Best Albums of 2015
selected by Alejandro Fernándes

Andrés Puche <BR>“Sur”

Andrés Puche

Also known as the leader of Valencia’s greatest Garage Rock trio, HolySexyBastards, Puche debuts as a solo artist with a record that could easily be an ode to being in love.

His first album, titled “Sur”, sounds like Latin America’s folk music mixed-up with Venezuelan rhythms and psychedelic rock.

Puche even invites an Argentinian rapper he met while working in a butchery in Toronto, who sings in a track that also features his grandma telling the story of how she met her husband, Puche’s grandfather.

♪♫ Listen: “Mi hogar” + album stream

Andrés Puche on Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, www.

Augusto Bracho y Moisés De Martín “Pajarera Vertical”

Augusto Bracho y Moisés De Martín “Pajarera Vertical”

Two of the greatest songwriters of Venezuela doing a joint album? Hell yeah. Augusto Bracho is one of the many faces of Gustavo Guerrero, the leader of Natalia Lafourcade’s band, who used to play in bands such as Cunaguaro Soul, Bacalao Men or Monsalve.

Moisés de Martín is just another of José Ignacio Benítez’s great projects. Benítez is also known for playing in bands such as El Regaño (an excellent Free Jazz Ensemble) and Domingo en Llamas (whose music you’ll find later on this list).

Together they create a well ensembled synergy with a rich use of Spanish mixing Velvet Underground-like music with Venezuelan folk.

♪♫ Listen: “Algodón o nylon (Parte I)” + album stream

Augusto Bracho y Moisés De Martín on Twitter, Bandcamp.

Charliepapa <BR>“Y/O”


A four-piece outfit from Mérida, up there in the Andes Mountains, Charliepapa are influenced by bands like Oasis.

In “Y/O”, their third album, you can tell maturity has come to their music, perfecting the sound of their previous records. A Grammy-nominated album made for singing.

♪♫ Listen: “Bengala” + album stream

Charliepapa on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Claudia Prieto <BR>“Portátil”

Claudia Prieto

Claudia Prieto is a very observant and sincere songstress from the very hot city of Maracaibo.

In her first and very homemade-crafted album, “Portátil”, she displays a character that contrasts with her sweet tone.

Just by analyzing some of her lyrics like “Deja a tu novia y vámonos a Mérida” (“Leave your girlfriend and let’s go to Mérida”) you can tell that she wrote this album in the intimacy of her bedroom and that adds-up some magic and tenderness to her compositions.

♪♫ Listen: “Amor Analgésico” + album stream

Claudia Prieto on Twitter, Facebook, Soundcloud.

Domingo En Llamas <BR>[four albums]

Domingo En Llamas
[four albums]

In a very Omar Rodríguez-López/Buckethead-esque move, Domingo En Llamas released four albums at the same day: “Nicanor”, “Adolfo Prieto 232”, “El Clan de Las Luces”, and “Canciones Sobre Un Éxtasis de Harta Contemplación”.

And it just happens to be that those four albums are probably the best ones in Venezuelan music last year. The lyrics are every Spanish-enthusiast dream, blending spoken-word with singing, and are sung/spout above some free jazz-blues-folk tunes.

“Recuerdos de la democracia” is, by far, the best song featured in this multi-release. The lyric counts every major thing that happened in Venezuela since the fall of the dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez in 1958 to the rise of Chavismo in 1999.

♪♫ Listen: “Recuerdos de la democracia” + album stream

Domingo En Llamas on Twitter, Facebook.

Hotel <BR>“Paisajismo Nocturno” EP

“Paisajismo Nocturno” EP

This is old-school folk with a smooth and tuneless voice, that recites with such feeling you can’t stop listening.

“Paisajismo Nocturno” is Diego García’s second EP. It was all played and composed by him, and recorded in a very lo-fi way so the lyrics become protagonists of this great album.

Venezuela’s own Bob Dylan.

♪♫ Listen: “Puerto La Cruz Blues” + album stream

Hotel on Twitter, Bandcamp.

I:O <BR>“I:O” EP

“I:O” EP

This EP doesn’t do any justice to what they sound like in concert, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad recording.

This instrumental outfit are great exponents of progressive rock, genre that they mix-up with some math-rock-y drums and some post-rock-esque ambients. You’ll be headbanging the second it starts playing.

♪♫ Listen: “Shipa” + album stream

I:O on Twitter, Facebook.

José y El Toro <BR>“Retrato”

José y El Toro

For economic reasons, some members of Venezuela’s band are migrating to solo projects as it is more profitable for them. José Y El Toro is one of those cases.

“Retrato” is a lovely folk album that sounds so homemade that it should come with your mama’s food.

A collection of beautiful songs played by a 20 year-old guy who doesn’t chickens-out if he has to play to big crowds.

