Sunday, November 30, 2008

Binario, Binario

BINARIO, BINARIO
Far Out Recordings, Brazil ***1/2
Rating: 77
By Carlos Reyes

A refreshing encounter of groove, tropicalia and rock find themselves in the middle of a fluent sound seizure; this is the unexpectedly confident debut album from Brazil’s Binario. A seven member band that stands out because they have found common ground to maximize themes, which consequently reflects a healthy musical visualization of their own direction and its correlation with their talent. Binario just like Los Amigos Invisibles (but a bit less tropical) appoint a complex instrumentation as the basis of their music, the absence of parallel loops filters its music even more, until we hit a precise point where emotion surrounds the entire piece, luckily Binario allows us to perceive it in so many color schemes and personalities that their first album becomes an irresistible standard. There is a fun collision of sounds that almost feel like instrumental duels, the vocalist and synthesizer in “Amor Liquido”, the drum vs. drum clash in “Balinha” and foremost the ultimate battle between vocals and instruments in “Balinha”, at the end of the track the disfiguration destroys both teams only to find reconstruction in the very mechanical and genuine next track, the unforgettable “Tarde de Mais.” A lot more radical than their fellow Los Hermanos or Skank, Binario is a band to follow for any alternative buffs out there. Too standard in a couple of tracks, at least from a guy’s perspective who’s a lot more attached to pop than the rock edges of say “DPP” or the fast tuned closure “E Ai Galera Voletei.” What’s unquestionable is that they are pushing boundaries aside to step on their own remarks, this hybrid is so well consummated that it is hard to recognize the band’s major influences, but I’m sure it’s an equilibrated mix of regional artists, the world circuit and international electro rock bands, perhaps Radiohead and LCD Sound System. Binario is as warm and refreshing, just like the album cover. Update, the band has just released a digital-only EP titled Jazzhole, check it out.



♫♫♫ "Amor Liquido"

buy it from Far Out Recordings

MySpace

Artist of the Week: Bigott


It’s Sunday, and I’m barely presenting our artist of the week, although it has been on the sidebar for a couple of days. It was a busy week, professors love to schedule exams during Thanksgiving week, a 3-day family gathering, my birthday and yes, even homework. Bigott is a one-member act from Spain, I was enchanted right at first listen, which is usually a bad thing, but not in this particular case. Do a Google search and you’ll find a handful of comparisons, from Johny Cash to Devendra Banhart, and to be honest he doesn’t sound too original, but it doesn’t stop him from having a musical vision he is in full control of. This year he released a notable LP titled What a Lovely Day Today, a dark and smoky album that travels from folk to pop, to bluegrass and disco, all genres dressed in a wired approach to musical chances.

♫♫♫ "Vamos a Morir"

MySpace

Friday, November 28, 2008

Happy B'day Carlinhos!!!

Feliz Cumple Carlitos!

I know the song doesn’t quite fit for a guy’s birthday, but I don’t care, this is a hot track for anybody’s birthday. I was going to post the “Happy Birthday Mr. President” video by Marylyn Monroe, but no embedding was allowed. Now, I got a question, are you having a party? Hope you do, you deserve it man, if not come to New York tonight and I’ll throw you a big one. Oh and congratulations to your twin brother too (sorry, I forgot his name), now I’ll go buy something, it’s black Friday! 

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gracias!


Ok, so a big holiday is coming up and at least from my part I won’t be around my laptop as usual. Hopefully you are enjoying this project; it is the highlight of my year, for good or bad. It’s only been 9 months of pure joy and we got some people to thank of course.

To my partners:

Paulo Correa: Desde que nos encontramos hace ya varios anos en Los Angeles Times no hemos dejado de estar en contacto, y sabes que es la musica lo que ha logrado esta amistad. Gracias por estar aqui desde el comienzo y mucha suerte en tu seguramente brillante carrera cinematografica.

Jean-Stephane Beriot: Merci pour tout, vous êtes ma musique soul mate, nous avons bon goût! Thanks for the ideas, visuals, for setting up our MySpace, for buzzing this thing around and our CD/Vynil exchange deal, visionnaire.

To La Onda Tropical for all the support.

Also: Rock en las Americas, Bilingual Distortion, Hipersonica, Cause=Time, Gorilla vs Bear, La Musica Latina, Area Alternativa, Rockeros VIP (Chenn).

To the creative and visionary artists we admire that stopped by or contacted us, thank you!

Toy Selectah, Jovenes y Sexys, Emmanuel del Real (Café Tacvba), Carli Morrison (Babaluca), Cof Cof, Pablo Diaz-Reixa (El Guincho), Bufi, Bryan Poole (Of Montreal), Margarita, Visitante (Calle 13), Domingo En Llamas, Chak, Marcelo Cunning (Nacotheque), Juan Manuel Torreblanca, Kinski Gallo (Monte Negro), Ulises Hadjis, Luis Ezequivel (Quiero Club), Daniela Spalla, 60 Tigres, Electrica Miami, Mood Fu, Casey Wescott (Fleet Foxes), Mari (Maria Daniela y su Sonido Lasser).

To the leaders behind the business, services, label associates and distributors for the love and sending CDs and digital releases, thank you!

Rulo (Reactor 105.7), Nacional Records (Nati & Paul), Gorilla vs Bear (Chris), World Village, The Poni Republic, Noiselab, Imeem, Alfredo Gutierrez (La Fontera Times), BCore Disc, Coachella ’08, Blip FM, Beggars Group, Mad Decent, Java Magazine, Sonic 360, Slant Magazine, MySpace, YouTube, The Hype Machine, MOG Music Network, Twitter.

To my cinematic friends at Cine Azteca, sorry for leaving you, I promised to go back, I will sometime.

