This is the last month that Counting The Beat will host the Music Alliance Pact before the NZ beat is taken over by Einstein Music Journal. I'm looking forward to their contributions. Thanks to all who have followed and all of the bands who have allowed their tracks to be posted.

NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Pikachunes - Nervous
Miles Loveless' commanding baritone strides atop his lofty synth lines and unrepentant drum machine tracks, riding a dance wave like that of LCD Soundsystem. On the bedroom producer's song Nervous, a Knight Rider-esque bassline cavorts with a floating, flutey synth that comes in with Loveless's emotionless, almost monotone voice providing a laconic environment for his social awkwardness to shine. Pikachunes released his debut self-titled album on Lil' Chief Records last month, and he has a great video for the song Shout It Out.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Nairobi - Minerals
Nairobi is a dub band based in Buenos Aires. Approaching dub from a diverse perspective, they create vibrant climates and fresh interpretations of the genre. This song is the first single from their second album, Wet, which was mixed at Mad Professor's studio in London and features Roberto Pettinato on saxophone.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Miracle - A Big Jet Plane
I recently discovered this 18-year-old rapper born in Ghana but now residing in western Sydney. The word is that he got signed to his label based on a song sampling Pete Murray's Better Days, a track he made for his high school music assignment and eventually became his first single. Personally, I liked his version of Angus And Julia Stone's hit Big Jet Plane better.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Diego e O Sindicato - Amigo
Influenced by 70s Brazilian rock and tropicalism, amongst other musical styles such as psychedelic rock and even samba, Amigo is a great taster of Parte De Nós ("Part Of Us"), the first full-length record by Diego e O Sindicato, released last month. The album is available to download for free at Compacto.REC, a netlabel focused on independent Brazilian music.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Olenka & The Autumn Lovers - Sparrow
Olenka & The Autumn Lovers' newest album, And Now We Sing, is just about the finest folk-pop album you could ever ask for. It brilliantly blends together Eastern European-tinged folk, smoky jazz, country and a variety of other elements to create an album that's easily one of the best to come out in 2010. Sparrow showcases Olenka's Eastern European roots.

CHILE: Super 45
Los Nadieh - Lisa y llanamente
Los Nadieh are members of Potoco Discos, the independent label that houses Como Asesinar a Felipes (an excellent jazz trio with a DJ and MC), who proclaim to play "the other kind of rap". That claim also defines the approach of this band from Valparaíso, homesickly looking at the harbour city but showing their feelings by experimenting with the formal structures of hip hop. This scorn for risk is reflected on Desde El Último Lugar, their debut, backed up by local heavyweight Foex (ex-member of FDA and a contributor to the increasingly successful Ana Tijoux).

CHINA: Wooozy
Rainbow Danger Club - Neighbors On The Rooftops
With riveting, epic melodies that soar and patter along majestically, the Rainbow Danger Club manage to effortlessly skirt the line between beauty and ugliness, light and dark, innocence and depravity. One of the greatest bands to emerge from the Shanghai music scene lately, they never cease to amaze audiences with their grandiose musicality and adeptness at crafting songs that don't seem to leave your head. Their debut EP, The New Atlantis, is not to be missed.

COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Capzula - Lo Dejamos Asi
Capzula have been the surprise of 2010 in the pop/rock scene of Colombia thanks to their popular single Rock. Big things are expected of them in 2011 and their new single Lo Dejamos Asi clearly shows they can rise to that responsibility.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Sleep Party People - A Dark God Heart
In late November, Danish label Vuf released the sixth in their renowned series of compilations titled The Vuf Compilation #6 - Back To Nature, sporting 12 tracks by established and upcoming Danish and Swedish artists, half working in alternative pop/rock and half in electronica. Among them is critically acclaimed one-man dreampop act Sleep Party People aka Brian Batz, whose hauntingly beautiful B-side A Dark God Heart is the final Danish MAP track of 2010. If you crave more, the compilation is available for free download here.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Fantastic Mr Fox - Brandy - Angel In Disguise (Fantastic Mr Fox's Nature Boy Rerub)
Stephen Gomberg alias Fantastic Mr Fox is one of the most in-demand dubstep producers and musicians around - The xx took him on tour with them to the States and Warpaint commissioned him to remix one of their tracks. His songs have been described as "digital symphonies" and result from painstakingly chopping up pieces of pre-existing music - sounds, melodies, handclaps and so on from his favourite urban tracks such as R&B queen Brandy's Angel In Disguise, as featured here - and reassembling them in new shapes. In the Guardian's New Band Of The Day column, Paul Lester hailed this as "abstract R&B arranged with a Cubist disregard for form". Sheer futurist invention.

