This month I have been to Belgium and Germany by train, then to Ireland. It’s been a well traveled month, but I’ve never even contemplated going to South America. Musically, it has only really figured on my radar when I bought the excellent Maximum Rock n Roll ‘Welcome to 1984’ compilation all those years ago, and bands such as Brazil’s Ohlo Seco assaulted my eardrums with their ace track ‘Nada’ [complete with cowbell]. But I should revise my opinions! You’ll recall that last week I posted about the great Descendents compilation released by Audioslam Records from Chile – well Francisco from Audioslam got in touch and told me that ALL [if you’ll pardon the pun] the bands on that comp were actually from Chile! Fantastic! And then, Noel from Valium [a band featured on that compilation] got in touch and made me hip to their album, ‘In Descente’, released in February 2012.
So, being a curious type as is my nature, I checked out the link Noel sent me and found out about Valium. Basically, they’re a tight, tuneful ska punk band from Santiago, Chile who’ve been treading the boards for about seven years. Comprising Erwin Werb playing Batería [which I take to be drums, not batteries], Noel Frez on Guitarra y Coros [guitar and backing vocals] and the aforementioned Francisco Fernández – Bajo y Voz [bass and vocals, I’m getting the hang of this now!], Valium have a catchy as all get out line in Ska-punk with choruses all over the place and great classic punk riffage.
As for their album, I’ve been listening to it this evening, interrupted by the fact that my ‘broadband’ connection is running at about 100kbps, slightly faster than the old, dial up modem days of 1995. Anyway, the album’s a cracker – 16 tracks of Chilean punk, which although it’s not breaking any new ground ideas-wise, is really enjoyable and a good advertisement for the scene in Chile. Pulling in the mid-paced, melodic sound of Descendents, ALL, as well as the late US pop punk sound of the likes of Lillingtons, Leftovers, Teenage Bottlerocket and so on, it also has the added advantage of non English vocals to make it more interesting.
It’s on Audioslam’s Bandcamp page, and is well worth a listen, which is why I include the player below. Check it out, and buy the album for a bargain price!