Monday, April 28, 2008

Juventud en Extasis, Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser

JUVENTUD EN EXTASIS Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser, Mexico
Nuevos Ricos

Sophomore effort by the most successful act to emerge from Nuevos Ricos. The album takes its title from a book by Carlos Cuactemoc Sanchez, who was some years ago the best-selling Mexican author. Juventud En Extasis was a must-have during puberty, the book had such a momentum that parents would run and buy it because it was supposedly going to make their kids more aware of the dangers that would come with adulthood (drugs & sex most importantly). Maria Daniela takes this social-family gap and tears it apart. What has happen to that generation that was supposedly destined to collapse?

The album opens with Pecadora normal, an irregular introduction for a much more pleasing album. It follows with Pobre Estupida, perhaps I’m listening way too much to reggaeton, but I find this song to be a tiraera to another colleague. I just can’t seem to resemble the protest lyrics of the song to other genres. Track after track we begin to discover the album's intentions: to break those stereotypes on adolescence made by absurd expectations and media. But it does a fine job at not taking its themes too seriously, it has fun while revealing itself, such as in Asesine a mi novio.

Some say Maria Daniela is Belanova to a new level, truth is the former strives for electronic dance hall glory and the latter seems to find its comfort zone at the sugary romantic factory. But even with the awesome bases of the duo, the girly low note voice might frustrate more than one. Juventud en Extasis is such a great improvement to the first album, which I found somewhat overrated. We now get a confident set of songs that correlate to an idea, this time they are not floating ideas in search for an opportunity.

Engineering is top class, and is one of the few kitsch-pop albums that actually sounds great on the iPod, no annoying vibrations this time. We could call this album a revelation album, some attempt revealing sexually or politically (Calle 13, Los Pinker Tones), Maria Daniela softly endeavors a necessity to understand the youth, with the sensibility Mr. Carlos C. Sanchez seems to be unfamiliar with. The approach is a successful event, and the outcome could only be described as one of the most fun, energetic, and vigorous albums to emerge from Mexico in years.

Numeric Rating: 86/100


Key tracks: Amor Fugaz, Duri Duri, Pobre Estupida

Bienvenida Playlist #2


Just like we promised, you are currently listening to our new awesome playlist. You can now hear some of the most demanded new singles such as Pijamas by Babasonicos and El presente by Julieta Venegas. Also, we thought it was interesting to include two songs in English by Porter and Turbopotamos. Reggaeton has a bigger presence this time starting with one of my favorite songs of 2008: Ni Fu Ni Fa by Tego Calderon featuring special appearances by Celia Cruz & La Mala Rodriguez. Enjoy!

ROCOLA #2
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5 letras, Alexis & Fido
Algo musical, Nejo & Dálmata feat. Arcángel
Ayer, Black Guayaba
Bonita, Cabas
Después, Los Delincuentes feat. Bebe
Dulce muñequita, Los Cafres
El beach boy, Fenomeno Fuzz
El presente, Julieta Venegas
Es la guerra, Robi Draco Rosa
Escríbeme pronto, Instituto Mexicano del Sonido
Esta vez, Café Tacuba
Estelar, Capitan Melao feat. Natalia Lafourcade
Guacamole, Kevin Johansen
Host of a ghost, Porter
La revolución sexual, La Casa Azul
La vecina, Khriz y Ángel
Maldito, Jessy Bulbo
Me duele no estar junto a ti, Monte Negro
Me echaras de menos, Ana Laan
Me tome una pastilla, División Minúscula
Miss Venezuela, Los Amigos Invisibles
Mucho, Elis Paprika
Ni fu ni fa, Tego Calderón feat. Celia Cruz & La Mala Rodríguez
No love, Turbopotamos
Otro mundo, Manu Chao
Palomitos Park, El Guincho
Pijamas, Babasonicos
Pio pio, Single
Pobre estúpida, Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser
Polaroid 66, Señor Flavio
Rio seco, Juana Molina
Sonido total, Los Pinker Tones
Te quiero mucho, Naty Botero
Tijuana Bass, Nortec Collective
Tú hermana, Emmanuel Horvilleur
Un día en el parque, Love of Lesbian
Un error, Ximena Sariñana

