Best Albums of 2014
selected by Alfredo Richner

Dada Berlin <BR>“Lickety Split” EP

Dada Berlin
“Lickety Split” EP

Debut by punk rockers Dada Berlin features snarling feminist anthems delivered with wild gusto by singer Pequeña Vera, whose commanding stage presence and operatic voice made quite the impression on the local Puerto Rican scene.

♪♫ Listen: “Siete/trece

Dada Berlin on Bandcamp, Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, Tumblr.

International Dub Ambassadors <BR>“Dub Ambassador”

International Dub Ambassadors
“Dub Ambassador”

Old school dub reggae done right by some of the most talented musicians from the local scene. After years playing live sets filled with inventive covers, the band delivered their first collection of original tunes which landed them a spot opening for Calle 13 during that band’s massive Multi_Viral tour date in San Juan.

♪♫ Listen: “World Cure

International Dub Ambassadors on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

A Flying Dodo Society <BR>“First Sighting”

A Flying Dodo Society
“First Sighting”

Twee-pop duo delivers merry melodies and plenty of charm on their debut EP, “First Sighting”. Playful, imaginative, and sweet as can be, A Flying Dodo Society – who recently relocated to Brooklyn – will be sorely missed.

♪♫ Listen: “We Ate The Sun

A Flying Dodo Society on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook.

La Futura Prole <BR>EP

La Futura Prole

This young band fuses blues, jazz, prog-rock, surf, punk and yes, even some polka, into a well-rounded, meaty mix, without sacrificing any pop savvy. Looking forward to hearing where they take this sound next.

♪♫ Listen: “El Himno

La Futura Prole on Soundcloud, Facebook.

El S. <BR>“El S.eis”

El S.
“El S.eis”

Samuel Vidal Quintero, talented composer and keyboardist for new salsa sensations Orquesta El Macabeo, delivers his sixth solo rap album – and also his best. Filled with both goofy bangers and introspective confessionals, “El S.eis” finds El S. taking his game to the next level.

♪♫ Listen: “No Me Mires” (feat. EBRS)

El S. on Bandcamp, Soundcloud.

Fantasmes <BR>“Thralls to Strange Witchcraft”

“Thralls to Strange Witchcraft”

This four-song EP by Fantasmes continues their exploration of atmosphere via psychedelic sounds, sometimes reaching out to the Velvets as road map, and taking their time to build songs out of grooves that slowly push them towards new musical horizons.

♪♫ Listen: “The Shadow Self

Fantasmes on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Spotify, Twitter.

Los Vigilantes <BR>“Al Fin”

Los Vigilantes
“Al Fin”

After an extensive European tour, Los Vigilantes came back to Puerto Rico with a new record under their belts, the appropriately titled “Al Fin” (as in “at last” or “finally”). It perfectly captures the group’s melodic surf-punk, as melancholy as contagious.

♪♫ Listen: “Ahí No Estoy

Los Vigilantes on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Sr. Langosta <BR>“Sr. Langosta”

Sr. Langosta
“Sr. Langosta”

Puerto Rico’s indie scene tends to favor guitar rock genres such as punk, metal, and garage over others, so when new group Sr. Langosta pushed audiences towards Acid Jazz and Funk, it gave music fans plenty of reason to celebrate. The EP mixes up reworking of rock standards like Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun” with original compositions.

♪♫ Listen: “Doido

Sr. Langosta on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Los Wálters <BR>“Verano Panorámico”

Los Wálters
“Verano Panorámico”

Los Wálters have shown themselves to be in total control of both their sound and image since coming together in 2011, and with a singular mission: to make us dance.

“Verano Panorámico” reveals slightly greater ambitions: this concept record about a trip through Puerto Rico’s parks, beaches, and streets wants us to think and feel as we dance the night away.

♪♫ Listen: “El Parque

Los Wálters on www, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

Piegrande <BR>“Gallos Laser”

“Gallos Laser”

Weirdo rock trio Piegrande’s second record in little over a year stills finds guitarist Kristian Prieto, Eden Cruz, and Christian Robledo in a playful mood.

Here they broaden their proggy sound with great results, thanks in part to the addition of Gabriel Beauchamp’s (from Orquesta El Macabeo) trumpet playing in tracks like “Pro Zack Morris”.

♪♫ Listen: “Pro Zack Morris

Piegrande on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.

Buscabulla <BR>EP


One of 2014’s musical revelations, Buscabulla debut EP was completed with the help of producer Dev Hynes (Blood Orange, Solange) and released digitally via french label Kitsuné.

Their potent mix of big time sensuality and silky smooth sophistication comes through in these four tasty songs, filled with tropical latin dance rock flavor.

♪♫ Listen: “Temporal

Buscabulla on www, Soundcloud, Spotify, Facebook, Twitter.

Various Artists <BR>“Indie Martin”

Various Artists
“Indie Martin”

Puerto Rico’s biggest musical export (besides salsa and reggaeton), Ricky Martin, gets a covers album done right.

Sixteen of our favorite artists from the local indie scene (including a few guests) come together in order to celebrate and dissect the pop superstar’s career.

♪♫ Listen: “Bella” (by Stonetape)

More on www, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.

AJ Dávila <BR>“Terror Amor” / “Beibi”

AJ Dávila
“Terror Amor” / “Beibi”

Free from Dávila 666’s garage rock trappings, Puerto Rico’s most lovable punk aims squarely at our hearts with “Terror Amor”, a massive pop record brimming with energy and special guest spots from Latin America’s brightest emerging stars such as Mexico’s Juan Cirerol, Chile’s Alex Anwandter, and Costa Rica’s Mercedes Oller (Las Robertas).

Delivered a few months later, “Beibi” is the flip side of the coin, a noisier, dirtier affair that reacher for more psychedelic and experimental textures without skimping on hooks.

♪♫ Listen: “Borderline

AJ Dávila on www, Facebook, Twitter.

Campo-Formio <BR>“Here comes… Campo-Formio!”

“Here comes… Campo-Formio!”

Still undiscovered by most of the Latin American blogosphere, “Here Comes… Campo-Formio!” finds our favorite power-trio delivering the greatest record of the year by making good on all the promises made throughout the band’s previous four EPs.

Fernando Quintero’s jagged guitar lines cut through Ricardo Pérez (bass) and Diego Bernal’s (drums) rhythmic rush, sneering and snarling at street level one minute, then soaring high above us the next 0 reminding us there is beauty to be had even when singing about life’s more reprehensible characters.

♪♫ Listen: “Baron Baron

Campo-Formio on www, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter.