Friday, July 31, 2009

Video: "She Wolf", Shakira

It’s not like you’re not going to see it somewhere else, Shakira’s latest clip “Loba/She Wolf” is bound to become the most popular video on MTV Tr3s and certainly so, despite what you might think about the song, the video is probably the sexiest she has done yet. Everyone argues “La Tortura” video was sexy, I disagree, it was unintentionally funny and brutally grotesque to see the Colombia diva covered on chocolate. One thing is for sure, she controls her body like very few people can but I’m still undecided on the quality of the actual song, I was almost convinced until she stated it was a song about the 20th century woman, and “Loba” doesn’t strike as far. But let’s wait for the entire album, although it’s not as exciting since we know she has yet to release a good album in English. She could surprise us though, Fijacion Oral Vol.1 was great and we hear Calle 13 and Gustavo Cerati will be around. By the way, I like the Spanish version better but couldn't find a video for it.

Más Mejor, Piyama Party


Independiente, Mexico ****
Rating: 85
By Carlos Reyes

Piyama Party’s second LP comes in at full force to claim a spot as one of the year’s rock albums. In fact, I think this is my second favorite album ever included on the Delhotel Records catalog, after Los Gandharvas of course. It’s not as unexpected as one would think; their self-titled debut was a standout but it’s clear they have been polishing their craft capturing the scene around them, they’re also the first Mexican band to sound like Spain’s indie rock virtuosos, from Sr. Chinarro, AMA and very much the entire catalog from Gramaciones Grabofonicas and Producciones Doradas, with that said, this is an album mostly about stories, which requires lyrical efficiency and a ‘pure’ human touch that is able to keep these anecdotes (whether true or not) at bay. This is ultimately Piyama Party’s most attractive virtue; their songs are reachable without sounding less complex than the progressive-wall-of-sound acts around.

Someone not familiarized with the Mexican culture will not contemplate Mas Mejor at its fullest; it’s a lot more than a generalized survey, even the album’s title would be hard o swallow. Let’s not tag these songs as part of a subculture, they are part of the big picture outsiders hardly visualize and I get a feeling much of Mexico’s population would neglect too. Being part of the culture is the last thing on their mind, becoming part of a cult however is a consequence of their genuine pop and rock songs. So let’s get to it already. The opener “Nosotros Los Rockers” is a bittersweet manifesto to anyone who has been on a band; it really puts the audience at the same level by telling us about their bootleg disc by The Strokes and their need for guitars and a new amplifier. It really establishes an eye-level agreement that is respected all throughout the album. In the next track “Jesus en Las Vegas” they claim Jesus is at a box match, with Maria Magdalena toasting for world peace, love and rocanrol. First single “Solo te veo en bodas” handles its romance with prolific care, plus “quedate al menudo” (common dish the morning after a wedding) has to be one of the best lines of the year.

There’s humor in every song, fortunately they are no clowns but practitioners of self-destructive criticism and sarcasm, from “No Mas Pasteles” about an overweight issue, to the phenomenon of la “Frontera” which warns that the bridge is falling and ends up telling us the prices of meat at Ruteria La Hacienda. But there’s nothing like “Fan de Carcass”, I wouldn’t be scared to call it an immediate classic and one of the most alluring songs of the year. It’s the fable on how a guy became a hardcore fan of Carcass after listening to one of their cassettes, this encounter redefines him completely, and he goes dark! “dicen que son cosas del Diablo, por eso me gustan, por eso yo las prefiero.” They decide to skip purgatory in “Atajo al Infierno”, taking a shortcut by having more fun and less time for Church.

“Edecan” sounds quite dusty with its circular strings, it’s like a criminal poignant romance with some narco references hidden in there (or not). But the established practice doesn’t always work, “Olimpiadas Alveolares” and “Tocayo” drown around memorable songs and are even obstructive to the overall adventure. I was scared to hear how they would close this, the culminating “21 horas no son suficientes” is the most hormonal and effortlessly moving piece on the album. Mas Mejor needs some vocal dexterity here and there, perhaps fewer songs, but this is a material to hold on to. Piyama Party has found a way to keep a pedestrian sensitivity while sounding like rock stars; it comes in a folder with 17 tracks inside, a beautiful booklet (on PDF) and one of the most generous musical offerings 2009 keeps for us.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Video: "Drop Your Panties", Picnic Kibun

It’s been a while (years, I think) since “Drop Your Panties” by Picnic Kibun got into my iPod, so I’m surprised to learn that the Chilean act is releasing it as the first single of their new album titled Fiebre Tragada. Somehow, it feels like an entirely new song thanks to its amazing new video, which of course reminds us of NSM PSM’s “Clap Your Brains Off” and some other very colorful, stop-motion videos. It’s like a box full of colors and rewrites the track into a party-starter and not the graphically explicit idea I had on my mind (perv). But they do venerate a cloth like nobody else out there.

♫♫♫ "Drop Your Panties" (right-click, save as)

Los Amparito Remixes Carla Morrison

Many of us are still waiting for the debut album by Babaluca, one of the few great bands from Phoenix and whose popularity was rising but destiny was saying otherwise. My friends and I would go to every gig attracted especially by its lead vocalist who decided it was time to move on (a smart move by any means). Carla Morrison is profiling as one of the year’s breakthroughs; she’s got an incredible voice, one of those extraordinary instruments that challenges producers and sound engineers to capture it on record. When I heard Los Amparito were remixing one of her songs I imagined it would be a tough job for Carlos Pesina, and even more with “Buena Malicia” which is so good and seemed untouchable, but he pulls it off quite well in what ends up being a very efficient practice and exercise.

In case you haven’t noticed, she has been featured twice on our Fonogramaticos, in the second one with a cover for Manu Chao’s “La Despedida” (under Babaluca) and on our latest which opens with the beautiful nana “Valentina.”