Mexacriticos! A todos, pero en especial a Aldo Alvarez, Paxton Hernandez, Erneso Diezmartinez, Juan Carlos Puga, Daniel Campos, Christian del Moral, Eduardo, Paulina, Karen Thompson, Leo Galicia, Allisonn Montenegro. Creativos: Mantarraya Producciones, Festival de Guadalajara, Festival de Morelia, Asociacion de Criticos en Linea de Mexico, Canana, Carlos Reygadas, Ivan Avila Duenas, Juan Patricio Riveroll, Ernesto Contreras, Jim Emerson, Aaron Soto (Cinemainc), Mike D’ Angelo, Scott Feinberg, Anne Thompson, Kris Tapley, Jeffrey Wells, Nat Rogers, Johnny Alba, Mark Bakalor, Russ Colombo, Andy Scott, Edward Douglas, Sasha Stone & Giovanni Tagliaferri.

To all my friends, thanks.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rudo y Cursi Soundtrack (Tracklist & Details)


I’m astonished; actually I had not been so excited about an upcoming CD release for a while. Three days ago I posted the video for “Quiero que me quieras” by Gael Garcia Bernal, which is part of the Rudo y Cursi movie soundtrack. Cheky from Jovenes y Sexys informed us that they are part of this soundtrack, I almost passed out reading the amazing lineup, it’s orgasmic. I’m not exaggerating; it’s like the soundtrack of this blog, or at least of a big chunk of our favorite performers of the year. And those we have not talked about are awesome too. It will be a 2-disc release, the CURSI disc will feature popular Mexican music from El Recodo, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, La Sonora Dinamita, Amandititita, El Coyote y su Banda and others. The really exciting part is the second disc titled RUDO, which should be as transcendental as the Grammy nominated soundtrack for Y Tu Mama Tambien, which was a huge success and skyrocketed many of the indie acts featured. Now check the list and get me in contact with the album’s supervisor, I need to hang out with him/them. Just when I was about to name the soundtrack for Capadocia (HBO) as the year’s best comes this big surprise that’s got me wound up.

Songs on "RUDO": Mostly covers of Regional Mexican artists. (Yes, I know most of them, my parents love them, I do like some of them)

Also unspecified songs by Diplo (WOW) and Prietto Viaja Al Cosmos Con Mariano

Check it out, Jovenes y Sexys will be perfoming THIS, can't fucking wait.

UPDATE: This is seems to be the official tracklist... seems like they couldn't get some artists as planned. 

1.        Los Odio feat. Juan Son – I Want You To Want Me
2.        Juana Molina – Rudo Y Cursi
3.        Devendra Banhart – Lindo Cihuatlán
4.        Instituto Mexicano del Sonido feat. Saúl Hernández – Árboles De La Barranca
5.        Niña Dioz – Prefiero El Asfalto (Por Puro Gusto)
6.        Jóvenes y Sexys – Amor Platónico
7.        Los Látigos – Besos Y Caricias
8.        Adanowsky – Historia Sin Fin
9.        Dios Malos – Sueño De Amor
10.     Quiero Club – Quiero Que Me Quieras
11.     Kumbia Queers – El Dolor De Micaela
12.     No Somos Machos Pero Somos Muchos – Amor del Cielo
13.     Black Lips – Árboles De La Barranca
14.     Quiero Club feat. HC – Pegadito
15.     Disco Ruido! – Mi Amor Contiki (Guaca Tiki Mix)
16.     Nortec (Bostich + Fussible) – Árboles De La Barranca


Monday, November 24, 2008

Gracias, Omara Portuondo

GRACIAS, OMARA PORTUONDO
World Village, Cuba ****
Rating: 86
By Carlos Reyes


Embraced by a generation that witnessed the iconic gathering that is the Buena Vista Social Club, the charming musicians continue to develop musical personality. Omara Portuondo won our hearts in that scene from the documentary where she walked through the streets of Cuba, lighting up the island and later illuminating a sold-out Carnegie Hall. Her follow ups as a solo artist have been nothing less than masterful productions unable to find a comfort zone, Omara Portuondo continues her search for musical ambiguity, wherever she is heading, we must feel fortunate she is taking us with her. Her new album Gracias due next month, is her most ambitious production yet, a top-class world album that should place her along Mercedes Sosa as the most important soloist of Latin traditional music. The album is a festivity to a career of boleros seasoned by tropical burst; the fest also gathered an impressive lineup of musicians with the highlight collaboration of Roberto Fonseca’s gifted piano expertise. Omara possesses vocal virtues rarely found in contemporary music; it’s delicate and powerful, gentle and demanding, complex, colorful and multi-layered like the flowers adorning the album’s artwork. The appearance of Jorge Drexler in the fantastic track “Gracias” should expand the record’s attention outside the world music circuit. Omara invites her grand-daughter to sing along with her in “Cachita”, a song with minimal instrumentation but glorious vocalization from both parts. The most nostalgic moment is the opener, “Yo Vi”, talks about the end of an adventure and the still enormous dream to live, a textured sound design makes us feel the breeze from a Caribbean travel full of hope and liberation. Other collaborations include Chico Buarque in the joyful “O que sera”, Pablo Milanes in the soulful “Amame como soy” and my mom’s favorite track “Nuestro gran amor” with Cachito Lopez and Chucho Valdes. Gracias has the caliber to become transcendental in both, the world music circuit and the Latino shelves at stores.



no streams or downloads available

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Los Temas del 2008 - according to 'Rock en las Americas'


We love lists, making them and reading other bloggers’ numeric lineups; we had previously posted a list from Jose Luis from Rock en las Americas, and he went ahead and listed the 10 songs of 2008 already. We still got a month to go, but December is usually a slow month for releases. Club Fonograma is already working on a huge list for the best of the year, wait for it. Note that Jose Luis notes that these aren’t necessarily the best songs of the year, but Los Temas del 2008. Pay close attention to “Terroristas Tercermundistas” from Cienfue, a song I had not heard before and I’m already loving. Also another awesome single from Turbopotamos (the rockabilly answer to the Artic Monkeys), the most underrated new rock band in Latin America, as I mentioned in my review of their wonderful No Love, they should run to Mexico or Argentina ASAP.

Read his post and commentary at his blog, here.

01 PIJAMAS – Babasonicos. (Mucho, Argentina)
02 CARNAVAL DE BRASIL – Andrés Calamaro (La lengua popular, Argentina)
03 REPTILECTRIC – Zoe (Reptilectric, México)
04 TERRORISTAS TERCERMUNDISTAS – Cienfue (Mancho de Monte Suite, Panamá)
05 DEUDAS – Los Bunkers (Barrio Estación, Chile)
06 NO HAY NADIE COMO TU – Calle 13 feat. Café Tacvba (Los de atrás vienen conmigo, Puerto Rico/México)
07 RADIOS – Emmanuel Horvilleur (Mordisco, Argentina)
08 VIDAS PARALELAS – Ximena Sariñana (Mediocre, México)
09 TE FUMARE – Robi Draco Rosa (Todo es Vino, Puerto Rico)
10 TERRORIZE YOU/DISCO FLOR – Turbopotamos (Untitled, Peru)

Download
♫♫♫ “Vidas Paralelas” (Via Sound Check)
♫♫♫ “Terrorize You/Disco Flor” (Via Turbopotamos Official Blog)

Suspension of Disbelief: "Quiero que me quieras", Gael Garcia Bernal

It’s been a long time since I last posted something in this fun corner of the blog. So this is a different kind of bizarre, all of the previous videos were either unintentionally humorous or improvised spoofs, but this one will actually hit music stores as it is part of the Rudo y Cursi soundtrack, a film by Carlos Cuaron set for release in Mexico next month. Gael Garcia Bernal singing! Well, we’ve heard him already in the soundtrack for another movie, Michel Gondry’s The Science of Sleep, and he wasn’t horrible. I was impressed with his minimal but interesting collaboration with Devendra Banhart, who wrote an original song for the actor’s debut film Deficit, and who now dates Gael’s ex, the glamorous Natalie Portman who we saw already in “Carmensita.” Our very own Paulo Correa has already declared it the worst song of the year, but I don’t agree, simply because this is no music, is a plain comic sketch/satire/homage to a movie character that is too silly to shine. There’s no doubt some grupero artists will be uncomfortable watching this, but take it for what it is, plain exploitation humor. Yes, we like color, but the pink costume and fluorescent landscapes are a bit too much, but yet again, bizarre and funny. An actual soundtrack is in the works, so this will hit stores at some point.



Friday, November 21, 2008

WE ARE STANDARD: "The Last Time" : "On the Floor"


by Jean-Stephane Beriot

Sometimes I just love jumping from a girl’s MySpace to another one; it’s like traveling to so many places, to so many little worlds of social networks. But I find it painful to do so with music profiles, you know, the disappointment of clicking on a badass album cover and find that the music is horrible, but a couple of days ago I was happy to find We Are Standard, a five-piece act from Spain. They are deservedly signed on Minty Fresh, so I got their record and it’s quite awesome, and quite different to most of the material the label has released for sometime. We Are Standard released their self-titled product this year, it’s rock, it’s pop, it’s electro. Although their first hit “On the Floor” got all the attention, they opted for their best song as a next song for release: “The Last Time”, I’m embedding the track’s video, which I guess is explicit, I can’t tell.



♫♫♫ "The Last Time" (Arthur Baker Remix) [Via Some Velvet Blog]
♫♫♫ "On the Floor" [Via Minty Fresh]
♫♫♫ "On the Floor" (Mimoloco & Dr. J Remix) [Via Spin]

La Tina Remix, Ximena Sariñana


Several indie radio stations in the U.S. and online radio are beginning to program "La Tina" by Ximena Sariñana, presumably the third official single after "Vidas Paralelas" and "No Vuelvo Mas" ("Normal" was an online-single only). Oddly, my three least favorite songs on her great debut album. After the huge critical success and hot sales, the attention has shifted to the European Market, where she seems to fit perfectly. As already discussed by Jean-Stephane (club fonograma member), the awesome guys from Metronomy were impressed, decided to embrace the loopy and highly influenced by Bjork track "La Tina" with a notable remix that is overshadowing the original track, but that's not a bad thing. It is however another remix to the song that I’m deeply impressed with (included in Mexico’s Mediocre re-edition), it was produced by Juan Campodonico who co-produced the album. Great repetitions, saturated beats and unlike the Metronomy remix, not obtrusive at all. If they want any suggestions on what the next single should be, come here first, the luminous “Un Error” would make radio so much better.

