like Jim Reid, and in context, it does harken to JAMC at their most tuneful.

On Crimes of Passion, Crocodiles throw the Jesus and Mary Chain, Between The Buttons-era Stones, and the garage rock of the Fleshtones into a blender and the result is a Big Gulp smoothee of the best rock’n’roll of the year.  If you’re keeping score at home, this is a band to put money on, as the odds are great you’re going to be hearing about them again when the Tulip Frenzy jury goes into deliberations for our 2013 Top Ten List.  They’re that good.  And between Crimes of Passion and Capsula’s Solar Secrets, we’re reaching for our headphones and the SPF 50, hoping to extend the summer for a few more weeks.

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