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Goodbye to Playlist #1


Say goodbye to our wonderful playlist, a new set of songs will be arriving no later than tomorrow. Also, expect a Jean-Stephane post about his experience at Coachella ’08. Here is the eclectic list of the songs that have accompanied us for a couple of weeks, if you don’t have them in your iPod I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

Rocola vol. 1
_________________________________

53100, Café Tacuba
Adiós, Gustavo Cerati
Amigo en el baño, Kany García
Antes del fin, Circo
Cool, Bebo Valdés
Corazón atómico, Zoe
Cumbia del mole, Lila Downs
Cumbiera intelectual, Kevin Johansen
Despavilate, Anita Tijoux
Dias de luta, dias de gloria, Charlie Brown Jr.
Don’t let go, Pacha Massive
El avión se cae, Calle 13
El kilo, Orishas
Es noches como la de hoy, La Casa Azul
Graffiti, Inmigrantes
Hace tiempo, Fonseca
Historia de amor, Arcángel
Interruptor, Rosal
Ja sei namorar, Tribalistas
La cadena de oro, Cabas
La tina, Ximena Sariñana
Locomotora, El Otro Yo
Marduck, Austin TV
Me llaman calle, Manu Chao
Ojos claros, labios rosas, Ely Guerra
Pa’ bailar, Bajofondo feat. Julieta Venegas
Polaris, Nortec Collective
Por la noche, La Mala Rodríguez
Porque tu no eres un coche, Melendi
Promesas, Los Mono
Siempre me quedara, Bebe
Sol de invierno, Javiera Mena
Soledad, Jorge Drexler feat. Maria Rita
Tamacun, Rodrigo y Gabriela
Un Deseo, Cultura Profética
Yegua, Babasonicos

Friday, April 25, 2008

Alegranza!, El Guincho

ALEGRANAZA! El Guincho, Spain
Discoteca Océano

by Carlos Reyes

Extraordinary album from El Guincho, a tribal sound with a complexity so absolute that makes us think Animal Collective owes us. In a way, El Guincho could be the anti Guille Milkiway (genius La Casa Azul), he serves himself with drums instead of piano tones, marks every beat with steady repetitions, and yet they share a rare quality, we have two masters at creating intimate personal music, something not very common in the prolific party sounds. Get ready to listen to some percussion-heavy wonders, groove and captivating harmonies.

Alegranza! An album that more than one person has qualified as “noisy”, but in that noise lays its multifaceted sound that combines tropical sounds, African drums and a truly deep cohesive sound from his native Canary Islands. El Guincho defines a sound, world alternative, one that takes all of its resources to explore enthusiastic rhythms, is that music that celebrates its own existence. Alegranza! knows how to present itself, look at the album cover and you will find a bird with multiple eyes, is not deformed, is just that natural selection has allowed the animal to look in many directions.

First single Palomitos Park makes me think on a hyper Manu Chao, exercising Afro-beat percussions, interacting with a fictional cheerful audience. An album that truly lifts the spirit, its joyful harmonies almost make it sound like children’s world album. Antillas is another amazing track in which its only chorus becomes the theme of the album, “tu eres mi luz y yo te cantare.” El Guincho’s music reaffirms today’s astonishing indie movement, and is part of Spain’s movement, with all the tendencies of a true eclectic musical industry that collapsed and started to rise four years ago.

Even more surprising is to know that Alegranza! is Guincho’s solo debut, what a promising artist. If you are going surfing, I suggest you listen to Kalise; you might even dance while surfing. El Guincho is our artist of the week.

Numeric Rating: 94/100

Key tracks: Palomitos Park, Kalise, Costa Paraiso.

Pronto... the return of NORTEC (1/2 of them at least)


Sorry for the absence this last week, we’ve been very busy. Am I the only one desperately waiting for some new NORTEC? Hopefully not, we are counting the days until we get our hands on TIJUANA SOUND MACHINE, another much awaited album from Nacional Records. While Tijuana Sessions vol.3 focused more on the banda sound, this time we’ll be getting a much norteño-electronic fusion from Nortec’s Bostich and Fussible. Their tour has been announced, come to Phoenix pleaze!