Multiphonic Rodent - Printsess & Page
Multiphonic Rodent is the nom de plume of multi-instrumentalist composer Erkki Hõbe. Mainly known as the founder member of Opium Flirt, he has been doing home recordings since 2005 and playing live as a one-man big band on guitars, percussion, keys and wind instruments since 2008. His multi-layered style is influenced by classical minimalism, avant-garde jazz and psychedelic rock, to name a few stylistic origins.

The Friend - New Berlin Wall
The Friend play melodic indie-rock music to make people dance, or, in their own words, they play "songs that are brisk, atmospheric, playful, three-and-a-half-minutes-long compact packages". Take a listen to their first single, New Berlin Wall, while we wait for their first full-length to be released early next year.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Dizzy Errol - Pride
Dizzy Errol is the one and only Turkish beatnik in Germany. His name perfectly describes his fuzzy, straightforward sound. Pride is the most powerful song on the album Motherlamp from 2010. Dizzy Errol is part of the artist collective Kamerakino, who recently released a compilation named Infant Munich Hits Rock Bottom, which is quite a nice sample of the city's underground music.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Abbie Gale - Terry Torry A List
Abbie Gale's third studio album, No Inspiration, an impressive addition to their catalogue, showcases a sweeping collection of 11 songs that are at once riveting, dreamy and sonically lush, swelling and tranquil. Gripping melodies are embellished with whirling arrangements, spirited outbursts and Evira's wide-ranging, emotive, splendidly affecting vocals. Terry Torry A List feels simultaneously familiar and challenging. It's a compelling, intricate song in which to lose yourself. It gets under the skin and unfurls its majesty from the first play.

ICELAND: Icelandic Music Maffia
Nóra - Opin Fyrir Morði
Nóra started in a dark garage on the west side of Reykjavík. In 2006, brother and sister Egill and Auður, along with their friend Hrafn, started as a trio. In 2008, the band became a quintet when Bragi and Frank joined. They play honey-glazed indie-pop influenced by Radiohead, Bob Dylan, TV On The Radio, The Mars Volta, The Pixies, Roy Orbison and Neil Young. Opin Fyrir Morði is taken from their debut album, Er Einhver Að Hlusta? ("Is Anyone Listening?"), which was released in early summer.

INDIA: Indiecision
Tempo Tantrick - Psychoblabber
Tempo Tantrick is a trip hop duo from Bangalore. Their sound palette ranges from downtempo to pulsing EDM that finds a likely home in clubs open to both electronica and experimental. Psychoblabber falls squarely in the latter end of the Tempo Tantrick soundscape. The track features an irresistible, throbbing refrain reminiscent of Shiny Toy Guns.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
Kelelawar Malam - Suara Kegelapan
Kelelawar Malam means "Night Bat"; Suara Kegelapan means "Voice of Darkness". The band name and song title already set a hint of horror, and their lyrics were written as though they were intended for horror B-movie scripts, with old Indonesian villages as the setting. The music is heavily influenced by The Misfits.

IRELAND: Nialler9
James Vincent McMorrow - If I Had A Boat
Having captivated Ireland with his falsetto folk ballads, McMorrow has signed to Vagrant Records in the US. A self-titled EP is currently acquainting itself with international ears and here's your chance to do the same. If I Had A Boat is the first song from the EP and a perfect introduction to McMorrow's oaky timbre.

ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Winterhorde - The Tenth Wave
Winterhorde is a blacker than the blackest black metal band from the north of Israel. Unfortunately, Israel's north is pretty black right now itself with hundreds of acres of forest destroyed by the largest fire in the country's history with a death toll of over 40. In any case, Winterhorde's sonic path twists from symphonic melodies to sheer straight-up metal intensity, melding these two extremes with elegance and professionalism. Winterhorde will freeze your soul with its echoes of longing, darkness and unrelenting desperation. Good stuff created in a classic vein.

ITALY: Polaroid
(m+a) - (we)
Michele and Alessandro (hence the name of the band) are two young, talented boys from the town of Forlì. That's more or less all I know about this project. But then there are these amazing sounds: gloomy glitch electronica with a warm acoustic heart and a cool touch of fresh pop which goes from Radiohead to Plaid via Hot Chip, if you need some kind of weird recipe. This is a song from their incoming second album but you can download their first one for free at their website.

MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Troker - Planeta Terror
Guadalajara-based 'jazz vinyl' band Troker was formed in 2005 by six conservative musicians and has developed into a powerful, danceable and naughty funk-rock sound - a groovy horn section, violent drums, a sexy piano and spicy scratches that make the turntables work as a roll 'n' roll instrument through a jazz-based structure. Planeta Terror is one of the delightfully sour tracks from their second album El Rey Del Camino.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
The Benelux - Pet Needs Friends (Bear remix)
This Amsterdam indie quartet are fresh, frisky and dancefloor flammable. There are certainly retro guitar-pop elements at play here, such as their saucy bursts of swaggering guitar jangle. But any hints of classic garage rock are mixed with quirky synths and fun, big beat grooves. So much so that their Girl Singer EP is topped off with remixes by NON Records labelmates Palmbomen and Bear. The tracks lend themselves perfectly to dance-friendly interpretations - Soulwax come to mind in this sense - which is why we've chosen the Bear remix of Pet Needs Friends as a party-starting introduction.

NORWAY: Birds Sometimes Dance
Uno Møller - Your Quiet Little House
Singer-songwriter Uno Møller plays beautiful minimalistic pop with just the sound of his fragile voice coupled with the playful tones of an acoustic guitar. His debut album was released a few months ago on the British label Lazy Acre Records. He's also a part of Team Me, a promising band that has been praised both in and outside Norway. They've been booked to play at Øyafestivalen and by:Larm next year, but let's hope Uno has more time for his solo project too.

Kid Solano - Solano Swing
Think of a perfect party in a place where night is eternal and the collective dancing turns everyone into a jumping mass. Now imagine the perfect song to accompany those moments and the result would be something like Solano Swing. Make space in your record collection for the amazing lounge/breakbeat of Kid Solano.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Minta & The Brook Trout - Large Amounts
Minta is Francisca Cortesão - a talented singer, musician and composer who has been in other bands and works as a session and live musician. The Brook Trout are Mariana Ricardo, Manuel Dordio and José Vilão, friends of Minta who collaborated on her first album, Minta & The Brook Trout. Minta's sound will please fans of the likes of Beth Orton or Belle & Sebastian.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Makunouchi Bento - Anchorshaped Siren
Makunouchi Bento is an experimental project with influences from musique concrète to IDM. Their lunchbox has many more surprises than anyone could imagine. There are two main directions in their sound - the use of electronic gadgets (Spectrum, C64, Amiga, Atari) and sampling as the key for a haunting cinematic atmosphere. This could easily be the soundtrack of a David Lynch film or a rainy, gray Romanian December afternoon. Their album, Swimé, can be downloaded for free from Bandcamp.

Rachel Sermanni - Eggshells
Rachel Sermanni is a talent worth swooning over. The 19-year-old from the Highlands cites her idols as Joni Mitchell and Eva Cassidy, which makes perfect sense when you find yourself enchanted by her pure, fragile vocals and poetic lyrics. A star in the making for sure.