♫♫♫ "La Tina", BO Tracks Remix


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Sou, Marcelo Camelo

SOU, MARCELO CAMELO
Sony BMG, Brazil ****1/2
Rating: 90
By Carlos Reyes

So I whined about my disappointment with some of the supposedly great Brazilian albums of the year (according to international media), and from no where I had a bunch of emails from agents and labels wanting to send high quality material, the new album by Los Hermanos’ Marcelo Camelo was the standout. If it wasn’t because of Bikini Shapiro’s presence in Little Joy, I would place Sou as a slightly superior album than the self-titled little jewel by Little Joy. These young and talented musicians are incorporating roots from their country such as the MPB (Musica Popular do Brasil) essence that surrounds very sharp and clever pop songs. Camelo let’s his influences of American pop, bluegrass and of course rock flirt with the young but healthy contemporary pop of his country. Sometimes it reflects a smoky setting, or suggests a devotional direction, sometimes it looses itself only to return in the middle of a complex samba song such as “Menina Bordada.” This is not an auteur album but an open door to get to know the actual state of mind and creativity of Marcelo, a personal album that is relatable and fascinatingly self-imposed in its aspirations. Just like Maria Rita’s 2007 masterful Samba Meu, this is the first direct contact from Marcelo Camelo to something as nationalistic as Samba, and he does a firm and elegant set that should’ve had by now worldwide distribution available. He is a maximalist, it may seem as simplistic and unadorned music, but he takes his resources and makes the most of them. A lyrical wonder designed to be visualized, much like Gilberto Gil’s textured music. Los Hermanos will probably comeback in a few years, continue to be Brazil’s best band for another decade and transcend internationally. Take Sou with you on a roadtrip, or perhaps on your next biking session, it’s the sort of piece that compresses time and space to bring out the emotional rewards.


♫♫♫ “Copacabana” (Via Terra Sonora)
♫♫♫ “Janta” feat. Mallu Magalhães (Via Terra Sonora)
MySpace

"La Distancia Adecuada", Christina Rosenvinge

A friend from Madrid promised me a package with the latest material by Christina Rosenvinge, who I’ve always loved but has been especially wonderful lately. I like her singing in Spanish; she is just much more emotional in it. The new CD is titled Tu Labio Superior and while I wait for it I’ll leave the video of her first single “La Distancia Adecuada” which is sublime! , there are three different videos for it (all 3 are cinematically brilliant), all directed by the great Luis Cervero who directed my favorite video of 2007, also from Rosenvinge featuring Nacho Vegas in “Verano Fatal.” I can’t wait to play the full album, and of course review it.



Monday, November 17, 2008

Reptilectric, Zoe

REPTILECTRIC, ZOE
Home Artists, Mexico

Rating: 80

By Carlos Reyes

It seemed impossible, but Zoe has surprised us with a brilliant follow up to Memo Rex Comander y El Corazon Atomico de la Via Lactea, I’m not kidding, this is their fourth and best LP yet. I don’t know if Zoe will ever transcend as much as Café Tacvba, but they already are the most popular band in Mexico and along with Austin TV the most important (but hardly the best). Reptilectric is the rhythmic burst consolidation of a cosmos they have been referring to in Rocanlover (2003), The Room EP (2005), and Memo Rex... (2006). The comparisons with Gustavo Cerati and Radiohead will continue, but this guys are spacing up roads for themselves. They are setting up parameters for a constant musical search, Reptilectric isn’t divergent or explorative, but it is a consummation album, calling it mature wouldn’t be enough, it’s the emancipation of lyrics and sound and especially a coordination on how to accommodate sound and silence.

An album defined by guitar riffs and electronic add-ons, round and bold throughout and even glossily dramatic. In spite of the overall bustling intensity, this is the most sober and finest hour of Zoe yet. I loved the catchiness of the last album’s singles, but the new material is a succession of soft dynamic melodies that are naturally memorable. Reptilectric should give Zoe enough critical glamour and importance as what Hombre Sintetizador did to the now dispersed Zurdok. At first listen the single didn’t make any sense to me, I tried to Google it and it seems Zoe has invented a word/species/new god? : reptile + electric. “Reptilectric, welcome to earth”, the song goes from confusion to illusion, seems like Zoe is waiting for the arrival of a prophet from another galaxy. As if they run out of patience with other gods and have transported themselves to a new cosmos; they ask for more love and less pain, to make them forget about everything that makes suffering. I like this new messiah, this “messenger of light”.

In songs like “No Hay Dolor” and “Nada” there is an overlapping execution that grabs your attention only to dissolve in the space of cosmic harmonies. Vocalist Leon Larregui extends vocal fading and accentuates the melodies, very much like Gustavo Cerati was able to achieve in his splendid Ahi Vamos. A song such as “Poli” would be easily overlooked, but unlike most rock albums this year, there is actual emotional tissue connecting all tracks, a roundness I couldn’t find in any of their previous works. The most unexpected song here is “Fantasma”, call me crazy but this piece sounds like a synth-powered Tejano song, just not colorful enough to be instrumented with an accordion. Next is “Luna”, a sublime piece in which they ask the moon for gentle acts of existence, for a kiss that will last until death.

Reptilectric has form; the album cover suggests it is a prismatic album. It is indeed a polished jewel and the entering of light is definitely felt, even more as it is sunlight coming in other than artificial lighting. The album retains colors, frictions, vibrations and musical notes in a clever musical projection. Another record produced by Phil Vinal (Radiohead, Placebo & Pulp), the band really had a huge shift from their first electrified rock offerings to a much firm state of astronomical cosmos. It took a while for Memo Rex… to be released in the states; Zoe is a sure success in Mexico, but a risky band outside home, so it might take a few months for us to get a physical edition of one of the best rock albums of the year.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Artist of the Week: Babaluca


Back in 2007 I was deeply joyful to witness a great pop/rock band from Phoenix (where I reside), they opened a concert for Kinky and I’ve followed them since. It was delightful hearing them cover Manu Chao’s “La Despedida” (watch on YouTube), some other familiar songs and an impressive set of original tracks that I found amazingly cheerful. They are a bilingual trio formed by the gifted lead vocalist Carla Morrison, the energetic drummer Nick Kizer and the multi-talented Nichole Petta. They carry a sense of lo-fi pop with slashes of punk and a blend of atmospheric psychedelic outlook rarely found in pop. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky to catch them at November’s First Friday event (a monthly art walk in Phoenix) where they performed with the equally impressive band Underwater Getdown. The show was a triumph, especially for the new audience that walked by, was magnetically attracted by the great sound and bought their improvised but well-put together Babaluca EP (available for purchase at their MySpace). Included is their melodiously charming “Que Bonito”, which is the second most played song at our Rocola #6 (which is running low on bandwidth already) just after Natalia Lafourcade’s “Running too fast.” They are currently unsigned, but it seems they won’t go unheard; they have been on the MySpace Latino front page for more than a week, so take a look people, they got the package.