BRING IT!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Artist of the week: Ana Laan


Artist: Ana Laan
Country: Spain
Genre: Pop/Bossa Nova

The artist of the week comes from Spain, and is in our opinion, one of the most promising voices en the Ibeoramerican music scene. She has collaborated with important artists such as Jorge Drexler and Sergio Dalma, and has already recorded an album without much success (commercially of course). But her most recent album Chocolate and Roses, has gathered attention after been featured in iTunes single of the week, which meant that people could actually download her song Paradise for free.

Ana proposes a multicultural album in several languages, but mostly English and Spanish. Whether it is a melody, bolero, or a bossa nova, she achieves nothing less than excellence. The highlight of the album is perhaps Me echaras de menos; it really captures the essence of bilingual cultures with without becoming noisy or silly. She takes us on a truly charming voyage throughout Sweden, Spain, France and the U.S.

A truly remarkable artist that we are glad to have known thanks for the heads up Lavate las Orejas!

Key Tracks: Paradise, Me Echara de Menos, Chocolate and Roses

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

La Maravilla, Arcangel


LA MARAVILLA Arcángel, Puerto Rico
FLOW FACTORY?

by Carlos Reyes

Is Puerto Rico really producing the best music in Latin America? Perhaps not as revolutionizing as the one produced in Spain, but when you have the hottest urban act (Calle 13) the most respected Latino rocker (Robi Draco Rosa) and a new wave of rock in the island (Circo, Black Guayaba), one can already forecast the emerge of new talented musicians. Arcángel is one of them; even though he is an experienced reggaetonero he finally earns his emancipation with La Maravilla. The direct title suggested a masterpiece, a marvel, something only Kanye West would have the guts to self proclaim. La Maravilla (leaked by the artist via Rapidshare) sounds like a masterwork indeed. It's a progressive album that signifies a new quest for the urban genre. Along with the recent Vico C’s Desahogo and Calle 13’s Residente y Visitante, Arcángel delivers one of the best Latin urban albums of all time.

The opening track "Intro" is a collaboration with long time imprisoned rapper Tempo, it is an ironic and self constructive introduction recorded as a phone call from prison. They kindly greet each other, and immediately form a padrino-aijado relationship were both seem to question hate, popularity and the genre’s mediocrity. The inspiring album follows with "Tengo tantas ganas de ti," reminiscent of the early work by Michael Jackson in both, sounds and themes. Later he takes us on a trip where we found a tabooed genre within the reggaeton community: POP. Arcángel is never fearful of touching foreign musical grounds, and that itself elevates his art and reaffirms that his flow factory is factual and not just an entrepreneur’s attempt. The wonder stays away from formulas  and decides to make a path for himself.

No Pueden Con El Chamaquito asks his competition to accept that they can’t handle his flow. At the same time, the song carries a message (targeting both, politics and the monopoly of the music industry) where he suggests change must happen in the greatest empires and announcing that his turned has come. A song that seeks attention to the new generation acknowledging the individual at the throne (either a president or Tempo) calling him “the lion” and introducing “the kitten” (Arcángel obviously), and man! this baby sure knows how to roar. We find exotic tropical rhythms in"Me he enamorado de ti" and first single "Pa que la pases bien," both songs that will.i.am has been trying to produce in the last few years without any fortune.

The album's unprecedented technique is its organization. It follows a template consisting of an introduction (with a fantastic clincher), a body that's truly celestial, and a classy conclusion with the final track "Te Falta," a song where he no longer calls himself a kitten, but a true cantautor. While Daddy Yankee and Don Omar fall into clichés by calling themselves the kings with pathetically simple lyrics, Arcángel proves himself to be worthy of earning the crown soon. He's like a young open-minded Vico C, distilled of the evangelical tone. It's refreshing to see a singer/rapper/reggaetonero that has no regrets in presenting romanticism and melancholic verses alongside sexual connotations and have it all fit within popular entertainment. Who else could come out with the most hysterical introduction in a song? One that totally blew me away -“Yo soy Arcángel. Optimus. Transformer.”. What an intimidating (and genius) way to make a first impression. 

