Best Albums of 2016
selected by Manuel Toledo-Campos from HumoNegro

Patio Solar <BR>“Los Movimientos” EP

Patio Solar
“Los Movimientos” EP

Patio Solar became well known after “Temporada” (Season), an album released in January 2015 that two years later we can consider a “classic” of the “guitar pop”. Since then, the band has been drawing more and more attention.

The risk of repetition was real, and here’s the true value of “Los Movimientos” (The Movements). This EP is a bridge between Patio Solar’s debut and what’s going to be next. With more synthezisers and a polished sound, in this EP the five-piece take the listener into a ride in the subway with maximum speed, and then let you feel the heat on the concrete floor in the middle of the summer.

Patio Solar expands into new territories through dynamics, avoiding any kind of apathy and reaching far away places they’ve been before.

♪♫ Listen: “Viajar en metro” + album stream

Patio Solar on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Moral Distraída <BR>“Hacerlo de Día” EP

Moral Distraída
“Hacerlo de Día” EP

When people listen to tropical music, they usually asume that the only goal of this genre is to make you dance. Only that. Even, there’s people that wouldn’t listen any of this artists without a party context.

That’s what makes La Moral Distraída (Distracted Moral) so special. Yeah, you can dance, but also you can just listen and discover layers beyond layers of interesting melodies, harmonies and counterpoints that makes for really great music. Moral Distraída not only could make you dance, but to singalong and listen quietly.

There are fun songs, like “Hacerlo de Día” (Let’s Make It In The Daylight) or “Recreo” (Breaktime) that rely on joyful lyrics and dynamic rhythms. But the best are the long ones, “Sencillo” (Simple) and “Qué Pasará” (What would happen), with intricate structure, defying lightness and great verses that mixes love and revolution, with passion and ambition.

♪♫ Listen: “Sencillo” + album stream

Moral Distraída on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Inverse <BR>“Inverse” EP

“Inverse” EP

One of the few surprises of 2016 in Chile was this five-piece that, with a straight to the bone industrial metal, created this impressive self-titled debut.

Every detail is well put, and the massive songs here weren’t made with any prejudice. Complex figures, lyrics in English, brutal riffs, all with intention and ambition.

The mix and production of Francisco Arenas Sanhueza – who’s worked with All Tomorrows and Obscene – allows the band to smash hard between unforgiven strokes and well-recorded vocals to give one of the best debuts of the year, putting Inverse as a front-runner in the new bands of the Chilean metal.

♪♫ Listen: “Never Explain Anything” + album stream

Inverse on Bandcamp, Facebook.

Fármacos <BR>“Estado de Gracia”

“Estado de Gracia”

Few Chilean pop bands can handle the mix between elegance and power like Fármacos. The project led by Diego Ridolfi already showed that in their debut LP, “Los Días Más Largos” (The Longest Days).

With lyrics focused in the lust and between the organic sounds (“Visitarte”, or “Visit You”) and the electronic ones (“Palacio Mental”, or “Mind Palace”) the Fármacos’ universe is expanding. Step by step, piece by piece, without rush, just like the Ridolfi’s mindset, with lots of attention paid to details – this is an album of 8 tracks, and 8 potential singles.

“Estado de Gracia” (Graciousness Condition) is the consolidation of a particular sound and the transition to bigger things that, probably, will come surely and slowly.

♪♫ Listen: “Siempre Tú” + album stream

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

Diego Lorenzini <BR>“Pino”

Diego Lorenzini

The second solo album from Diego Lorenzini confirms he’s one of the leading singer-songwriters in Chile, with songs that distill everyday life and move surely among simple things.

Though it would be interesting to listen to a more polished and produced music from Diego, it’s impossible not to connect with the familiar vibe of tracks like “Tutorial” or “La Amenaza” (The Threat), or desire to singalong “Porno, qué rico así de Porno” (Porno, it’s so delicious Porno) in “Sexo Amateur”.

“Pino” sounds comfortable as if you were with Diega in the same room or by a fire, and his guitar, like drawings, portraits and distorts in order to express his message with real power.

♪♫ Listen: “Tutorial” + album stream

Diego Lorenzini on Facebook, Instagram, www.

