Monday, November 30, 2009

Epic Handshakes and a Bear Hug, Wild Honey



EPIC HANDSHAKES AND A BEAR HUG, WILD HONEY
Lazy Recordings, Spain
Rating: 83
By Carlos Reyes

If you’re able to look away from such a beautiful artwork, let point out that this album has been standing around me for a while. The psychology behind it makes this album hard to analyze and harder to give a rating. After numerous spins and many days of going in and out of it, most of my concerns with the album have evolved into virtues. Like Bigott or Antoine Reverb, Wild Honey’s decision to sing only in English doesn’t translate as a problem at the time of retrieving emotion or making their themes come across fluently. Epic Handshakes and a Bear Hug is the debut and proclamation of Wild Honey, a great new act charged with good-to-great songs and boosted by its wall-of-sound timbered spirit.

It’s important to emphasize the need for repeating spins if possible on a prolonged time; it’s really the only way to fully appreciate the album’s simplicity and how at the end everything sums up to “a big parade.” This is the overall endearing project of Guillermo Farre and his friends, based on Madrid and bringing hooky melodies for hooky hearts. They got the potential to internationalize following the Pitchforkian trends and the fair offering of European acts that are able to prosper with such audience. Wild Honey sounds a bit like Real Estate, The Mountain Goats, Woods, perhaps even Camera Obscura. One would expect such an album to drown in its influences, but they pull it out adding their own spice: a calculated dose of twee pop.

The album opens with the whimsical “Whistling Rivalry”, a nice ukulele based track with handclaps and whistles about aging, “Were we ever that young?” It follows with the moistly and beautiful “1918-1920”, which serves as the sonic landscape of the entire album. Some songs reach such a level of intimacy that one would swear a couple of newlyweds are singing them. At the other end, it’s able to be politically conscious in “Kings of Tomorrow” by trusting their piece of music rather than making some kind of boring political statement. In a way, they serve upon folk to spread the message. “One Word Prayer” struggles to structure its lyrics, so the vocals are changed into a state of uncommon accelerations that although rushed, work great in a song about mourning.

In “Gold Leaf” they manage to relocate their folksy sound to make a bossa-nova chant bright and simple. Most of the album carried by Guillermo’s vocals (he sounds a bit like Jorge Drexler) but occasionally a girl or two show up to steal the attention, in this song they sound as beautiful as Natalia Lafourcade. They even manage to make a rolling road-travel song out of the self resolved “Brand New Hairdo”, “I’ve got a brand new hairdo just to persuade myself that life has order and direction, and that there’s a place where I’d like to be.” Wild Honey holds a monumental-like disposition that carries its power of simplicity quite well, while managing to sound big and tall in its dynamics.


Entre Rios - "Frontera"


Our friends from Zona Indie (Argentina) premiered a new song by Entre Rios titled “Frontera” as their November pick on the Music Pact Alliance. This is the first cut from an upcoming EP. The song happens to feature Josefina McLaughin’s beautiful vocals; she’s the girl from Nubes en Mi Casa, although I can’t tell if this is a collaboration because there’s no perceptible variation in vocals. Both bands have been compared on the past so this featuring was truly unexpected. In case you missed it, Entre Rios scored a spot on our Top 100 countdown with “Salven las Sirenas”, they had another vocalist back then, oh gotta love transitions.

♫♫♫ "Frontera"

Video: Enjambre feat. LoBlondo - "Impacto"

Part of Hello Seahorse!’s most significant changes in Bestia is LoBlondo’s decision to not only write an album entirely in Spanish, but to construct such songs in a glossy almost traditional way. In fact, she claims that they’re structured similarly to those classic songs by José José. This doesn’t make them any less pop or any less rock, a rare quality we’ve been praising Enjambre for. The band had nothing but splendid reactions at this year’s Vive Latino where they invited Denisse to sing “Impacto” with them, the song is a blast and they grabbed some footage for a video. This is the fifth single from El Segundo Es Felino and the song should be able to touch the young hearts while bringing nostalgia to your lovely parents. A lovely girl meets boy tune and it really sounds colossal, again, what a wonderful pair of enthralling voices.




La Dimensión Desconocida, The New Raemon

LA DIMENSION DESCONOCIDA,
THE NEW RAEMON

BCore Disc, Spain
Rating: 79
By Carlos Reyes

Early this year The New Raemon (Ramon Rodriguez) released the interesting but not so memorable La Invasion de los Ultracuerpos EP and as we’re headed to the end of the year, he has extended the idea with a much more clever release. La Dimensión Desconocida sounds like an expansion of his last EP (plus the artwork gives us hints to believe that), one would lead to suspect he would magnify his concept on anatomy and science but instead he makes a stripped-down reinterpretation that’s luckily easier to swallow. He might be a bit too attached to rock’s norms and is in serious need of more drums, but he takes his chances recruiting an actual band delivering a great theater-like production with a bunch of tricks and charms that make its most subtle intentions come out in glamour.

Just like A Proposito de Garfunkel, this album glows in its overall construction; plaintive melodies with concrete ideas behind it. It’s that mournful feeling surrounding these songs what makes them special and at the same time, what hurts them. See, more often than not, folk-rock is victim of its own flourishing; in one side its warmth is enough to cover a big range of genres but in the other, it’s like having a big box with very few things to fill up with. The album kicks off well with “La Siesta”, ironically one of the least dreamy tracks although it’s one of the many fables you’ll find here. If something Spanish lyricists give us is plenty of good one-liners and this is no exception: “Nuestra relación no sobrevivió a la relación en cadena.”

