Maria Rodes y La Estrella de David - Contigo

(ER1269LP-1: 8428846112695/ER1269-2: 8428846212692)

Release date: 11/5/2021.

Limited edition black vinyl with download. CD in Digipak.

TRACKLIST: 01 Hacer El Amor  02 Lo Que Venga Ya Vendrá  03 Viernes  04 Un Mundo Ideal  05 Venga Va  06 Eres 07 Milagro  08 Zombi  09 La Última Vez  10 Fantasmas  11 Lo Que Yo Quería  12 Nos Vamos A Divorciar

Chemistry is magical. Just ask Heisenberg. Its laws constantly defy the logic of what we call common sense, and open doors to new worlds that are hard to explain, but absolutely fascinating. And music? Music is magic. Nobody knows what type of frequencies move our insides, and why it takes them to such great heights, but neither physics nor specialized critics can explain the reasoning they follow and that provoke such emotional chaos. And what happens if you mix chemistry and music? Oh, my friends, oh my… Don’t wait for us to explain it, after these lines to present this album. We’ll just help you set some precedent: Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, Kathleen Brennan and Tom Waits, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg, Bobbie Gentry and Glen Campbell… Something similar has occurred with Maria Rodés and David Rodríguez. It is hard to define, but it gives us the feeling that on “Contigo”, their first album, everything flows, everything works, everything is in the right place, balanced, exciting.

We can’t forget the important work of the (please allow me here) chaperone, Sergio Pérez (SVPER, PEGASVS, THELEMÁTICOS), who has done a titanic job on production and who plays almost all the instruments. In recent years, Sergio has stood out for his tremendous work as a producer. Joe Crepúsculo, LA BIEN QUERIDA, MUJERES, CHUCHO, Lidia Damunt, CARIÑO, PAPA TOPO, SIBYL VANE, LOS PUNSETES, CABIRIA and dozens of key albums from the last decade. And in this case, he somehow makes the twelve songs on this album connect the most characteristic aspects of our protagonists’ individual careers: a sense of humor, sensitivity, imagination, tenderness, irony… Don’t make us tell you which belongs to whom; we’re not completely sure. With a costumbrist air and an eye towards country. And so, so much chemistry. It is a conceptual album about a relationship that begins and ends, but above all it is an album that has the ability to talk about love and beautiful things honestly, with touches of irony, without pretense or empty tropes, staying away from sentimentalism and suffering. They are so transparent they are like water you want to swim in for the rest of your life.

They already showed it on “Hacer El Amor”, the first song they released, and that is the bluegrass rhythm opening track of this album, makes it clear from the start what is going to define this album: attention to detail, lyrics full of references, dazzling touches, and a certain country-folk orthodoxy that fits them like a glove: lyrics about harmony and affection (“Querernos lo justo / Para amarnos siempre / Será pedir mucho / Quizá, no lo sé”) [We want just enough / To love each other forever / It might be asking too much / Maybe, I don’t know], with a sly smile, that touch of humor that lets you peak behind the curtain and see that, ultimately, this is very serious. Or not. “Lo Que Venga Ya Vendrá” brings on the Tex-Mex rhythm, evoking Dolly Parton herself in the very voice of Rodés: “Después de tanto años de revolotear / He encontrado un nido en el que me quiero quedar” (After so many years of fluttering around / I found the nest I’m going to stay in). David gives her a turn at the lead vocals with the ranchero spirit that seeps out of every pore of “Viernes”, with its melancholy and its woeful evocations, and those trumpets that would excite CALEXICO themselves. How wonderful is “Un Mundo Ideal”. It perfectly reflects that moment of romantic tension, of being aware of loving, and the unawareness of the object of that love. And those melodies, that pop urgency. It is exquisite.

“Venga Va” is probably the peak of that magic we were talking about in the first paragraph: a new exercise in melancholy that brings to a culmination what was just beginning on “Un Mundo Ideal”, a perfect duet where each of them gives a little push toward the peak in a song full of inspiration, capable of turning the quotidian into pure excitement. Those nerves, typical of the most inexperienced lovers, that any of us can identify with so completely. And then they go for it: “O lo haces tú o lo hago yo / Lo nuestro es como una canción / Del Festival de Eurovisión” (Either you do it or I do / What we have is like a song / From the Eurovision Festival). The sense of humor to wrap up a magical moment, to keep the levels of saccharine low and make everything feel much more realistic.

“Eres” is closer to fifties soul from a country-folk perspective. It is an exercise in intimacy from Maria Rodés, who puts her all into it, showing the sensitivity her voice is capable of expressing. “Milagro” pulls out all the stops on a night of dancing: clapping, Tex-Mex, and the euphoria of the culmination of a desired love. The celebration, Maria and David in unison. Incendiary.

“Zombi” is “Zombi”. The second advance single is something only they could have written. The first time you realized that the things that seem perfect don’t always last forever. Accepting defects. A glorious chorus. Again, excitement and a sly smile. They’ve done it again. “La Última Vez” continues to glorify ternary rhythms and uses sounds as rising emotions. Maria’s voice is incredible, so expressive. Distances begin to show, space is created, because of love and the lack of it. “Ahora que tu cuerpo es un extraño / Que ya no me atrevo ni a tocar / Ahora echo de menos el misterio / De esos grandes ojos negros / Que me querían mirar” (Now that your body is a stranger / I wouldn’t even dare to touch anymore / Now I miss the mystery / Of those big, black eyes / That wanted to look at me).

“Fantasmas” begins riding away, fleeing. The anxiety, the pain, the spite, the feeling you’ll never be able to love again, and the belief that you must rise up again. She knows it’s going to be intense. The song unfurls with Mediterranean echoes and spaghetti western airs, connecting music on two different shores (that’s what Morricone did, isn’t it?). Then it’s his turn: “Lo Que Yo Quería”. David, intense and calm. Accepting mistakes, understanding that wrong choices were made, and that they all led inevitably to the break-up.