Safari, Cof Cof

Independiente, Spain
Rating: 65
By Carlos Reyes

Spain’s happiest duo Cof Cof (Alex & Ana) have been compared widely enough with The Ting Tings, we still feel they’re closer to Quiero Club and CSS, and it will probably take us while before we stop the comparisons (they are crucial in pop analysis), but they are making their way as an act of possibilities, it’s one of those bands that just need that one special catchy track to fully internationalize. It will most likely not be with Safari, their latest EP and a continuation to Who Said Party? It is slightly happier than anything they have released; they really spice up things by injecting some tropicalia into their happy and sunny songs, this practice got them a minor anthem “Caribbean Boy”, which for the moment stands as the most awaited song on their wonderfully entertaining live shows.

Safari made of five sparkling tracks that are weekend-ready, especially if you are a girl and/or a dreamer. Interesting enough Cof Cof isn’t very popular in Spain, as in not popular in mainstream or the indie blogs, the fact that they’re singing in English positions them on a line of local artists that are seen as foreign musicians, very much like Delorean whose Ayrton Senna EP was tagged as BestNewMusic at Pitchfork this week and they’re finally getting coverage back home. I guess it’s not too strange that a ‘Latino’ audience feels closer to Cof Cof’s sound than Europeans, by now tropipop or in this case tropitechno is not as exotic because we’ve been exposed to it before, and we can’t hesitate to differentiate Safari from Extraperlo’s Desayuno Continental or call it a pure pop album. “Third” argues there is a third member in the band, but they can’t put a light on him because “he is captive, he is a prisoner… his face it’s nasty...” certainly the most exciting plot in the album.

“Cell Phone” is a tricky song, first it seems like a song to emancipate yourself from a relationship, “forget me, you’re part of my past… but can I use your cellphone?” and it leaves hanging in confusion, handing your cellphone to an ex needs thought and precision as the potential for a last-minute dilemma is almost certified. They’re not afraid to sound cheesy in “Arrested”, a piece that could just have been recorded in the 90s now finds itself exposed on MP3, and it sounds good, and there’s some samba on it, and the whole “put your hands where I can see them, you're getting arrested tonight” is charming enough to make you dance but I’m not sure if these kind of songs are enough to let them take the next step, it was charming and quite terrific on their first album and there’s so much potential but it needs sequence. But there is plenty of progression in the culminating track “T-Shirt”, cool patterns all throughout, not necessarily cute lyrics but effective narrative through a paradise-like atmosphere. Catch!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Best Ibero-American Films of the Decade (2000-2009)

01 Stellet Licht. Carlos Reygadas (México, 2007)
02 Hable Con Ella. Pedro Almodóvar (Spain, 2002)
03 Temporada de Patos. Fernando Eimbcke (México, 2004)
04 El Laberinto del Fauno. Guillermo del Toro (México/Spain, 2006)
05 Madeinusa. Claudia Llosa (Perú, 2006)
06 Y Tu Mama También. Alfonso Cuarón (México, 2001)
07 Japón. Carlos Reygadas (México, 2002)
08 Crimen Ferpecto. Alex de la Iglesia (Spain, 2004)
09 Los Muertos. Lisandro Alonso (Argentina, 2004)
10 Whisky. Juan Pablo Rebella & Pablo Stoll (Uruguay, 2004)

11 La Ciénaga. Lucrecia Martel (Argentina, 2001)
12 Mil Nubes de Paz Cercan El Cielo, Amor, Jamás Acabaras De Ser Amor (Julián Hernández, 2003)
13 La Mala Educación. Pedro Almodóvar (Spain, 2004)
14 Intimidades de Shakespeare y Víctor Hugo. Yulene Olaizola (México, 2007)
15 Trópico de Cáncer. Eugenio Polgovsky (México, 2004)
16 La Teta Asustada. Claudia Llosa (Perú, 2009)
17 Parpados Azules. Ernesto Contreras (México, 2007)
18 Al Otro Lado. Natalia Almada (México/USA, 2006)
19 Cidade De Deus. Fernando Mierelles (Brazil, 2002)
20 La Virgen de los Sicarios. Barbet Schroeder (Colombia, 2000)

21 La Soledad. Jaime Rosales (Spain, 2007)
22 Lake Tahoe. Fernando Eimbcke (México, 2008)
23 Batalla En El Cielo. Carlos Reygadas (México, 2005)
24 Adán y Eva… Todavía. Iván Ávila Dueñas (México, 2004)
25 La Libertad. Lisandro Alonso (Argentina, 2001)
26 En La Ciudad de Sylvia. José Luis Guerin (Spain, 2008)
27 Parque Vía. Enrique Rivero (México, 2008)
28 Hamaca Paraguaya. Paz Encina (Paraguay, 2006)
29 Los Bastardos. Amat Escalante (México, 2008)
30 Drama/Mex. Gerardo Naranjo (México, 2006)

31 El Violín. Francisco Vargas (México, 2005)
32 Los Herederos. Eugenio Polgovsky (México, 2008)
33 El Camino. Ishtar Yasin (Costa Rica, 2008)
34 María Llena Eres De Gracia. Joshua Martson (Colombia/USA, 2004)
35 La Sangre Iluminada. Iván Ávila Dueñas (México, 2006)
36 El Baño del Papa. Cesar Charlone & Enrique Fernández (Uruguay, 2007)
37 Cumbia Callera. René U. Villarreal (México, 2008)
38 Perfume de Violetas. Maryse Sistach (México, 2001)
39 Tony Manero. Pablo Larrain (Chile, 2008)
40 Opera. Juan Patricio Riveroll (México, 2007)

41 Los Ladrones Viejos, Las Leyendas del Artegio. Everardo González (México, 2006)
42 Los Que Se Quedan. Carlos Hagerman & Juan Carlos Rulfo (México, 2009)
43 La Rabia. Albertina Carri. (Argentina, 2008)
44 Toro Negro. Carlos Armella & Pedro González-Rubio (México, 2005)
45 El Cielo, La Tierra y La Lluvia. José Luis Torres Leiva (Chile, 2008)
46 El Gavilán de la Sierra. Juan Antonio de la Riva (México, 2000)
47 Amores Perros. Alejandro González Iñarritu (México, 2000)
48 Muxes: Autenticas, Intrepidas y Buscadoras del Peligro. Alejandra Islas (México, 2005)
49 Soba. Alan Coton. (Mexico, 2004)
50 La Antena. Esteban Sapir (Argentina, 2006)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Viva La Musica! Internet 2

