Tuesday, September 29, 2009

About the lack of content...

It's been about a week without updates, Carlos had an unfortunate situation with Club Fonograma's Headquarters (his laptop), and has no proper access to a computer at this moment. Considering Carlos is Club Fonograma, don't expect updates until he resolves this problem, he's a jobless college kid so it might take a bit of time, but don't worry, he will be back. Why am I giving the news? His campus computer labs block social networks such as Facebook and Blogger, so he's not able to post anything or read your commens during this time (or have a chance to type reviews, etc). But please, follow us on Twitter, Carlos has an iPod and tweets through it @CarlosReyes, and I (Jean-Stephane Beriot) will be taking over @ClubFonograma for the moment.

100. Jumbo. “Cada vez que me voy”
DD y Ponle Play
After a compelling Restaurant and a jewel of a song titled “Fotografia”, Jumbo’s harmless music saw the light for the second time in one of the most conversational pop songs recently. Its self defining lyrics are warmly served by an almost effortless rock-pop accompaniment. In its most juvenile moment, Jumbo crafted a song as self-reflecting and fun as Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone.” JSB


099. Naty Botero. “Tú eres un indio”
Naty Botero
This is probably an unexpected choice but Naty Botero does Kyle Minogue in this futuristic song about taking the next step, “vamos todos juntos vamos a progresar.” From the jumpy rhythms to the voluptuous refrain of “tu eres un indio y no un robot”, the song succeeds on its quest to cut past strings and welcome the new man, or the man surrounded by new media.


098. She’s a Tease. “Datos Íntimos” (Disco Ruido Club Mix)
Happy Fi Compilation 5: Coyote Nights
There’s not a lot of information about She’s a Tease, but they have made a vastly enjoyable upfront of their upcoming breakthrough album. A pop song structured on a sequence of events turns out to be great material for an all glamorous disco club mix by Disco Ruido! The arrival of a text message becomes the primary excuse for an upbeat piece full of cheesy realities and dramatic outcomes. CR


097. Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser. “Miedo”
Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser
Electro-pop spent much of this decade moving from the dance floor to the bedroom. However, Maria Daniela and Emilio Acevedo weren’t having any of this. “Miedo”, like most of this duo’s work, just cranks up the volume, spits high-energy vocals, and delivers synths and beats so fast and violent, you get the sense you’re gonna get beat the hell up if you don’t start moving your ass.


096. Circo. “Un Accidente”
En el cielo de tu boca
Let’s face it, most of us are beautiful accidents of our beautiful moms and dads, Circo has made story about it. Puerto Rico’s most representative rock band, with the help of a foot tapping sequence, jumps from a metaphorically sexual song to the most poetic reading of the act. The fact that it sees sex as a battle and an orgasm as the fall of an Empire gives it extra points. CR




095. Belanova. “1,2,3 Go!”
Fantasía Pop
Belanova is probably Mexico’s most legit mainstream pop act and this song gets just about everything right. It’s kitsch, girly and at the end, a bubbling machine of pop galore. This is also like a cruel bitch-slap to the very boring earlier Belanova (their Cocktail phase), they went from tasteless gum to a chewy effervescent Top40 bright band. CR


094. Chocquibtown. “Somos Pacifico”
Chocquibtown
Too many bands tried to make an anthem to celebrate La Musica Latina! Most fail to do that because that on itself is dull and overpowering. Colombia’s Chocquibtown somehow succeeded on making such a song, and it’s anything but dull. Seriously, the song celebrates Colombian locality while shouting “Que viva la musica latina!”, a great catchy tune by great overpowering voices. JSB


093. Turbopotamos. “Terrorize You / Disco Flor”
Single
They’re Peru’s everlasting new great band and probably the only act to keep rockabilly on its most refreshing point. This is a double feature about a breakup; a terrorizing event that is then pushed into the dance floor. The shift from one song to the other is barely there, but along the way, you’ll see a series of destructions and resolutions, “Still I lied and lied and lied ‘til I saw the size of her knife.” JSB


092. Los Amigos Invisibles feat. Natalia Lafourcade. “Vivire Para Ti”
Commercial
Los Amigos Invisibles were already on the shortlist for “Best Live Band on the Planet,” but they’ve never really had one song that puta ll of their best qualities together – until “Vivire Para Ti.” Simultaneously charming, romantic, funky, funny, and danceable, this is an impossible song to ignore; even more so when Natalia Lafourcade goes toe-to-toe with the Venezuelan playboys, delivering one of her best all-around vocal performances.


091. Hello Seahorse! “Criminal”
Bestia
An exquisite, almost progressive piece. Brilliant melodies, crunchy beats, ace synths & a dance groove that nods to Hello Seahorse’s past without departing from the concept of Bestia. On the contrary, “Criminal” elaborates on it thus: “todos tenemos una bestia por dentro, que vive de nuestras lagrimas y fracasos, pero duerme si le hacemos entender que su papel es existir y no insistir … genious. And how sweet is that voice?