And just like on so many songs we find a sly smile, this one has as much bitterness as sweetness; this song winks knowingly at all the other songs. “Nos Vamos A Divorciar”: liberation, the irony of looking back and thinking about what we felt for a person who doesn’t mean anything to us anymore, who we don’t want to be close to. And finally, recognizing the idiosyncrasies of being human: “Me volveré a enamorar” (I will fall in love again). The never-ending story, the eternal return. And the steel pedal that represents our protagonists walking off in opposite directions, in search of the next story to live.

“Contigo” is nothing more and nothing less than the product of two of the most representative and personal names on the Spanish indie scene, where together, they strengthen each other’s virtues and make them shine, where they show us who they are as musicians, as story-tellers, as creators. Where the math doesn’t make sense – the sum of one + one becomes some unresolvable unknown. Because, didn’t you know it, math is also magical.


Maria Rodés began her musical trajectory with the folk project ONIRIC, to soon after begin a solo career, with great albums like “Una Forma De Hablar” (BCore, 2010) and “Sueño Triangular” (BCore, 2012). In 2014, this active artist released “Maria Canta Copla” (Chesapik), a selection of Spanish folk songs presented in a unique and personal way. This work won over the prestigious singer and composer David Byrne, who signed her up to play the well-known Meltdown Festival in London. She has worked with Ramón Rodríguez (THE NEW RAEMON), Nacho Vegas and Raül Fernández (REFREE). In 2015 a book was published – a journal of illustrated dreams, as Maria likes to describe it – called “Duermevela” by the publisher Alpha Decay. It was a compilation of poetic texts about her own dreams, accompanied by her own illustrations. She has participated on soundtracks for movies like “No Culpes Al Karma De Lo Que Te Pasa Por Gilipollas” (Don’t Blame The Karma For Being An Idiot) and “Vivir Dos Veces” (Live Twice, Love Once) by María Ripoll, and for “Villaviciosa De Al Lado” by Nacho García Velilla. In 2018, “Eclíptica” (Satélite K) won her the Puig Porret prize for best musical creation project. It also got her to sharing the stage with artists the size of David Byrne in the Noches del Botánico Festival in 2018 (David Byrne himself asked Maria to play with them). She has toured in Colombia and Mexico, where one of her albums was also released. 

In September 2019, the multifaceted artist joined the cast of actors of “Las Bárbaras”, a play written by the playwright Lucía Carballal and directed by Carol López, which was a huge success with audiences. This year, her latest album, “Lilith,” (Satélite K, 2020) was released. It is a project created to break down the connotations of the word “witch”, in an album full of magic and mythological references. Nothing too intense. 

David Rodríguez, on his end, is one of the regulars around here. We would not be exaggerating if we said that he is one of the key names on the Spanish independent scene. When we organized the Noise Pop 92 tour, we met him with BACH IS DEAD, one of the groups that helped give rise to the indie scene in Spain, and who somehow opened Pandora’s Box with their celebrated album “Sonotone”. Soon after that, he joined our family when we released those unheard-of albums by BEEF (the first on Acuarela, which was a part of Elefant then). They played in all the national festivals, they opened for PAVEMENT, they released a handful of albums that received a lot of press and made an impact on listeners, and they were number 1 on national best album lists multiple times, in different media. Along the way, they perpetrated that singular project, which was marvelously bizarre and iconoclastic, in collaboration with Tito Pintado (PENELOPE TRIP, ANTI) called TELEFILME, where they played with synthesizers and drum kits in an inimitable exercise in cynicism and deconstruction. With their first album, they also reached the highest positions in the year’s best lists. In 1999, that fantastic 7” Single under the name of JACKSON was released as a part of our Single Club. With the turn of the century, David did not slow down his production, and continued to confirm his unlimited ability as a singer, a composer, and a producer.

As this last facet, we cannot fail to mention his role as producer for LA BIEN QUERIDA’s first five albums, on which he has also sang and played various instruments. This work was imperative in the creation of Ana Fernández-Villaverde’s universe. So much so, that he won the UFi award for best production for “Ceremonia”, among many other nominations. In fact, he has also produced for GASCA, METEOSAT, 12TWELVE, CAMPING, BALAGO, POTA, SKALEXTRIC, ASPIRINA, PRIMOGÉNITO LÓPEZ, LOS PUNSETES, TIGRES LEONES, PERAPERTÚ, ROMBO, PAYASO and Soleá Morente. On Soleá’s latest album, “Lo Que Te Falta”, he was also responsible for song writing and singing some of the songs, like he had already done on “Tendrá Que Haber Un Camino”. As a songwriter, his work stands out with the song “Sol Y Sombra”, which was co-written with Amaia for the film “Legado De Huesos” (The Legacy of the Bones), part of the cinematographic translation of Baztán’s Trilogy. His forays into music composition for different publicity campaigns are also noteworthy. And, of course, we cannot leave out his alliance with Joe Crepúsculo in the project JUNCO Y DIAMANTE, with which they released the album “Las Comarcas De Catalunya Vol.1” in 2013.

In this last decade, he has continued with his personal projects as well. He has released three albums under the moniker LA ESTRELLA DE DAVID, the first one eponymous (El Ejército Rojo, 2007), “Maracaibo” (Canadá Editorial, 2011) and “Consagración” (Sonido Muchacho, 2017). He continues to show off his irony and cynicism on the albums, but also lets us catch glimpses of his warmth and the romanticism that runs through his veins. It is quite a resume.

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