♪♫ Listen: “4 segundos” + album stream

José y El Toro on Twitter, Facebook.

La Fiesta Animal <BR>“Las Calles” EP

La Fiesta Animal
“Las Calles” EP

When you think of a post-punk band in Venezuela, the name Sentimiento Muerto (one of our most legendary bands) comes to show. Besides them, there weren’t many (good) post-punk bands until La Fiesta Animal, a band with an average age of 19, showed up in 2015.

Their popularity grew up in the east coast because they didn’t have a bar to play, so they organized secret gigs in houses, empty pools and basically everywhere they could, along with other local bands.

“Las Calles” EP doesn’t sound like them live, but it’s a good start for an indie band in a country like ours.

♪♫ Listen: “66” + album stream

La Fiesta Animal on Twitter, Facebook.

La Provisional <BR>“Estación Espacial Caracas”

La Provisional
“Estación Espacial Caracas”

Jungle, Electronic Music, Ska, Guaracha, Merengue, Punk, Salsa… La Provisional compiled one of those albums that are so unique you can’t label them with just one genre tag.

With a futuristic theme that permeated to the awesome packaging of “Estación Espacial Caracas”, they made a great instrumental record with such attitude that you can’t help but smile while you’re listening to it.

♪♫ Listen: “Arsenio Vicious Cruz” + album stream

La Provisional on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Los Cremaparaíso <BR>“De Película”

Los Cremaparaíso
“De Película”

This is a side project of Los Amigos Invisibles’ ex-guitarist, José Luis “DJ Afro” Pardo,. So you can tell from the start it’s pretty good.

Based in New York, they delivered their second album adding vocals to their joropo-funk-progressive-new-wave music that aims to the nostalgia of every Venezuelan abroad who come to their shows. As well as the nostalgia of every 80’s music fan by including some great covers of “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode and “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears For Fears.

As its name indicates, the concept of “De Película” is heavily tied to Venezuelan cinema.

♪♫ Listen: “Un Disip en Nueva Yol” + album stream

Los Cremaparaíso on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Los J <BR>“No Nos [ J ] Más”

Los J
“No Nos [ J ] Más”

This is a feel-good album if you only follow their powerful riffs, but this quintet from Maracaibo actually is very heartbroken, either by a girl or by their parent’s divorce or by the difficult situation that Venezuela is going through.

On “No Nos [ J ] Más”, the band echoes other Latin bands like Molotov and El Cuarteto de Nos, delivering some honest-badass rock and roll in the process.

♪♫ Listen: “Habitación 44” + album stream

Los J on Twitter, Facebook.

María Lavanda <BR>“En Sintonía de Radio Lavanda”

María Lavanda
“En Sintonía de Radio Lavanda”

This album could be a perfect companion to Woody Allen’s underappreciated 1987 masterpiece, “Radio Days”, as it pays homage to the glory days of radio.

Another perfect portrait of the perfect mix of psychedelic rock and Salsa, with some production details and pop culture references that enrich the album.

♪♫ Listen: “Street Figther” + album stream

María Lavanda on Twitter, Facebook.

Niño Nuclear <BR>“Re&Sol Abierto”

Niño Nuclear
“Re&Sol Abierto”

This Barquisimetan band debuted their sophomore album after their win in the Festival Nuevas Bandas, the longest running music Festival in all of South America, with more than 25 years being held in Venezuela’s capital city, Caracas.

“Re&Sol Abierto” is an album that echoes other bands like Sonic Youth, Pixies and Argentina’s prodigal sons El Mató A Un Policía Motorizado, but with Niño Nuclear’s own personality.

A noise-punk rock album with enough sensibility to establish some pop anthems.

♪♫ Listen: “No Se” + album stream

Niño Nuclear on Twitter, Facebook.

Okills <BR>“América Supersónica”

“América Supersónica”

Currently in Mexico, Okills delivered their long-awaited first LP to great critical acclaim. Recent supporting band of Incubus, they explore the greatness and universality of pop music.

“América Supersónica” could be compared to Katy Perry’s “Firework”, as both albums are full of catchy singles you’ll hum for several days after the first listen.

♪♫ Listen: “Asesina” + album stream

Okills on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Panzer <BR>“Incisiva Realidad”

“Incisiva Realidad”

Channeling kraut rock from the hot temperatures of Maracaibo, Panzer debuted an album that took Venezuelan scene by surprise in a minor scale.

This art-rock piece certainly passed under the radar for most of Venezuelan rock lovers, but “Incisiva Realidad” sure did a mark in everyone that paid attention to it.

♪♫ Listen: “Hablas de Huir” + album stream

Panzer on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Presidente <BR>“Ilustre Ventanal de Estrategias”

“Ilustre Ventanal de Estrategias”

Presidente is Heberto Añez Novoa’s moniker and one of the greatest songwriters now working on this country. The problem is that Presidente’s and all of the bands and musicians from Maracaibo featured in this list, don’t get the attention they deserve in their hometown.