Producciones Doradas, Spain
Rating: 76
By Carlos Reyes

We were first introduced to Internet2 by Joe Crepusculo’s “Caja de Lluvia” (one of the many good from Supercrepus) and it was surprising although not entirely convincing, it showed up near the end of the song managing to make Joe’s naturally sloppy vocals into the most charming thing. The song left me confused, so much that I related the emerging sound to “a storm of noise going nowhere”, and now it actually makes sense, it’s that and a whole lot more. It’s an album full of freedom in its structure and themes, what’s truly special is that it’s not trying to break rules or get through any kind of restrictions, it simply lacks walls. Viva La Musica! really carries its name with distinction, it’s full of misbehaving loops floating around, clashing into each other as they please, and a single man aligning them into his interpretation of a never-ending fest.

Full of force and clickable in all its pieces, I could only compare this to Pepepe’s Roba Orgon de Plantas y Animales and Emilio Jose’s Chorando Aprendese, except that Viva La Musica! is messier (and perhaps more abstract), stepping into this territory requires a point of direction, whether it is size, color or altitude, you can’t recruit massive amounts of sounds and expect them to celebrate freely without suffering some kind of chaos. The live shows are very interesting and are easier to understand his intentions, on stage he really is on full control of its creation, jumping on a programmed keyboard unleashing its magic as he practices his will of being a hidden author. On record, it sounds epic, it’s hard to recommend the WHOLE thing but some titles make up for the weak infrastructure of others. Starting with the blissful opener, “Dar Penita” is like a check list of what’s missing to attain the perfect intro, “can you feel it? Solo nos falta un clarinete de cartón, una chispa de sol…”, but there’s nothing missing, this is the one perfect piece to which the rest of the album looks up to, also, the only one to really feature undistorted vocals.

Everyone’s favorite dwarf from Snow White shows up in “Ton Tin” (Dopey), very instructional and even lame but at the end it does a good job linking the music to a Disney icon. The next track “Animals al Institut del Teatre” is a visit to the zoo, or a visit to the theater by some clever animals, either way it’s consciously cute, too much to tolerate. “DJ Turbofiesta” comes in to breathe some functionality to the middle of the album, which can get grueling without some food on your system. After many tracks with minimal use of vocals, the presence of vocal narrative is highly appreciated in “El Himno de la Biosfera Terrestre”, like most of the album, it sounds like a factory of sounds, perhaps they’re too sloppy or at lost but this a rush of sonic amplitudes not to be missed, makes itself be heard at whatever cost and cause, and it takes you with it whatever the hell it wants to go.

♫♫♫ "Dar Penita" (right click, save as)
Download LP

Monday, July 27, 2009

Club Fonograma's 1st Semester Survey: Best albums of 2009

A club is made up of people who share a similar interest, in this case music, and Club Fonograma is basically that, a point to meet and a channel to get the word across regarding a new artist or a hot song. As we’ve stated before, it’s not like we have all the time of the world to be exploring the web for music (although it’s a pleasure when time allows), so we rely on other channels to be aware of what’s happening out there. So we decided to invite them to our Best of The Year So Far Special, here is an important group of people that contribute in some way or another to the club, all the way from album exchange and bloggers to people we just follow on twitter, we try to absorb everything we can and in a way, serve as a filter. We asked them to list their top 5 albums of the year, in addition to their favorite ‘international’ (outsider) release, we asked not to enlist their own albums but they were entirely free to include any albums regardless of labels, collaborations, friendships, we don’t care!


05 (tie) Nuuro. The Reddest Ruby

05 (tie) La Bien Querida. Romancero

05 (tie) Mr Racoon. Katy

04 Selma Oxor. Selma Oxor

03 (tie) Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi

03 (tie) Emilio Jose. Chorando Aprendese

02 Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu

01 Hello Seahorse! Bestia


ANDRES MURILLO – Blogger, Noche Pasta; musician, Sr. Amable
Zozaya. The Re Album
This survey really took me by surprise, and after a couple of days thinking I finally decided to pick this album. First, I want to tell the world how cool Bul is as a producer, engineer and composer. His goal is to make 12 different albums this year and by today, July 23, he's almost on line (six albums are ready). I could have named DJ Golonsh or Fuck Her or the Terrorist Win EP in this place, but I really enjoy this mix of the classic Re by Café Tacvba and the mysoginic and stupid/clever attitude by MC Porno. These guys only want to have fun. Bul also helps other people to mix and master their albums, like Mr Racoon's Katy, Elias Marcos (from En Ventura) solo proyect "Alabio Alabao", and my first Sr. Amable LP CUU among others. So, please don´t miss his first class production and composition this time, could be historic.
honorable mentions
Captan, Obvio. Captan, Obvio Presents: Bedroom Covers & Bathroom Rarities
Mr. Racoon. Katy
Selma Oxor. Selma Oxor
The Mueres. The Mueres LP
Outsider: Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse. Dark Night of the Soul

ANDREW CASILLASWriter, Club Fonograma
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu

Hu Hu Hu is the culmination of Natalia Lafourcade’s gestation from precocious former teen-pop flame to serious Artiste. The album finds her expanding her repertoire immensely while staying grounded to what made her previous works so promising. Full of intricate arrangements, thoughtful and theatrical lyrics, and masterful harmonies, this album works just as perfectly as a casual listen for the ride to work as it does as a profound piece worthy of multiple and focused listens. Rarely does pop music (in any language) feel as vibrant and colorful as this 13-song suite makes it feel. Simply charming and sublime.

honorable mentions

Bigott. Fin
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
Nuuro. The Reddest Ruby
Selma Oxor. Selma Oxor
Outsider: The Field. Yesterday & Today

