Monday, 30 August 2010

The Authentic Decadents

Whenever I find myself in a new country I always try to pick up some local sounds, and only having a brief time in Buenos Aires and not having the chance to either hear much radio or see anyone live, I had to resort to the suprisingly reliable method of picking a handful of albums based on the covers alone. So I was digging my way through the shelves in a little record store called The Cave in the pedestrianised shopping neighbourhood downtown when I spied a marvel - a dog in slick sportswear and killer shades mixing a couple of records on a pair of glittery decks. But it wasn't, as you may be thinking, a cartoon - it was a photo. So slightly cruel as it appeared, this was still an album that needed to be bought for the cover alone.

The disc was called Club Atletico Decadente by a massively populated act called Los Auténticos Decadentes. A quick flick to the back of the album displayed a rag tag gaggle of a dozen geezers, all in their thirties and upwards, and every one of them wearing the same kit as the poor pooch on the front of the cover. It didn't need to be any good with livery as cool as this, but what a treat it turned out to be.

The sounds on this collection were as lively as the picture of its creators suggested. A bonkers mix up of traditional Argentinian dance rhythms, pounding rock and roll with a little bit of sk punk thrown in for good measure, this would be what The Mighty Mighty Bosstones might have sounded like of they were all Boca Juniors fans with Diego Maradona tattoos - only with considerably more fluid hips.

There were slices of slinky Latino sounds that your mum could dance to, followed by pokey little punk tunes your little brother wouldn't be afraid to mosh to in public, and a bunch of other mutant hybrids that covered their local traditional musics like cumbia, merengue, canzonetta, murga and a whole bundle more that I'm not entirely sure how to spell.

They guy in The Cave insisted I ought to get their following album, Somos (El Vivo), as he reckoned it was much better - and I rather wish I did now, because these boys have got quite the track record.

It turns out that I'm stumbled across one of the country's most popular live acts. Formed right back in 1986, their first album came three years later, and featured their first hit Veni Raquel. As I was to later find out, their tunes have become ubiquitous on an Argentine night out, and have turned up in the background of practically every contemporary Argentinian movie that I've seen since I first picked up their album. They regularly sell out stadiums across Latin America, being perhaps surprisingly most popular in Mexico, where their anarchic dance tunes sit well within their own unhinged underground music scene.

I've since discovered that they've released ten albums in total, so I'm going to have to start picking my way through them all one by one. But which end should I start at? Now there hangs the dilemma! To my knowledge they've never made it over this side of the pond, which is a shame, because I reckon they're lively enough to clear up. They've fill that Ozomatli/Gogol Bordello/ Manu Chao-sized slot at the more worldsy tinged festivals a treat, and they've been going for so long now that it can only be a matter of time before we see them out this way - so keep 'em peeled for the Decadents!

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