A talk with Jane Penny, TOPS’s vocalist, at her home back in Montreal
Always been curious about the music scene in other cities outside your own little cocoon? We assumed you were! So we feed your hunger for insights and secrets in the Scene Report. A year ago, Karly, our Venezuelan correspondent, packed her bags and left Caracas to settle in Buenos Aires. She agreed to guide us through the local music scene as a way for her to explore and discover new hot spots and bands in the city of good winds.
Words by Karly Salama
Photos shot in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Karly Salama
Almost two years ago, I was introduced to Buenos Aires for the first time. Its cultural offering, its magnitude, its people, the ease of getting around, the 24/7 options were enough to charm me and make me consider moving there. I’ve been living in Buenos Aires for a year now, and I have a lot of faith in this city. These are my impressions as a Venezuelan expat.
There should be various chapters reporting the Buenos Aires scene, as this place spoils you with uncountable delights – among which my favourite one: music. There are endless places and events to immerse yourself in throughout the week. Depending on the day and area you go to, there are various music styles and places to choose from. Niceto Club is an intimate venue that has held a lot of local and international shows. Every Tuesday, they have a night called ‘Martes Indiegentes’, a weekly showcase of the Argentinean indie scene, and some international artists. Stepping out of the doors of Niceto, you can easily find a lot of venues close by. If you’re up to doing something else the same night, all of these are just a block or two away: The Roxy, Makena, Vielma Café and the fantastic Thelonius jazz club.
El Emergente, Vuela El Pez, Ladran Sancho and Naranja Verde are bars, clubs and warehouses that gather more of the local scene and that are worth the visit, not just for the music. Most of the places I’ve visited have a particularly characterful entrance, distinguished by old doors followed by narrow paths or winding staircases which have to be navigated to get to the heart of the venue.
If you’re looking to buy records, head over to Mercurio. They have a considerable collection of albums, especially local stuff. The store is in a wonderful location on Av. Santa Fe, in the Galería Patio Del Liceo; an inner courtyard surrounded by designer boutiques, bars, cafés and stores. You can easily spend an entire afternoon there.
Band-wise, check out Diosque, their latest LP Constante is great and promises a strong new album in the works. From record label Sadness Disco Group, D.I.E.T.R.I.C.H. and Bauer need your attention. Sobrenadar and Altocamet, which I have experienced live, are great bands to see if you have the opportunity. Mueran Humanos, now based in Berlin, are presenting their latest album, Miseress. Finally, my friends’ project Colisionador, a synth-pop duet, has new EP underway.
Something not to be missed in Buenos Aires is a milonga: people dancing tango. There’s something so sensual about the music fused with the dance that expresses such intense feelings, that one can’t look away. There’s a particular old place called La Catedral Club, which used to be a dairy factory and is now converted into a wooden dance floor with a huge ceiling decorated with paintings and surrounded by tables and chairs, for the public to enjoy a drink. If you want and are brave enough, you can take lessons for a fair price. It’s not easy, but fun to experience and get a sense of what it’s about. Very frequently, there are big tango festivals in the city, which you simply can’t miss.
San Telmo, the oldest barrio of Buenos Aires, is a blissful place to visit with so much to offer, and has a unique kind of vibe. You can grab a drink and listen to great music at Kirie Music Club, Debar and La Puerta Roja. It’s very common to go there after work, to break routine and extend the day with a more enjoyable end.
Frameless Events has been offering a series of house parties across the city. It brings a diversity of people together to experience a different kind of party. Every time it’s a different house or area, a breath of fresh air, with invited DJs and great options for food and drinks.
Buenos Aires is humongous and has plenty to offer, there is just too much to gather in a short essay. Writing this report has left me with a hunger and encouragement to explore and enjoy this melting-pot city further.
Essential Venues: Niceto Club, Club Cultural Matienzo, La Trastienda, The Roxy, Konex, Groove
Essential Bands: Diosque, D.I.E.T.R.I.C.H., Bauer, Sobrenadar, Altocamet, Mueran Humanos, Colisionador