[album review] axolotes mexicanos, “:3” (2021)

Yesterday was so energetic and full of great music that when I checked the clock and saw that it was 2 a.m., I could only wish my day would never end. I began the day with the German indie rockers Readymade and visited the Hong Kong shoegazers Thud (who have an album on the way) when it struck midnight in Spain and the new Axolotes Mexicanos album dropped.

To be transparent, I had only discovered the group last week. But I did a lot of catching up, playing 2015’s Holi<3 and 2018’s Salu2 as well as the new album’s singles to prepare. And in Axolotes Mexicanos I discovered something extremely exciting: the finest blend of any two genres I could have imagined is tontipop and j-pop, something La Casa Azul excelled at in the presence of neo-shibuya-kei. On top of that, it’s the most fun pop punk I’ve heard in a long time.

The tracks leading up to the album were some of my favorites on the album itself. From the Uwu single are “Te Quiero (…)” and “Cuando_estoy_contigo.mp3”. They’re songs that talk to and answer each other, the former being about the dizzying and aggravating loneliness that accompanies a break-up and the latter being about the simultaneous anxiety and comfort of being together. “Te Quiero (…)” whips up into pop punk frenzy in its chorus, while the simple jangle pop stylings of “Cuando_estoy_contigo.mp3” are the twee-est I’ve heard the group so far.

The later single, “Cara de idiota”, has the perfect self-deprecatingly sweet lyrics as one might expect from twee, but here taking a fantastic cue from Kero Kero Bonito‘s recent work. I think it’s one of the strongest songs on the album. Perfectly catchy, a true pop song.

When approaching the album itself, it’s fun to see that there are both opening and ending tracks for the album, much like you would find in anime. “Opening” is charming with its marching drum beat and lyrical disdain for an imaginary partner. It transitions into “Cara de idiota” really well. On the other side, “De Aquí A Un Año” swells over with its fear of the future, leading into “Ending”, a track about being so desperate to see someone that you’d risk fatal injury. And even this track, much like the opening, has its share of comedy.

Their songs approach bittersweet and otherwise sad songs with a bright energy that to someone not proficient in Spanish, you’d never guess “Verano en espiral” was about idealized lives and dissatisfaction. This sort of energy comes over from the work of Elefant Records’ past and a number of other influences and infuses the lyrics with a truly youthful feeling. “Oshare kei”, named and styled after the subgenre of Visual kei, reminds me of an especially painful breakup I had, where life had to keep going but I felt so directionless.

Somewhat unsurprisingly, I really adore this album, and I’m excited for my record to come, which has this wonderful electric blue color. I encourage everyone reading not just to check out the album, but buy it either digitally or physically! Give it a year and physicals may be hard to find. 😉

For Europe (and Canada, it seems), shop from Elefant Records/Axolotes Mexicanos Bandcamp. For the United States, Darla has copies available for preorder.

remington super 60, z tapes, + the week ahead

I wanted to jot a quick post down because the weather’s getting nicer (and windier), and I’ve been listening to cool music and doing cool things.

Every day I discover something new, which I guess is part of the diligence of being an RYM/Discogs contributor. But as an indie pop fan, I’m always woefully behind the curve. Apparently, so is RYM! I went to listen to Remington Super 60 and log some ratings when I realized it (and Christoffer Schou’s label Cafe Superstar Recordings) has been totally neglected!

It’s going to take a while to get it current. The last addition to Remington Super 60’s page was a 2009 release. But that’s actually not true! A 2020 sampler from Z-Tapes stood as the most recent addition to the site. And yes, I know. I remember listening to this EP in 2020, but I’m much lazier than you’d think. This blog has laid dormant since the same time!

Well, as luck would have it, I couldn’t have picked a better time to get into Z Tapes, a Slovakian tape (& more!) label and store owned by Filip Zemčík. Their release of Port Lucian‘s compilation Trans Musicians & Allies for Change has received quite a lot of notice and even more downloads. I’m about to be one of them. So, I’ll link that below.

That’s all I’ve got for today. On my horizon: Axolotes Mexicanos new album “:3” comes out March 12th. I have a few records inbound as well: a reissue of Enon’s debut LP from Blind Rage Records, a reissue of Josef K’s Sorry for Laughing, the new Axolotes Mexicanos, Sweet Trip’s reissue of You Will Never Know Why and their new single Walkers Beware… / Stab Slow. The latter is all from Darla. Great stuff.

Readers, my advice to you: curiosity leads you to cool stuff. It should lead you to Z Tapes. Check them out! See you soon.