International Music Request
July 18, 2010 1:30 PM   Subscribe

This question has certainly been asked before but I am looking for great rock music from different countries, the place matters not (except US and Canada). What I really want though is more musical exposure of bands who I can then listen to and research outward from them. In other words, I am not looking for exhaustive lists of bands, rather, geographic diversity. The more different countries, the better.

This is essentially an update on this question from 2006.

One of my hobbies is finding new bands from far off places. I love hearing what is happening elsewhere and getting that broader perspective on music. Occasionally I share music on a blog I keep for my friends and I want to open some new avenues of inquiry. For examples of bands that I enjoy that I have found:

Kaizers Orchestra
Cate Le Bon
Noir Desir
Betting on the Mouse
Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster
Secret Chiefs 3
Arab Strap
The Growlers

I am not sure there is a genre that is evident with the exception of "Rock and Roll" VERY broadly defined.

The question goal is: at least one band from as many countries as possible.
posted by occidental to Media & Arts (29 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
Vacaciones: great, sunny indie rock from Spain.
posted by escabeche at 1:40 PM on July 18, 2010

Carsick Cars are a really good tunefully noisy Beijing band. "Zhong Nan Hai" the big hit.
posted by escabeche at 1:41 PM on July 18, 2010

If you like Japanese ska-punk -- and who doesn't? -- I highly recommend Snail Ramp.
posted by escabeche at 1:44 PM on July 18, 2010

From Germany:

Wir sind Helden (Wikipedia, official site, YouTube videos)

More options: Tokio Hotel, Silbermond, Juli, Die Ärzte, Rosenstolz
posted by jedicus at 1:47 PM on July 18, 2010

Poppy, cool/warm electronica from Brazil: Otto. You can find his song "Bob," and lots more great contemporary Brazilian stuff, on the great "What's Happening in Pernambuco?" comp.
posted by escabeche at 1:48 PM on July 18, 2010

When you say rock, bands, etc, do you mean that you are specifically looking for a particular Rock n' Roll sound, with the traditional 4-5 person band structure, guitars/bass/drums, etc? Or do you mean popular music from around the world?

If you're open to something that's not your typical three-chord guitar heavy Rock, I highly recommend:

Fela Kuti, from Nigeria (was mainly active in the 70's, but his work is making a comeback right now)

K'naan - hip hop from Somalia by way of Canada and NYC

If the above two have potential for you, I highly recommend downloading a "mixtape" collaboration by K'naan and DJ J.Period called The Messengers which mashes up K'naan's stuff with the work of Fela Kuti, Bob Dylan, and Bob Marley. It is free, if you google it up.

M.I.A., obviously.

Amadou & Mariam, from Mali - more traditional African than rock, but still damn good if you like that sort of thing.

Rodrigo y Gabriela, from Mexico - two former metalheads who discovered classical Spanish guitar.

Nouvelle Vague - 80's pop covers done in a loungey "chanson" style by French pop singers.

I'm From Barcelona - twee indie rock by (I think?) Scandinavians.

Maybe throw in some Bhangra? It's hard to find stuff that isn't trying too hard to be 10 years out of date American rap, but I have a good compilation by DJ Rekha based on her "Basement Bhangra" parties. I'm especially fascinated by an artist from that record called DJ Hard Kaur (Kaur is the traditional Sikh surname given to women, so yay puns).

If you do hiphop much at all, I highly recommend anything "grime" from Britain, especially Lady Sovereign and Dizzee Rascal.
posted by Sara C. at 1:50 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

From Uruguay: El Cuarteto De Nos, La Vela Puerca, No Te Va Gusta
From Argentina: Soda Stereo
From Chile: Ojos de Brujo (not really rock though, more sort of... flamenco pop?)
From Venezuela: Masseratti 2 ltrs (really great electro lounge)
From Brazil: Caetano Veloso (not rock, more sort of...singer songwriter folk stuff)
posted by wooh at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2010

Oh yeah, and of course Sweden is the world capital of beautiful indie pop. You can't go wrong with Club 8 or Jens Lekman.
posted by escabeche at 1:57 PM on July 18, 2010

Alma Zohar from Israel makes great, moody pop that would not sound out of place in the US top 40.
posted by escabeche at 1:59 PM on July 18, 2010

From Norway - Gåte - sample song: Sjå attende. Folky rocky stuff with female vocalist.

My girlfriend recommended them to me, as she also did with Kaizers Orchestra and Noir Desir to me.
posted by knapah at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Rachid Taha, Algerian. Diwan and Made in Medina are both fantastic albums.
posted by raztaj at 2:15 PM on July 18, 2010

How about Outlandish?

They are a Danish band, and the members are of Moroccan, Pakistani, and Cuban/Honduran descent.

I love their songs Guantanamo and Aicha (possibly their biggest hit so far) - which itself is a cover of Aicha by Cheb Khalid, an Algerian singer.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:22 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Sorry - pressed post too quickly.

