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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum

Rating: 7/10 ?

March 8, 2006
Yeah, I love exotic music, but I must confess that half of the interest I have for Bango comes from the allure of its rarity. Originally released in 1970, this self-titled, one-off release has since become a point of rivalry amongst collectors. Bango was a psych-infused band that stacked piles of harsh noise against a background of interlocking, appealing rhythms. But they were just that: a "little nobody" kind of ensemble, a little more than the finest band in the neighbourhood.

The essential driving force behind songs like "Inferno no Mundo" and "Only" is their blues-affiliated breed, which puts them as some Brazilian badly-drawn sketch of Led Zeppelin. Maybe the lyrics for "Marta, Zéca, o Padre, o Prefeito, o Doutor e Eu" will puzzle anyone outside the Portuguese-speaking community, but this number is Bango's quintessential, really: an odd coupling between powerful riffs breaking out in boils, and a notorious sense of humour (believe me, the accent alone is hilarious!). Just a tip-off: "padre paquerador" translates as "dating priest".

There's no use in trying to break Bango's sound down into small bits, because theirs is as in-your-face a sound can be, a bit like the hell-raising mentality that drives one to start a riot in a club, scream their lungs out, and then pack up and leave as if nothing really happened. "Motor Maravilha" single-handedly flies the sweat n' roll flag in the record, while "Geninha" punctuates the signature groove that embellishes the whole deal. And the final track, "Ode to Billy", makes me wonder which records Ozzy Osbourne was listening to before penning Black Sabbath's hit "Paranoid".

Don't take the previous inflated lines as a definitive review, though. Bango is far from being the best in their own class (check out Os Mutantes, and learn more about excessive writing and playing), let alone the ambassadors of the country that, in the late 1950s, invented bossa nova. Besides, as I wrote above, I always drool when exoticism enters a musical equation: it's hard for me to curb the excessive emotional outpourings, which come with music that has the "traditional" tag, written all over the place.

Brazilian art is so rich and diverse that it deserved a whole book instead of a single, dumb paragraph. Always keen to stretch out their artistic range, musicians find no trouble in supplanting the tired models of their sources, be it in jazz, psyched-out punk, or the chart-busting baile funk of today. In a way, Bango's sound is dated, but it isn't difficult to conclude that the band helped laying the foundation bricks of what later became Brazil's balls-out brand of rock and roll.

As time has passed, Bango has indivertibly built an interesting hype around it, and aptly deserves the reissue it is now getting. In this case, it's even advisable to let affection blur the severe accuracy of critical exercises. First, you let yourself loose in the sound, and then get out of it with the stark perspective of the inebriated, embedded connoisseur. This record will come as a slap in the face for anyone who antagonizes the flat-out nimbleness of cross-cultural music. For it is in its lightness that you should find its strength.

Reviewed by Helder Gomes
Currently living on the south bank of the Tagus river, in Portugal, Helder Gomes is a working class hero. He is a journalist for the local radio station Rádio Nova Anten. In his spare time, he skates and watches many odd movies. He is in love with the French nouvelle vague, and the Danish/Swedish invasion. He writes for a number of publications, on the Internet or otherwise, notably the underground Portuguese magazine Mondo Bizarre, and the Jazz Review website. He is also the news collector and a staff witer for the adorable Lost at Sea. Oh, and there is also the Coffee Breakz radio show that he tries to host every Saturday.

See other reviews by Helder Gomes



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