SINGAPORE: I'm Waking Up To...
The Lard Brothers - Wish You'll Never Leave Time (Ownself Remix)
The Lard Brothers have carved a niche for themselves remixing and reworking songs by other Singaporean bands, sometimes roping in outside collaborators in the process. Their approach ensures their work isn't so much a rehash of existing material as it is a means of bringing the music community together, and giving us a fresh take on Singaporean music. Their latest release, the Bonsai Warriors EP, stays on the same track but fittingly leaves room at the end for a remix of themselves, a glorious uplifting on their 2008 original.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Reburn - Outta My Mind
Reburn is a five-piece alternative rock band whose mix of catchy beats and a quirky feel has seen them rise to the forefront of the local scene. Outta My Mind encompasses the band's sound, which is distinctly British-influenced with its polished tone and a slight indie edge. Reburn's motto is that the band was brought to life for no reason other than to make "music for pleasure" and that they do. Stylishly so.

Image - Empty Universe
Female singer-songwriter Image has already been active for more than a decade, but it wasn't until fall this year that she presented her first digital EP, Metaphoricalizing. Determined to make music of veracity, Image combines both acoustic and electronic elements when giving life to the folk ethos she wishes to express. Empty Universe is the main track off Metaphoricalizing and will be recorded in an English version for her upcoming first CD album.

SPAIN: Musikorner
Odio París - Ya No Existes
We don't have any reason to hate Paris, but apparently this five-piece band from Barcelona does. Odio París, who have supported The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, are influenced by shoegaze legends The Jesus And Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine, but they also take inspiration from Spain's biggest indie band, Los Planetas. Ya No Existes, their first single, is living proof of that as it recreates the characteristic distortion of the Andalusians' early releases.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Le Days - Ring Baby Ring
Le Days aka Daniel Hedin has announced the upcoming release of a debut album titled Dead People On Tape. The predominant instrument may be an acoustic guitar but this is by no means folk music. It's a disturbing blend of over the top emo and confessional rock à la Jeff Buckely. The first single in all its tormented glory namedrops Judas, curses violently and lays its heart on its proverbial sleeve.

The Bianca Story - Coming Home
You thought Switzerland was neutral? It's not. We're totally asking you to take sides with our quest to bring better music to the world. Our weapon of mass seduction: The Bianca Story, a five-piece from Basel. Their sound is best described as "pop taken seriously" - you get the catchy tunes but with added layers of depth. Their latest single, Coming Home, is an appetizer to their second album due for release in 2011.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I'm Floating
Painted Palms - All Of Us
San Francisco's Painted Palms aren't the first experimental pop band to take cues from Animal Collective, but they're perhaps the most unique of the bunch. Combining a wild assortment of genres from Afro-pop to krautrock to electro-pop, the tracks on their debut Canopy EP (free download here) are equally addictive as they are artful, bringing a smile to even the most jaded of listeners.

VENEZUELA: Barquisimento
Viniloversus - Ruleta Rusa
Viniloversus started rocking Caracas in 2004, both live and on record. One of the many reasons for their unique sound is the presence of two bassists in the band. Impeccable performances and sharp, strong notes hit the audience like thunder in their shows. Ruleta Rusa is taken from their Latin Grammy-nominated latest album Si No Nos Mata.

To download all 35 songs in one file click here


Putting New Zealand on the MAP 2

Late in 2008  I was approached by Jason, a Scottish music blogger, asking Counting The Beat to become the New Zealand contributor to an exciting international initiative, the Music Alliance Pact. On a monthly basis music bloggers from around the globe select a track from their own country which is then posted collectively and simultaneously on those blogs - giving each nation's track international exposure. The MAP has grown over that time to have around 35 contributions from around the globe each month. Unfortunately a number of other commitments mean Counting The Beat will no longer be contributing the New Zealand tracks. However, New Zealand music will still feature with the excellent Einstein Music Journal picking up the role from December 2010. This podcast gathers the NZ MAP contributions for the last 12 months, Dec 2009 to Nov 2010. I would like to thank all of the acts that have agreed to their music being featured over the last two years. It's been a pleasure to bring your music to the world.

