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Saturday, March 08, 2008

Election Day

I'm in Malta. It's election day. The logical fallacy is that I'm here to vote. As I've mentioned in an earlier post, I'm here because I had planned to be here at this time even before the national polling day was announced.

It may seem downright odd for anyone interested in the outcome of the Maltese General Elections that this blog post is actually about podcast number 105 in my weekly Mużika Mod Ieħor series. Regular followers of this blog and the weekly podcast should not be surprised at all. As I find myself in Malta during the release (but not the actual recording) of this week's podcast I'm convinced more than ever that although election fever is running high, there's a sense that things are not what they used to be; by which I mean that if all goes well there should be at least one unexpected outcome from the predictable norms established by the mainstream over the last 35 years or so.

This week's edition opens with music from a band whose members have certainly not voted today. The Beangrowers are in Austria to promote their new album Not In A Million Lovers, just days away from their return to the SXSW festival in Austin, Texas. I'm looking forward to hearing the whole album, mostly because from the new tracks available via the band's MySpace page there's a strong sense that the Beangrowers have matured into one of the most outstanding bands to ever emerge from the Maltese Islands.

Following tracks from Airport Attractions and Stone Joker in recent weeks, you can now also hear a solo track called Affection by Errol Sammut, who listeners will know from either or both these bands. This kind of performer is unusual on the Maltese scene but most welcome by those who, like me, appreciate musicians who can vary their output over different projects. Errol's new solo demos would make interesting tracks for either one of the bands he plays in but they show well what he brings to the table with any of his collaborators.

For the simple reason that I follow the Maltese music scene from abroad, there are a number of acts that I don't get to hear about or from as soon as they appear on the local circuit. StarBunker is one such band. Move On is the single from their debut EP Forecast, which didn't appear on my radar until just a few days ago when I exchange a friends request message from guitarist David Cassar Torregiani, whom I've known for about 25 years since we both played in Tigne bands. To be more precise, we were both members of a band called Structure...but not at the same time.

The election spirit has moved me to present a couple of alternative music styles on the fringes of any mainstream taste. The first of these comes from Synthax & Chemicals, an electronica duo I know very little about, mostly because their MySpace page focuses almost entirely on their sounds rather than any other useful information punters like me look for. Listen to one of their two tracks Next To Hell and make up your own mind.

Hardcore metal is the other alternative style I've picked this week. I must admit that I've become a closet hardcore fan of sorts since I first heard this extreme brand of metal during an early morning radio breakfast show in New York City over a decade ago. Newcomers Cypher will be appearing with a couple of the best Maltese hardcore exponents - Loathe and Beheaded - at the Poxx Bar on March 22. I'll be back in Scarborough by then but I'd have loved to still be in Malta just for that. Anyway, listen closely to What Else Remains and you'll possibly see how hardcore can become much a sought after acquired taste.

It will not be business as usual in Malta or for the MMI podcast over the next couple of weeks. For more on that check back on this blog where I'll be blogging about this, that and the other in the hope of keeping some sort of personal record of these strange days.

The RSS feed for the Mużika Mod Ieħor podcast is available here or you can simply click here to subscribe directly with iTunes. You can also add the latest episodes to your My Yahoo! page. If you have no idea what any of this means, just click here.

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