Band of the Day

2011.10.06

Aias

Vintage, lo-fi pop straight from the balmy beaches of Barcelona
Now that we live so far from the sea, we go to the pool, diving underwater.
lyrics from A La Piscina (English translation)

Aias is a lo-fi/indie pop band from Barcelona, Spain that formed in 2009. Their sound Combines classic pop music with copious distortion and vocal harmony. An all-female group, Aias consists of Gaia Bihr (lead vocals, guitar), Laia Aubia (drums, vocals) and Miriam Garcia on (bass, vocals). The name of the band came from combining the names Gaia and Laia. What began as a birthday party band eventually turned into a real band after they made home recordings in their native Catalonia. The recordings caught the attention of New York label Captured Tracks, which released Aias's full-length debut LP A La Piscina in 2010.

Inspired by American bands like Vivian Girls and Best Coast, Barcelona, Spain's Aias have put their unique Catalonian twist on this popular brand of vintage-inspired, beachy pop music. Except these beaches might have paella instead of corn dogs, men in speedos instead of board shorts, and songs sung in their native Catalan language instead of English. What originally started as a birthday party band is now a full-fledged group after the release of their debut album A La Piscina. The name of the band comes from combining the names of band members Gaia Bihr (vocals, guitar) and Laia Aubia (vocals, drums), with Miriam Garcia (vocals, bass) rounding out the all-female trio. Sounding almost like synthesized choir music, opening track “Tu Manes” (which translates as “you tell me what to do”) combines all three of the band member's angelic vocals over fuzzy distorted guitar. The result is as if femme bots have traded metallic armor for billowing church robes, harmonizing on “la la la las” and lyrics that translate as “At midnight I get up from a dream, in arms that never knew yours.” The album's title track “A La Piscina” starts with a “ba ba ba ba ba-da-da” that is equally catchy in any language. You definitely don't need to understand Catalan to have the happy melody stuck in your head, and it's one of those songs that you'll find yourself trying to hum along to even though you don't know any of the words. With lyrics like (thanks, Google Translate!) “Now that we live so far from the sea, we go to the pool, diving underwater,” and light horns thrown in to enhance the feel of innocence, this song is both simple and playful. It's the kind of song that you'll want to have on in the background of a pool party while you're splashing around and enjoying endless, sunshine-filled days. “Aias” also has an immediately catchy and upbeat feel, but with Ramones-inspired “oh oh-oh ohs,” and a nonchalant vocal delivery that will have you coolly bobbing your head and tapping your feet to the simplistic beat. Translating as “Come With Me,” the track “Vine Amb Mi” is the most dramatically different from others on the album. It's somber and slightly downtrodden, as if you might hear it being chanted in Antonio Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia cathedral. But the previously-established playful and summery vibe comes back in the album's closing track, “Amunt I Avall” (or, “Up and Down”). The phrase “A-amunt I avall!” is repeated over and over, with Aias doing their part in making sure at least one useful Catalan phrase is embedded in your brain, long after the album's short-but-sweet thirty minutes is up.