Tatxers Tatxers LP

In the last warm days of summer, I love listening to a record like this. There is a shimmering sadness, like dappled light on a body of water while the sun goes down and you didn’t think you’d need a sweater. These songs have a yearning core to them, melody and longing being the driving themes perfectly suited to the clean guitar tones that drive home lovely, mopey pop songs. With the stabbing guitar of the stunning second track “Labanak,” I realize it might well have just been called “Pamplona Calling.” There are even traces of what we used to call “college rock” in songs like “Iruñea,” with a staccato jangliness I’m always thirsting for. Song to song, though, this isn’t a band retreading old ground, but rather bringing a bright vitality to melodic punk rock with an old-school cool. I feel like there are plenty of bands right now that bring out this feeling of nostalgia for an era that never really existed. Or nostalgia for the now? TATXERS is exactly the kind of band I reach for to rebuke someone telling me they “stopped listening to rock music” a long time ago. The good times are still here (musically anyway), and they’re fleeting as always and full of joy and sadness, just like good rock music should be. A tender little record I’ll be spinning for a long time.

Tatxers Hiruzpalau Amets Larri EP

TATXERS sound like a melancholy, rainy afternoon drinking beer at a pub in old downtown Iruña. Hiruzpalau Amets Larri was a breath of fresh air that hit every squat party in Spain last year. They follow in the tradition of the solid Basque Country scene, but with a brand new approach. The band is more influenced by the sense of melody and arrangements of the early records of punk pioneers ZARAMA than by the cornerstone of the genre in the region, ESKORBUTO—who were coincidentally named by ZARAMA’s singer, Roberto Moso. The guitars are playful and clean, with almost no distortion, snailing through repetitive riffs. You can see the trademark of Julen Urzaiz, engineer at Sound of Sirens studios and godfather to a handful of the new Oi! and Basque punk bands: KALEKO URDANGAK, STREETWISE, AGAINST YOU, HERDOIL. The four songs on this EP have that certain feeling of nostalgia in their own subtle ways, but without turning their backs on a powerful chorus and a fair share of rage. When I listened to Hiruzpalau Amets Larri, thoughts of green and mountainous valleys, old cobbled towns, and endless drizzle, but also riots and pub shows, came to my mind. It’s one of the most outstanding punk records I’ve heard in a long time.