As opposed to many folk rockers, The New Raemon is able to break into the indie-meets-adult pop niche of people like La Bien Querida, Lidia Damunt, Francisco Nixon and Sr. Chinarro. He throws another great line in “Estupendos”, “la poca inclinación a dar muestras de afecto nos va a devorar esta vez”, such a catchy song should not only be able to breakthrough but it would be great for a TV commercial, then again I would argue the same thing about some songs by Franny Glass or Camila Moreno. The New Raemon is one step from glory; he’s standing on middle ground, this could be good or bad as he doesn’t reach for either balance or polarizing extremes in force, speed or lyrically. One thing is certain, wherever he is going, the melody follows him, we’re just lucky to get on the wagon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Video: La Bien Querida - "9.6"

I must admit that listening to “9.6” for the first time threw me off guard; it was way too far from what La Bien Querida had done with her demos and it sounded weird. Romancero is not only growing on people’s minds, it’s actually transcending as one of the year’s best pop albums and I should say “9.6” is one of its best tracks along with “Bendita”, “Corpus Christi” and “Ya No.” This video is directed by Luis Cervero who at this point, should be handed some kind of award for his awesome videos. This hot new single has also been remixed by Guille Milkyway (La Casa Azul) and Hidrogenesse, can’t wait to hear both, too bad the guys from Elefant Records are so 90ish they only stream songs through Real Player. And oh yes, that's Joe Crepusculo (looking hot) in the video.


Video: 60 Tigres - "Modelos Sin Personalidad"

There are two great tracks in 60 Tigres’s Garage EP (reviewed here + download link), the title track and “Modelos Sin Personalidad”, now officially the second single. The big surprise about this is probably seeing Elias Marcos in their formation, which means 3 out of the 4 members of our so beloved En Ventura are now part of 60 Tigres. While they figure out their formation, they have released this pretty video for a very nice song, one that highlights Roberto “Mr. Racoon” Polo’s great vocals, we have yet to see them live but at least vocally (and in record), he’s one of our finest lead vocalists in Mexican rock. There’s great stuff coming our way from these guys: a new Mr. Racoon LP, Elias Marcos’s Alabio Alabao debut, and an Album vs. En Ventura album.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Feature: Niña Dioz - "El techno esta de vuelta"


“El techno esta de vuelta y no te diste cuenta.” The wait has been overly long, after her successful Marcapasos EP, Niña Dioz signed to a big label and has struggled to release her much awaited sophomore album La Nueva Escuela, but she’s keeping momentum one way or another. Along the wait, she’s collaborated with Plastilina Mosh, d3NdRON and Pambo, performed at Vive Latino, crafted one the best songs in the Rudo y Cursi Soundtrack (“Prefiero el Asfalto), rocked the LAMC and most importantly, she made the oh-so-good “Faquir.”

She’s determined to keep the action going releasing Niña Dioz El Mixtape, out next month and which will be available for download on December 3. The first single from this release is a new and unreleased track titled “El techno esta de vuelta”, and it features Marcela Viejo, one of the two amazingly talented girls from Quiero Club. It’s definitely more upbeat (perhaps because she’s been hanging out with los Mood Fu), but it definitely shows a more sober and ultimately better skilled MC who knows her resources in and out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Video: Christina Rosenvinge - "Anoche"

New video for “Anoche”, the fourth single from Christina Rosenvinge’s awesome Tu Labio Superior. She recently scored the #12 spot on our favorite top 100 songs of the year with her “dangerously in love” (JSB) collaboration with Nacho Vegas in “Verano Fatal.” She’s always so radiant and elegant, and her videos are near-perfect. Through the years, we’ve learned to trust the people from Nanouk Films, especially for those videos by Joe Crepusculo and Christina Rosenvinge. This is by far her most playful (and probably simple) video in a while, so much that she dances Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” in a sweet awkward way.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

2012, Turbopotamos

2012, TURBOPOTAMOS
Independiente, Perú
Rating: 78
By Carlos Reyes

Los Turbopotamos loose a bit of their rockabilly edge in 2012, an album that supposedly signifies a change on how they approach music. I’m guessing this is the last album before they make the big transformation, because they sound exactly the same. Sure they seem more mature but it’s only a natural response to the almost inevitable claim that they are today’s best Peruvian rock band (although fellow alt-rockers Resplandor could totally surprise us). They pick up on the vivacious spirit of “Terrorize You Disco Flor,” pushing everything forward but keeping the inner adolescent guy in them. This will hardly make them new fans, but they’re definitely ready for them.

The opening instrumental title track is very Quentin Tarantino like; actually, it’s got that adventurous noir resemblance to Tomoyo Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” at a higher speed. For those not following their career, they had a big hit a few years ago with “No Love”; what’s special about it is that it’s such a romantic song taken into street setting. Something I really admire in “Bigote” which they mistakenly left out of this album. But there is a cutesy song that could help to balance Turbopotamos’s very masculine songs; “Una vez al mes” asks for more love encounters as it slides within fine guitars to later explode in big-band cacophonous glory. “Shake it” in the other hand, is a lame dose of reggae and Blink182 urgencies, luckily, they’re competent enough to make good cloying stuff with them.

“Basta” is spectacular; it streamlines a bouncy pop tune with ska, synths and delightful grooves. This is the kind of song one would expect from them, and what we admire so much about from bands like Los Romanticos de Zacatecas, Piyama Party and yes, Vampire Weekend. The chorus “Basta ya que va a estallar el amor que hay entre tú y yo” is a beautiful shout to that thing people call love but sometimes hurts people so much. The album never reaches this kind of cosmopolitan qualities, but for an EP this makes me overpass a song as unfortunate as “Little Whore.” The finishing piece “Maria Dub” is a truly warm, toe-tapping song that should prove they’re ready for a massive scale pop audience.


Jennifer Lopez - "Louboutins"


Jennifer Lopez is one tricky artist to analyze, her limited abilities are no secret but she’s got some very good people molding her music. Her albums never add up to much, but there’s always a single or two that make her look like a legitimate pop star. Her first albums go from vile to lame, but as opposed to her film career, her music has gotten so much better, except for her laughable Spanish-language effort Como Ama Una Mujer. Her last album Brave had not one but two awesome singles, “Hold It Don't Drop It” and “Do It Well”, we weren’t around that time but any of the songs would’ve shown up on our Best of the Year list easily.

