Best Portugese Albums of 2016

André Fernandes <BR>“Dream Keeper”

André Fernandes
“Dream Keeper”

Released on Edition Records, “Dream Keeper” is sometimes considered Andre Fernandes’ proper international debut, but he’s been active on the scene for over 1,5 decade now.

The 40-year-old guitarist and his imaginative quartet fuse jazz with inspirations from outside of the genre, whether it will be local tradition or experimental rock.

A rare example of a multi-faceted, adventure-like release that still preserves a coherent character.

♪♫ Listen: “Snakes and Lizards” + album stream

André Fernandes on Bandcamp, Facebook, www.

Bruno Pernadas <BR>“Those Who Throw Objects…”

Bruno Pernadas
“Those Who Throw Objects…”

The second album from Bruno Pernadas deserves a spot on this list just for its wonderful name, certainly spotted in a zoo somewhere: “Those Who Throw Objects at the Crocodiles Will Be Asked to Retrieve Them”.

But there are many more reasons to spend your next 50 minutes with this talented mucisian: his melodies, his joyful rhythms, his intricate, a bit dusted arrangements – and his friends.

Together, it all makes a one and only atmosphere of this record as colourful as its cover.

♪♫ Listen: “Anywhere in Spacetime” + album stream

Bruno Pernadas on Facebook, www.

Capitão Fausto <BR>“Capitão Fausto Têm os Dias Contados”

Capitão Fausto
“Capitão Fausto Têm os Dias Contados”

In so many ways, this album seems classic from the first moment. It sounds like all those psychedelic oldies from the 60s we still love after half a century. It lasts just over half an hour, like in the good old days of the LP. Even the cover seems to have been retrieved from some old attic.

In so many ways, this young five-piece from Lisbon shouldn’t be here in the 21st century making music from the time their parents hardly remember. But we’re so grateful they do, and hopefully time at least for them remains frozen.

♪♫ Listen: “Morro na Praia” + album stream

Capitão Fausto on Facebook, Bandcamp.

Cave Story <BR>“West”

Cave Story

Debut full-length album from the young power trio Cave Story West would be among the biggest surprises of 2016 if it wasn’t preceded by their “Spider Tracks” EP, where the band first presented their own mixture of post punk and indie rock.

“West” sounds dissonant, raw, generally just like you’d expect from the successors of bands like Wire, Pavement or Sonic Youth. If those names make your heart beating faster, Cave Story will have a similar effect on your body.

♪♫ Listen: “Body of Work” + album stream

Cave Story on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp, www.

Filho da Mãe & Ricardo Martins “Tormenta”

Filho da Mãe & Ricardo Martins “Tormenta”

Two acclaimed musicians, the guitarist Rui Carvalho a.k.a. Filho da Mãe and the drummer Ricardo Martins, teamed up for this very intense, innovative, yet at the same time surprisingly accessible semi-improvised album “Tormenta”, or “Storm”.

What makes this album unique apart from instrumental skills of both musicians, is how they mix a live-setting explosions with melodies and compositions. It puts the whole record not so far away to classic post-rock works, though avoiding any kind of predictability.

♪♫ Listen: “Estrela E Acabada” + album stream

Filho da Mãe on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp. Ricardo Martins on Facebook, www.

Filho da Mãe <BR>“Mergulho”

Filho da Mãe

Although Rui Carvalho’s solo album “Mergulho” is divided into twelve, mostly short tracks, it’s actually one continuous musical story that will take you out of the current events, tasks and appointments and let your soul rest for a moment.

The artist also known as Filho da Mãe recorded this material in the monastery of Santo André de Rendufe in Amares, in the very north of Portugal. Contemplative is the right word then to describe this album, where natural and simple grows and grows into an intricate canvas, as colourful as the cover it carries.

♪♫ Listen: “Um Dedo Menos” + album stream

Filho da Mãe on Facebook, Twitter, Bandcamp.

First Breath After Coma <BR>“Drifter”

First Breath After Coma

After their acclaimed 2013 debut album “Escape” it was quite clear that First Breath After Coma don’t indend to reinvent post-rock. They have even borrowed their name from the genre’s protagonists Explosions in the Sky.

However, mixing golden rules of the style with fantastic songwriting and clear vocal melodies, the quintet have managed to embrace the best of post-rock and pop music, and this way they found their own niche in this crowded field.

Featuring guest appearances of Noiserv and André Barros, “Drifter” is without doubt among the most atmospheric records of the last year not only in Portugal.

♪♫ Listen: “Salty Eyes” + album stream

First Breath After Coma on Facebook, Bandcamp, www.

Golden Slumbers <BR>“The New Messiah”

Golden Slumbers
“The New Messiah”

On their debut album “The New Messiah”, sisters Catarina and Margarida Falcão offer us a set of perfectly-written, perfectly-arranged and perfectly-performed songs that any American folk songstress would be happy to borrow for her own release.

Falcão sisters’ vocal harmonies is what stands out during the first listen. But notice how they play with the pace and mood in their songs, how they slow down before explosive choruses, and how confident and delicate they are at the same time.

In other words, that’s what professional means. Yet at the same time, Golden Slumbers maintain youth energy and pure emotionality of the music genre they’ve decided to commit their talent to.

♪♫ Listen: “New Messiah” + album stream

Golden Slumbers on Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, Bandcamp.

Linda Martini <BR>“Sirumba”

Linda Martini

Over the ten years since they formed, Lisbon-based quartet Linda Martini have become one of the most prominent names in the Portugese rock scene and their latest effort shows them as creative and effortless as when they first met, while visibly more mature.

Their fourth album yet, “Sirumba” circles between alternative rock, punk and even hardcore as far arrangements are concerned. But always with the aim to highlight Linda Martini’s fantastic songwriting and sincere lyrics.