090. Sr. Chinarro. “Del montón”
El Mundo Según
Antonio Luque made a classic the minute his deep voice exclaims “pudo ser un amor del montón pero todo el montón no era mío.” If that phrase doesn’t make a great chorus, I don’t know what will. The song manages to keep the elegance of its flamenco foundation while going further into the pedestrian sound of trobadores. JSB


089. Tribalistas. “Ja Sei Namorar”
Tribalistas
I still remember the first time I heard this song, I was on a vacation and I saw the video on some hotel’s TV. Marisa Monte’s heavenly melody (with Carlinhos & Arnaldo adding the greatest harmonies) got me immediately. The beat was infectious (the best beats always come from Brazil, apparently). I wrote their name down to get their album later, I did & it’s one of my favorite CDs ever.


088. Anti. “Corazones Legendarios”
Antiaventura
Anti with longtime colleague Leonor (from Single) delivered the song Miguel Bose tried so hard to write during all these years but couldn’t. It levels lovers and artistes in terms of significance. It’s as circular as Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights” and a dream-adventure of its down. “No será que solo soy un sonámbulo, rápido! queda poco para despertar.” CR


087. Daddy Yankee. “Somos de Calle” (Remix)
Talento de Barrio
Daddy Yankee reunites all his friends to spit out some truths and a few lies; in one hand he reestablishes his corillo putting himself back into El Big Boss status, in the other hand, making a gigantic orgy of angry rappers/reggaetoneros whose 15 seconds of fame sum up to fantastic moment for urban music. MVPs Arcangel, Julio Voltio & Baby Rasta! CR


086. Rita Indiana. “La Sofi”
Fonogramaticos Vol.3
This trashy rare recording gets even more simplification in its very reachable content. In fact, it stands as Club Fonograma’s most downloaded track, the only explication I could give is that people like the easy access to a song that becomes an ecstasy of all sorts. It’s a statement on social collide that needs no extra attachments or elaborate production, feels improvised and genius. “Tengo un disco de la sofi, lo quiero ponel.” CR


085. Mexican Institute of Sound. “Mirando a las muchachas”
Piñata
Here are the best minutes of M.I.S.’s quest of reviving danzon with a little push from electronic music. What’s really amazing about it is how dense this track is, it really holds up to its culture-depicting commandment of guys surveying girls. It’s like a very nostalgic alteration to Mexico’s golden age of cinema, works flawlessly on the dance floor or on the palm of the hand.


084. Nuuro feat. Nana Cadavieco. “Brawl”
Fonogramaticos Vol.5
There are so many great songs by Nuuro that one could list, but this one is special because it does a well job representing his development as an artist. We can hear both, the intimate very crystallized electro guru of his LPs and also the fun and playful kid that rearranges beats on his EPs. He gets some company from fellow Venezuelan Nana Cadavieco delivering a cacophonic ecstasy for the ages.


083. Austin TV. “Shiva”
Fontana Bella
The most remarkable thing about “Shiva” i show intímate it sounds. Aside from a single distorted keyboard note that permeates throughout the song, there’s nothing on here aside from guitar, bass, and drums. This simple, almost stripped-down approach provides a solid foundation akin to the best Boredom tracks, with a result that’s both organic and whimsical. Oh, and that’s not even mentioning how much this song rocks balls.


082. Mr. Racoon. “Ferry 3”
Katy
How dare does Roberto “Mr Racoon” Polo does a song as beautiful as “Ferry 3” about marriage? Specifically, a song suggests marriage as the way to get rid of loneliness, very scary stuff. It’s like the cut distant cousin of “Single Ladies” for romantic guys, it’s full of imagery and intensely catchy with its smoothening strings, claps and yes, that “turururu.” JSB


081. Juanes. “A dios le pido”
Un dia normal
If I may disclose: This wasn’t exactly the most popular song amongst the writing staff when we composed this list. But it’s hard to argue that there isn’t something special about this track. From its careful weaving of religious and secular subject matter to the electric strumming and backbeat combo (that Juanes seems to have used on every single after this), there’s too much to love to really hate it.


080. Piyama Party. “Fan de Carcass”
Mas Mejor
A song making its way into a classic, one of the Mexican rock songs of the decade. It’s the fable on how a guy becomes a hardcore fan of Carcass after listening to a cassette, this encounter redefines him completely, and he goes dark! “cuando voy a los conciertos me visto de negro sacudo el cabello, y si son cosas del Diablo por eso me gustan por eso yo las prefiero.”


079. Babasonicos. “Putita”
Infame
“Sos tan espectacular no podrías ser mía nada más, tenias que ser de todos.” Sorrow is rarely this entertaining. Despite the title of the song, there probably isn’t another Babasonicos song as down tempo and strangely sweet as this one. It’s great enough that it has become one of the peak moments at any Babasonicos concerts, it sounds great with a stadium-scale public.