Pedropiedra <BR>“Ocho”


The most accomplished record from Pedropiedra has been skillfully co-produced by the artist himself and his guitarist, Felipe Castro. Together, they’ve managed to find the funkiest side of Pedro yet. And that only adds to the joyful way of pop this artist tends to present – we get eight songs, each with a momentum and catchy chorus.

Pedro has always been working with talented people, but now it’s clear how generous he is with the ones who share stage with him, with a collective spirit in this record, beyond the loneliness of his first works.

That band sense is clearly heard in the songs, and as Pedro doesn’t have to carry everything on his shoulders, it allows him to shine in his performances more than ever.

♪♫ Listen: “Lluvia sobre el mar” + album stream

Pedropiedra on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Los Valentina <BR>“Señoras”

Los Valentina

While Chile is ageing, the value of older people is still not underappreciated. But the concept of “señora” (old lady) allows new generations to reconnect with that lost kind of love and togetherness.

That home-sweet-home sensation is all around the debut EP from Los Valentina. Valentina Martinez’s compositions are nostalgic, yet strong, and they express pain in every verse. “Señora civilizada” (Civilized old lady) pictures a kind of character and puts it in a social context.

Chile is ageing, and the love is hidden behind wallets and credit cards, without room for the candid ones, something that Leo Saavedra’s production makes prominent in one of the best Chilean works in 2016.

♪♫ Listen: “Señora Civilizada” + album stream

Los Valentina on Soundcloud, Facebook.

Asamblea Internacional del Fuego <R

Asamblea Internacional del Fuego

Almost 11 years after “Lo Que Hablaron Las Ánimas en el Camino” (What Ghosts Talked in the Road) released in 2005, it was hard to imagine what would it feel to hear a new Asamblea Internacional del Fuego material.

Not only because of the possible changes, but for this changing world. And a band with as poetic and sensible lyrics as Asamblea clearly would have very much to say. This album is explosive, just like all of Asamblea’s discography, and at the same healing, soothing, as the singer Emilio Fabar intended.

The frontman’s delivery made “Dialéctica Negativa” an excruciating experience, a beautiful shelter in the middle of the catarsis twister, and a brutal but necessary piece of art in a raw and negative reality of 2016.

♪♫ Listen: “Río Mataquito” + album stream

Asamblea Internacional del Fuego on Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

El Cómodo Silencio de los Que Hablan Poco “Run Run”

El Cómodo Silencio de los Que Hablan Poco “Run Run”

They were notorious in 2015 with the song “Tiempos Bajo el Sol” (“Times under the Sun”), which became an anthem in each little festival the band played.

But El Cómodo Silencio de los Que Hablan Poco – which means The Comfortable Silence of the Silent Ones – deserved to have an album able to show the variety and strength in their sound that’s so evident on their live shows. With “Run Run”, the task is more than fulfilled, from the cathartic epicness of “Jardines” (Gardens) to the wink to the Latin indie rock in “El Viento en la Cortina” (The Wind on the curtain).

Their energy is well directed, overwhelming but getting chaotic. That’s the El Cómodo stamp, and another discovery of the Piloto label, who keep offering us warmth and soul in their “handmade” records.

♪♫ Listen: “Tiempos Bajo El Sol” + album stream

El Cómodo Silencio de los Que Hablan Poco on Soundcloud, Facebook.

Caravana <BR>“Caminata”


Rodrigo Santis is the melody in the middle of the bold rawness of the band Congelador, but with this project Caravana he has the opportunity to be the gentle storm of feelings.

Caravana first introduced themselves with the eponymous debut album in 2011, as one of the first “supergroups” in Chile with the likes of Gepe, Pedropiedra, Fernando Milagros and Felicia Morales. After break and with a new line-up, Santis came back last year with another Caravana record.

“Caminata” is even deeper than the first one, with great singles such as “Juegos Olímpicos” (Olympic Games) or “Amigos” (Friends). Autumnal colours and beautiful sunsets. A lustrous album that cannot be listened just once.

♪♫ Listen: “Juegos Olímpicos” + album stream

Caravana on Facebook.

Alex Anwandter <BR>“Amiga”

Alex Anwandter

When he was a member of Teleradio Donoso, Anwandter denied putting any politics in his music, and he was more focused in aesthetics. It’s great he has changed his mind.

This kind of discourse adds value and weight to his new album, “Amiga” (Friend). Alex moves from the traditional synthpop to bolero or an AM ballad, with a 24K production, perfect for the international landscape that Alex has been conquering.

