Stuff That Matters: Cuba’s Underground Alternative Scene

In the last couple of weeks we saw the Rolling Stones make history by visiting Cuba and doing a free concert there. The Rolling Stones are known as one of the earlier figures of  Rock’n’Roll, alongside Chuck Berry.

Undeniably, the Rolling Stones were most importantly culprits for the start of the British Invasion with their clean haircuts, elegant suits, and their charming ways. They were also rebels. Rock’n’roll in its earlier days (even before the Rolling Stones) had the reputation of being somehow an anarchist and rebellious music genre, believe it or not, it was a taboo to rock out. Think about it, rock is the parent of punk and metal. These are sub-genres which are known for their dark and rebellious nature. The seeds of evil.

People in the earlier days of Rock’n’Roll feared the genre, because it made its listeners think outside of the box, eventually residing to some kind of anarchistic nature that youngsters over the centuries have been identified to be. It is true that many of us enjoy the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll because it feeds our identities, ideas, and personalities. However, the sweet sound of Rock’n’Roll is banned by the Cuban authorities, it is illegal to rock out. Cuba is indeed a country ran by the idea of communism, or better yet known as ‘Castrismo’ (referencing Fidel Castro’s own unique approach to communism). It sticks to the basic principles that all communist nations stick to; everyone is equal.

Equality is a funny thing, because nobody is equal. Something as ‘taboo’ as Rock’n’Roll will eventually corrupt people from this ‘equality’ idea that Fidel Castro certainly has always had in mind. Freedom of speech is denied, unless you’re praising the Fidel Castro regime. That got me wondering, are there people around the Island who are anarchists? Surely there must be some resent towards this. Through research I found, Gorki Águila, a Cuban punk rocker. He recently gave an interview to The Guardian complaining about how despite the fact that the Cuban government is now allowing the nation to open its horizons a little by letting Barack Obama and the Rolling Stones visit the country, the local artists such as Gorki and his punk band ‘Porno Para Ricardo’ are still being rejected and thrown straight into prison for speaking against the government.

In many countries around the world, we have musicians insult their politicians and whatnot and not thrown into jail (unless they are physically a threat to these people). Freedom of speech, Cuba, you’ve got to get one of those.

Learn more about this unknown underground alternative scene that exists in Cuba. It is evidence that no matter how much freedom of speech you try taking away from people they will still blast back at you, and they will ROCK’N’ROLL!

Stuff That Matters: GRUNGE

New on ‘Stuff That Matters’, GRUNGE! I know what you’re thinking… Kurt Cobain… Smells Like- THAT’S THE ONLY SONG YOU KNOW! There’s more than just Kurt to the grunge scene, you might even be surprised.

It wasn’t Kurt who made us notice the alternative sub-genre, grunge, it was actually Mark Arm from Green River and Mudhoney. He even said that he gathered the term from the Australian music scene back then who were already describing their own music as grunge. There’s apparently more to grunge than its dissonant harmonies and distorted guitars, according to Marc Jacobs, grunge could be big in fashion, and so it was in the mid-90s. However, there remains this question of whether grunge is dead… is it?

DIIV release three new songs off their new album ‘Is The Is Are’

DIIV release three new songs off their new album ‘Is The Is Are’

 

Their much anticipated album ‘Is The Is Are’ is due for release in 2016 following up their debut album ‘Oshin’. It’s about time as it has been about two years already. The band have said that their new material is far more dark than their previous stuff. The song ‘Bent (Roi’s Song)’ is catchy and sharp with its guitar riffs, it definitely features some of that initial sound that DIIV unleashed in their debut album but with more maturity and tension, especially at the beginning of the song. ‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’ is quite the shocker though, because that’s where we get to see that darkness that DIIV are talking about. The vocals in this song seem to drone on in a haunting manner along with the gorgeous guitar lines.

 

To be honest ‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’ is probably the most emotional piece that the band have released, it’s actually one of my favourite songs by DIIV up to now. You’ve just got to admire the resemblance that they have to Sonic Youth here, it works out so well for them. They have a similar thing going on in their other new single ‘Dopamine’ but it is just as upbeat as ‘Bent (Roi’s Song)’. ‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’ stands out a lot and creates suspense for the rest of the other songs that are yet to be released. Below you’ll find the track listing for their upcoming album.

 

‘Out of Mind’

‘Under the Sun’

‘Bent (Roi’s Song)’

‘Dopamine’

‘Blue Boredom’ (w/ Sky Ferreira)

‘Valentine’

‘Yr Not Far’

‘Take Your Time’

‘Is The Is Are’

‘Mire (Grant’s Song)’

‘Incarnate Devil’

‘(Fuck)’

‘Healthy Moon’

‘Loose Ends’

‘(Napa)’

‘Dust’

‘Waste of Breath’