Buenos Aires and Bilbao's Most Rocking Citizens
Genre: Garage Rock
When they started: 1998
Most like: The Stooges, The Kills, Sonic Youth
The Sound: Post-millenial mashup of every sexy rock outfit since the Velvet Underground
The name Capsula come’s from the song “Space Oddity,” and they do have David Bowie’s spectral sheen, but that’s not all. Frontman and guitarist Martin Guevera, along with bassist and singer Coni Duchess and drummer Ignacio Villarejo moved from Argentina to Bilbao, Spain a decade ago, but they kept with them that whiff of Latin-American psych rock, in addition to their obvious love of the glam and garage rock of Bowie and Iggy Pop. Plus, Coni’s icy cold aplomb on bass would make Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth proud, which is displayed here on their latest single, “Hit’n'Miss”:
But don’t let Martin’s Ramones haircut fool you: Capsula are no retro cover band. The trio make a huge sound, bringing the rebellion of the Cramps and the gloss of Bowie to the melodic fuzz of Os Mutantes. The result is like a more organic sounding version of The Kills: the same killer attitude, but with more atmosphere, and the muscularity of a live drumkit. In their use of retro rock to build a fresh sound in a place not traditionally known for punk rock, they remind me of Korea’s Galaxy Express, another leather-clad trio with 70s rock heros.
Early in their career, Capsula came out with a trio of albums back in Buenos Aires, but a flurry of touring in Europe pushed them to relocate to Spain’s Basque country, where they’ve been for over a decade. And whatever’s in the water over there, it’s pushed them to the next level of fuzz-flavored rock. They’ve been to SXSW every year since 2009, building up a rabid base of admirers with their stage presence. Last year’s The Land of Silver Souls was produced by John Agnello, who not only worked on Cyndi Lauper’s records in the 1970s, but most recently produced Dalston punk trio Male Bonding and mixed Lee Ranaldo’s solo album. Capsula are in good company, and judging from the live energy of their five straight SXSW appearances, they’re making an impression.