In my past posts, I’ve written about some South American bands that I happen to know and really enjoy, but my knowledge of bands from this continent is limited considering the great and vast amount of spectacular bands making music in these lands. For a while I’ve wanted to know more about the Chilean scene; generally I’ve heard that many great bands come from there, but I didn’t know exactly what sound to dig for. So I’ve asked a Chilean friend for some references on new music and he sent me a bunch of great music which I’ll need some time to explore (thanks Pato!). But from all of his recommendations, one band stood out of the group instantly and caught my attention: Astro.
To talk about their trajectory, I’ll make a parenthesis: it’s quite funny how the Internet has provided possibilities for connection in our world and how this impacts on our real lifes. As I’m now writing about a band that I happen to know only thanks to Internet, I might dare to say that Astro’s rise has come from benefits of this possibility of global connection. In the next lines you will see why. They are a four piece band from Santiago, Chile. Andrés Nusser, Daniel Varas, Octavio Caviares and Nicolás Arancibia started playing over their local underground scene in late 2008, debuting their first EP in April 2009, called “Le Disc de Astrou”, which was digitally released by a Danish label, Wash Dishes. With the success of this first EP, the boys did their first international tour, going to Argentina, Uruguay, and were invited to play in Mexico at the Vive Latino Festival in 2010. Their concert in Mexico had some impact, as their single “Maestro Distorsión” became a hit there, leading to the physical release of “Le Disc de Astrou” by the Mexican label Terrículas Imbéciles.
After the involvement of so many other countries in the group’s career, their debut EP was physically released in Chile at the beginning of 2011, by label Discos Río Bueno. Over 2011, they played in Lollapalooza Chile and in other festivals in the same continent, such as the Colombian festival Rock al Parque, and so many more. The reach to further lands came with the release of debut album, “Astro”, digitally and in vinyl. It brought more attention to the group in 2012 and they did performances in the SXSW and in Primavera Sound in Barcelona.
Their trajectory, drawn down paths to so many different places around the globe, indicates a lot about the sound they do. Although singing in Spanish, the group makes contemporary music, with lots of synthesizers and expressing states of emotions familiar to and enjoyed by any culture. The lyrics are somewhere between simple and playful, and complex and intricate. For me, their music feels like a nonsensical dream - one of the good ones. The song “Coco” conveys this feeling particularlywell. The high notes from the vocalist intertwine with the electro sounds made by the band - a cadence that for me recalls some videogame sounds from the ’90s. The psychedelic vibe sure brings some comparisons to bands like MGMT or Animal Collective, and the band itself names Yeasayer, Deerhunter and Ariel Pink as some influences for their latest creation.
Through the band’s Soundcloud it’s possible to hear the full album stream, so don’t miss it! Also, they’re working on the release of the new single – “Colombo” – which is available on their website as a free download. So be sure to head over to the site to check for news, but for now, take a listen here of their first single, “Ciervos”, and also to “Coco”, for an extra dose of surrealism.