El Otro Mixtape, Chyno Nyno



I still can’t understand how Wisin y Yandel and Flex are now Latin Grammy winners, before urban god Tego Calderon, I’m sorry but that’s seriously fucked up. Anyway, this post isn’t much about him as he only does a tiny collaboration here; the shining protagonist here is Chyno Nino. His name is Andre Rodriguez from Puerto Rico, according to his MySpace he is “the favorite rapper of your favorite rapper.” I am deeply impressed by the supremacy and command of his lyrics, a comeback to classic Hip Hop. He might not belong to the circle of great reggaeton acts made up of Arcangel & Ñejo y Dalmata, but I wish I could hear him on radio a lot more often. I remember listening to a remix of “Los Mate” from Tego’s masterful The Underdog/El Subestimado which featured Chyno Nino and Arcangel; I don’t think he’s been on mainstream radio since then. Thing is he just released the best Latin urban mixtape I’ve heard since Arcangel’s The New King. The standout track here “Genuino”, and believe me, the voice and lyrics are powerful on all 21 pieces of El Otro Mixtape. I almost spilled my coffee when I heard Tego shouting “Chyno Nyno mira vamo’ al coro cabron no abuse.”

♫♫♫ “Genuino” feat. Tego Calderon
MySpace

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Who Said Party?, Cof Cof

WHO SAID PARTY?, COF COF
Unsigned, Spain ***1/2
Rating: 78

By Carlos Reyes

I love the pop, especially with quirky female vocals, having Cansei De Ser Sexy, Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser, Hello Seahorse!, Naty Botero and Quiero Club pop up in my MP3 player are not enough, I need more sparkles into my sometimes stressful college life. This week was particularly uplifting with my encounter with Cof Cof; they brought to my weekdays the sufficient dose of girly audio pleasure with their debut EP Who Said Party? It is surely as exuberant and effervescent as The Ting Tings' We Started Nothing. I rarely care about accents, but I must say vocalist Ana Analogica has such a sexy one on top of flowing light lyrics. We’re not in front of a provocative pop album, but an album with enough transitions and character motif to be celebrated. Cof Cof is a sibling to Quiero Club’s music (who by the way are releasing their new album this week); let me tell you that there is plenty of space for both bands and a couple more. There are some tropical in here, but mostly an inquisition of synth-dance that is never pretentious and always digestible. If the world was fair and fancy their song “Caribbean Boy” would have been the summer hits of the year, there’s just something so cute about it, “I thought I was in paradise… I want him to be mine”, sum that to the great engineering of a non-conformist heated pop song, great job by Alex Cuadrado. In a moment where all pop bands aspire to visualize the bright colors, Cof Cof are naturals, complementary when they need to be and fluorescent when the opportunity is given. There are some clear flaws of course, but are overlooked once the enchantment of Ana and Alex has won you, one of the most promising acts out there. Did I mention their album is downloadable for free? Me estan malacostumbrando!



♫♫♫ “Caribbean Boy”
♫♫♫ “Forbidden Cocktail”
♫♫♫ “Dirty Tricks” (Culture Prophet Remix) [Via Sheena Beaston]
Download Album For Free
MySpace

Friday, November 14, 2008

Juan Son



By now pretty much everyone is aware of my admiration towards Porter; it seriously was the best new band in our circuit. It was devastating to see them performing so weak at Coachella ’08, the rumors had been babbling everywhere about a crash of attitudes among the band’s members. So I guess their separation is accurate, but still heartbreaking. Donde Pastan Los Ponys EP was orgasmic and Atemahawke simply the most underrated jewel of 2007. The leader of the band Juan Son was always the center of Porter, and it seems that he’ll go even more psychedelic with his solo project. We saw him shine in Julieta Venegas’ multi-Latin Grammy winner MTV Unplugged on the song “De Mis Pasos”, which should help him with his internationalization. Mermaid Sashimi will be released in a few months and it is already getting attention, he belongs to a line of radical artists approaching their music in layers, one that includes my favorite Latino acts such as Juana Molina, Robi Draco Rosa and El Guincho. He released an awesome single tilted “Nada” (again, material from La Rocola #6) in which the separation from what he did with Porter is undeniable, but still great. The songs available at his MySpace won’t be part of his solo debut album, but they are marvelous pieces that say nothing and everything, again don’t try to catch what he is saying, it is pure emotional, if you’ve follow the blog you should know by now that to me lyrics are not too important. I’m including the demos for “Las Hadas” and “Iceberg”, best of the year material, too bad he didn’t release them at least in EP format.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

9th Latin Grammy Ceremony Show, Quick Notes


As expected, Juanes was the big winner at the 9th Latin Grammys. You know I haven’t enjoyed any of the Latin Grammy ceremonies since Univision got a hold of them, but I still check them up. I won’t get all pessimistic this time; there is a long way to go. The fact that they invited Jenni Rivera or Alejandra Guzman because they wanted to show them standing up from their unfortunate personal lives says it all. Although La Guzman was actually pretty good. We love analyzing the elegible albums and giving recomendations during the nomination process, after that it gets kind of boring, but here are some notes from the ceremony. I might have missed some stuff, you must understand it is Thursday (NBC's comedy night).

