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Ear to the Ground: Las Sultanas’ “Rober”

This all-female Spanish garage-rock outfit writes catchy songs that are perfect for vintage B-movie soundtracks.

Who knew old-school garage rock is huge in Spain? Like American garage, the genre is largely dude-dominated, so that makes Las Sultanas—an all-female quintet from the breezy seaside town of Alicante—doubly refreshing. But of course it’s their love for vintage, surf-toned guitars, hep go-go rhythms, and classic girl-group vocals that will win you over.

From the Moorish-inspired riffs and sparkling reverberations of what could be an old Fender Mustang to the ’60s proto-punk attack and unison vocals, Las Sultanas rocks with the confidence and attitude of the Dagger Debs gang from the old exploitation film Switchblade Sisters.

“Rober,” the first song from their 2014 debut EP Haren, plays like the soundtrack to a ’60s Spanish hot-rod B-movie. Irene Sultana’s endearing guitar solo sounds as if she’s playing with one finger on the fretboard of a pawnshop Teisco Tulip. Lead singer Sandra Sultana sneers in her native tongue like she was raised on vinyl volumes of Pebbles and Nuggets compilations.