In the 1970s, Brazilian rock'n'roll followed along on several parallel paths, which only occasionally intersected. Many of the groups from the heavily commercialized, early-60s prefab jovem guarda teenybopper scene kept making albums well into the 1970s. Generally speaking, these continued along the pop cover-tunes path of their earlier work, or dipped even deeper into bland pop vocals, as with Roberto Carlos, the king of the scene. Many of the great tropicalia artists who pioneered psychedelic rock in Brazil moved on to become the superstars of the "MPB" scene, which also turned towards an increasingly-ornate pop direction; some -- like Jorge Ben -- delved into funk and soul-flavored groove music.
A handful of artists pursued (more or less) straight-ahead rock music... Many were inspired by the inroads made by the tropicalia movement, but keeping up with the times, they spun off in different directions. Ex-Mutante Rita Lee became something of a stadium rocker, and several prog bands flourished in the mid-'70s, while a few hardcore rockers and psychedelic bands also roamed the land. To be honest, I haven't heard all that many of these records... but as I check them out, I'll add my reviews to the Slipcue site.
Os Haxixins "Os Haxixins" (Get Hip, 2009)
Garage rock-retro from Sao Paulo, with crunchy, fuzzed-out guitars and plenty of Farfisa organ... For decades, Sao Paulo has had the reputation as the cradle of Brazil's hard rock scene, with louder guitars and harder rhythms than the more jazz-influenced band of the MPB movement. A modern band, Os Haxixins hearkens back to the half-hidden history of the '60s garage bands that sprang up in Sao Paulo and environs. The band's production is slicker and the delivery more confident than many of the original groups, but the snarly, wild vibe is right, and these guys seem to be having a lot of fun. The predominant sound is a driving, relentless Farfisa organ -- it frequently overwhelms the rest of the group (including the vocalist) but fans of 'Sixties garage rock (Brazilian or otherwise) will dig it. I particularly like that they (mostly) sing in Portuguese, always a plus, as far as I'm concerned.
Os Haxixins "Under The Stones/Debaixo Das Pedras" (Groovie Records) (LP)
Los Hermanos "Los Hermanos" (Abril, 1999)
These Rio rockers started out with a harder edge, but eventually settled into a pleasantly softer mode which helps set them apart from many of their more aggressive BRock brethren... This is their first album, which came out a couple of years after the band first got together. It features their breakthrough hit, "Anna Julia," a fab power-pop tune written by the lead singer Marcelo Camelo, with jangly, insistent guitars and an irresistible chorus. The rest of the album features songs with nice guitars, but a driving, unvaried ska rhythm (showing the band's origins in the Brazilian punk scene). It's still interesting, particularly for folks looking for signs of life in Brazil's tiny indie scene, but the ska elements can be monotonous. Worth checking out, and "Anna Julia" is a real gem!
Los Hermanos "Bloco Do Eu Sozinho" (Abril, 2001)
I thought this was a fairly disappointing album... After hitting the pop charts with the perky, power-poppy "Anna Julia," Los Hermanos really played it safe with this generic alt-rock outing, full of crunchy, grungy, fuzzy electric guitar riffs, straight out of the Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins playbooks. This isn't a bad record, really, but considering how much I like the two albums on either side of it, it does seeem a bit flat and unoriginal. If you liked the other records, by all means check this one out, too... but check the others out first if you really want to give these guys a fair shake.
Los Hermanos "Ventura" (BMG-Brasil, 2003)
An exceptional indiepop album from Rio-based band, with gentle, consistently engaging guitars that frame the relaxed, velvet vocals of songwriter Marcelo Camelo. His laidback style has an air of Ron Sexsmith to it; the horns that drift in and out of various songs might bring to mind that whole Belle & Sebastian-inspired, twee-indie chamber music trend. Kassin (known as a bandmate of Moreno Veloso) produced this album, and it bears the subtle stamp of his rock-meets-electronica aesthetic. Although the record may be a little too long (fifteen songs, which by the end of the album start to sound a lot alike), it's still a lot of fun and very, very listenable. Here, at last, is a Brazilian indie band that can really hold its own next to any artist up in USA or the UK... Plus the lyrics are all in Portuguese... (yay!!) This disc is highly recommended, particularly for indiepop fans looking for an accessible entrypoint into modern Brazilian rock.
Los Hermanos "Quatro" (BMG-Brasil, 2005)
Los Hermanos "Perfil" (Som Livre, 2006)
A best-of set...
Lu Horta "Lu Horta" (Lado Leste, 2004)
An ambitious, multilayered, modern elaboration on the syncretic rock experimentation of the tropicalia scene, and its various spiritual grandchildren. Sao Paulo's Lu Horta wrote about half the songs on htis solo debut; the other selections underline her connection to many of Brazil's most innovative rock-oriented musicians -- one song each by Arnaldo Antunes, Vincente Barreto, Chico Cesar, Pericles Cavalcanti and -- naturally -- Caetano Veloso. Antunes and Cesar even give her shout-outs in the liner notes. There may be a few too many tinny-sounding rock guitars warbling wildly throughout this disc to suit my tastes, but this is still pretty creative stuff, and Ms. Horta is definitely an artist to keep an eye on. (For more info, check out her website at www.luhorta.com.br )
Lu Horta "Paraiso Eu" (2009)
Brazilian Rock - Letter "I"
Other Brazilian Styles
Main Brazil Index