Here at Antiquiet, we like to present you, our valuable reader, with new music you might not know yet – be it a new underground band or something that went under our collective radars. To go a bit more off the beaten path, bands from countries outside the US/UK will be featured occasionally on our brand new Antiquiet World Tour series, exposing you to great sounds that our overseas writers are excited about.
To start things off, here’s a beginner’s guide to one of the most significant Brazilian rock bands to ever come by: Titãs. Though the vast majority of their music is sung in Portuguese, we’ll introduce you to the band with Clitóris, a song whose title you can probably make the meaning out in English:
As seen in the video, Titãs (as in titans, not titties) had a slightly odd structure: the band’s “classic” lineup featured eight members, five of which were lead singers on their own tracks – think of a setting similar to QOTSA around the Songs For The Deaf era, but doubled over. Formed in São Paulo, in 1981, the group had all of its members writing music, resulting in a surprising variety of influences and styles, and making it pointless to pinpoint a single genre (or rock subgenre) for them. The members’ refusal to be associated with any particular style also helped, and provided a constant flow of creativity for quite some time, adhering to elements from punk, metal, new wave, ska, and synth-pop.
Their first lead-single Sonífera Ilha (along with the ridiculous costumes and dances on auditorium shows) should be enough to turn most people off nowadays, but it’s what gained the band some initial exposure, and allowed them to truly take flight later on. While their self-titled 1984 debut and the following year’s Televisão had their moments, things got truly interesting in 1986, with their third LP, Cabeça Dinossauro. Enlisting Os Mutantes producer Liminha, the band’s sound finally came into its own; each singer’s contributions and respective influences continued to be fleshed out in the following, more self-indulgent LP Jesus Não Tem Dentes No País Dos Banguelas (1987), and culminated in their wonderfully diverse magnum opus, O Blesq Blom (1989). Without further ado, here’s a playlist featuring essential, standout tracks from those albums, in order to properly get to know the group:
Also featured in that playlist are tracks from their 6th record, Tudo Ao Mesmo Tempo Agora (1991), a raw, self-produced effort that found the band heading in a more streamlined rock direction. That direction would continue for a few more records, and see their musical output become less and less essential over time. 1993’s Jack Endino-produced Titanomaquia saw the departure of lead singer Arnaldo Antunes; in 2001, guitarist Marcelo Fromer passed away in an accident, and bassist/lead singer Nando Reis left soon after; following a couple of unremarkable releases, drummer Charles Gavin would also leave, with the band now being a 4-piece, aided by new drummer Mario Fabre. Onstage, however, they continue to be among the finest acts that originated from Brazil. In 2012, following the trend of artists who performed classic albums live, the band went on tour playing Cabeça Dinossauro in full, which resulted in a fantastic live DVD – most of which you can check out in the YouTube playlist below (if it doesn’t work in your country, there’s more music further down):
Titãs have their fourteenth LP scheduled for a release in 2014, and we’re looking forward to seeing if remaining members Paulo Miklos, Branco Mello, Sergio Britto and Tony Belotto can recapture some of the band’s heyday. The four albums that we linked above (which can be listened to in full on YouTube) are still well worth checking out, and easily surpass most Brazilian bands – you let us know how it ranks among similar acts from elsewhere. And for those still in doubt, or without the patience to go through an entire album, here’s another playlist, featuring less obvious picks, as well as material from other LPs:
Unfortunately, Titãs’ classic material isn’t available on iTunes or most streaming services – though Grooveshark has a surprising amount of it. As mentioned before, you can find all their classic stuff on YouTube; if you feel inclined to purchase any of it, Amazon or eBay would be the way to go. Their Facebook page can be found here.