Also check out Zeb and Haniya, Pakistani pop rock duo.

Their single Aitebar is gorgeously sultry and awesome.
posted by Ziggy500 at 2:24 PM on July 18, 2010

Continuing with Ziggy500's Pakistan shoutout, of course there's Junoon!
posted by raztaj at 2:32 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Indie rock from Korea:
Cherry Filter
Deli Spice
Lazybone (ska-punk; sample song "Do It Yourself")
No Brain (punk)
Oldfish (although he's more in the electronica genre)

I also like Japanese band Supercar a lot, although they broke up in 2005. "Wonder Word", "Last Scene"
YouTube keeps recommending Sakanaction to me. (Sample: "Sen to Rei セントレイ)
posted by needled at 2:42 PM on July 18, 2010

The Samuel Jackson Five are a Norwegian post-rock group.
posted by Houyhnhnm at 3:15 PM on July 18, 2010

Aphrodite's Child - Greek prog insanity.
posted by saladin at 4:06 PM on July 18, 2010

Fantastic Plastic Machine! Japanese techno lounge disco.

Bonus: first link is sung in German :D
posted by Madamina at 4:14 PM on July 18, 2010

Get iTunes and change the location of the iTunes store to a different country. It is a fun way of seeing what is popular in other countries. You click the little flag icon on the bottom right of the iTunes window.
posted by fifilaru at 4:24 PM on July 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

From Mali, Tinariwen.

From Ireland, Swell Season.
posted by fso at 4:37 PM on July 18, 2010

Lebanon - Mashrou3 Leila [listen: raksit leila and fasateen]
Tunis - Neyssatou [listen: ila selma]
France - Phoenix [listen: If I Ever Feel Better]
England - Bat For Lashes [listen: Daniel]
Iceland - Emiliana Torrini [listen: Jungle Drum]
posted by xqwzts at 5:38 PM on July 18, 2010

Q65 were an amazing, versatile, often raw, proto-punk mid-60s garage band from the Netherlands whose sound resembles early Kinks, Stooges, Stones. Highly recommended.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 6:05 PM on July 18, 2010

i recently saw the film 'no one knows about persian cats' which features/surrounds several iranian bands. my favorite was take it easy hospital, but the entire movie soundtrack is pretty neat.
posted by thisisnotkatrina at 6:16 PM on July 18, 2010

wasn't clear if you were talking about "unknown" bands or just bands unknown to you, but my three favorite Hispanic artists are Juanes ---ayayay que sexy!!!, & Ricardo Arjona --both of whom are *HUGE* names. Arjona in particular is a great storytellers, so I hightly recommend getting translation of his lyrics.

Also, Miranda's a lot of fun, for something a little more offbeat (note that the video starts at about the one minute mark..sorry, couldn't find a better link to an official video).
posted by Ys at 6:19 PM on July 18, 2010

Argentina - Rata Blanca, Hermetica, Divididos, La Renga

(I'm not positive that these are all Argentinian ... I wandered into a great little music store while there and explained in my rather-broken Spanish that I was looking for local rock music, and that I quite like Metallica)

Also - Wikipedia has a nice set of pages grouping rock bands by country.
posted by Metasyntactic at 6:49 PM on July 18, 2010

some of these are reeeally pushing it re: rock, they're more avant garde/noise and electronic stuff but...

Minimal Compact, Metal Urbain, Boredoms, Melt Banana, Acid Mothers Temple, Les Rallizes Denudes, LSD March, Magma, krautrock (Neu!, Can, Faust, etc.), As Mercenarias (and Brazilian post-punk in general), SPK, Alireza Mashayekhi, Sote, Merzbow, Goblin/Libra etc., Konono No. 1.
posted by ifjuly at 7:31 PM on July 18, 2010

Most of my experience with this is stuff from Japan, here goes:

Brand New Wave Upper Ground
Music Fighter
Lover Soul

Lead singer YUKI also has some good solo stuff:
The End of Shite (kinda NSFW)

Asian Kung Fu Generation (AKA "Ajikan")

(All of their stuff is great, but I linked to this one because I can search for it on youtube, and also because of kick-ass reappropriation of an Oasis solo)

More to come as I think of it.
posted by Navelgazer at 8:12 PM on July 18, 2010

posted by Nolechick11 at 9:41 PM on July 18, 2010

Probably one of my favorite bands of all time were Gorky's Zygotic Mynci. While their later stuff sounds like any British indie rock group, their early stuff is mostly in Welsh and absolutely bizarre in some cases. They started really young so there's stuff of theirs you can find which features Welsh prepubescent boy singing voices, which is just too cute/surreal for words. I guess Wales doesn't count as its own country technically, but trust me, Welsh is about as odd as you've heard it is, and their lyrics are crazy even in translation.

I also like Zoobombs, from Japan, and Tinariwen, mentioned above. I could think of dozens more but these pop immediately into my mind as standout acts.
posted by little light-giver at 11:19 PM on July 18, 2010

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