078. Los Fancy Free. “Ja Ja Ja”
Nevergreens Vol.1
Martin Thulin and compañía are probably the most fun live band in Latin American rock after Café Tacvba, “Ja Ja Ja” proved Thulin’s Spanish skills weren’t that bad, in fact, there’s finally emotional tissue to grab on. The optimistic track functions on its own desperation, feeding itself from explosive clashes and frenetic drums. “La vida no es más que lo que tu inventes.”


077. Emilio José. “Son Gohan”
Chorando Aprendese
With almost 22 tracks to choose from the brilliant Chorando Aprendese, Emilio Jose made a home run out of “Son Gohan.” Much has been said about his ability to organize music on a non-linear narrative, but what about that ridiculously comforting voice! The track’s shifts and samplings (Dragon Ball, Manu Chao, etc) gimmick the warmth parental love. It’s a march-like fest in progress.


076. Album. “Es Teatro Griego”
Cancer Baby
A generational bound of what’s to come and what’s to become, Monterrey’s Album inspires in one of the sweetest love statements and musical passages of the decade. Let’s set the stage so that it welcomes triumphs, falls and beautiful summers. A beautiful wordplay layered on distorted camp-fire chants and a cursory operas, to the finalizing “I found you, I want you, I love you”, a triumph. CR


075. Juan Son. “Nada”
Mermaid Sashimi
A baroque masterpiece that juggles metaphors of tombs, swamps, massacres & pagan dances to describe a scary, dark, hot & probably forbidden love. The brilliant string arrangement (an intro of pizzicatos that turn into rhythmic, romantic sway). The crystalline guitar arpeggios. The bass & beats. Everything paves the way for Juan Son’s voice to shine through like the unique for of nature he is! JMT

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Desnuditos EP, Elaine

DESNUDITOS EP, ELAINE
The Poni Republic, Venezuela
Rating: 79
By Carlos Reyes

Out of the several distinguished acts coming out of Venezuela we had yet to find a good dose of rock and roll, for those of us who can't seem to understand why something as Caramelos de Cianuro carries the flag of Venezuelan rock, Elaine’s Desnuditos EP should do us well (by reaffirmind we're right to be skeptical) . Elaine is a three member band formed by Sherezade Ortiz, Lya Reis and IL Gimon, pretty awesome real names for a band that according to their MySpace is “too danceable to be punk, and too noisy to be danceable.” Elaine shows it’s okay to work on extremes and even encouraged, Elaine sounds raw and determined to beat any blocking beat on their way, and they do it through female vocal extravaganza and a very solid musical accompaniment.

“We are done, is this my turn to hurt you?” or how about “I really really want you to die”, okay, not the most appropriate phrases to put on record, but punk is not about that. They’re not only speaking out loud, they’re spitting truthful thoughts in the opening track “Over It (Not)”, a bouncy dazzling piece loaded on noise compulsion a lo Dananananaykroyd and Pretty Girls Make Graves. It’s great that just like its title, it resolves itself with immediate thought. “Yes Louis” works on a high scale of icy rock, and they do it without any regards, caring only about the moment, and delivering great bursting dance tunes at the same time.

“Like It Naked” closes the three-pieced show very nicely, it’s voluptuous and unaware of gravitational boundaries. The way it rolls in layers, eventually verging in tremendous galloping noise, adding some masculinity to the overall concept. It’s been good year for punk, it helps that the bands embracing it are living their youth, from Nene Records to the Poni Republic, it's a fest of attitude and no longer a rebellious device. With less than 8 minutes of running time, it would be too much of a stretch to give it a higher rating, but so far so good, they’re releasing a full album by the end of the year, Desnuditos EP is a wonderful entrée.

♫♫♫ "Yes Louis" (right click, save as)
Download EP
MySpace

Video: Joe Crepúsculo- "Toda Esta Energia"

Joe Crepúsculo is one of the coolest ‘dudes’ in music, now in the industry as he is about to release his first commercial release titled Chill Out through Discoteca Oceano, it will be their second official release following El Guincho’s Alegranza! Considering we loved both Escuela de Zebras and Supercrepus, we’re super psyched about it, not to mention he’s like an honoree member of the club, always suggesting great new artists to look up to and collaborating in a bunch of our features. “Toda Esta Energia” opens the new disc, it isn’t exactly the first single I belief, it’s an upfront of what’s coming next month. Here is the very traumatizing video, hint, don’t try to make sense of it, sense it. Musica para la ocasión.