Full list of winners here: Grammy.Com

BEST PERFORMERS: Café Tacvba
Runners up:
Kany Garcia & Tommy Torres
Julieta Venegas & the various accordionists
Alejandra Guzman

PLEASANTLY SURPRISING WINNERS
Jose Feliciano, Best Bachata Album
Siggno, Best Norteno Album
Julieta Venegas, Alternative Music Album
Soraya Moraes, Best Christian Album

THE OVER-AWARDED (GOOD, BUT TOO MUCH)
Juanes, deserved Male Pop Album but no others
Gloria Estefan, Her irregular album shouldn’t have 2 wins

THE GOOD WINNERS, ALTOUGH I PREFERED OTHER NOMINEES
Kany Garcia, Best New Artist
Volver a Comenzar (Café Tacvba), Best Alternative Song
Fito Paez, Best Singer-Songwriter Album

THE WTF… EW PERFORMANCES
Juanes feat. John Legend, I bet Marcos Witt was happy
Olga Tanon, Jenni Rivera & Vicky Carr, so boring
Victor Manuel, I just can’t handle his flow


HEARTBREAKING SNUBS
Tego Calderon, seriously he is god and is beaten by such mediocracy
Maria Rita’s Samba Meu deserved all the awards it wasn’t nominated for


THE UNDESERVED WINNERS (the bad ones)
Sergio George, Producer of the Year
“Me Enamora”, Song of the Year (I don’t mind it taking Record of the year though)

BEST PRODUCTION
“Te Quiero”, Flex feat. Belinda (yes the song is annoying, but wonderful visuals)

COOLEST ACCEPTANCE SPECCH
Jose Feliciano
Juanes (it was cool that he really was surprised to get every single award)
Kany Garcia

FUNNIEST, VOLUNTARY OR UNVOLUNTARY
My boys from SIGGNO saying shuting “Que viva el mundo” WTF… so cheesy, I’m still so shocked they
won, very deserving chicos!
Did the leader of Café Tacvba (whatever his name is) forget the lyrics? Or was he just renovating the song? Nice hair by the way, can’t wait to see them next week in concert.

BEST PRESENTERS
Cabas & Buika
Keny G & Karyme Lozano

Contrabanda, Pato Machete

CONTRABANDA, PATO MACHETE
EMI, México ***

Rating: 64

By Carlos Reyes


I’ve discussed in several posts how important was Control Machete, so much that there is a before and after, after their breakup it’s been truly difficult for me to trust the hip hop made in Mexico. The three members of the alternative urban act from Monterrey are all currently working on individual projects; Toy Selectah is revolutionizing cumbia, Fermin IV explores Christian rap and we finally get a release from Pato after the disintegration of his post-Machete punk band called Resorte (which I never liked). Contrabanda is his comeback to hip hop and although it is far from the material I’m always over expecting from any of these guys, it is a fine and well produced welcomed return. We know Pato’s raspy and peculiar vocals, expect good lyrics too. Some of the chorus did freak me out however, like that of “Vamos Viceversa” which is wrongfully soulful. The best song here happens to be the first single, “Rancho” is very explosive and bleak, another one from our Rocola #6. Throughout the album we hear a familiar deep voice in the chorus, it belongs to one of the members of Mexiclan (Mexiclanos Unidos was brilliant, the best record Univision Music Group ever released), a very cool Mexican-American urban act that released the very best albums from the whole Urban-meets-Mexico’s popular music thing (Akwid, Jae-P, and Flakiss). In a track like “Noches” it really steps into Ozomatli territory, which I never mind. Interludes and sketches are usually irritating, but the four interventions here are well build narratives and very entertaining. Accordionist Celso Piña collaborates in “Sr. Matanza”, a funky cover of the hit by Mano Negra. Fellow Regiomontano Chetes adds instrumentals in the western “Recuerdos.” Contrabanda was produced by Jason Roberts, well known for his work for Tego Calderon, Mexiclan and Cypress Hill.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Toy Selectah, Cumbia's Ultimate Guru


Control Machete’s former member Toy Hernandez aka Toy Selectah was one of the first ‘celebrities’ to wish us well in the beginning of the blog, he is a favorite and one of the most talented producers out there. He is a top producer for artists like Cabas, La Mala Rodriguez and Calle 13 just to name a few. Now that he is part of Mad Decent everything is meant to change, he’s got the talent to become huge and we’re hoping his much awaited 2009 production fares well. He’s got to be one of most demanded DJs today, especially after the whole neo-cumbia explosion that is especially interesting in Argentina. His upcoming project will feature his partners from Sonidero Nacional but presenting themselves as Cumbias Machine. Just notice the attention from Diplo or Hot Chip who are for the first time taking a look to what’s being produced in Latin America. He is the mind behind Celso Piña’s “Cumbia Sobre el Rio”, perhaps the most important song for this movement. His latest remix is one of his best, it’s for Nortec’s Bostich + Fussible for the track “The Clap” (from Tijuana Sound Machine). It is now available for free download at RCRD*LBL, god I love that site! I’m also linking to the great blog 8106 for a remix of Devendra Banhart’s “Carmensita” and the Mad Decent blog for a kickass remix of Lil Wayne’s “A Milli.”

