Sometimes with music, I get so fed up with prettiness. To take that even further, I get tired of consonance. To slim down the world of music to only western music, and then slim that down further to my preferred genre of rock music, one is ill-pressed to find that minuscule sliver, that sub-sect of a sub-sect of musicians playing anything that veers aways from one of 2 scales: major and minor. Why is it that in rocknroll, with all it’s supposed swagger and rebelliousness against all things status quo, that so few are willing to embrace a little dissonance?
But in a world that seems to consciously fight for the right to be unconscious of anything ugly, bands like Negro Leo are a much needed reminder that you can’t have one without the other. Hailing from the beach city of Rio de Janeiro, their music seems to avoid structure almost exclusively, like free jazz but with rock instruments.. free rock, maybe.. or no wave. Dissonance reigns supreme, never once allowing the listener a hook or a moment of beauty. This idea is perfectly represented by the cover art for Ilhas de Calor, which depicts a dirty puddle surrounded by tarnished metal.
As all the words are in Portuguese, it isn’t easy to know what Negro Leo is telling us. Google Translate gives some insight, and the insight is bleak, bizarrely astrological, apocalyptic, and somewhat violent. One of the only songs in English, Xereca Satânica …. which I think translates to Satanic Cunt… goes, “Be nasty to your cock, Hold it against the cop, Be violent to your pussy, Hold it against the rocks”.
Ok, so not exactly music for a Sunday morning drive, but if you’ve got an itch for something new and different in your musical diet, you couldn’t do much better than Negro Leo.
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