Her new album titled Love? is set for a 2010 release with a very bland first single “Fresh Out The Oven” featuring Pitbull. But her performance of another song at the American Music Awards had at least half of our club chatting about it. Shakira was there too, but JLO was clearly determined to grab the attention, and she did. “Louboutins” is hot! It’s so bouncy and flashes on and off as a woman with high heels would walk to victory. By the way, this was produced by The Dream whose Love vs. Money is fantastic. “Boy, watch me walk it out, walk it out.”


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Video: Le Baron - "Esplendor"

Le Baron has a new gorgeous single and video out, first cut from their much awaited upcoming debut LP (out next year). For those who don’t know them, people have been anticipating this album for a while; their Le Baron EP is probably the most recognized short since Zoe’s The Room EP, a band that always comes up when finding comparisons of what Le Baron could aspire to become. I don’t get why “Inmovil” become the huge hit it became, although they’re clearly a talented promising band. I was hoping they would follow something along the lines of “El Vertigo del Desprendimiento” and it seems like they did. I feel confident enough to call “Esplendor” their best song yet.


China Es Otra Cultura, Linda Mirada

CHINA ES OTRA CULTURA,
LINDA MIRADA

Independiente, Spain
Rating: 72
By Jean-Stephane Beriot

For a girl who loves the 80s and its oh-so-glamorous (and sometimes erratic) pop, China es Otra Cultura is a nice recollection of the sounds of such decade with a bit of a twist. Linda Mirada is one of those gorgeous projects that don’t necessarily need a defining sound to work; in fact, her influences overtake most of the album but in a very safe and forgiving way. This nine-piece debut isn’t trying to make statements or contribute to music; it rather offers a good number of songs for selective dance rooms.

Musically, China es Otra Cultura isn’t very original but it sure knows how to showcase its lustrous personality. You know, it’s like the girl who sees pop culture and makes outfits out of it, taking trends from a bunch of places and wears them as her own, because she has the talent to do so. Linda Mirada is very much like a Gary Low meets Kate Nash, a balanced modern girl with plenty of stories to gossip through music. “San Valentin” has already established itself as one of Spain’s indie hits of the year. It’s very Italian and very American, but at the same time, anyone (within our niche) would recognize its Spanish charm and somewhat humorous lyricism.

She’s no hit wonder; in fact, you could shuffle the album and make singles out of every song here. Talking about singles, “Jose” would make an amazing single as I feel it’s the song were she best displays her artistry, and because the tune is fucking addictive: “Yo no sé que le pasa a José, que las 24 horas solo piensa en bailar.” The opener “Tokyo” plays as a big celebration, it’s the album’s best song too. The album is however flawed by a number of songs that although catchy, can’t overpass its oldie approach and fail to translate themselves into present times. Linda Mirada is a beautiful excess of bubble-gum pop, and a great distraction if you’re looking for one.


♫♫♫ "Tokyo"
MySpace

Monday, November 23, 2009

Childs - "Rei"


Ruidos en el Cuarto is one of our favorite new music blogs, they focus mainly on Mexican bands and they’re featuring a new song by Childs. When I was going through all my music archive to compile the Voy a Explotar downloadable soundtrack, finding this band was magical. Their first album Yui, is filled with amazing landscapes, among them, “….”, it won me over and although only two minutes long, I knew I had to include it. DJ Rupture recently wrote about the soundtrack and this was one his favorite songs: “As bodies fall through the air. The sounds of children playing. Field recording ambience from Mexico City’s Childs.”

Later I found out the beautiful music on the trailer of my favorite Latin-American film of the decade (Carlos Reygadas’s Stellet Licht) was one of the pieces from Yui, and that Voy a Explotar’s director Gerardo Naranjo once planned to have Childs do the whole score of his second film Drama/Mex (it couldn't be done, but what a small world). All these makes sense considering how cinematic they sound, but “Rei” might just change it all. It’s a song with lyrics but they keep the richness and pounding spirit of their instrumental works. In short, it’s what a song by Childs would sound like with lyrics and vocals; sublime, uplifting and carrying that feeling of going beyond its walls to reach its thirsty listeners.


♫♫♫ "Rei"
MySpace

Video: Vicente Gayo - "GAYO"

We may not buy the -breakthrough band of the year- tag many of our friends are giving them, but we do love “GAYO” and its video makes it even better. Truth is, Vicente Gayo is a very cool band with a bunch of cool ideas that need a bolder execution. Nonetheless these kids stand out, they’re so energized and up-to-the-beat it’s hard to not like them, no wonder everyone praises their live shows. Last time we heard they were going to release part of their self titled LP (reviewed here) through The Poni Republic and I get the feeling I will go from like-to-love because these kind of high-voltage youth is better conceived in minimized doses. The video is a knockout, visually and in its concept, hopefully it transcends over to MTV although it’s clearly framed for the virtual window.

.


Cumbias de Villa Donde, King Coya



CUMBIAS DE VILLA DONDE, KING COYA

ZZK Records/Nacional Records, Argentina
Rating: 82
By Carlos Reyes

Like many of you, I was surprised to know the guy behind King Coya was Gaby Kerpel, but upon further thought, it actually makes sense. The concept is similar to Fuerza Bruta and Carnabailito, except that instead of working with the folksy airborne he’s known for, he jumps into the cumbia niche and the outcome is near the spectacular. The King Coya pseudonym would be his way of distancing his authorship into an album that it’s mostly based or inspired on second-hand cumbiancheros. Cumbias de Villa Donde is quite a success because of Kerpel’s will to treat this set as just another mixtape, the sum of its pieces adds up to an album of both, high art and pop culture with his signature all over it.