♫♫♫ The Clap”, Nortec Presents Bostich + Fussible [Visit RCRD*LBL]
♫♫♫ “Carmensita” (Toy Selectah Remix) by Devendra Banhart [Via 8106]
♫♫♫ “A Milli” (Toy Selectah Remix) by Lil’ Wayne [Via Mad Decent]

Homeless Hero, Bufi

HOMELESS HERO EP, BUFI
The Poni Republic, Mexico ****
Rating: 83
By Carlos Reyes

And yet another fantastic EP from the net label Poni Republic, Mexico’s Bufi is Mateo Gonzalez, a cybernetic guru releasing a mesmerizingly confident debut production. He is really one of the first progressive electronic acts to emerge from Mexico’s hipster social life and the head of Le Touch, a fantastic collective blog of audiovisual artists. An electropop album influenced by the European market, clear waves of Daft Punk and their synthetic vision of how to walk on pixies. He is a top DJ for Mexico City’s coolest parties and begins to show signs for international success. Homeless Hero is an auspicious 4-track EP that serves as a great introduction of an already announced full album in the works. It is hard to recognize official singles on any net labels, but I’m guessing “We Begin” is the highlight track here as it is the only one fully vocalized. The other three tracks have minimal vocal courtesy, as they should be; there is perfect mediation in a frenzy record that belongs to French radio. Also very popular among my friends is “Like a Child” (included on La Rocola #6), that song really brings me back joyful memories and a handful of chuckles. Homeless Hero is chromatic, pastel, and contrasting, a truly wonderful opera prima. One other thing, I don’t I’ve heard a better engineered album this year, the design sounds truly mesmerizing even if not innovative, it’s just sparklingly fresh. Bufi is also a member of an upcoming band called Neon Walrus; I really like what I hear from them too. As you know, all the music from Poni Republic is free, I honestly feel like I should run to get a physical copy of it like I do with almost any album that gets a rating of 80 and above, but this is pure digital.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Escuela de Zebras, Joe Crepusculo

ESCUELA DE ZEBRAS
JOE CREPUSCULO

Producciones Doradas, Spain ****
Rating: 88
By Carlos Reyes


For those of you that are still buying music because of the great vocals, seriously, that's what concerts are for, or just go and watch American Idol. Keep that in mind while listening to Joe Crepusculo, my latest fascination from Spain. I first heard of him back in June from Pablo Diaz-Reixa (El Guincho) on Gorilla vs. Bear where he said Escuela de Zebras was his favorite album of this year so far. It's a mechanical album full of transitions and synthesizers, sometimes correlating towards the same direction and others collapsing into the electronic fields of the bizarre. School of Zebras indeed feels very animalistic in its wild approach to hug pop. Vocally it reminds me of Alaska (from Alaska y Dinamarca & Fangoria), musically definitely Grizzly Bear and lyrically, well, perhaps Ricardo Arjona on laxatives. This guy is hipster on extreme proportions. Crepusculo has such a scope for risk and possibilities that by itself elevates his approach to do his thing the way he wants to do it. Music for celebrations and holidays or to make any day a bright one, take a song like “Fiesta Mayor”, spin it loud and you’ll find a contagious happiness beneath the raspy voice. He also shows mastery with tropicalia in tracks like “Los Cazadores” and “La Lucha”, very symmetrical instrumental compositions with asymmetrical chorus supporting them. Lyrically, the most transcended songs are “Gabriela”, a Shakespearean love song and “Suena Brillante” which has become one of my favorite singles of the year. Joe Crepusculo is yet another artist giving their music for free, he just release a second 2008 album about a week ago and I can’t wait to play it, Escuela de Zebras is a hard one to digest, but oh man what a treat! I’m extracting some key tracks for you to taste, but this is a must download.



Artist of the Week: Cålo Mesa



Artist: Cålo Mesa
Genre: Pop Rock, Big Band, Theater
Country: Colombia



Cålo Mesa is a brand new Colombian artist that brings an interesting proposal marked by the influence of the british rock and the big band jazz. If in addition we consider his training in Musical Theater in New York, his journey through different choirs, and a fondness for the musical theater ever since he was a young teenager, we can to understand that his sophisticated style is not a coincidence or a deliberate decision of any producer or Record Label, it is rather the honest reflection of his musical tastes and his experiences. His debut album, entitled Rubicon, as the small historic Italian river, was co-produced independently by Cålo Mesa along with Pablo Uribe. The album´s 13 songs are a delightful journey of elegant and energetic melodies, intimate and effective lyrics, and very well made musical arrangements, which help enhance the good vocal performances. Also notable is Cålo´s image, mysterious and classic, very consistent with his music. 4 songs from Rubicon can be found in his myspace, including a track in English. Rock a la Broadway, in Spanish


Cålo Mesa presenting himself on a video


Monday, November 10, 2008

Hello Seahorse! Latest Critics' Darling: Pitchfork & Stereo Gum



All of last week the most popular posts at Club Fonograma (according to feedjit) were my review of Los Fabulosos Cadillacs’ La Luz del Ritmo, which was expected. The runner up was very close in hits although it was posted back in August; I’m talking about my review of Hoy a las Ocho by Hello Seahorse! I was afraid the album would go unnoticed since it had very little attention even in Mexico, it was a hard album to find as it was never edited in Mexico and it was purely showcased online, only those lucky people attending their concerts could get a password to download their album for free. Luckily, now the album has built the interest of international media as it is being released in the U.S. not tomorrow but on Wednesday. They are teaming up with Magic Markers to take care of one of the best pop albums of the year, which will include unreleased tracks and extended artwork. What’s really exciting is that Hoy a las Ocho is getting vibrant comments from Pitchfork and Stereogum, the two most important and trusted trades for indie music. Stereo Gum calls them “… a scaled down Los Campesinos! (note shared exclamation point), an even more scaled down I'm From Barcelona, or, maybe, a Sarah Records band singing in Spanish.” Los Campesinos! sure come to mind, but I’m still thinking they could be musical siblings of The New Pornographers. It seems that their upcoming brand new album will have to relax for sometime, they released their new single “Bestia” (part of our Rocola #6) a couple of weeks ago, they were definitely not expecting much awareness.