Mi Plan, Nelly Furtado

MI PLAN, NELLY FURTADO
Universal Latino, Canada
Rating: 28
By Carlos Reyes

Nelly Furtado is a sweetheart; she’s been talking about the release of Mi Plan since Whoa! Nelly came out; it’s charged with good vibes and great intentions, at the end it’s a pretty insignificant offering from someone who actually has some good-to-GREAT albums under her arm. It’s better than all the crappy translations we’re used to get from pop stars, including Beyonce’s ridiculous gimmicks to appeal to the MTV Tr3s audience. But as opposed to Beyonce, Nelly Furtado owns credibility, starting with her collaboration with Juanes in “Fotografia” (Un Dia Normal) and fully embracing her love to the Latino culture through this long awaited, long planned first Spanish-language album (fourth studio album).

Her vulnerable shaky voice actually sounds good in Spanish; the songs abstain from any complication or complexity, there are very uncomfortable moments where she struggles to get her point across. Mi Plan is guided by the sound of Miami, or the ‘standard’ sound coming out from Miami’s top producers, this sort of ‘Latin Pop’ that celebrates its own bliss but at the end doesn’t go further than the mediocrities los Estefan have been bombarding us for too many years. It’s unfortunate to see Furtado’s dream being consumed by a layer of pop we’re getting sick of. If it wasn’t for her voice, all these songs would be unrecognizable; it’s as if she molded these pieces around a telenovela, some pieces are unworthy of its lousiness while others are just over the top and even cartoonish.

There are two pieces here that do manage to overcome all obstacles. First single “Manos Al Aire” is a fun, harmless groovy piece that should’ve set the album’s overall sound. It would’ve make it a better album, not a great one, but at least it wouldn’t sound so exhaustingly forced like the very unfortunate Mi Plan. The other good track (now third single) is of course, her collaboration with La Mala Rodriguez and Julieta Venegas in “Bajo Otra Luz”, the song is a blast and probably the only time Nelly sounds truly familiarized, a song in the likes of “Eres Para Mi”, and it’s great to see her owning stardom. You’re advised, abstain from the rest of the collaborations, Alejandro Fernandez and Josh Groban especially. Mi Plan is actually getting pretty good reviews from all sides of the spectrum, and that’s very scary. At the end, I take this as a misguided well intentioned failure, happens to the best of us, Jua Nelly!


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video: Manos de Topo - "Logico Que Salga Mal"

“There’s too many sad people in the world, that’s why I sing this way.” That’s Miguel Angel Blanca, Mano de Topo’s vocalist explaining the reasoning behind his particular vocal execution. The band will hardly ever sound ordinary, only time will measure how much of an exotic incitement this is; in the meantime, they sound pretty great. They are finally releasing a video for “Logico Que Salga Mal”, the first cut from El Primero Era Mejor. Director Kike Maillo is back after directing two awesome videos for “Es Feo” (a current hit in Mexico) and “El Cartero”, needless to say he understands their emblematic amplification of drama, misery and humor. It’s a great video; plenty of fragmentation/repetition going on parallel to the song’s sequencing and aware of spectatorship in terms of a widescreen YouTube-based audience.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Rosal - "En Circulos"


La Casa de la Noche hits Argentina’s store shelves this month, this is the follow up to Rosal’s very impressive album Su Majestad, you might remember “Interruptor” and its funky crappy video. Rosal is one of the many bands that got a big push from the now gone blog Lavate Las Orejas, which was a RockEnEspañol music blog that served as both a reference of Latin America’s diversified industries and as a download site, as one would expect, they were thrown out of the web, fragmenting a very interesting vein of bands that since then have struggled to showcase their albums outside their native lands.

Rosal is leaded by Maria Ezquiaga, who was part of the awesome project of Varias Artistas, an all-girl congregation of singers that included Miranda’s Juliana Gattas and Javiera Mena. Here is the first leading single titled “En Circulos”, it definitely makes us hungry for more, (it kind of sounds like St. Vincent ... a little bit), the album also includes a collaboration with the amazing Lisandro Aristimuño who is also working on a new production, great times ahead!


Featured: Extraperlo - "Bañadores"


Everytime I go back to Desayuno Continental I regret not giving it a much higher rating, but I guess that’s one of the many drawbacks regarding ratings. Good thing this is only a blog, and we get chances to redeem ourselves in some way or another, I’m hoping to do so by including their single “Bañadores” into our features. It’s my second favorite piece from Extraperlo’s first album, which also includes the orgasmic “Las Palmeras del Amor” and a bunch of very cool beach-ready chants circling around El Guincho’s tricky pop allies including Coconot, Manos de Topo, Veracruz, Internet2, Joe Crepusculo among others, all Fonograma favorites.