King Coya isn’t just scratching and twisting; he owns every piece and gives them a direction. Every tune is reinforced with extra bass, many times giving them a nice tribal sound. Luckily, he realizes that some songs just need a bit of makeup and an intensification of what’s already on there is enough to take the piece elsewhere. The album opens with “Villa Donde”, which immediately reminded me of the far-fetched Mongolian vocal art that is Khoomei (or Hooliin Choir), a very deep exclamation of throat-singing trickery. “Un niño que llora en los montes de Maria” is so avant-garde and funky, I could see it breaking into a broader public a lo Celso Pina’s “Cumbia sobre el rio.” To many of us ‘modern kids’, it’s also an introduction to the wonderful music by Colombian folk singer Petrona Martinez.

The album offers beautiful musical landscapes of rural and urban appeal; from Argentina’s folk to its hip hop. For those of us who see the World Music tag as an evil marketing tool, King Coya is one of our best allies simply because he is redefining it through great music. Listening to “Tierra” or “Don Axelina” really makes me want to hook up King Coya with Julio Voltio, it’s like they need each other. “Cumbia Tronics” almost steps in Merengue territory, it reminds me of the blue shield cumbia tronics of DJ Rupture. The structure of the album itself is beautifully digitalized and it works within its pieces rather than with a defined sound.

The most interesting (although not the best) song in the album is “El Burrito”, a rare song by Cucu Diamantes (Yerba Buena) and Los Tucanes de Tijuana. The song took me off guard, mostly because I was quickly localized by Colombian and Peruvian cumbias and he suddenly drops a MexiCuban feature that originally (and released three years ago) worked only because of its bipolar extremism. He probably wouldn’t recognize it, but King Coya fixed it! Cumbias de Villa Donde is a complex album of high frequency, in all its repeating forms it’s also highly conscious of what it’s doing: hypermediating global speakers with the sounds of our rich continent.



Sunday, November 22, 2009

Francois Peglau - "One Minute to Midnight Dream"


Francois Peglau is one of Peru’s MAP (Music Alliance Pact) inductees and has been featured in a bunch of our favorite blogs from South America. He’s been sending us material for quite some time but I guess it got lost in the massive amounts of emails we get from bands. I’m not saying he isn’t memorable; it’s just that I wasn’t totally hooked up on a song to really care to write about him (although his personality is freaking cool). Peglau is from Peru and he was the lead man of Los Fuckin Sombreros, he is now standing alone living in London and writing sing-along love songs. His latest track “One Minute to Midnight Dream (so sad)” is very engaging and yeah, kind of sad (in a very good way). This is actually quite depressing but I guess it makes sense; he grabs my attention/like with a sad song. It’s very Beatlesque and the dusty recording rounds it up nicely.



♫♫♫ "One Minute to Midnight Dream" (right click, save as)
MySpace

Video: "Cursis Melodias", Natalia Lafourcade

Hu Hu Hu's charm just keeps growing, much of the transcendence of an album is handled by its music videos and Natalia sure knows how to own her videos. I'm not a fan of the "Ella Es Bonita" clip, in fact I hate it, but this new video for "Cursis Melodias" is anything unlike that first video. This is a cute and grainy (almost vintage) video, very happy framings of Paris that do justice to the song. It would’ve been cool to see our Juan Manuel Torreblanca dancing around her, but it’s ok, she’s never looked so beautiful and they probably had a blast filming it.


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Feature: Pacha Massive - "If You Want It" (Ga Ga Tech Mix) feat. Rita Indiana


New York's Pacha Massive was the first act to get a boost from MTV Tr3s’s Descubre & Download featuring their hit “Don’t Let Go”. The band might have lost one of its members, but Dominican-born Nava is keeping it up releasing a sophomore album. First single “If You Want It” is the clear standout, it’s got the flow factor and it’s bouncy enough to be seductive. “Sabes que tengo what you looking for, y de donde vengo everybody flows, than we get down low right down to the floor.” I love those spiral songs, especially when they’re as intensified as this one. The single is good enough, but we’re featuring this hot Ga Ga Tech remix by fellow Dominican and Fonograma favorite Rita Indiana. "El Caribe con anzuelo, y me lo llevo porque puedo!"

♫♫♫ "If You Want It" (Ga Ga Tech Mix) feat. Rita Indiana

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ely Guerra - "Stranger"


Ely Guerra proves once again that it is okay to take years in between albums as long as the wait merits the quality of the music. She is no longer signed on EMI, instead, she’s releasing under Honey Company, her new (and probably improvised) record label. Lotofire is one of my favorite alternative albums ever and her jump into pop (Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy) was very pleasant too, so yeah, I can’t wait for Hombre Invisible. And it’s starting on the right foot as the first single titled “Stranger” is exquisite; it has like the best of Cat Power and Christina Rosenvinge, in the way it establishes its celestial vibe to the point of alienation, only letting a handful of guitar riffs stand on her view.

The album will be sold exclusively through Mapamondo, a Mexican digital store. I usually don’t like music services outside iTunes or Amazon but despite the lack of material and the terrible website feel, Mapondo is taking good care of her album. “Stranger” is up for free download (after opening an account) so that’s a great start. They’re also unveiling the album song by song (one per day), I’ve decided not to listen to the rest of the songs until the whole thing is out and because honestly, the Juanes and Bunbury collaborations scare the hell out of me. Oh and yeah, love her new look, sexiest rockstar in the world (to me).


Thursday, November 19, 2009

We Come In Piece, d3NdRON

WE COME IN PIECE, d3NdRON
Happy-Fi, Mexico
Rating: 74
By Carlos Reyes

Hailing out of the Happy-Fi wing comes this relatively known band, d3NdRON’s electronic rock is making a lot of noise lately. Some of our friends have listed We Come in Piece as one of the year’s albums, too many and too abroad to ignore. On the surface and on initial listen, d3NdRON is not that all interesting, I mean, despite having an album that’s ultimately big of a party with collaborations from Niña Dioz, Pato Machete, Alejandro Rosso (Plastilina Mosh), not to mention Chajoe from Niña is the lead vocalist here and Pris from Quiero Club one of the band’s members. But among other surprises, d3NdRON reveals itself as the possible evolution of Northern Mexican rock electronics.