Numeric Rating: 96/100

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Suenan Los Sonideros, Sonidero Nacional

SUENAN LOS SONIDEROS DA MIXTAPE Sonidero Nacional, México
SONES DEL MEXSIDE

If you listen to radio, go to clubs and reside in the southwest of the country (U.S.), you’ll probably heard a badass song with a badass beat that no one seems to know who sings it or how it got to be the pre-summer hit of the year. Sonidero Nacional is a collaborative group from Monterrey that acquired recognition for contributing to Celso Piña’s marvellous Cumbia Sobre El Rio. Sadly, the project was never ambitious enough to strive for fresh tropical Mexican sounds and faded away from our memories. After the split of Control Machete, probably Mexico’s best hip hop act ever, member Toy Hernandez broke through with an incredibly mastery becoming one of Mexico’s most demanded producers (from hip-hop diva La Mala Rodriguez, to Colombia’s alternative Cabas to pop star Paulina Rubio).

The group seems to be a fun collage of sounds, from Mexican soundscapes to the new wave of happy electro coming out from Monterrey. Why do I feel they are wasting their talent? Perhaps because most of the time I can’t stand remixes, especially when they are so obtrusive to the original sample. Overlapping beats conflict my hearing, caused by that constant struggle/aspiration of the DJ to become the protagonist. I’m not sure if we can consider this a mixtape; I truly wonder if Sonidero Nacional has been keeping original material and will eventually to propose a new sound, or if these remix are just what they have to offer. Just like Luny Tunes’ Kings of the Beats, this album suggests talented producers but not an actual sound worthy of my money or time.

The album contains remixes, skits and even live tracks of very recent hits by Daddy Yankee, Don Omar, Jay Z, Juanes, The Black Eyed Peas and other must-hear songs at quinceañeras o bautizos. It may not come as a surprise that the best tracks are those we are not as familiar with such as Lorna’s La Popola, Fase’s Acapulco 78 or Notch’s Contigo. Back to the first single, the album’s best track is by far Grande de Caderas. Some club goers are relating it to Kumbia Kings or Kinky, but it sounds more like a Cabas meets Calle 13. The song was originally made popular by Bronco (the now totally-uninspired comeback El Gigante de America). It is the only song in the album fully credited to Sonidero Nacional, that is, because they are not only remixing it but also contains all original arrangements and vocals.

If you were a fan of those Tropi-Rollo series of albums that used to sell like crazy, you’ll probably enjoy the album a lot. If you don’t have a clue of what I’m talking about my suggestion is to find Grande de Caderas, download it and wait to see if Sonidero Nacional delivers a worthy album in the future.

Numeric Rating: 48/100

Key Track: Grande de Caderas

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Silverio, Silverio Review

SILVERIO Silverio, México
NUEVOS RICOS

Showman at heart, bow down for Mexico’s most exciting and electrifying DJ. Lead man from Nuevos Ricos, the stylish indie label that is provoking international attention not only for its high profile music, but also for its energetic visual artistry that seems to frame a real movement in the Aztec nation. An album that celebrates the excess of every aspect in our surroundings, even if there is barely any actual lyrics we can perceive a virtuoso making exaggeration its most secretive and luxurious companion.

The album’s first single Yepa Yepa Yepa has officially become the artist’s anthem. A somewhat hi-fi that is able to carry us to Europe with its electric accelerations and get us back to the Americas with a hilarious excerpt of a Mexican movie. El Dedo Suizo promotes electro kitsch to portray the beat’s sexual themes. The DJ seems to have a social commentary hidden beneath the loudness, but it is almost impossible to convey it without poetic lyrics supporting him.

However, his proposal and merit find its most comfortable stage when attending a Silverio show. In contrast with Bajofondo or Instituto Mexicano Del Sonido, this artist acknowledges that his album is only a portion of what he’s got to offer. When Silverio gets in stage, the world doesn’t stop; it seems to carry itself into a wild catharsis of sound and its most jubilant response: movement. This is what I call progressive music, an experimental art form that was meant to be created by showmen, Silverio is one of them.

A bit repetitive? Yes, but I’ll assure exciting rides in your car listening to a song like XXX. Beware that it might make you want to fly, and unless you are gifted/weird/supernatural, I am deeply sorry to inform you that we (all humans, not just latinos) do not have wings, neither cars have them. MUSICA PARA MOVER EL ESQUELETO.

Numeric Rating: 74/100

Key Tracks: Yepa Yepa Yepa, XXX, El Dedo Suizo