Band of the Day

2012.01.20

La Vida Boheme

An explosive frenzy of Venezuelan dance punk (complete with cowbells!)
En el fin del mundo, solo, solito, solo. Bailaré y cantaré con ángeles caídos.
lyrics from Calle Barcelona

La Vida Bohème is a four-piece dance punk/post-punk band from Caracas, Venezuela. Formed in late 2006, the band's lineup includes Henry D’Arthenay (guitar and lead singer), Rafael Pérez (bass guitar and vocals), Daniel de Sousa (guitar and vocals), and Sebastián Ayala (drummer and vocals). Their music is inspired by a combination of 70s New York punk, British post-punk, and contemporary indie dance punk, with influences ranging from The Ramones, to Gang of Four, to LCD Soundsystem. After many practice sessions at warehouses without electricity in Venezuela, and writing songs in parking lots, La Vida Bohème released their debut, self-titled EP as a free download through Fanzinatra. Shortly after, they recorded their debut LP, 2010's Nuestra, with producer Rudy Pagliuca (guitarist of Malanga), which was mixed by Leonel Carmona and mastered in Argentina by Andrés Mayo. Initially released as a free download (one of the first in Venezuela) on All Of The Above, the band soon signed with Nacional Records, who distributed the album across North America in 2011. In September of 2011, the band received two Latin Grammy nominations from Latin Recording Academy: "Nuestra" (Best Rock Album) and "Radio Capital" (Best Rock Song).

We have a fever here at Band of the Day, and the only prescription is more cowbell! Ready to fill that prescription is La Vida Bohème, a four-piece dance punk group from Caracas, Venezuela. Their music is inspired by a combination of 70s New York punk, British post-punk, and contemporary indie dance punk, with influences ranging from The Ramones, to Gang of Four, to fellow dance punk/cowbell-enthusiasts, The Rapture. Named after Puccini's 1896 opera, La Vida Bohème are already a hit in their native Venezuela. They often play explosively frenzied sets—usually involving moshing, crowd surfing, and neon paint-throwing—to sweaty masses of thousands of fans. Since releasing their 2011 debut album, Nuestra, they've found a fan in American super producer, Diplo, and were finalists in MTV Iggy's 2011 Best New Band contest. And with songs like “El Buen Salvaje,” it's not hard to hear what all the buzz is about. Fans of the video game FIFA 12 might recognize the song's catchy whistling riff, as it was included in the game's soundtrack. Juxtaposed against an apocalyptic barrage of distorted guitars, booming bass, and militaristic beats, the jolliness of the whistling gives the feel of someone obliviously strolling down a street while the world is crumbling to pieces. “Danz!” is the song that makes it obvious why people go so wild during their concerts. It mixes harder, angular guitar sounds with a rapid cowbell beat, and lyrics like, “My feet/el sound/el dance/around!” that get their point across in two languages at once. While songs like “Danz!” are straightforward party songs, others like “Flamingo” show that La Vida Bohème are much more dynamic than you might initially think. It's slowed-down, with all four band members harmonizing with each other in an almost choir-like fashion. Lead singer Henry D’Arthenay romantically sings, in Spanish, lyrics that translate as “You are my calm” and “Even if I'm bothering you, I'll still make you dinner...again.” With a lone horn opening, followed by an infectious cowbell beat and handclaps, “Radio Capital” shows off the best of everything La Vida Bohème has to offer: it's punky, yet highly danceable, and just plain fun. The singalong section of “Gabba gabba hey!” is like a secret handshake in pop culture, referencing The Ramones' 1977 song, “Pinhead,” which took the line from the 1932 film “Freaks.” Though everything from their band name, to their lyrics, to their music style is taken from existing art forms, La Vida Bohème has truly crafted their own unique sound—and prove that they're deserving of an album title that translates as “Ours.”