Please install the Flash Plugin

Download the Counting The Beat - MAP2 podcast

Don't miss the next episode of Counting The Beat: Counting The Beat Podcast RSS


Music Alliance Pact November 2010

This month marks twenty four months of Counting The Beat contributions to an exciting international initiative, the Music Alliance Pact. On a monthly basis music bloggers from around the globe select a track from their own country which is then posted collectively and simultaneously on those blogs - giving each nation's track international exposure. This month there are 34 contributions from around the globe. Unfortunately a number of other commitments mean this will be the last contribution from Counting The Beat. However, New Zealand music will still feature with the excellent Einstein Music Journal picking up the role from next month. I would like to thank all of the acts that have agreed to their music being featured over the last two years. It's been a pleasure to bring your music to the world.

This month the New Zealand contribution is No Pulse, a fantastic electro new-wave track from the new Disasteradio album Charisma. You can see great video clip for the song on the Counting The Beat video page.

 NEW ZEALANDCounting The Beat
Disasteradio is Luke Rowell's one-man synthpop outfit. No Pulse comes from his second album Charisma. With this album, Disasteradio has shifted the balance a little more on to songs rather than sounds compared to past releases. The end result is an album with vocodered vocals and a crunchy new wave feel - part Devo, part Gary Numan and part computer game. Charisma is available on Bandcamp and you can watch the video for No Pulse on YouTube.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Alvy, Nacho & Rubin - El Galán De La Paternal (The Magnetic Fields cover)
Alvy, Nacho y Rubin Interpretan a Los Campos Magnéticos is the result of a singular process of research, translation and reimagining of Stephin Merritt's songs. The project was crafted by three talented musicians from Buenos Aires and Mr Merritt himself revised and approved the adaptation of his songs. El Galán De La Paternal (The Luckiest Guy On The Lower East Side) is the first single and you can download it here as a MAP exclusive. The whole album is available on iTunes.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Ghoul - 3Mark
I'm excited that over the next six months we'll be getting both a mini-album (in January) and a full-length release from Sydney experimental/glitch/pop crew Ghoul. It's been a long wait, but Ghoul have grown a lot since self-releasing their debut mini-LP A Mouthful Of Gold in 2008. Both the production and the songwriting have taken epic leaps toward a more nuanced, crisp sound that relies less on jazz streaks and tangential arrangements to maintain attention and more on melody and detail. 3Mark is a sign of great things to come.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Labirinto - Anatema
Epic, dark post-rock is at the core of Sao Paulo-based band Labirinto, whose first full-length album is already one of the best Brazilian releases of 2010 and is also remarkable due to its gorgeous artwork. Anatema is the main song on the album, which is available from their Bandcamp.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Radio Radio - Dekshoo
On the surface, Radio Radio may seem like a joke: a couple of hipsters from New Brunswick rapping in extremely slangy French about stuff like Kenny G, luggage and, on this song, penny loafers. Dig just a little deeper, though, and you'll find the band members are actually expert satirists, skewering just about every target they can find (except for Kenny G; their love for him seems serious). With brilliant lyrics and fun music, it's no wonder the band was included in this year's Polaris Music Prize shortlist.

CHILE: Super 45
La Reina Morsa - Fiesta Pequeña
Originally from southern Chile, La Reina Morsa's members took up permanent residency in Santiago with their own music projects. But their common tastes brought them together to release their debut album Dónde Están Las Jugueterías? ("Where Are The Toy Stores?"), the brand new sensation for the current season. Fiesta Pequeña ("Tiny Party") is the first single, a great presentation card for this band which creates a pop sound that features acoustic guitar, bizarre animal visions and a sweet, child-like naivety. We strongly recommend you download the full album for free, directly from the Sello Cazador website.

