Thursday, 24 March 2011

Freedom Now: Sounds of Portugal - Pt.6

Freedom Now: Sounds of Portugal is the latest in our series of mixtapes, and it can be downloaded for free here. The mix in terms of time and sound is very much what might be called pre-punk. In fact the whole Anywhere Else But Here Today trans-global pop adventure had deliberately steered clear of punk/new wave sounds. But occasionally while carrying out investigations some fantastic punk era treasures have popped-up unexpectedly. And that certainly happened while rummaging around for Portuguese treasures.
I have to confess I was totally delighted to stumble across this clip of Aqui d'el-Rock, a Portuguese punk outfit, who made this fantastic film for local TV in 1978. The sound is very hard punk rock in the spirit of the Saints/Damned. Indeed the look of the group and the feel of the video reminds me of the much-viewed clip of the Saints doing (I'm) Stranded. I can't add much more about Aqui d'el-Rock. I know they released a couple of singles, but this is all you need:

And then I chanced upon a clip of the group Street Kids performing the track Propaganda on TV. It is wonderful stuff, and oozes 1981 in so many ways. It reminds me of one of those groups like B-Movie or Music For Pleasure that combined synths with a real driving dance-sound. And the look is VERY reminiscent of The Teardrop Explodes/Scars, complete with those dreadful Afghan scarf type things draped round the neck, which makes me think of a certain Mr Cope. I can add very little about Street Kids, but I think I am right in saying that the keyboards player was Nuno Canavarro who released an LP in 1988 called Plux Quba, which would become a massive cult favourite. It features Nuno using electronics, melodica, and pre-recorded tapes, and tracks like Cave sound years ahead of their time - Jim O'Rourke reissued it - and you'd almost swear it was a lost Warp release, or even something that could be enthusiastically reviewed in The Wire this month. It's a strange and gorgeous record, but I won't pretend I've known of it for years. I have to confess I only discovered it following clues from this ...


  1. A belated response to this great piece of research. I completely love Nuno Canavarro's Plux Quba and have done so since Jim O'Rourke reissued it on Mookai in 1998. I always thought Plux Quba was completely unique in terms of its time - the sounds are so original and well chosen and although it's always felt very fresh and primitive, it's also extremely graceful and by the end sounds classic. I was obsessed with it for a long time and through the years I've found three or four other tracks from a similar time period (1988) but was unaware of his participation in an early 1980s synth pop group. I suppose I always thought of him as an academic / music student type but the pop aspect connects him with his fans Mouse On Mars who I believe introduced Jim O'Rourke to the record. Great stuff!

  2. Thanks Stephen. I'm just amused I missed the reissue completely and only found it in such an odd roundabout way! It's such a lovely record.