“Bañadores” also has an amazing best of the year contender video, posted here a couple of months ago. This has been a great year for Mushroom Pillow; if only for the amount of attention Delorean has gathered after Pitchfork’s BestNewMusic tag (you can read our Ayrton Senna review here). While they’re also reissuing La Habitacion Roja’s discography, we learn Triangulo de Amor Bizarro is ready to go into the studio to record their much anticipated follow up to their brilliant debut, can’t wait! They will also be visiting Mexico in a couple of days along with Los Planetas and Christina Rosenvinge, I wish I was there. Back, to Extraperlo, don’t miss out, they can be a great pastime and a lot more.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Video: Pilar Diaz - "El Otro Yo"

Chile’s Californian girl Pilar Diaz premieres her third video “El Otro Yo”, from her very exciting self-titled debut album. While the video for “Piñata” was genuinely bold in its parody of a bloody piñata, her second video “Novia de Soldado” was a postcard ready tribute to Valparaiso and Viña del Mar, this third audiovisual offering is a lot more personal. Four minutes before going into stage, a moment of excitement and nervousness, it’s nicely framed and aware of its depth, generous to its space and time and beautifully lighted. Enjoy.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hay Un Cuerpo Tirado En La Calle, Franny Glass

HAY UN CUERPO TIRADO
EN LA CALLE,
FRANNY GLASS

Contrapedal, Uruguay
Rating: 72
By Carlos Reyes

This is the first Uruguayan album we ever reviewed, well, not really, there’s a review for Mar Dulce somewhere around but besides that, we hadn’t had the chance to look deep into the scene until a couple of weeks ago that prolific producer Juan Campodonico hooked us up with a very cool label called Contrapedal. It’s great to open another channel to discover, because of course, there’s more to Uruguayan pop than El Cuarteto de Nos, Bajofondo, Erik Couts and Jorge Drexler. Franny Glass is a fantastic way to start filling the gap; this is a one-man show by Gonzalo Deniz whose eloquent creations are closer to a story-teller than a singer, Hay Un Cuerpo Tirado En La Calle is his second album.

Right from the start one feels a seamless construction of camp-like fire songs attached to strings, it’s folk and pop and country. Franny Glass’s articulation also reminds me of Spain’s Sr. Chinarro and Francisco Nixon, they all stand on the verge of cantautores and trovadores, this explains the hard time outsiders have with their music and why the people around them embrace them as they’re very own. Take the first single “Hoy no quiero verte nunca más”, its elite is implused by circled travelling instead of melody, in part because there is little instrument intervention, leaving the man restore his faith by discharging painful memories of his broken heart.

Most of the album is down there, chants about desolation or to be exact, 13 songs of despair and “Protegiendome del Sol”, one that is sort of sad but very uplifting. This piece is so painful and at the same time very beautiful, an inconsolable brokenhearted individual protects himself from the sun by not going out, deciding instead to heal by listening to records, if unsuccessful, it might just be time to bring the sun down interminably; ok, I lied not exactly uplifting but at least it gives pain some closure. There are some lighter sing-along tracks like “Abro Los Ojos” and “Quedate Un Rato”, cautionary victims of living life under routine but conforming to some standards, very respectful in my book. There are too many spare songs here and not enough variation among them, but I guess we can’t get enough songs about love and its details.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Video: $990 - "El Gatito" (Mix Invernal)

I used to be able to spend hours jumping from one MySpace to another in search for some cool songs, those days are sadly over but from time to time I do stumble upon interesting acts such as $990. I’m not exactly sure how I got to them, but considering they’re from Chile it’s possible they’re linked to Javiera Mena in some way or another. They’re a very young duo from Santiago, Ana y Paulo, the songs didn’t strike me much, some I found awful but oh surprise! they have one of the coolest videos I’ve seen this year, “El Gatito” (Mix Invernal) has a resemblance to Sailor Moon with its colorful lights, dance revolution, karaoke and cool animations. Plus the song is pretty easy to chew and sing to, reminds me of that quiet pop wave that emerged and died between the beginning of the millennium and 2005, well, it didn’t die, it’s just that the nostalgia of a new era faded out too quickly.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

CUU LP, Sr. Amable

CUU LP, SR. AMABLE
Delhotel Records, Mexico
Rating: 79

By Jean-Stephane Beriot

The project of Andres Murillo gives continuation to the very pleasing EP Senor Amable Was Here, this time he steps away from the charming vowels of “Gary (ewewew)” and amplifies a dazzling line of songs that are anything but charming, seems like he’s trying to kill the kid inside him, or even more interesting, somebody else taking that away from him. Mr. Amable finds himself in a country with riveting violence, this demands bolder musical passages and for the most part the album delivers such force. However, I miss some of that messier production from his EP, something our editor calls the demo-lished suspension, CUU sounds more industrialized but equally polished.