Although we don’t find them as revealing as the hype they’ve generated, they’re pretty comfortable and in control of their field. It’s like they got the tools, the ideas, and the ability to make their particular sound actually happen, but once fragmented (in songs) the transaction looses force, creating amazing musical passages but not necessarily amazing songs. This feeling omits “Mitras Anthem” because that’s one great piece, for its tricks and up-to-heaven configuration, plus getting the anthem sensitivity correct. It’s a homage to Mitras (a place in Monterrey) and the album dances around this idea, “somos la noche, el tiempo, el cielo, c’mon!” A truly wonderful gigantic song that almost makes the rest of the songs look bad.

I care very little about the subliminal junkie pieces (“Step Up”, “He Drove A White Rabbit” or “I’ll See You at the Gate”), they’re just too dreamy to function although I wouldn’t mind holding some of the stuff in them with me. In the other hand, I can hardly resist the aesthetics in something like “El Orden del Universo”, they go from dreamers to creators delivering the high edges. Like The XX, they deliver great beats and even great lyrics but it’s hard to keep up with them, there’s barely any order in them. In “AB Comando” (feat. Niña Dioz) they bounce into hip hop and ends up as one of the album’s peaks, plus that “let’s hear it for the dogs on the West Side … wof wof wof” liner is fantastic. There’s some polishing and rearranging to be done, but overall, this is quite impressive, they really pay justice to their “Carne Asada ‘til the morning light” premise.


Video: Pumuky - "Los Enamorados"

Pumuky’s El Bosque En Llamas (4-star review here) has yet to spark a fan base around here; it’s one of those quiet great albums that may need the right single or the right video to grab people’s attention. Perhaps the wait is over, “Los Enamorados” is a fantastic song, and the video is gorgeous too. Directors: Nacho Rodriguez, Gina Thorstensen & Pumuky. Hagamos algo absurdo, amemonos!


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

María y José - Vamos A Rezar Mix



Vamos A Rezar Mix
Puto Prata- Zuata Zuata
DJ Alan- La Kuinna
Erick Rincón- Obatalaya
Major Lazer- Keep It Going Louder (María y José Remix)
Kid Kaio- We Don't Give A
DJ Kuri- Mueve La Pompa (DJ Nestor Mix)
Daniel Haaskman ft. Mc Miltinho- Kid Konga (Highbloo Remix)
Mi Banda El Mexicano- Ma,Me,Mi,Mo,Mu
DJ Reymix- Ofrifri Ofrafra
DJ Spin Laden- Cocoman
Krylon- Vai Sentado
El Mago- El Agüa
Los Sepultureros De Guanajuato- Adiós Playas De Mi Pueblo

42:33
Download!
Yo Te Amo / María y José MySpace

Juan Son covers Annie Lennox & Los Tres


Juan Son recently confessed he never liked Porter and that he doesn’t like Mermaid Sashimi anymore, whatever he’s planning to do next will be interesting to hear. I see him going back to rock edges; although it’s clear he loves pop music (I guess he can be more exuberant in it). His solo album is aging quickly, I still find it remarkable but it’s nowhere near the transcendence of Porter’s Atemahawke. But no matter what, the guy is creative and has one of the most striking voices in music (it never stops surprising me), it’s so good he can sing songs by girls and actually make them sound great.

There’s an album titled Mariachi Rocko which features international rock classics performed by some of Guadalajara’s best Mariachis. There are songs by Radiohead, Coldplay, John Lennon, The Killers, Nacha Pop, Michael Jackson, The Cure, among others. Juan Son and Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlan had Annie Lennox’s “No More I Love Yous” on their hands; they made a really baroque sweet reincarnation of it, I like it. Also, he covers Los Tres’s “Dejate Caer” (also popularized by Café Tacvba) for the soundtrack of Amor, Dolor y Viceversa. Juan Son’s has declared that his dream is to make a film, perhaps this could help him out.

Some fans got angry I said he looked like Mike Myers in The Cat in the Hat on his latest video, it was kind of a compliment. Just like comparing him to Cepillin or Bjork, this time he seriously sounds like Golum from The Lord of the Rings (towards the end of "No More I Love Yous).


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Nacional Records Sampler 2009. The New Sounds of Latin Music



Nacional Records is our favorite U.S. based label because, well, they got the most amazing catalog, and the people behind it make it all that more special. Their 2009 sampler is now available for free download over at Amazon, that's 21 songs! It includes some hot new songs from their new releases including King Coya, Latin Bitman, Pacha Massive and Tonino Carotone. Plus songs by Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Aterciopelados, M.I.S., Manu Chao, Juana Molina among others. Get it!

Nacional Records Sampler 2009. The New Sounds of Latin Music
01 Los Fabulosos Cadillacs - CJ
02 Aterciopelados – Bandera
03 Mexican Institute of Sound - Yo Digo Baila
04 Pacha Massive - If You Want It
05 Uproot Andy - Brooklyn Cumbia
06 Nortec Collective Presents: Bostich+Fussible - Shake It Up
07 Bomba Estereo - Cosita Rica
08 Latin Bitman - Help Me (feat. Francisca Valenzuela)
09 King Coya - Trocintro (Extended Version)
10 Fidel - Puerta De Oro (con Pablo Lescano)
11 Todos Tus Muertos - Mate
12 The Pinker Tones - Happy Everywhere
13 Hello Seahorse! - Bestia (Julieta Venegas Remix)
14 Tonino Carotone - Amar Y Vivir
15 Señor Coconut - La Vida Es Llena De Cables
16 Monareta - Llama
17 Eric Bobo - Chicken Wing ft. The Demigodz
18 Gonzalo Yañez - Encadenado
19 Juana Molina - Insensible
20 Sara Valenzuela - Esta Vez
21 Manu Chao - Clandestino (Live)

This Is Not Merengue, Gianko y Su Sonido La Limpia

THIS IS NOT MERENGUE,
GIANKO Y SU SONIDO LA LIMPIA

Fan Zinatra Discos, Venezuela
Rating: 70
By Carlos Reyes

New Media scholars love mashups because they’re an expression of pop culture’s ability to overlap its tendencies, from text to graphics to the fragmentation of it. My point is, we can no longer perceive music as part of a whole, there is no whole, it’s a beautiful computerized chaos. Sure there’s a big niche of ‘organic’ or acoustic musical conduct, but whoever is consuming this music is part of the new approach. I’m working on a thorough article focusing on the approach and technology as the message, and one of my bases on such project is the mashup. Particularly, the cumbia-meets-hip hop mashup, I’m putting main focus on Toy Selectah and Villa Diamante, but through my research I found this interesting album by Venezuela’s Gienko.