Sunday, November 9, 2008

Super 45, Ganadores Nuevos Talentos

Super 45 is the best music website in Chile, every year they do a contest called Nuevos Talentos (New Talents) and it is usually very competitive. A long list of finalists were announced a couple of weeks ago and we now have the winners. The people’s choice award went to MC Menda, which is ok but nothing great, while the special jury (Super 45’s editors) chose three great winners: Vaporboat, Like New Leatheratte and Maifersoni. I would have personally given the award to a trio named Casiel, but having Vaporboat among the winners is great enough. His name is Nico Carcavilla and he is only 14, very atmospheric, very European and spellbinding.

vapourboat. MYSPACE.COM/VAPOURBOAT

like new leatherette. MYSPACE.COM/LEATHERETTE

maifersoni. MYSPACE.COM/MAIFERSONI

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Next Time Around, Little Joy


I had been anticipating this new band ever since they announced it, my expectations were surpassed. Club Fonograma gives light to the music of Iberoamerica, and although Little Joy doesn’t quite fit our demographics, one of the three band members is no other than Rodrigo Amarante from the Brazilian band Los Hermanos. Rolling Stone raved the band a few years ago and their hit “O Vento” became the soundtrack of my 2006. He now joins Fabrizio Moretti from The Strokes (another favorite) and Binkini Shapiro in a cleverly sweet self-titled LP debut. The album was produced by the Venezuelan rooted Devendra Banhart who is deeply discovering his roots in his last productions. A couple of days ago I had mentioned how disappointed I had been with the releases of some of my favorite Brazilian acts, I received lots of emails and friend requests at our MySpace with new bands that have convinced me I was wrong. Expect some posts about a very cool band from Brazil called Binario and especially the enormously enjoyable self-project from Marcelo Camelo, also a former member from Los Hermanos. I’m including Little Joy’s “The next time around” which has some Portuguese on it.

♫♫♫ “The next time around” (Via Obscure Sound)
MySpace

Friday, November 7, 2008

At Carrnegie Hall, Buena Vista Social Club

AT CARNEGIE HALL
BUENA VISTA SOCIAL CLUB

World Circuit/Nonesuch, Cuba ****1/2
Rating: 90
By Carlos Reyes

A ravishing and unforgettable night of wrinkled musicians enlightened a sold-out Carnegie Hall in New York, thankfully it was recorded. Ry Cooder embraced a generation of Cuban masters that although were still extremely talented, had dissolved in the memory of Cuban arts. Cooder’s outsider view of these musical treasures made their album a classic and in 1996 the best selling world album of all time (some 8 million copies). An academy award nominated documentary was also exquisitely produced, adding to the already engaging charm of the good looking club. After over a decade of this performance, World Circuit releases an overwhelming recording that proves this project has no age and will have a healthy and timeless transcendence. The departure of some of its visionaries like Ruben Gonzalez, Compay Segundo and Ibrahim Ferrer were heartbreaking, performing at Carnegie Hall was a life-time dream for many of them, and this 2-disc set package is a fantastic proof of the day their dream was fulfilled. A chunk of the club keeps releasing high quality material, especially Omara Portuondo who does an excellent job here in the album’s vivacious version of “Quizas Quizas.” The production is vivid and round, unlike most live albums recorded at large auditoriums, Carnegie Hall as we know has the greatest acoustics. The package also includes a 32 page booklet that you can download as a PDF file here. Buena Vista Social Club brought life into Latin music; suddenly the world had a close eye on tropical music and in search for the upcoming classicists. There is a moment where the “I’ve been here already” pops up, but the poignant feeling never leaves, the music goes on and the suddenly you realize that the ghosts had never sounded so colorful.


♫♫♫ “De Camino a la vereda”
♫♫♫
“Changui Pal Monte” (Via CMS)
Buy it @ amazon.com
MySpace

12th International Latino Film Festival, San Francisco Bay Area

November 7 - 23, 2008
If you love cinema as much as we do and live in San Francisco, don’t miss the 12th International Latino Film Festival in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having been to a couple of festivals myself, this one is very exciting and the lineup is quite attractive. There will be a special recognition to Gregory Nava, for the 25th anniversary of El Norte (1983), to many people the best motion picture ever made about the immigration subject. The fest runs a bit too long for out of state media to even consider covering, but I’ve seen many of the participating films so I did a list of them along with my ratings. I had been blogging on a movie site for about 5 years, so I’m a lot tougher with films than with music. I might review a Hispanic or Latino-themed movie review here from time to time, so be ready. I include the trailer for Esteban Sapir’s La Antena, my favorite new film in the list.
Click on image to visit the festival's site.


El Norte (The North, Gregory Nava) 88
La Antena (The Aerial, Esteban Sapir) 85
Mi Vida Dentro (My life inside, Lucia Gaja) 84
Calle Santa Fe (Carmen Castillo) 82
Cochochi (Israel Cárdenas & Laura Amelia Guzmán) 80
A Via Lactea (The Milky Way, Lina Chamie) 74
Maldeamores (Lovesickness, Carlos Ruiz Ruiz & Mariem Prez) 71
Quemar las Naves (Burn the bridges, Francisco Franco) 68
The Man of Two Havanas (Vivien Lesnik Weisman) 64
Ladrones (Thieves, Jaime Marques Olarreage) 60
Paraiso Travel (Simon Brand) 58
El Brindis (To Life, Shai Agosin) 53
La leyenda de la Nahuala (The legend of the Nahuala, Ricardo Arnaiz) 52
Postales de Leningrado (Postcards from Leningrado, Mariana Ronch) 50