“Me Carfa” is a brutal piece to start a show, with lines like “se oyen balas en lugar de risas” or “no vemos diferencia entre narco y policia”, or how about “soy muy popular entre la gente triste.” One would think this guy is a pessimist or at least heartbroken, or both, truth is, he is just a perceiver transcoding his surrounding through very well textured bleak songs. Big props to producer Bul who adds yet another review on this site, “Pasa las armas Bul!”CUU is covered with excessive attachment, but finds virtue in this flaw to hide his already vulnerable voice which is so beautifully conveyed in “Para Blueshit.” This is one of the most beautiful tracks in the album so I did some research, turns out this is a requiem for Blueshit, a band I could barely stand to skim, very weird unhealthy stuff, ugly things inspire beautiful ones.

Despite having one of the coolest titles, “Tema official de la semana nacional de vacunacion” drowns in goofiness trying to critique Mexico City’s rock scene, the rap sequence is laughable and dumb; everything that could’ve gone wrong does go wrong even melodically. “Carrie’s Brain” is a spare song, totally unnecessary and easily boring. Aside from those two tracks CUU flourishes truly exciting minutes of music and speech, about guns and drug trafficking, schools and whatnot. Play close attention to the collaborations of two fonograma favorites, Monterrey’s weird kid Alexico and Monterrey’s most sober cantautor Mr. Racoon. Also, don’t miss the title song, it takes a while for it to sink in, but once it does, it’s hard not get chills, the perfect mediation for a post-everything set of songs. At the end, this is a very cool pop album, not an easy album but very gratifying on multiple hearings. “Soy muy lo-fi para culturizaaaar.”

10th Annual Latin Grammy Nominees: Calle 13, Hello Seahorse!, Juan Son and others





I remember as a teenager getting very excited to know the Latin Grammy nominations, I felt they were edgy, and they still are, even edgier than Los Premios MTV. It’s their 10th anniversary and bashing on the Latin Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences year after year is an easy way out, and therefore boring, as they unveil their nominations this morning one can’t help but feel a bit depressed with the outcome. That’s if you care about them, which I’m sure most of you don’t, but from this side of the story it’s an important statement on pop culture, our pop culture.

Yes, the nominations suck for the most part, they’re all margined in conventions but before hating them we have to respect LARAS as a democratic group of professionals appreciating art as they feel. I could keep writing about the structure and why the nominations usually suck, but let’s start with the basics. If you’re a recording, commercial artist, (as in if you sell your music) you should become a member. If you released an album, how about you tell your label to get it into the competition? You can’t expect to see Juana Molina, El Guincho or Prietto Viaja Al Cosmos Con Mariano nominated if they’re not participating. But then again, LARAS shouldn’t make its members pay a yearly fee… and they shouldn’t exclude non-commercial music… too many things they shouldn’t do but I guess they need guidelines.

As usual, we got a chance to see the entry list in competition there was some very interesting stuff on there, like Gepe not only competing for Best New Artist but competing as Gepe Hungria. Also, the Alternative Music category is so rich and extensive and it seems like everyone wants to get in it. The General Rock category is once again abominable for the most part. The general category is way less ‘alternative’ than on previous years, but Calle 13 leads the nominations and that’s a good start, also, let’s give some props to a line of nominees we are extremely happy to find among the 50 or so categories. Full list of nominees here.

Calle 13, Café Tacvba, Chocquibtown, Natalia Lafourcade, Draco Rosa, Spinetta, Babasonicos, Kinky, Los Amigos Invisibles, Zoe, Hello Seahorse!, Camila Moreno, Juan Son.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Featured: Los Romanticos de Zacatecas - "Nuestro Amor"


So, we have written about Los Romanticos de Zacatecas how many times? Well, we felt it was necessary to add them into our features considering they are a house favorite. Their self-titled debut EP has been out for a while, but very few got a chance to know them last year, they have expanded their popularity this year in particular because of the amazingly catchy “Nada Puedo Hacer”, a hit in the works already highly demanded on radio stations like Reactor (Mexico City) and Indie 103.1 (Los Angeles). You can find two of their songs in our compilations, but let’s not forget about “Nuestro Amor”, the first single that has been overlooked but shouldn’t. As I look back into their album, they have classified their EP’s genre as ‘Masculino’, damn funny! They also tell us they’re about to go in the studio to record a new album, can’t wait.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Haiah Or Amortecedor, Os Mutantes

HAIH OR AMORTECEDOR,
OS MUTANTES

Anti, Brazil
Rating: 71
By Carlos Reyes

Os Mutantes, the most celebrated band from our region comes back with a first album in 35 years! Ok, every single review of Haih or Amortecedor starts with this fact, but I guess us in particular should be jumping up and down for what could be the year’s Latin album. Thing is, it clearly isn’t and we hate to say it but we saw it coming. Comebacks are rarely amazing, better hope the reunion brings some nostalgia to spread around and luckily it does. Turns out this isn’t the disappointment us skeptics had leaded it out to be, they still sound like themselves although not as equally aware of new media or the state of mind of the post-national post-industrial consumer.