It’s probably not near as functional as the works by Selectah and Diamante but it’s one of those albums that help to measure just how much balance there is between original contents and add-ons. Gienko is more of an exploitative than an explorer (that would be El Remolon or Chico Sonido), and among the fascinating things about this culture, exploitative is transitioning into something that’s desired. Gienko just sounds like an underground scratcher, a sentiment that is commonly reduced to ‘commercial-booster’ in other upper/official remixers.

This is NOT merengue! (except for the last track, which is… kinda), its official title, is a deeply entertaining set of seven cumbias dancing around pop-urbs Lil’ Wayne (“El Pibe Milli), Estelle and Kanye West (“Quiereme Mi Galan Americano”) among others. They’re juicy and junky, very fun stuff although very unaware of their transformation; there’s barely any parallels between the originals, foreplay should be considered. “La Danza del Pajarillo Loco de Abajo” is my favorite track; its march-like fury is a statement of its own, very bird-like. Good for those intrigued by flashy, quick, almost rude modes, it lacks transcendence appeal but it’s plenty of fun.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Feature: Lido Pimienta - "Mueve"


Lido Pimienta has the vision; it’s only a matter of a few songs to recognize when a new artist has it, and she definitely does. Profiling as one of 2010s most promising artists, Lido’s wonderful progressive sound has sparked a good number of fans that go from El Remolón, María y José and Julieta Venegas (all house favorites) to the international critic’s darling Micachu (and the shapes). So who exactly is she? She’s a Colombian singer/illustrator/painter/mother… you know, one of those individuals who were blessed with the full artiste package. She’s currently residing in Canada, which has brought her a broader picture of the arts, but most importantly it has solidified a need for her art to reverence her roots. In her own words, “quiero volver a mi país y poder vivir ahí, es complicada mi vida… pero la música me calma y me sana.”

My head had a bit of a dislocating incident listening to “Mueve,” it’s a jaw-dropping track about self-control, disobedience, form, direction, metaphysics, envisioning things, if you’ve learned anything about my musical taste you know this is one is a special treat for me. This is actually gigantic for me, getting to listen to the principles I’m always chasing, I’m surprised so many people were surprised by us picking Javiera Mena’s “Al Siguiente Nivel” as our favorite song of the decade; it was pretty obvious from our point of view. So yeah, I made my point, I’m really digging Lido Pimienta and it should be obvious as well. In fact, Andrew Casillas already pointed it out: “Oh man, if I were to construct a female musician that I KNEW you would like, I would have created her, todo estilo Reyes.”

“Mueve tu esqueleto y no eches pa’ tras, muchos han querido no dejarnos pasar, tu sabes que tienes la oportunidad, diseña tu vida a tu antojo mira,” you should be convinced by now, but just in case, “siente la vibración ción ción ción." Music as escapism, it doesn’t get better than that. And that amazingly charming voice! I’ll leave her other songs aside just because “Mueve” deserves all the attention it can get (plus there’s an upcoming video for it). We’ll most likely feature other songs by her really soon, she is currently setting up the release of an EP that she will sell through MySpace, handmade individual artwork for every CD, made of recycled material, how cool is that! By far, one of our favorite new artists, obviously, a must-download.

♫♫♫ "Mueve"
MySpace

Video: Joe Crepúsculo - "Siento Que Muero"

After an unfortunate plan of release, Discoteca Oceano finally got Joe Crepúsculo's latest baby Chillout out on Spain’s shelves, his first one to be commercially available on a physical format. Actually, some lucky people got a chance to buy Escuela de Zebras and Supercrepus in a very limited, almost exclusive, CD release of his two very awesome 2008 albums. You gotta love his videos; they’re funny, genius, creepy, cheap, exaggerated, and his latest is no exception. “Siento Que Muero” is currently my favorite song from the album (review coming soon), and this video directed by Luis Cervero and Ana Ibáñez is his best visual offer since "La Cancion de tu Vida" (which you know, is our 24th favorite song of the 00s). Joe told us his album will probably be available for download on his awesome 90ish website soon, stay tuned.


Ay Ay Ay, Matias Aguayo



AY AY AY, MATIAS AGUAYO

Kompakt Germany, Chile
Rating: 90
by Andrew Casillas

Not to sound like a disgruntled reader or ungrateful writer or anything, but I wish that Club Fonograma could review more techno records from Latin artists. Of course, such a proposition doesn’t have a quick-fix. Most electronic artists prefer the quick 12-inch or EP rather than deliver entire albums of new material. Also, many of the more prominent labels promote compilation packages to showcase their entire roster of artists, like Kompact’s Total series, or the ZZK volumes. Not to mention that none of this staff’s writers could be described as “Beatz-heads,” despite the fact that we like to revel in our share of glitchy wax digi-fun.

So when a prominent techno artist of Latin descent gets around to releasing a full-length album, it’s quite the event around these parts. Thankfully, Chile’s Matias Aguayo has delivered not just one of the best techno records of the year, but one of the best records of the year period. Following up his spellbinding and transcendent singles “Walter Neff” and “Minimal,” Ay Ay Ay continues the evolution of one of today’s most unconventional and unpredictable producers. For 11 charming and breathless tracks, Aguayo seemingly deconstructs minimal techno into a schizophrenic street party of his own creation. From the siren-call laced swagger of “Menta Latte” to the El Guincho-esque faux-African noise collage “Juanita,” there’s enough sound on this album to fill an entire warehouse.