♪♫ Listen: “Unicórnio De Sta. Engrácia” + album stream
Linda Martini – Sirumba

Linda Martini on Facebook, Twitter, www.

Marta Ren and the Groovelvets <BR>“Stop, Look, Listen”

Marta Ren and the Groovelvets
“Stop, Look, Listen”

For some strange reason, this album wasn’t recorded in the 60s/70s in Detroit, but in 2016 in Portugal.

After a couple of successful singles, Marta Ren and her incredible soul/funk/r&b orchestra the Groovelvets released a long-awaited debut LP, every minute of which bursts with energy, explosive arrangements and sing-along choruses.

In a year we lost some soul legends, we got a new one who carries their best legacy to new generations of listeners. And she does it as she sings it: “You’ve got to do it with soul”.

♪♫ Listen: “I’m Not Your Regular Woman” + album stream

Marta Ren and the Groovelvets on Facebook, Bandcamp.

Medeiros/Lucas <BR>“Terra do Corpo”

“Terra do Corpo”

In what might be one of the slowest-burning releases of the past year, Medeiros/Lucas take us on a cross-genre trip that’s above any particular styles or times, but leaves you enchanted after each listen.

While the album is full of ideas and memorable themes, it also features a number of acclaimed guests like Filho da Mãe (see above), Selma Uamusse and Tó Trips. Give this record a few spins to fully appreciate it.

♪♫ Listen: “Transparência” + album stream

Medeiros/Lucas on Facebook, Bandcamp, www.

Memória de Peixe <BR>“Himiko Cloud”

Memória de Peixe
“Himiko Cloud”

On their kaleidoscopic second album “Himiko Cloud”, experimental duo of guitarist Miguel Nicolau and drummer Marco Franco sound as if they were rather an improvising jazz/math rock octet.

It would be really a waste of time to recite all the genres which make up their ever-changing sound. So let’s just say it will be most suitable for your psychedelic late-night experience, or for all of us as a soundtrack for the upcoming cosmic apocalypse.

Either way, you’ll be scared but delighted.

♪♫ Listen: “ Arcadia Garden” + album stream

Memória de Peixe on Facebook, Bandcamp.

peixe : avião <BR>“Peso Morto”

peixe : avião
“Peso Morto”

peixe : aviao (meaning “fish : airplane”) come from the city of Braga in the northern Portugal. And from the very beginning, they’ve been standing in the alternative scene through their very own combination of experimental rock, electronic music and Portugese lyrics.

On their new album “Peso Morto”, peixe : aviao add incredibly dark textures to their palette. So in the second part of the album, we get an explosive rock acrobatics “Miragem” followed by 3 minutes of gloomy ambient in “Fénix”.

♪♫ Listen: “Miragem” + album stream

peixe : avião on Facebook, Bandcamp, www.

Samuel Úria <BR>“Carga de Ombro”

Samuel Úria
“Carga de Ombro”

Samuel Úria has let himself be known as a prolific composer whether writing for his own releases or for other artist, like Ana Moura, Kátia Guerreiro or Clã.

Melodies, arrangements, words, emotions – every aspect of his music stands out on “Carga de Ombro”, exactly in every one of its 12 tracks and every second of its 44 minutes.

♪♫ Listen: “Carga de Ombro” + album stream

Samuel Úria on Facebook, YouTube.

Sean Riley & The Slowriders <BR>s/t

Sean Riley & The Slowriders

If you play American music outside of America you gotta be better than those who have it in their blood. Sean Riley & The Slowriders do seem to achieve this level of quality, originality and charisma to explain why you’d prefer to listen to them rather than bluesmen from across the pond.

On their new album, the Coimbra-based group further refine their pop rock hymns like the slow-burning “Dili” or the more upbeat “Greetings”. Ten years after having formed, it seemed like the perfect moment to release such self-titled manifesto.

♪♫ Listen: “Greetings” + album stream

Sean Riley & The Slowriders on Facebook, YouTube.

Sensible Soccers <BR>“Villa Soledade”

Sensible Soccers
“Villa Soledade”

Accompanied by a blurry video, the single “Villa Soledade” was among the most atmospheric songs that appeared in Portugal in the last year. The same could be said about the similarly titled full-length effort from the now-trio Sensible Soccers.

This 7-track is their second album, and it takes us on a colourful trip where synthesizers mix with guitars seamlessly, and where unhurried melodies deal with daredevil instrumentals.

If you’re not sure what kind of mood you are in right now, this dazzling record will be the right choice for the moment.

♪♫ Listen: “Villa Soledade” + album stream

Sensible Soccers on Facebook, Bandcamp, Soundcloud.

Sinistro <BR>“Semente”


Four years after their self-titled debut album, Sinistro’s music remains as captivating, enigmatic and distressing as ever.

The Lisbon-based quintet combines fantastically ambiguous arrangments – progressive rock, dark ambient, doom metal, plus the atmosphere of the late 90s trip-hop – with Patrícia Andrade’s characteristic vocals.

The results is unforgettable, and even if theoretically this music shouldn’t be your cup of tea, here’s that odd exception.

♪♫ Listen: “Reliquia” + album straem

Sinistro on Faceboook, Bandcamp, www.

You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown <BR>“Marrow”

You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown

Sometimes a few right chords is everything you need to keep the listener fully engaged and that’s what the Lisbon group You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown have been perfecting over the decade. Just check out “Above the Wall”, a single (and a lovely video) off their third album “Marrow”.

Like the other eight songs on YCWCB’s latest effort, it shows the band know exactly how much melody, overdrive and electronics use to keep the listener focused, and then to make him click play again. Winner it is.

♪♫ Listen: “Above the Wall” + album stream

You Can’t Win, Charlie Brown on Facebook, Instagram, www.