ANTONIO GALLARDOauthor, Yo Te Amo; musician, Unsexxy, María y José
XYX. Sistema de Terminación Sexual
XYX es un dúo formado por Señorita Anhelo y Mou, con origen en Monterrey, México. Esté es su primer EP lanzado en vinyl por la disquera Estadunidense S-S Records y en México vía descarga gratis por Nene Records. Abre con "Anel and her problem" y el coro pegajoso que dice: "Me gusta, me gusta, cada vez más." Así me pasa con las 4 canciones (Quitando un remix y una canción en vivo) que en aproximadamente 10 minutos, hace que me guste, me guste cada vez más. Con tintes post-punk no wave, blah blah, como lo quieras llamar, un disco muy recomendable para tus oídos melosos pop, aquí está el nuevo punk Mexicano, amén.
honorable mentions
Extraperlo. Desayuno Continental
Pepepe. Roba Orgon de Plantas y Animales
Piyama Party. Más Mejor
Toy Selectah. The Mex More
Outsider: Neutral Numbers. Ocean Ghosts

BONNZ – musician, Hello Seahorse!
Vicente Gayo. Vicente Gayo
Soy fan, muy muy fan. Y si, son mis amigos, pero aunque no lo fueran seguiría siendo fan. A mi juicio es la mejor banda que ha dado méxico al menos este año. El arte del disco es lo mas original y divertido que he visto. La primera vez que los vi en directo me volaron la cabeza, y cada show que tienen es siempre una nueva experiencia. Si, tal vez su acto en vivo es mejor que el disco, pero la verdad jamás había escuchado un album en español con esa fuerza, esas ganas de experimentar y hacer algo diferente. No es una banda que halla nacido de la noche a la mañana, llevan años luchando sin darse por vencidos, grabando y haciendo música con sus propios recursos, sin esperar ser famosos o vender miles de discos, dejando atrás cualquier pose de rockstarismo y haciendo las cosas con toda la honestidad del mundo. Despierta y vence, larga vida al Vicente Gayo!
honorable mentions
Laboratories. The One, The Two, The Three EP
Menuda Coincidencia. Ai Con Permisito
Murcof. The Versailles Sessions
Suave as Hell. Well, Well Mr. Whale
Outsider: Mew. No More Stories Are Told Today...

CARLOS REYES – Editor/Writer, Club Fonograma
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
I’m sure I will get tired of this album at some point, but so far this year there has not been a set of songs as convincing, moving and out-of-this-world as in Mermaid Sashimi. Juan Son is a popstar in the middle of a fanaticized world he has manufactured; the songs are the channels to tune in and once there it either becomes a beautiful thing, or a nightmare. It can be an exhausting ride but it gives more than it takes, it is also a return to a series of festivities, from vocal to costumes and a renaissance of predatory dogma, amazingly human and structurally flawless.
honorable mentions
Emilio José. Chorando Aprendese
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Teleradio Donoso. Bailar y Llorar
Outsider: Smith Westerns. Smith Westerns

CHEKY – musician, Jovenes y Sexys
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
To us, this is Natalia's finest work to date. She became this sort of Latin, female Sufjan Stevens, exploring from big orchestral pop songs to stripped-down, heartbreaking folk numbers, and everything in between. She really seems to be having fun, experimenting with arrangements and instruments, and taking chances, it's pretty much inspiring. She also receives help from some dear friends of ours, like Juan Manuel Torreblanca, who lends his beautiful and characteristic voice to the chorus of "Cursis melodías"; and Julieta Venegas, who sings on the ludic "Hu Hu Hu". But ultimately, this album is all Natalia, and it's awesome.
honorable mentions
Antoine Reverb. Goodbye Victorian Houses
Elaine. Desnuditos EP
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Nuuro. The Reddest Ruby
Outsider: Animal Collective. Merriweather Post Pavillion

CLAIRE FRISBIE & NURIA NET – Editors, Remezcla
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
We don't care if they write in English or in Spanish, the voice of Lo Blondo (Denise? whatever) is angelic, powerful and operatic and simply transports us to faraway lands... into our subconscious. Well-crafted, beautiful songs we don't get tired of listening to this.
honorable mentions
Bomba Estereo. Blow Up
El Remolon. Pibe Cosmo
Pilar Diaz. Pilar Diaz
Zizek. ZZK Sound Vol.2
Outisder:. Esau Mwamwaya + Radioclit. The Very Best

JEAN-STEPHANE BERIOT – Writer, Club Fonograma
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
The first solo album by the former Porter vocalist proves to be the great start of a guy who holds the innocence and creativity of a boy, weird yes, but fantastic too. He will be around many years from now, a dude at the very front of progressive pop. It is stunningly confident, sometimes breathtaking, in fact, he drowns in between so much stuff, only to submerge himself under water and become a story-teller through his deeply touching, funny and exaggerated songs.
honorable mentions
Emilio José. Chorando Aprendese
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Teleradio Donoso. Bailar y Llorar
Outsider: The Pains of Being Pure at Heart. The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

Internet2. Viva la Musica!
Carlos ha sacado un disco especial. Lleno de color y sobre todo mucha frescura. Música alegría. Me gusta todo, desde las referencias a la folclórica catalana hasta lo clásico que tiene y algunos guiños a las cosas electrónicas y bacaladeras. Si hay alguna música que tendríamos que enviar al espacio y sonar eternamente mientras oribita muchos planetas y estrellas extrasolares, no dudo en que debe ser ésta.
honorable mentions
Anntona. En La Cama Con Anntona
Diploide. I Love Diploide
Extraperlo. Desayuno Continental
La Bien Querida. Romancero
Outsider: Pass

JOSE LUIS MERCADO – blogger, Rock En Las Américas
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Hello Seahorse! toma distintas influencias y lo emana en un pop dosificado que lo digiere el organismo como pocas obras sónicas estos días; espero que se pueda hablar de ellos en los próximos años y este disco marque un nuevo tiempo en lo que se esta haciendo en la región.
honorable mentions
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
La Sarita. Mamacha Simona
Magaly Solier. Warmi
Savath & Savals. La Llama
Outsider: Animal Collective. Merriweather Post Pavillion