Part of Aguayo’s strength lies in the way that he has developed his own kind of melodic foundation out of an unusual rhythmic structure. Using his own voice as the base from which every track revolves could be a dangerous maneuver for a lesser producer, but Aguayo surrounds himself with enough ear candy to the point where you’re almost compelled to pay attention. Listen to the almost-fervent boombox hums on “Rollerskate,” and how they convey the feeling that you’re actually roller-skating. Pay attention to the cooing harmonies on “Ritmo Juarez,” and how they evoke the sound and feelings of those late nights that can quickly turn into early mornings. The sluggish and fuzzy noises of “Koro Koro,” a reflective piece of trance, that personally creeps this writer out because it sounds a lot like Paul Simon if he had an addiction to cough syrup.

I could continue to point out isolated moments on Ay Ay Ay and explain my personal interpretation of it all. But my personal appreciation isn’t what’s important. It’s how you choose to hear it. There’s so much detail embedded into every track that developing a definitive interpretation would be virtually futile. It’s this attention to the ways that sound can influence mood that makes Aguayo one of the more special artists in his field today. Ay Ay Ay may be built around the concept of a long, sweaty, late summer block party, but it doesn’t reinforce this notion at the expense of giddy listenability. It’s as if the record is telling you to enjoy this exactly how you please, as long as you just simply enjoy it.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Club Fonograma's Best Songs of the Decade. Part Four: 25-01

025. En Ventura. “Avant”
Los Gandharvas
It’s the start of an amazing band and I’m not sure they even know it. Well, they probably did when they recorded this, ‘cause it’s about as thrilling and self-conscious as it can get. Listening to “Avant” just makes one angry they’re playing around with other projects instead of focusing on the truly outstanding stuff. Note the vocals; they drive this piece with razing heights, brimming only as it is necessary, rock advancement. JSB



024. Joe Crepúsculo. “La canción de tu vida”
Supercrepus
Joe goes back to the 90s, to that summer he was so deeply in love. This techno is not only a flashy dazzling piece, the guy we know for his awkwardly talent turns into a poet. It’s not just a summer jam; it’s audaciously ageless and yes, one of the songs of our lives. “La musica es tan fragil, que los recuerdos se quedan impregnados para siempre, vamos a bailar!” JSB




023. Ely Guerra. “Quiéreme Mucho”
Sweet & Sour, Hot y Spicy
A slow-burning anthem of passionate longing, this is the collaboration of Portishead and D’Angelo that you never knew you wanted to hear. Both teasing and fleeting, Guerra’s hushed vocals and the band’s acid-lounge instrumentation ooze sex with an element of ambiguity. And the part where the rhythm section sweeps in a la “Wonderwall”? Muy chido. If James Bond were from Mexico, this would be his theme song. AC



022. Volován. “Ella es azul”
Volován
The Beach Boys knew everyone loves a happy song that'll make you feel like a young kid ready to party by the sea. Volovan hit that spot with this, their biggest hit. I actually would've thought it belonged to the 90s and the Avanzada Regia, but it came out on the palindromic 2002. A quintessential hit of the summer. A Mexican rock-pop classic. Naïve lyrics empowered by a tune that's catchier than swine-flu and plain unforgettable. JMT



021. Quiero Club feat. Jorge González. “Minutos de Aire”
Nueva América
The brightest, funnest, most blissful pop act in Latin America attempts to redefine, rearrange and superglue a new continent: Nueva America. They get some help from whom else but the great Jorge Gonzalez from Los Prisioneros, a band that on its time did just that (you know, changed continental music). Quiero Club knows how to fragment sound like very few people in pop, bringing the heavens and the waters at level, as they please. CR



020. Jessy Bulbo. “Maldito”
Saga Mama
A one of a kind event featuring dirty rolls of vintage rock, VHS-like bite rates + Jessy Bulbo. Yes, there’s the garage element too, but Jessy owns this with foolhardy control. It goes forward, it doesn’t stop to put its pieces together, it barely gives up speed and when it does there she is responding with a “si, la cague, y que y que y que…” Gymnastics on the hands of a screaming riot girl, mind-blowing. CR



019. Zoé. “No me destruyas”
Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Láctea
Surrounded by the virtual glance of today’s world, Zoé brings a soaring manifesto of love in its most hurting circumstances. The song waves on suspension, on that galaxy-like treatment the band so radiantly accomplishes. At the end, it’s those agonizing synths and lyrics what make this song a triumphant tragedy; “ya no afiles las navajas… ya no afiles los colmillos… ya no me destruyas mas.” CR



018. Gepe. “Namas”
Gepinto
I can’t but praise and thank my luck whenever I come upon truly new music. Difficult to describe? maybe. Apparently simple? ok. Fascinating and genius nonetheless? fuck yeah! Gepe takes that old South American folklore and transforms it into sweetly compelling and commanding, futuresounding miniature epics. This one paints (in my misinterpreting mind) an argument with oneself. Self-doubt strikes and he pleads to –at least– be left alone, in silence. JMT



017. Bam Bam. “Sin las patas traseras”
Bam Bam
Things start out fine, with a nice little acoustic strum. Then shit EXPLODES. With the force of a tidal wave, Bam Bam unleash a furious rush of Pixies meets Sleater-Kinney indie that screams in your ear and then asks if you’re OK. Like their rock influences before them, Bam Bam have seen the end of the world. And it’s gonna go out with a bang. AC




016. Babasonicos. “El Loco”
Jessico
A landmark for any songwriter wanting to incorporate melody and faith without making a secular chant. Babasonicos incarnate God and make him both, a ‘dude’ too cool to take care of your sins and a suspiciously evil character with destruction on his mind. Man and God interchanging their skin and visión, genius; “Soy víctima de un Dios, que en vez de rezar por mí, se fue a bailar a la disco del lugar.” CR