It’s even more interesting that he’s been achieving that with his most political record, pointing out the “powerful ones” in tracks as poetic and as raw like “Cordillera” (Mountain range), “Mujer” (Woman) or the overwhelming “Manifiesto”.

♪♫ Listen: “Cordillera” + album stream

Alex Anwandter on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Miss Garrison <BR>“Al Sol De Noche”

Miss Garrison
“Al Sol De Noche”

The band formed by Fran Straube, Rodrigo de la Rivera and Tomás Pablo Rivera did really good songs in the past, but they were a bit too difficult for a broader audience, hiding elegant pop underneath complex song structures.

But in “Al Sol De Noche” (At the Night Sun), this doesn’t happen, and the result is an exciting. This calm album sails between a storm (or maybe we could say – due to its sound and the production – a high tide) and a silence.

Synths, catchy guitars and the intense voice of Straube together make a record that takes the band beyond anything they’ve done yet, writing a new chapter in their history, and with such singles to lend like “Navegante” (Navigator) or “Sueños” (Dreams).

♪♫ Listen: “Navegante” + album stream

Miss Garrison on Soundcloud, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Kuervos del Sur <BR>“El Vuelo del Pillán”

Kuervos del Sur
“El Vuelo del Pillán”

The mix between folklore and rock has delivered lots of good music last year, and who better understands the possibilities of cultural syncretism if not Kuervos del Sur?

In their second record “El Vuelo del Pillán”, the collective from Curicó made it clear that they came to pick up the legacy of juggernauts like Los Jaivas, respectfully and with great talent.

Epic landscapes and myths described in the record converge into well-produced songs where only Jaime Sepúlveda’s voice doesn’t sound perfect all the time, but that keeps you even more absorbed with this beautiful record.

♪♫ Listen: “Cenizas” + album stream

Kuervos del Sur on Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter, www.

Inarbolece <BR>“Inarbolece”


Carampangue is a little town surrounded by exploited trees, by forest industry, and disrespect for nature. From this place comes Inarbolece, a band whose debut album won’t allow to be put in a box, as it captures a woodland of emotions – intense, delicate, restless, and full of different tones.

It’s one of the best Chilean debut albums in the receny years because it’s not just about great songwriting – but also about great production, brought to perfection by the band and Rodrigo Droguett, Mantarraya’s bass player.

Together, they put out a fantastic, unconstrained record. The voice of the singer and guitarist Ineino deserves praises on its own: technically careful, heartbreaking in its devotion.

♪♫ Listen: “De Cian Intraterrestre” + album stream

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

Congelador <BR>“Persona”


You can rely on the quality of Santiago de Chile’s Congelador, one of the greatest Chilean bands.

The group of Rodrigo Santis, Walter Roblero, Jorge Santis and Estefanía Romero-Cors manage to come the longest distances between different ideas and approached to music, without losing any piece of their distinct identity and coherence.

“Persona” (Person) is no exception. The task was complicated after the raucous excellence of “Cajón” (Drawer), the best Chilean album of 2013. But the keyboards and the backing vocals of Romero-Cors create dream-like vibrations amidst other sounds inclined toward industrial and mechanical.

With brushes of pop, it sets this album as risky as easy to enjoy. One of the best of the year.

♪♫ Listen: “Navegar” + album stream

Congelador on Soundcloud, Facebook, www.

Javier Barría <BR>“Estación Pirque”

Javier Barría
“Estación Pirque”

The best Chilean album of the year. Concept, sound, songs and memories blend into a diverse experience of something abstract and oblivious. But then turn into something tangible, an image from the past – the old Pirque station in the current Plaza Italia in Santiago – to express a wide portion of emotions.

Barría’s voice dominates “Estación Pirque” and its depth is unlike any other instrument. It’s an album made with love and attention to the details.

With a dark and grey look that, nonetheless, it eventually lets in the light to show us its magnificent colours, like in the beautiful songs “Campo Quemado” (Burned Field), “Cajitas de Agua” (Little wáter boxes) with the soothing voice of Natisu, and “Celoso” (Jealous) with peruvian Alejandro and María Laura.

♪♫ Listen: “Celoso (con Alejandro y María Laura)” + album stream

Javier Barría on Soundcloud, Bandcamp, Facebook, Twitter.