JOSE VARGAS – Writer, Filter Magazine
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
Simply a good debut solo album! Great art, great lyrics, great concept. Whenever I listen to this album I’m reminded of the old fairy tale movies from the 80’s such as The Labyrinth, Never Ending Story, Legend, etc… the sounds that make up this album produce a fragile mix fantasy, innocence, and curiosity that keeps pulling me into a Disney-like childhood day dream. Juan Son’s delicate and haunting vocals have a distinct Bjork sound that adds to a completely beautiful harmony of surrealist lyrics that float and linger around in your mind. Press play, and from beginning to end, you will take a trip to the places you thought only possible in your imagination.
honorable mentions
Eufemia. Mosquito
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Klaus & Kinski. Porque No Me Das Tu Dinero
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Outsider: Doves. Kingdom of Rust

JOSH KUN – Professor, University of Southern California; contributor, New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine
Emilio José. Chorando Apréndese
I can't say it better than Spain’s Emilio Jose himself: it sounds like "Flaming Lips if Julio Iglesias was their singer on an album composed by D'Angelo after listening to the Beach Boys." A swirling blur that lasts for well over an hour, Chorando turns listening into blissful psychedelic swimming, songs into dreamy Galician pop atoms that never stop changing shape. Sure there is something here called “Barack Obama” and a mention of “Wifi,” but otherwise this is music without time and place, a cut-paste-composed, crooned-rapped-whispered map of fantasy rhythms and melodic wonderlands. Voices drift in and out, winds blow, and lovers sigh. There are harps, Care Bears, and even an appearance by Frank Sinatra. Just submit already, it’s like nothing else out there.
honorable mentions
Diego Bernal. For Corners
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Rudo y Cursi Soundtrack – Disco 2 (sadly, not released in the U.S.)
Villa Diamante. Empacho Digital
Outsider: Micachu and the Shapes. Jewellery

JUAN MANUEL TORREBLANCA – Writer, Club Fonograma; musician
Pedropiedra. Pedropiedra
I bought this CD after hearing Pedro open for Gepe here in Mexico City, and as soon as I heard it I knew I was listening to something real special and so rich in detail that I wouldn’t grasp all of it immediately. Classic rock-pop-singer-songwriter masterpieces. A warm & timeless sound. Vocals that are impeccable, honest (thank you!) & soulful, and an awesome production overall; plus delightful arrangements: sparkling pianos, funky keyboards, guitars, drums, a big fat bass, yummy & groovy percussion, etc. (most of these played by Pedro himself) nothing out of the ordinary, but everything in its right place & so fresh and juicy, that I also have to commend Arturo “Turra” Medina’s job as the recording and mixing engineer. Remarkable collaborations from Jorge González & León Polar. My first impression was: wow, this is a really elegant but nonetheless daring endeavor. Heartbreaking, funny and intelligent lyrics. Brilliant.
honorable mentions
DJs Pareja. Marcha
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Outsider: The Dirty Projectors. Bitte Orca

Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Para mí el disco de Hello Seahorse tiene todo para ser lo mejor del año. Tiene grandes canciones, una propuesta clara de un grupo que se ve ha hecho una búsqueda y llegado a algo claro y propio. Tiene misterio. Y un sonido impecable, a la vez de oscuro. Me encanta que no es un disco de guitarras, sino de teclados, pero no por eso menos rock. Tiene actitud y personalidad. Me parece un disco entero y sólido en todo sentido. Y también me parece que va para largo.
honorable mentions
Emilio José. Chorando Aprendese
La Bien Querida. Romancero
Mexican Institute of Sound. Soy Sauce
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Outsider: Animal Collective. Merriweather Post Pavillion

LUIS ALBERTO GONZALEZ – Blogger & Magazine editor, Decireves
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Tan despreciados por una buena parte de esa crítica mamila de México que quiere que a guevo suenen a rock "puro" (como si hubiera un rock impuro) el flamante nuevo disco de este trío defeño rebosa en atmosferas etéreas, intimistas, espaciales, un rock pop como un collar de estrellas tan fino y delicado que le vale madre lo que digan los demás, joyas que se engarzan para poner de manifesto a una de las bandas más subvaloradas de la escena mexicana del rockpop, su salto a las grandes ligas sin lugar a dudas. Si no pregúntenle a Pitchfork que en el fondo no se la cree que una banda haga este tipo de sonidos.
honorable mentions
Juan Son. Mermaid Sashimi
Mr. Racoon. Katy
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Selma Oxor. Selma Oxor
Outsider: PJ Harvey & John Parish. A Woman Walked By

LUIS FARA – musician, Quiero Club & Los R’s
Emilio José. Chorando Apréndese
Hacía mucho tiempo que un disco no revolucionaba tanto mis ideas como Chorando Aprendese de Emilio José. Este material es por mucho, la producción más destacada del año, una mezcla ecléctica, interesante y muy eficaz de sonidos, texturas y ambientes que provocan, transportan y evocan una paleta igualmente diversa de emociones, lugares y situaciones; las palabras no son suficientes para alabar la labor de este artista español que sin pretenciones, pero osado, seguro de sí mismo y dispuesto a arriesgar, nos presenta un trabajo original que se paladea más allá del momento en que se escucha.
honorable mentions
d3NdRON. We Come In Piece
Happy Fi. Coyote Nights
NSM PSM. Music vs Music
Selma Oxor. Selma Oxor
Outsider: N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo

MANUEL DOMINGUEZ – Blogger, La Pagina de la Nadadora
Emilio José. Chorando Apréndese
Emilio José ha revolucionado el pop a su manera, acercando finisterre a copacabana, sonando tropicalista en “ourense”, haciéndonos confundir el gallego con el portugués y dándole mil giros a cada canción de una obra maestra titulada Chorando Apréndese. Un doble cd que sabe a poco porque los diez años que han pasado desde que Emilio José debutara dentro de aApeiron han ido multiplicando las ganas de una vuelta que, aunque de momento sea solo en solitario, demuestra que estamos ante una de las figuras nacionales de lo que llevamos de siglo. Haciendo historia casi sin pretenderlo.
honorable mentions
AMA. Exposición Permanente
Anti. Antiaventura
Espanto. Isimos
Javier Corcobado. A Nadie
Outsider: Victory Viii. International Travel Scenarios

