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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Valencia, Spain

by Sergio Ramirez

There is something special about this city: its exceptional climate, the open and festive character of the inhabitants, and its gastronomy makes Valencia a favourite destination for international travellers. It's a city full of colour, light and noise, as is seen year after year in the famous Fallas festival. A stroll though the bed of the dried-up river Turia or having a "caña" rum in the district of Carmen are two popular customs enjoyed by Valencia's citizens and are highly recommended. The cultural life of the city has increased greatly in recent years. There are now more museums than ever but there's less of the effervescent musical activity of previous decades. Despite that, the success of veteran local bands like La Habitación Roja or Polar and the appearance of new bands like Índigo or Euro-Trash Girl has raised the musical panorama of Valencia. The programming of gigs is also more regular thanks to promoters like Tranquilo Niebla. Tranquilo Niebla was a mythical club where you could listen to the best indie pop music in the city and then a record label, but now they concentrate solely on putting on gigs. Another great label is Zebra Records, which has bands like Siwel, Euro-Trash Girl and Nice Man (Francis McDonald).There's also a rich variety of radio programs in Valencia where you can hear indie pop from all over the planet. The pioneer here was Jorge Albi, whose radio show La Conjura de las Danzas ran from the end of the 80s through most of the 90s, and who also put on festivals with bands like The La´s, Happy Mondays, The Darling Buds, The Pop Guns, James, and the Katydids. Today radio shows like Toxicosmos and Ya No Puedo Mas with their On Air club night continue to give the city moments of passion, pop and emotion.


Clubs


On Air club
Traveling club, monthly frequency, free entrance
The On Air Club is a continuation of the Toxicosmos and Ya No Puedo Mas radio shows. Starting in 2001, the club put on themed nights where music was taken care of in detail, with indie pop, soul and sixties pop being played. Lately the club has been based at Swan, c/ Juan Giner 15, Benimaclet.
(www.onairclub.info)


Shuffle
Traveling club, monthly frequency, free entrance.
Shuffle started in the autumn of 2003. Run by Dani Spansul, Borja Go·Gorostiza and Pablo de la Cruz, with a variety of guest DJs, the club plays r'n'b, soul, and sixties garage. Lately the club has been based at Swan, c/ Juan Giner 15, Benimaclet.

(www.shuffleclub.tk)


Bars

La Tribu
c/ Zarra 7, 4pm-2am
With a pop decor and comfortable sofas, this is a pleasant place to have a cup of coffee or a beer while listening to new wave anthems and the latest British hype. A new addition to the Cedro district.

El Tornillo
c/ Campoamor 42, Wednesday-Saturday, 8pm-4am
One of the great classic bars of the city. Each weekend different DJs play pop, indie, bossonova, electro, technopop and more. On Wednesday they serve cold suppers with calm sounds and a relaxed atmosphere. They also dish up exotic drinks like mojitos and caipirinhas.
(www.eltornillo.com)

Velvet
c/ Campoamor 58, Thursday-Saturday, 8pm-4am
This bar's full name is The Velvet Underground and it's one of the Cedro disctrict's classic bars. A large place with lots of seating and a fair size dancefloor, it's decked out in psychedelic design. Music is indie, pop-rock and power pop. Classic black and white films are often shown too.

Swan
c/ Juan Giner 15, Thursday-Saturday, 11.30pm-4am
In the heart of the Benimaclet district, this cool bar celebrates all things Sixties, playing soul, psyche, garage, sixties grooves, psychedelia and pop. Short films and theatre are put on once a week for a young crowd. Highly recommended.
(webs.ono.com/usr034/Swanclub)


Record Shops

Amsterdam Discos
Nuevo Centro, local 80, Monday-Saturday, 10am-9pm
You'll find records from the Fifties right up to the current day on the shelves of Amsterdam Discos. Rock, indie, soul, funk, psychedelia, punk, new wave - it's all here. There's a great import records selection too. Juan Vitoria has been running this shop for more than twenty years.
(www.arrakis.es/~jvitoria/Amsterdam)

Harmony
Pasaje Dr. Serra 9, Monday-Saturday, 10am-1.30pm, 5pm-8.30pm
A small shop with lots of CDs and cheap prices, and a great second hand section. You'll find rock, pop, soul, blues, psychedelia, metal and goth here. They also sell videos, DVDs and posters.

Mardigras!
c/ Mantas 2, Monday-Saturday, 10am-1.30pm, 5pm-8.30pm
Run by DJ Jose, this vinyl-only store specialises in soul-funk-jazz and rare grooves from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. There is also an interesting selection of second hand records and American originals. Located next to La Lonja.

Fnac
Plaza San Agustín, Monday-Sunday, 10am-9.30pm
A shopping centre rather than a store, Fnac sells CDs, DVDs and books. All styles, all eras. Good for bargain hunters.
(www.fnac.es)

Jailbird Records
c/ Padre Huerfanos 6 (Plaza del Carmen), Monday - Saturday, 11am - 2pm, 5pm - 9pm
The newest record shop in the town, selling pop, rock, electronica, jazz, and specialising in independent labels. Mainly CDs with a interesting vinyl section with classics and new releases.
(www.jailbirdrecords.com)


Local Bands

La Habitación Roja
Formed in the mid Nineties in the small town of La Eliana, near Valencia, La Habitación Roja are Valencia's most succesful band. When they began, they played powerpop (with pure melodies and guitars), but with time they've matured into something more personal. They've released several records with different Spanish indie labels (Grabaciones En El Mar, Astro and now with Mushroom Pillow). Their most recent album was recorded in Chicago and produced by Steve Albini.
(www.lahabitacionroja.com)

Polar
Excellent reviews for their records and live shows have made Polar a cult band. Formed in 1994, they've been compared to Galaxie 500 and their record label describes their music with adjectives like sweet, exciting, atmospheric, evocative, chilling, and painful. They've released three records (two on Jabalina Records and the first with the Valencian label Tranquilo Niebla.
(www.polartheband.com)

Índigo
Indigo haven't stopped growing since their formation in 2003. Now an eight piece, the group consists of photographers, artists and writers as well as musicians. With delicate and melancholic melodies, and a variety of voices and elaborate arrangements, Indigo are a breath of fresh air for Valencia. The band have released several records on their own label.
(www.indigomusica.tk)

Euro-Trash Girl
A band with obvious American influences. Named after a Cracker song, Euro-Trash Girl take their cue from Wilco, The Jayhawks and Velvet Crush. Signed to Zebra records, they've released one album.
(www.eurotrashgirl.net)


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If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

 
 
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