As I had pointed out, the first single “Teclar” is a very depressing track for the most part because it sounds like world music, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but Os Mutantes are anything but regionalism. Luckily, the leading track is misleading. Hair or Amortecedor is full of blissful moments, far away from the exoticism of its artwork, reaffirming the band’s pronouncement to step away from clichéd carnival-striking songs. Well, with the exception of “2000 E Agarrum”, a classic which oddly enough, steps back from its tribal glory to instead face foreign mechanism; this practice is already exemplified and amplified by some of Os Mutantes pupils like Devendra Banhart or Of Montreal.

Through songs like “Gopala Krishna Om” and “Querida Querida” is pretty clear they aim to departure into uncommon places, it doesn’t quite work if you’re unaware of the virtual window and are unconsciously a participant of such phenomenon. This wouldn’t affect most bands out there but Os Mutantes carry the psychedelic flag of their time, immediately feeding their challenge: trying to wave it into a new group of listeners, who have processed and progressed “A Minha Menina.” Haih or Amortecedor ends up as a flawed but nostalgically rich, quite pleasing addition to one of those legendary bands we’re so lucky to have met on our lifetime.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Video: "Yo Digo Baila", Mexican Institute of Sound

New video from the Mexican Institute of Sound, “Yo Digo Baila” is the worldly infectious second (or third?) single from Soy Suace. “Yo Digo Baila” is a club-banger with a Banda layer on the background and its encounter with the electronic gene; on the surface, a negotiation and compromise between the two genres and the call-response Spanglish interaction of its chorus. (Read my review here). The video was directed by my second favorite contemporary Mexican director Fernando Eimbcke (Temporada de Patos, Lake Tahoe) and Alejandro Cantu, one of our finest cinematographers whose great works can be appreciated in the films of the also amazing filmmakers Julian Hernandez and Ivan Avila Duenas. These guys love to work with black and white, and it’s great to see them scoping something as thrilled as “Yo Digo Baila”, they’re great at capturing motion as well as Camilo Lara’s utterly weird static dance moves. There's also a video for "Alocatel", you can watch that one here.



Sunday, September 13, 2009

Random Double Feature: Os Gru Remix Emilio José + Da Kezo does Cri Cri

This post is very random because the two songs here are exactly that, random. They wouldn’t exactly fit anywhere else but I wanted to share them because they’re quite good and dislocate my senses in weird ways. First, Os Gru left us this remix at our MySpace with the most intriguing question: A vosotros los del club, os mola bailar, verdad? Pues os dejamos por aquí nuestro last mix. Of course que nos mola bailar, and especially if we know the song, and oh we really know this one. Is a burnished mix for Emilio Jose’s “Adeus, Feijoo”, which was already a great dance tune, and celebration of a fictitious death.

♫♫♫ "Adeus Feijoo" (Os Gru Mix) [right click, save as]

The second song comes from Da Kezo, one of the several projects by Mutantek who is also part of Children of the Moon and whose song “Peter Pan” is part of our Fonogramaticos Vol.3 compilation. Da Kezo is a very weird merge of electronic music with children’s music. It’s very interesting; you’ll hear Cri Cri in there and some hardcore rock band jumping back and forth. I can already imagine my grandparents and a couple of friends not liking this, I think it’s playful.

♫♫♫ "Matatetete" (right click, save as)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

The One The Two The Three, Laboratories



THE ONE THE TWO THE THREE, LABORATORIES
Gha-Ngha Records, Mexico
Rating: 83
By Carlos Reyes

The One The Two The Three or one of those calculated sequences where art and science meet is a three-piece EP from Laboratories, a revealing electro act from Juarez, Mexico. Earlier this year the Mexican collective/shop Hupop released a compilation titled Recomienda Vol.1 where they included some very interesting emerging bands including Vicente Gayo and Duzna, nothing as compelling as the computerized and commanding world crafted by Laboratories. The concept: a persecution of space and time, or as better put in one of the album’s comic frames, “the sonic display and interpretation of human realities is quintessential entertainment upon the senses and subsequently the mind.”

Don’t get too serious by the premise or their name, this is fortunately not a sophisticated realm of scientists approaching new media but a disoriented fun experience by some kids “us kids we going crazy / us kids we born crazy.” The band allocates every single resource and distributes its scope in group-like anthems; this is clearly not the work of a single author but a collaborative shared vision in retro-leaning habitat. Laboratories set up some missions to resolve, some concern humanity and the future, but having fun it’s ultimately their priority.

There are so many words in each of the three songs that they become difficult to process, luckily they have included the lyrics in the file’s download. “The Scene Kids” is greatly choreographed, and actually, it sounds like they’re raping the words and letting the music carry the wavelengths. They deliver great lines with continuous phrasing such as “I’ll inhale the plant, the mystics of the soil, the land, the world, ninety-nine lives / Past, present, and future wives, an eternal high…” they’re as mystical as any of the songs from the critically acclaimed Ayrton Senna EP by Delorean. In the surface of “The Love” (Physical) it almost seems like they’re letting go some of their concept, they don’t, they’re just juxtaposing a one night stand as one of their missions, to “focus on the physical love” as a need and forget about the feeling.