MANUEL MARTINEZ TORRES – blogger, Milenio; musician, Bam Bam
Antiguo Automata Mexicano. Chez Nobody EP
Un disco que va en todas las vías posibles. No sabes si es electrónica o rock, si es improvisación o ya todo estaba friamente planeado, si te vas acelerando con la música o te vas relajando. Simplemente un disco genial, que demuestra mucha libertad.
honorable mentions
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Los Margaritos. Melcochambre Sonico
Piyama Party. Más Mejor
Ratas del Vaticano. Mocosos Patéticos
Outsider: Mr. Solo. Never Cease

Roger Camara "Bul"
– musician, Album, Lo Re#, Fuck Her Or The Terrorists Win, DJ Golonsh, Mercey Hot Springs, Zozaya; Delhotel Records director
Menuda Coincidencia. Ai Con Permisito
Menuda Coincidencia have immediately distinguished themselves amongst the independent scene in Mexico by putting out an excellent Alt-Hip-Hop album that appeals to a much broader audience than the Cypress Hill oriented tunes that could be considered “mainstream” rap (if only) in Mexico. Loops based around Jazz and Big Band samples only help to keep the mood fresher whilst the MC gallops intelligently from beat to bar with a happy-go-lucky flow that is mainly superseded by clever and often literary lyrics. The result being a clear example of pure musical synergy, ready to be grasped by the attending ear. Most songs deal in either a social context or a very casual and personal one, going from talking about waking up in the morning of a work day or either the duality of economic endeavours. In “Matando el Tiempo” they go on to state “In a Jiffy, their pastors feel something shaking them / because their flocks are out / making, for example, rap” addressing a culture, a scene, and folk which to more than one will feel right at home.
honorable mentions
60 Tigres. Garage
Bi-Log. Nos Casamos en África
Emilio José. Chorando Aprendese
Mr. Racoon. Katy
Outsider: N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo

ULISES HADJIS – musician
Hello Seahorse! Bestia
Soy un fanático de las "Canciones". Están cheveres los conceptos, la ingenieria de sonido, los arreglos de guitarra y todo lo de demás que incluye un disco. Pero en realidad lo que más me gustan son las canciones y "Bestia" es LA canción. Durante un par de meses abrí mis shows con un cover de "Bestia". No lo pude evitar. El disco entero sostiene ese nivel de intensidad/oscuridad, que nunca cae en una pose innecesaria. La oscuridad de Bestia, no es la oscuridad de un mundo deprimente post-apocaliptico, es la oscuridad de la noche de un día cualquiera.
honorable mentions
Gepe. Las Piedras
La Bien Querida. Romancero
Natalia Lafourcade. Hu Hu Hu
Nuuro. The Reddest Ruby
Outsider: The Dirty Projectors. Bitte Orca

Sunday, July 26, 2009

"Faquir", Niña Dioz (Final Version)

“Faquir” by Niña Dioz is seriously the best song she has ever recorded, I explained why on this previous post, but here is the master final version of the track, which I had posted here before but I’m posting it again since I made an error including an unfinished version of it on our Fonogramaticos Vol.4 compilation. That’s what you get for having demos and rough-drafts standing around the good stuff. I will be uploading the compilation again with the correct version of the song, but here it is on its own so you don’t have to download the whole thing again.

♫♫♫ Faquir

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Teclar", Os Mutantes

I’ve received a few emails pointing me to Pitchfork where you can download “Teclar” by Os Mutantes, and it’s not that I’m not aware of the song, I’ve taken some time to really process it. It’s been a week and I must say I hate it, the kind of stuff you hate not only because they don’t sound good but because they could’ve sound amazing. But I’ve been a skeptic ever since hearing the news of a new album (via Anti Records), so far I’m anticipating it as the year’s letdown (not really a letdown since I am anticipating a weak album, but you get me), of course we have to hear the entire album first. For the first time they’re sounding like ‘world music’, and it's not like they're missing Rita Lee, the 3 albums she has released this decade are kind of depressing, at this point I would prefer a comeback by Tribalistas. You can hear/download the song for free at Pitchfork; let me know if I’m wrong.

Friday, July 24, 2009

"Dreamin", Milkman

There’s not enough urban music on this site, perhaps there’s not too much to choose from, so far the year's best releases have come from Menuda Coincidencia, Zozaya DJ, Arcangel and Choc Quib Town. Monterrey’s Milkman (Milko) sent us a song from his upcoming EP (due on September), and it is here for you to download. It’s titled “Dreamin” and aims to sound epic, “I want to go high and touch the sky.” We know him from Toy Selectah’s Raverton remix for Quiero Club’s “The Flow”, plus his recent remix for “Mrs. Love” by Disco Ruido! There are lots of Mexican rock bands singing in English but this is our first encounter with a Mexican rapper doing his thing primarily in English (not counting the Mexican-American rappers of course).


The Saddest Key of All, Los Re#


Delhotel Records, México
Rating: 69
By Jean-Stephane Beriot

Prior to listening to this album I had no idea this was part of an objective set by Roger Camara (Bul) earlier this year; he wants to release an album every month, and he’s actually doing it. Without some of us knowing it, Bul will probably be the most reviewed individual at Club Fonograma, luckily he’s eclectic and not a release-freak like Omar Rodriguez Lopez. Bul is part of Fuck Her or the Terrorists Win, DJ Golonsh, Zozaya, Album, Mercey Hot Springs and now his latest, Los Re# (Los Re Sostenido). I’ve always felt a big similarity on all of these projects, mostly in their production and now it actually makes sense. I reviewed his first release (Fuck Her, or the Terrorists Win) and although I wasn’t crazy about it, it has grown into a healthy EP that I would put as the big standout from what he has released so far (would also raise its rating to at least a 74). The Saddest Key of All misses an identity that has probably been sliced up by the amount of releases, but it’s nonetheless a worthy extension to the monthly series.