CHINA: Wooozy
JJay - Nostalgic Melody
JJay's ear-melting vocals coasting smoothly over dreamy soundscapes peppered with catchy, thudding beats and soaring synths have earned him a serious fanbase. JJay first moved from Beijing to Shanghai to study while also forming several post-punk bands. After earning a master's degree in science in the US, he returned to Shanghai and met B6 with whom he shared a passion for Depeche Mode, Kraftwerk and Royksopp. Once the voice of IGO with B6, possibly the first synthpop band in China, JJay is now pursuing solo work after the band split in 2009.

COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
El Tigre - Quien Como Yo
Sebastian aka El Tigre is a rapper from Medellin. His new crew, Los Extraditables, are actually giving the world a new theory: Drugs aren't the only thing that can be exported from Colombia - good music can be too. Quien Como Yo is a classic dancehall track with a nightclub vibe.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
The Kites - Summer Missus
Exactly one year ago I featured quartet The Kites and their very infectious pop-rock in the Music Alliance Pact. A month later they released the great four-track EP, The Kites Are On, and recently they followed up with this bittersweet gem, co-produced by neo-disco prodigy Vinnie Who aka Niels Bagge. Both the EP and Summer Missus are available for free at their website - so go download it.

ENGLAND: The Guardian Music Blog
Trophy Wife - Microlite (acoustic)
Exclusive acoustic version of the Oxford indie-dance trio's debut single, out on Moshi Moshi Records now. "Four minutes of limpid loveliness that suggests – with its gently insistent electronic pulse, swathes of shimmering synths and aching perkiness – Vampire Weekend playing New Order", says the Guardian's new band of the day writer Paul Lester. "It's our old friend, sad disco, something to dance to even as you ponder the vapidity and meaninglessness of frivolous self-expression."

70vierailijaa - Tärkeintä On (Puutarhanhoito)
With a gentle touch of female voices blending together and an elegant progressive instrumentation, 70vierailijaa create charming dreamy pop to melt the cold winter nights. Their recently released self-titled debut album is full of traditional Finnish themes and melodies, but with the refreshing twist of soft indie music, in an addictive mix of old and new and of local and global sounds.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
A Forest - A Stereotype
A Forest definitely run the unfair risk of being overlooked. Their musical mixture of souly electronica does not want to paint the town red. Instead, they create cautious, almost fragile songs on their debut album, Leaves Leaves Fall Fall Rain Fall, that get under your skin. The featured single, A Stereotype, is a perfect example for this sound which is founded on jazzy rhythms and soulful voices, especially from Fabian Schuetze. A Forest will release a new, as-yet untitled EP in March.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Film (featuring Hildur Kristín) - Harmur Fuglsins
Harmur Fuglsins, an atmospheric song with cinematic aesthetics that effortlessly creates images of tender, hearth-side warmth, is the bewitching outcome of a collaboration infused by the strikingly contrasting geographical and artistic backgrounds of Film and Rökkurró's Hildur Kristín Stefánsdóttir. Curling around an eloquently subtle arrangement armed with guitars, delicate noises, pounding drums, sombre sonic textures, melodic synth lines and electronic facets and combined with the marvelous, ethereal vocal touches of Hildur brings out its tremendous beauty with every listen.

ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Sykur - Rocketship
First we had Sykurmolarnir, known worldwide as The Sugarcubes. Now an Icelandic electronic trio of youngsters from Reykjavik goes under the alias Sykur ("Sugar"). Their shows are fun-filled, sexy and energetic and they collaborate with local rappers and pop and rock singers. Rocketship, which has guest vocals from Útidúr singer Rakel Mjöll, is taken from Sykur's debut album Frábært Eða Frábært, which was released a year ago on the Icelandic Record Records label.

INDIA: Indiecision
Sulk Station - Contentment
Bangalore downtempo act Sulk Station define themselves as "mellowdramatic pop", a term that captures the essence of their ambient soundscapes particularly well. The young duo's minimal yet stark productions are powered by vocalist Tanvi Rao's lazy delivery. Contentment grows from a Zero 7-esque drone to a swirling dance track which wouldn't be out of place at an EDM club downtown.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
Bangkutaman - Ode Buat Kota
Ode Buat Kota, which means "an ode to the city", is taken from Bangkutaman's latest concept album about hard life in Jakarta - the pollution, traffic, crime, house loans, etc. Their music is influenced by The Stone Roses, The Byrds and The Mamas & The Papas. They are one of the most well-respected bands in Indonesia.