“The Battles of us Fools” is a furious gala of colors and radiant machinery, guided by mind-blowing lyricism on the verge of detonating its political frustration. Laboratories host the most amazing party here, with lasers flying around clashing handclaps, drums, it is chaos and it is beautiful. I can only wish there were more tracks in here and perhaps some of them in Spanish (it would be nice); EPs with only three tracks are a hesitation when it comes to rating them, but along with The One The Two The Three this folder contains some awesome extras that would make an awesome booklet, including an action comic titled Refugees that rounds up the music perfectly, so there you go, this is an awesome treat.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Enjambre - "Sonámbulo "


Here is another awesome free download we found at Reactor’s Zona de Descargas, from one of our favorite rock bands. You know we’re perhaps too strict with rock but it’s only because we really like it. The guys from Enjambre sure know how to carry a concept, bringing back vintage kinetic rock in the most particular way, interpreting their songs through the sensitivity of their parent’s youth. I might be totally off, but they sound like the early Grupero conjuntos, they’re wearing thicker clothing but the devastating lyrics and bleak nostalgia as envisioned by its particular vocals and instrumentation proves its reminiscence to another decade.

El Segundo es Felino, released last year, it’s fantastic and I would place them up there with Bam Bam and En Ventura as one of the most exciting up and coming rock acts to keep an eye on. They had an awesome moment at this year’s Vive Latino where they invited Hello Seahorse’s Lo Blondo to perform a song with them, seems like they’re collaborating at the studio as well. While we wait for that collaboration and a new album, they’re freeing the unreleased track “Sonámbulo” which is reason enough to keep the excitement going.


NOTE: Seems like Reactor's website is down, this is a temporary link to download the mp3.
Download @ Reactor
MySpace

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Es Imposible, Miranda!

ES IMPOSIBLE, MIRANDA!
EMI Music, Argentina
Rating: 69
By Carlos Reyes

Miranda! along with Moderatto are the trickiest pop acts to analyze because in addition to their music they’re also selling image. Purists mind the costumes, the high notes and especially the unashamed usage of their influences. Transcendentalists in the other hand completely fail to acknowledge them, but I do wonder how they can even overlook a pop-culture hit as “Don” which has surpassed a stage of popularity and is now in the hands of marketing campaigns looking for a catchy weird song for their weird consumers. Es Imposible is Miranda!'s fifth studio album and although not too long in the market, it's their most overlooked release yet.

Miranda! doesn’t need to redefine anything, they would lose their effortless catchiness; they do however, for the first time in their career sound like an actual band. They have made a risky move by incorporating drums, having to accommodate their effective structure in more ways than they have probably wished for, it’s a relief to find them as irrelevantly romantic as two albums ago. And for those looking for their funky warming songs you’ll have enough with “El Showcito.” In fact, it was a bad move not to make it the first single considering it’s a fantastic moment of clever sensual autonomy while questioning God’s existence while they’re at it.

First single “Mentia” goes back to the overall theme of their debut 2002 album Es Mentira (hence the title), they’ve proven to know how to deal with love, this is their chance to exploit a jealousy breakup and they do it nicely. “Lo que siento por ti” is very Beatles-like with Juliana Gattas elevating the song to uncommon places. Something other tracks should learn from, because one can’t help but to get that feeling of ‘been there, done that’, and it’s not a matter of sound but lack of modularity and variability in the actual songs. Es Imposible could’ve stayed on the oven for a bit longer, either way these guys are fun as hell and like Moderatto or Belanova it’s a pleasure to count on them for radio airplay and conversation subject.


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Featured: The Mocks - "Flaunt"


This is the first time we write about The Mocks, a ‘shining bright’ pop act from Monterrey whose M is Correct EP brought them nothing but positive feedback from fellow bloggers and general media alike. We ourselves had nothing but good things to say about singer Ely Mock’s collaborations with Los Re# and Mercey Hot Springs. They have announced an upcoming release titled Shock and NO!, which will be available to download at Delhotel Records in a couple of weeks. We Shall Be Free advanced some tracks for streaming; “Flaunt” was love at first sight and so it enters our features.

You know we drool over pop stardom songs especially if they make their characters look like gigantic powerful creatures, “Flaunt” delivers such conditions with shamelessly wisdom. “Get ready to go outside, the stars tonight are shining bright, remember you promised us the greatest show of our lives.” What a disconcerting way to motivate a popstar before a show. It idolizes a character and in a way it radicalizes the pop genre while embracing every single posture of its emblematic grace.


♫♫♫ "Flaunt"
MySpace