You got to give it to him, the guy sings good, knows how to handle minimalism and maximalism when needed, he can rap (Zozaya), produce (Mr. Racoon’s Katy), and also cut and paste stuff a la Girl Talk (DJ Golonsh), so what exactly is he offering with Los Re#? Songs! Because there’s nothing new in terms of musical search (but maybe he wants to find the saddest key of all?), we’ve heard his electronic pop before except that this time, he actually sounds sober. Not as intricate and interesting as Nuuro or Alexico, but conscious and clear-headed of his beats, keyboards and vocal distorts. At first glimpse “Instintos Naturales” stands out right away, it saves a sequence from Album’s “amaramA” and molds a brand new song that is not as sweet as the former piece but comes up as a confrontational song in both music and lyrics.

He reunites with rapper Porno (whose showcases nothing but fury) for the opening track “D#”, a fuming intro ready to splatter people’s brains, not even machines are excluded from the high vibrancies discharged by this highly energetic intro. “Insomnia” is one of my favorites, it’s a sweet song that relies on its tempo to really get its feeling be heard, but I must confess I would’ve liked to hear the female voice from “Es Teatro Griego” to show up. I’ve also noticed a devotion for industrial sound, it’s almost urban (such in “Shot up” and “Save it for a rainy day”), which is well balanced with other songs like “Trophy”, which features beautiful vocals from Ely Mock (I kind of wish she would collaborate on every song actually). The album gets a bit dry sometimes, even chaotic, there’s a lot of stuff going on and not enough melody to make up for it, I’m sure there are wonderful hidden narratives in there but I’m not sure how to get in them. Bul has not given us an album that blows our minds out (yet), but there are songs that will stay with us for long, looking forward for the next half of the series, he’s got enough goodies for a Greatest Hits album already.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Video: "Hope", Los Fancy Free

These guys make the coolest videos, don't believe me? YouTube. Besides, Martin Thulin is probably the best frontmen in Mexican rock just after Cafe Tacvba's Ruben Albarran, not to mention his craft as a top producer (Jessy Bulbo, Nos Llamamos), Los Fancy Free have released the second video for the second single of Nevergreens Vol.2, it's one of my favorites from the album and for all those who are still underwhelmed by Gustavo Cerati's latest single, you'll be even less convinced after listening to "Hope." I was waiting for the video to show up on YouTube because I hate the MySpace players (all of them), but it's too good to put aside. Enjoy!


Yes, a total wannabe ripoff of Gorilla vs Bear's awesome polaroids, but let's unromanticize it even more, these are not exactly polaroids, they're poladroids! (as in fake polaroids, but they look great) There's more on Flickr (expect updates every now and then)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pedropiedra, Pedropiedra


Oveja Negra, Chile ****1/2
Rating: 90

by Juan Manuel Torreblanca

¿Qué le pasa a Pedro? ¿what’s wrong with him? Well, judging by his debut solo album, I could offer three answers. Número uno: not one thing. Número dos: a worrying lot (of tragic proportions). & número tres: just enough for him to be able to write his way successfully into the high realm of enduring songwriters. Enough for an exceptionally bright and deeply human mind to pour some poignant everyday poetry into the molds of huge pop songs, filling them to the brim masterfully. And enough life experience (and resilience) to find a slow-paced but true (and certain) way into the hearts of those who still give music (and lyrics) the time they need to reveal their subtly hidden treasures and joys. This year I arrived at the conclusion that 10 songs might as well be the perfect number for an album to allow itself to be heard from start to finish, to give you all it’s got, no more. But sometimes, some longer albums (when they’re as good as Pedropiedra) make me reconsider. Here we’re offered a generous collection of 13 songs. Complex but appealing songs. Funny and silly here, thought provoking and quite rebellious there. It’s challenging, but what the hell! Maybe it’s that only albums as good as PEDROPIEDRA deserve to have us devote an average of 45 minutes of our hectic lives to them over and over and over again. & the more I listen to this one, the more I know it’s worth it. & I remember that every now & then we’re lucky enough to end up getting more than we thought we would.

Anyway, I bought this CD at a little chilango venue after hearing Pedro open for Gepe here in Mexico City, and as soon as I heard it I knew I was listening to something special and so rich in detail that I wouldn’t grasp all of it immediately. I offered to write a review and suddenly I was stuck for words. Sure, I loved the album, but I didn’t know where to begin. I didn’t want to find myself floating over a shallow pool of abstract praise. And I didn’t want to get lost in the winding story of how this record was finally made; no matter how intense, exciting and unbelievably miraculous the story itself is. Especially these days. (If you are or you become interested, you can find all of that with just one simple search). So, I have decided to focus on the songs and write some notes about –almost– each one (knowing that it’ll take a bit more space than usual, but also being convinced that it deserves it) and hopefully the resulting big picture won’t be as torn as those done for the album’s artwork.

"inteligencia dormida"
The first single is a fantastic introductory piece to the album. It exposes many of its traits: a warm & timeless sound; vocals that are impeccable, real (thank you!) & soulful, and just an awesome production overall; plus a delightful arrangement: sparkling pianos, funky & spacey keyboards, guitars, drums, a big fat bass, yummy & groovy percussion, etc... (most of these played by Pedro himself) nothing out of the ordinary, but everything in its right place, everything fresh and juicy, so juicy that I also have to commend Arturo “Turra” Medina’s job as the recording and mixing engineer for his success in achieving a surprisingly clear and powerful mix of so many elements. My first impression was: wow, this is a really elegant but nonetheless daring endeavor. Brilliant. And when it came to paying attention to the lyrics, Pedro’s genius shone maybe even brighter: the agile narratives of his long phrases (a knack probably polished during his rapping days with CHC), the visual imagery, the mix of lighthearted humor, literary playfulness (exploring the multiple meanings or possible placing of words), with melancholy and sincerity. Like a good movie, or a 1-2-3 boxing combo that will knock you out every time: first it makes you laugh, then it makes your heart ache, and then you end up saying: that’s so true, that’s exactly how I feel!