IRELAND: Nialler9
Kasette - You Were More
Kasette consist of a trio of school friends who formed a music partnership while on a J-1 visa in Vancouver. They have just released their debut EP entitled A Mixed Tape which showcases the girls' brand of chamber folk-pop. Simple and soft, Kasette's music is in its infancy but it's already lilting and lovely.

ISRAEL: Metal Israel
Desert (featuring Joakim Broden) - Lament For Soldier's Glory: Order 227
Israel is comprised of many Russian-born people, some Jewish, some not. Lament For Soldier's Glory: Order 227 by Desert taps into Russian history, describing Stalin's cruel command that any soldier captured by the enemy was considered a traitor. Its haunting melodies and driving rhythms sonically depict pain and determination. And as all of Desert served (or are still serving) in the Israeli army, they know what it means to fight for survival. Vocalist Joakim Broden of Sweden's Sabaton (Nuclear Blast Records) lends his talents to the tale of war and blood.

ITALY: Polaroid
Sybiann - Monsoon Breath
You don't really want to know where this is going to end up. Kraut, post-rock, noise, Liars, Deerhunter... it's a scary, puzzling orgy of sounds. The amazing debut album of this young band from the town of Ravenna will fire up the imagination of anyone who has the guts to listen to it.

MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Movus - Al Filo Del Origen
Movus is a five-piece band from Guadalajara. Theirs is a very cinematic post-rock sound, filled with peaks and valleys of instrumental narratives. For their second album Maxa FireKeeper (produced by Jimmy LaValle from San Diego's The Album Leaf), they were inspired by the Huichol Indians' myths: Maxa is a deer that guards the mystical fire of the universe. Al Filo Del Origen (translated as "at the rim of the origin") is as epic as Explosions In The Sky and as evocative as a new soundtrack to the Dr Who sci-fi series.

NETHERLANDS: Unfold Amsterdam
Daily Bread - About Birds And Bees
This raw trio from the north of the Netherlands label themselves as "sexy garage dance". They're certainly sexy, glamming it up at times, banging out taut, fast, noisy grooves reminiscent of Franz Ferdinand or !!! - albeit with a female vocal on top. Particularly live, they're all about big beats, sweat and dancing. However, About Birds And Bees tunes into a summery Sixties garage-pop vibe instead. And they've delightfully avoided any tweeness precedent by writing a deliciously poppy, organ-driven ode to the one-night stand.

NORWAY: Eardrums
Young Dreams - Young Dreams
Young Dreams is a Bergen-based collective who make beautiful pop with equal doses of tropical flavours and Phil Spector/Brian Wilson influences. The project started in 2009 and now has as many as 10 members, including profiled musicians such as Matias Tellez and Chris Holm. Young Dreams will release two 7" singles in early 2011 and their debut album is in the making. They will also perform at the upcoming by:Larm festival.

The Satellite - El Sol
The Satellite began their activities as a band in 2006 with a slight tendency towards post-rock, fusion and experimentation, using any sound that was available. In 2008, with a consolidated style, they released their second EP, 124, which contains El Sol. The band is currently composing more musical pieces and looking forward to making a debut album which they hope will come out very soon.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
Emmy Curl - Seafire And Its Waltz
Emmy Curl lives in a northeast Portuguese town and has studied classic guitar in a music conservatory. However, her songwriting and singing is closer to a mix of ethereal and alternative folk than to anything classical. Imagine a blend of Lisa Germano and Suzanne Vega. She is one of a number of promising unsigned Portuguese artists and is due to have her first European tour.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Thy Veils - The KnifeChild
Daniel Dorobantu comes from Timisoara and is the mastermind behind this beautiful experimental/ambient project. A bit dark and somehow persistent, Thy Veils' music is that soundtrack you always wanted for your weird dreams. And if you have trouble dreaming, visit the official site, where a slideshow of the band's videos (The KnifeChild included) will help with the visuals.

