London-based, pan-continental instrumental four-piece Los Bitchos are gearing up to release their highly anticipated debut album, Let The Festivities Begin! on 4th February via City Slang. Formed of Serra Petale (guitar), Agustina Ruiz (keytar), Josefine Jonsson (bass) and Nic Crawshaw (drums), the band have joyfully blended elements of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf guitars to create their collection of buoyant new songs.
We think one of the best ways to get to know a band is by asking what music inspired them to write in the first place. We caught up with Los Bitchos to ask about their “Five Favourites” – five albums that have inspired their song-writing techniques. Check out their choices below and scroll down to watch Los Bitchos’ video for her ‘Pista (Fresh Start)’ at the end of this post.
1. Dead Or Alive – Youthquake
Serra: This album embodies everything I love about the 80’s. Outrageous high energy production, out of control brass arrangements, chorus stained overdriven guitars and uncanny vocals that really hit. Funnily enough, I had only come across the full album over the past few years, before that I’d always thought of Dead Or Alive as a bit of a one hit wonder band – they are far from that. This was one of Stock Aitken and Waterman’s first breakthrough productions, which for me really became the sound of the 80’s. They are second to none, and every time I listen back to the songs, I always find an extra element going on in the background that i did not notice before.
All the while you have Pete Burns laying down one of the best vocal performances I’ve ever heard on an album, he is like a cyberpunk Opera singer that’s stumbled into an 80’s rave, such a captivatingly magical frontman. Each of the songs on the record have something that stands out and it’s pure fun and energy from start to finish. Apart from the incredible stand out hit, ‘You Spin Me Round’, the album truly shines with songs like ‘DJ Hit That Button’ and ‘My Heart Goes Bang (Get me to the Doctor)’. This album makes me feel like dancing all night with big hair, a Pete Burns eye patch, spandex, shoulder pads and taking on the world.
2. Lush – Spooky
Serra: I remember hearing and seeing the video for ‘Nothing Natural’ for the first time about 7 years ago when my boyfriend randomly sent me a YouTube link saying, “I think you’ll like this” – boy was he right! Lush were definitely on my radar as they would often pop up on 90’s music shows me and my brother would watch in Australia when I was a child, but my love for them was really cemented in my mid-twenties. Robin Guthrie from the Cocteau twins was on board as the producer, and what he did with this record is absolutely sublime. Lots of layering, lots of effects and washes running throughout the songs, I think it’s quite a studio album in that way, a lot of these effects would have been difficult to pull off live.
Miki Beryani and Emma Anderson have somewhat of a perfect matching of gorgeous falsetto vocals, as they often sing together on their songs and their harmonies just get under my skin in the best possible way. Their vocals are so delicate, and I love how they contrast against the swirling guitars drenched in chorus and reverb and Guthrie’s wall of sound. I would say the guitar sound/tone on this record is something I try to emulate on everything I do. Songs like ‘Nothing Natural’, ‘Tiny Smiles’ and ‘Superblast’ are stand out moments, their vocal and guitar melodies seem to capture certain bleakness and sadness that always sticks with me and has had such a profound influence on the music I make today.
3. The Ramones – End Of The Century
Agustina: End of the Century by The Ramones is arguably one of the less popular albums among Ramones fans, but personally, I always loved it the most. To start with, the artwork looks incredible, it’s just cheesy punk all over the place. They look cool and carefree, but retaining a certain romanticism at the same time, a cover full of contradictions. It was an album produced by Phil Spector, which obviously meant instant speculation. Apparently my favourite Ramone (Dee Dee) didn’t even play his bass parts in the final recordings and while they were at the studio it was debauchery and chaos, bless them.
But I gotta give it to them, despite the apparent recording troubles, the songs are pure gems. ‘Danny says?’ makes me wanna cry & go back to my love. ‘I’m Affected’ reminds me of my first kiss outside my parents’ house. ‘Do You Remember Rock and Roll Radio’ takes me back to my bed back home listening to this album for the first time. ‘Baby I Love You’ well, this cover will melt even the most cold person on earth’s heart. I could go on and on forever with all the songs, but don’t worry I won’t! One of my fave bits about this album? Ten years ago I bought a really rare edition in Brooklyn for a fiver without even knowing how special it was, but when I found out, that made me love it even more.
4. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake
Josefine: Not sure how or when Polly Jean Harvey entered my world, but I do know I absolutely RINSED this record in the months leading up to me leaving Sweden behind to move to the UK to study music. It came out in the early spring of 2011, and I moved in the fall that same year, and I would basically only listen to music from the UK to mentally prepare myself for months. This record has really stuck with me over the years, and I continue to discover new things about its melodies and moods still. Picking a record is a funny one for me because controversially (or at least I think it is), I don’t often get hooked on a specific record – instead I tend to get obsessed with a song or artist first and from there jump all over their discography in a frenzy. However, with this record I do stop and listen to it from start to finish as one piece, and what a brilliant piece it is!
5. PJ Harvey – Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Nic: This has to be one of the most nostalgic and powerful albums for me. It came out just before my 17th birthday and I remember one of the girls I was working with in the local cinema telling me about this artist she had just discovered with such excitement. She’s put out so many incredible records but for me this one will always feel special. I’ve revisited it so many times. When I went to New York it was one of the albums I listened to a lot while walking miles and miles around the city. ‘Good Fortune’ is one of those songs you can put on and just feel invincible, and like it’s you against the world. It’s so powerful. ‘You Said Something’ instantly brings back memories but still feels like a tune I could discover now and become obsessed with. This album just doesn’t age! ‘The Whores Hustle And The Hustlers Whore’ still gives me chills. The energy and dynamic of this woman is so inspiring. I was just starting to play shows in my first band around that time and PJ was a huge role model for just being myself, knowing my power, and losing myself in performing. A real hero and an absolute masterpiece of an album.
Thanks to Los Bitchos for sharing their favourites with us!
Watch their video for ‘Pista (Fresh Start)’ below.
Photo Credit: Tom Mitchell