“Ilustre Ventanal de Estrategias” is Novoa’s fifth album to date, and also his most compelling yet, merging the elegance of Bossanova with his well crafted indie pop.

♪♫ Listen: “¡Oh Belghi!” + album stream

Presidente on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud.

Quincalla <BR>“Funicular Liminal” EP

“Funicular Liminal” EP

They came and left so fast that you start to doubt if they actually happened or not. However, Quincalla, Venezuela’s best response to the worldwide phenomenon that is Tame Impala, released an album that explores the finest of psychedelic music in its 6 tracks.

It’s a shame that they’re on indefinite hiatus due to Venezuela’s delicate political and economic situation that caused the migration of some of their members. But luckily, we have “Funicular Liminal”.

♪♫ Listen: “Pez Pecera” + album stream

Quincalla on Twitter, Facebook.

Recordatorio <BR>“Lógica Resbalosa”

“Lógica Resbalosa”

Americania’s former leader kept going as a solo artist after his band’s break up. At some points, this record may sound as a follow-up to his previous work in Americania’s “La Fiesta del Rey Drama”, but is anything but that.

“Lógica Resbalosa” is an album that reminisces Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens and Luis Alberto Spinetta in equal parts.

♪♫ Listen: “La Importancia de Dormir” + album stream

Recordatorio on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Rodrigo Solo <BR>“No Estás Solo”

Rodrigo Solo
“No Estás Solo”

VINILOVERSUS’ Rodrigo Gonsalves debuted his solo project showing a different side of his musicianship. It’s an album that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard before, but it also sounds familiar at the same time.

“No Estás Solo” is a pop record, but it’s also bluesy, all encompassed in the concept of making a rock album with no distortion.

♪♫ Listen: “Tal Vez No Se Hunda El Barco” + album stream

Rodrigo Solo on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Romanza <BR>“Esteros”


With an average age of 16 years old, this four-piece band is heavily inspired by kraut rock, post-rock and experimental music, influences they span in the 4 tracks of their first EP, “Esteros”.

Romanza is, without a doubt, one of the bands I’m keeping in my list for the future.

♪♫ Listen: “Ceguera” + album stream

Romanza on Twitter, Facebook.

Tan Frío El Verano <BR>“Otoño”

Tan Frío El Verano

This musical collective from Barquisimeto decided to migrate to Argentina where they gave birth to their fabulous second LP, “Otoño”.

As opposite to their post-rock-y “Primavera” (2012), it’s an album with a sordid theme and a splendid sound, that drinks from the waters of glitch music, industrial rock and IDM.

♪♫ Listen: “Cazador de Aves” + album stream

Tan Frío El Verano on Twitter, Facebook, www.

TLX <BR>“46 d.p.i.”

“46 d.p.i.”

This band from Maracaibo is basically a supergroup. Presidente’s Heberto Áñez Novoa and Panzer’s Ciro Moreno are some of the members of this group that’s heavily influenced by post-punk and new wave.

With a great talent for writing catchy pop anthems, on “46 d.p.i.” they delivered their most complete and best-engineered effort to date.

♪♫ Listen: “Algo Destruyo la Casa” + album stream

TLX on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Ulises Hadjis <BR>“Pavimento”

Ulises Hadjis

Noticing that Maracaibo was a small tank for such a big fish, Hadjis (a Grammy winner and nominee) decided to go to Mexico and Colombia to try luck in their music scenes.

From abroad, Hadjis released his third effort, in which he sounds more Latin Pop than ever, discovering his own voice and collaborating with some of the region’s finest musicians and songwriters, like Daniel Riveros, a.k.a. Gepe, a.k.a. Chile’s biggest pop star right now.

♪♫ Listen: “Movimiento” (ft. Gepe) + album stream

Ulises Hadjis on Twitter, Facebook, www.

Unco <BR>“Sesiones Del Cable Negro”

“Sesiones Del Cable Negro”

Recorded completely live in Tiburón Club, “the Temple of Venezuelan Rock”, this is an album that goes deep in the roots of dirty-good-ol’ blues rock, capturing the essence of Unco’s music in the process.

Their third album, “Sesiones Del Cable Negro” is an anthology of great songs with the honesty that has always characterized them.

♪♫ Listen: “Rapaz” + album stream

Unco on Twitter, Facebook.

Versed <BR>“Visiones”


This indie rock outfit from Caracas has really captured the sound of caraquenian modern music, in a short but straight-to-point album.

Only eight tracks are featured on “Visiones”, but it still puts the group in a position of being the future of local music.

In a country where the bands are dismembered by social-political reasons, Versed kept working and playing almost everywhere they can and that’s something to celebrate.

♪♫ Listen: “Eres” + album stream

Versed on Twitter, Facebook, www.