The last time I met Lê Almeida, he asked me about Guided By Voices, a band he holds in very high esteem. In a light suburban accent, he asked me "is it really true that Rob Pollard took Matador’s hundred thousand dollar advance from Alien Lanes, spent forty bucks on the record, and blew the rest on beer?” I told him I wasn’t sure and that I would confirm by e-mail later. Of course the next day I forgot about it, but I just checked the band's biography and I can finally confirm the information - or at least the version certified by the biographer.
Resident of Vilar dos Teles, district of São João do Meriti (Baixada Fluminense), Lê Almeida composes with the same prolificacy and with the same talent for melody as Pollard. The real difference is that after 10 years, technological lo-fi aesthetics—Tascam four-track recorders, vocals buried in the mix, a dose of noise that soaks all the sound—is an aesthetic choice and not the necessity it was for DIY rockers of the last decade.
Informed and influenced by the Carioca scene, but far from the rich neighborhoods of Zona Sul, Lê went on to create his own space, planting the drums in his backyard, in the midst of clotheslines, recording with a rotten computer microphone and founding Transfusion Noise Records to give vent to all his crew’s work, a cast of bands including the likes of Tape Rec, Babe Florida, Uma Nova Orquídea em Meu Jardim Alucinógeno, Coloração Desbotada e Carpete Florido.
All these projects share an unconditional love for US lo-fi: from the already mentioned GBV and Pavement to Yo La Tengo and Athens’ Elephant 6 scene. Played with love in shows at little drink shops and motorcycle clubs, Lê’s budding crew reverberated out of the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro, and has raised allies out of state, releasing albums in 2011 by groups like Top Surprise (MG) and Hierophant Purple (SP).
Rio de Janeiro, BR
Lê Almeida, João Casaes, Bigu Medine, Joab Régis
Transfusão Noise Records