"al vacío"
Good example of his melodic craft, of his fusion of a brit pop influence with latin american rock. The chorus apparently floats higher and higher with each turn, and I get a feeling that this is also a bit of a trademark. I’m beyond enjoyment, astounded by the moving depth of his words. It seems to talk to me about those really difficult moments (of emptiness or sadness) when you can do nothing other than let go, and hope that by surviving the fall you’ll come out wiser or stronger. But it’s not pathetic, the music is so upbeat and beautiful, it’s almost… happy. Don’t we love that contrast?

"hasta el final"
A catastrophic and existentialist list of everything that will (one day) cease to be. The punchline is Pedro saying: I understood all of that since I was a kid, but nobody told me what to do with the loneliness. There’s something of a benchmark like the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds here (in the vocal arrangement as much as in the philosophical musings). My favorite part is when the bass joins the drums on a lazy line that draws the circle Pedro’s singing about, the line that separates you from the distant world, that reminds you: you came alone and you are alone until the end.

"si somos salvajes"
Hot song! Great song! Mindblowing vocal harmonies (with help by Jorge González, frontman of classic Chilean rock band Los Prisioneros & more recently of Los Updates, and pretty much honorary musical ambassador for Chile in Mexico City)! Fantastic lyrics, they remind me of that old Soda Stereo song “entre caníbales” but I’d dare say this song (without losing any erotic prowess) is deeper, it has opted for a more narrative (than purely poetic) approach and (through a brilliant use of irony and sense of humor) it’s bigger, badder and more fun. Not just a relationships/romantic song. No one leaves this one without a scratch. But we’ve been warned (or is it adviced?) If we’re wild, let’s be so at all times and at all places. “También el presidente y el santo arrastran los pies como tú y yo, las lecciones que nos van dejando no sirven de nada en el mundo.” Heavy stuff! Dirty stuff! One of my favorites.

"sol mayor"
I swear I see the sun, the waves and the beach when I listen to the intro (even though the title could also refer to the key of G major… & just in case you were curious: the song is actually on the key of A major). This warm, easygoing tune might be the best song off the album. It could even be one of the best in Andrés Calamaro’s repertoire, but I think Pedro dares to draw a much more raw, naked and bittersweet picture of human nature and relationships than Andrés would. This one has brought me close to tears more than once. Beautiful.

"historias de terror"
Isn’t it incredible how some specific musical harmonies can make us feel spooky or imagine ghosts, Halloween stuff etc? This song has that combined with a childlike bounce that makes it sound almost like a half-joking-song… but if you pay close attention, its lyrics are some of the most serious in the album; they poetically bring to the table all of our historic true horror stories: war, shameful crimes that go unpunished, (and it’s awful to think such a thing can become normal to many in so many countries –el pan de cada día) like the dead women in Juárez, like all the violations to human rights during Pinochet’s military regime or like those disappeared ones that “Las madres de la plaza de mayo” still mourn. We don’t want to keep on eating that daily bread.

"soy el ring"
I doubt there’s another song that deals with the presence of the light and the shadow within (personified as God & the Devil) that can make you laugh so hard. The way it evolves and flows from beginning to end, I can’t believe it’s not butter. And I love how much you can feel he enjoys singing.

"mi mama"
A brief, upbeat, early Beatles reminiscing ditty that joyfully tells the story of some ghostly visits that a dead mother’s been paying the narrator. It breaks my heart how he asks her, like a child: why did you have to go and die? And then he finishes the phrase with a lovely and enraged little curse: tonta.

This lament is the title of another sad song, a ballad in a ¾ meter (a walz) that dances everything away, a last goodbye. The irony is present in the chorus that sings “te vas te vas te vas te vas…” as if it were a corny melody for the Festival Oti, you can almost see José José back in 1970 wowing the audience with his rendition of “El triste” but that moment’s already gone as well.

"cuarto oscuro"
The poppiest of the songs. A gorgeous upbeat tune about… depression (or something like that, mixed with a chosen uncertainty). The main character is waiting in a dark room, like a photograph about to develop. Its tongue-twister delicious phrases are sweetened by the voice of Leon Polar (who,by the way, lent his studio for the recording of the whole album). This could be a 40 principales hit hidden within the album, but it’s not an odd-one-out; its gloomy wit makes it blend in perfectly.

"obrero mundial"
Guitars plucked in arpeggios that dance between the light and the dark weave the mood for lyrics as heavy as the chains of modern-day slaves (those who might never climb out of the marshes of poverty that our global economic systems are working dutifully at covering but not erasing)… amazing. Really amazing. I hadn’t heard new music that was so full of meaning in a long, long while.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Queen of Downloads: "La Sofi" by Rita Indiana

Well, this is a surprise, Rita Indiana’s “La Sofi” is officially the most downloaded song ever here at Club Fonograma. I’m not exactly sure how it happened, but it seems like the song is finally alive. It was recorded for a project Rita had previously formed known as Casifull, but the whole thing seemed to be out of sight and it never got release until our Fonogramaticos Vol.3 compilation. Now that Rita is almost ready to release the debut album of Rita Indiana y Los Misterios “La Sofi” makes a comeback. I’ve heard it a few times over at Mexico’s Radio Global not to mention my five year old nephew has an obsession with it. We’re not alone as this funky, messy, unfinished, and ultimately radiant song is invading iPods all around our audience, which is small but lovely.

I guess most of us have been in this situation, you want to put on a disc but you’re surrounded by whiners who don’t like your music, whether they’re friends or family, this is a song that is so reachable and up to the moment that it becomes an ecstasy of all sorts. Not exactly a crowd-pleaser but a statement of social collide that doesn’t need extra attachments to let us know its intention, “tengo un disco de la sofi lo quiero ponel, tengo un disco de la sofi lo voy a poner.” Once we’re here, let’s welcome the track into our Features, like I said there’s been no previous release, so I improvised some artwork for it.