Bwani Junction - Two Bridges
You should know fairly instantly whether Edinburgh's Bwani Junction are the band you've been waiting for when I tell you that they sound like a cross between The Libertines and Vampire Weekend. They are unsigned but, given the buzz that surrounds them, probably won't be for much longer. Two Bridges is already a singalong anthem among their rapidly increasing fanbase.

SINGAPORE: I'm Waking Up To...
Nicholas Chim - Midnight
Nicholas Chim is a singer-songwriter who walks the thin line between being absolutely self-indulgent and giving every iota of emotion that he conveys through his music. What results is some of the most earnest songs that shine in their simplicity; yet, the complexity of his arrangements and lyrics come forth distilled and pure. Nicholas is in the middle of recording his second album, Forgiefan, but has kindly shared a contemplative, folksy offering from it entitled Midnight. He hopes you enjoy the music as much as he did writing it.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Merseystate - Jersey Girl
With a rock sound that has been compared to other stellar acts but is still uniquely their own comes Merseystate. They are the culmination of alternative rock at its best. Jersey Girl officially launched them on to the music scene last year. It's a deftly-crafted song that tugs at you then whirls into melodic pop euphoria.

Autumn Vacation - Dreamy Even In Deception
Autumn Vacation showcases the songwriting skills of Bobby Chung - the mastermind behind former MAP artist Julia Hart - and the warm, addictive voice of Gyepy, who could previously be heard as the female vocalist of Broccoli, You Too? The duo recently put out a self-titled album full of what they hope to be perceived as thought-provoking easy listening, providing the same sense of peacefulness as strolling in a park. As lovely as anything else from the band, Dreamy Even In Deception is a light and sweet pop tune that is bound to make you crave more.

SPAIN: Musikorner
6pm - Letters Play
Formed in mystical Santiago de Compostela in 2003, 6pm are an electronic/indie duo that has found inspiration in ambient/shoegaze bands such as Sigur Rós, Múm, Styrofoam or even The Postal Service. Letters Play, taken from their rather uknown last EP called Tape Worms, is certainly a breath of air in the Spanish ocean of indie music, where we rarely find inspiring ambient electronic tracks. 6pm are working on their sophomore album, set to be released sometime next year.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Johan Hillblom - Sneak Preview
Sneak Preview by Johan Hillblom may be underproduced but that doesn't mean it's amateurish. The trumpet solos are great, the odd beats cool, and Johan's crooning vocals clear and crisp. The lyrics are personal and clever without being pretentious. Examples include "you should see the gallery in my cellphone, you look like an angel from every angle" and "once when I was drunk I accidentally poked you on Facebook, and what's worse you didn't poke back". If you are looking for the next Jens Lekman or Montt Mardié (or the next cast member of Glee for that matter), look no further.

The Circle Brothers - Hands At The Steel
You say Nick Cave, I say Alban Ringli. Never heard of him? Alban Ringli is the singer of Swiss indie-folk outfit The Circle Brothers and he gives his two bandmates (who also happen to be his brothers) a special touch in a Nick Cave manner. They have just released their new record Love & Disorder. It sounds gloomy and anxious but still has a gleam of hope.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I'm Floating
TV Girl - On Land
San Diegan dudes TV Girl know how to make one hell of a pop song. On Land is quickly becoming one of our favorites of the year, matching the earnestness of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's debut with the hooks of MGMT's most memorable songs. Their debut EP is a free download on Bandcamp. Keep your eyes peeled for TV Girl in 2011, they're gonna dominate it.

VENEZUELA: Barquisimento
Mochuelo - La Reina Del Lugar
Venezuelan rock band Mochuelo are known for their electronic sounds and all of the members pour their influences into one unique concept. Their guitar distorsions, contagious rhythms and sweet female vocals saw this band walk away with first prize in the 2005 New Bands Festival. La Reina Del Lugar is from their second album, Un Tanto Mas.

To download all 34 songs in one file click here