015. Arcángel. “Chica Virtual”
The New King Mixtape
Arcangel’s self-assurance proves to be a virtue in moments like this one, he glances Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall in what ends up being one of the most infectious, feverish and kitsch songs of this young century. Adolescence reaches boiling points and this is one of them; this is not only damn sexy, it holds a mysterious aura that rounds up the disco seduction in the best of FutureSex/LoveSongs. CR




014. Café Tacvba. “Mediodía”
Cuatro Caminos
WARNING: Masters at work here. Some say our biggest band lost the spark of their first masterpieces with time. "Mediodía" shuts all of that up and, like a lonely Saturday love song to Mexico City; it moves the listener as deep as ever. Smooth. Sunny. Dreamy. Ruben’s voice is perfect! & the sound! …gorgeous guitars, basslines, panoramic atmospheres… A lump in the throat announces bittersweet tears. It’s a fucking jewel! JMT



013. El Guincho. “Palmitos Park”
Alegranza!
“I think I got a tan listening to this”, that’s what someone commented at RCRD LBL about this monument of a song by El Guincho, the perfect comment for a kick-ass song. Endlessly sunny and feather-fest ready, this is one of the most inviting songs about the human necessity to have time of our own, by our own. He spells it out just in case; “que solo significa sin nadie alrededor.” JSB




012. Nacho Vegas y Christina Rosenvinge. “Verano Fatal”
Verano Fatal
As the curtains go down, a girl meets a boy and they fall in love. This is a scene-by-scene casual narrative that turns into a peculiar dangerously in love vibe. Nacho and Christina are not just calling and responding to one another, they’re ready for a revolution. They’re willing to sacrifice every bit of them to be together. It’s smooth and raw, it’s the chemistry of the two artists; “yo buscando tu fuerza y tu mi debilidad.” JSB



011. Porter. “Espiral”
Donde los ponys pastan
Classics are made of greatness and positive public reception, “Espiral” serves both margins earning such a tag. It might not be their masterpiece (look down below), but it is Porter’s anthem and to many of us, a song that will be around us our entire lives. Dislocated instrumentation, disjointed vocals and heart trenching lyrics, it’s a spiral. “Sin ti ya no hay mas.” (x4) And that last sequence, OMG it’s crazy in love! JSB



010. Natalia Lafourcade. “Azul”
Hu Hu Hu
I once dreamt that Julieta Venegas did a collaboration with Sufjan Stevens’ Illinoise band. Then one day I heard “Azul,” and saw that Natalia Lafourcade actually recorded that song. With its wall of sound orchestration, and ace vocal histrionics, there’s virtually a million ways you can appreciate this. A rousing, tender, funny, grandiose, euphoric bedroom anthem, “Azul” is a song that’s from the heart and of the soul. AC



009. Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. “La hora de volve”
Fonogramaticos Vol.5
Reinventing a genre (or two) is something few artists accomplish in their lifetimes. Rita & her friends’ serious explorations of merengue & bachata seem to be about to do just that by pushing these rich traditional rhythms into the future. She’s a gigantic, fantastic, brave young artist with a big punk, sexy, furious voice that reminds me of Patti Smith (while sounding nothing like her) & her lyrics are mindblowingly great. JMT



008. Porter. “Cuervos”
Atemahawke
It’s shutting down, and up and down … (breath in breath out), this rise and fall kills me, when you add Juan Son’s vocals to it, as cheesy as it sounds, I come back to life. Porter delivers a post-national fairy tale although a lo Frankenstein; it’s politically charged and on its core, a song about a city raising ‘cuervos.’ Note the roundness (and echo) of every phrase, it adapts a copy and paste conduct, shivering thrills! CR



007. Celso Piña feat. Control Machete & Blanquito Man. “Cumbia sobre el rio”
Barrio Bravo
“Suena, suena y emociona, nuestra, nuestra acordeona.” I don’t think I’ve read something as beautiful all this decade as this line; if music is an artistic expression that demands some kind of emotional response, this is it. This thing sparks to incredible places, seriously, the scope of rhythms and visual scale here is monstrous. Celso’s call for unity (“música es música”) pushes this to the groundbreaking peak it stands in (sobre el rio). CR


006. Café Tacvba. “Eres”
Cuatro Caminos
With its strumming electric guitar, acoustic guitar picking and fat rhythm section, this could easily be mistaken for an outtake from the White Album. But what makes “Eres” unique are the gorgeous lyrics and vocal from Emmanuel del Real, which detail the regret of a man promising salvation to his love in hopes of salvaging himself. One of the most delicate and romantic songs of the decade, and perhaps Café Tacuba at their most transcendent. AC



005. Julieta Venegas. “Lento”
Si
“Lento” is a straightforward love song, with lyrics that capture that innocent feeling of teenage affection that getting older only illuminates and romanticizes. But it’s the last thirty seconds that can only be described as a revelation: Venegas’s accordion embodying the sound of love’s fruition. With remarkable skill, the notes float in the air, grasping something as ineffable as love itself. Truly, the work of a pop genius. AC



004. Hello Seahorse! “Bestia”
Bestia
From its monstrous introduction, “Bestia” is home of some of the most enchanting musical passages in years, and best of all, it’s furiously dualistic and fully aware of its skill. In its fixation, it’s also a song about salvation and the inner-rebel spirit in all of us. Thank God or whoever’s up there for giving us LoBlondo’s angelical voice, a major force here as it literally kills the ghostly creatures (and monkeys) in the song’s intro. CR



003. Triangulo de Amor Bizarro. “El fantasma de la transición”
Triangulo de Amor Bizarro
I’ve cried a lot through this song. There’s nothing scarier in this life than transitioning; whether it’s the loss of a dear one, coming of age, or putting on a new outfit every day. This is a brilliant rock song on taking the next step, not allowing the ghostly force behind it take over free will. It’s like warfare, missiles flying one way to another, boiling waters screaming “Solo respirar para no perder.” CR



002. Calle 13. “Atrévete Te Te!”
Calle 13
Wherein Residente and Visitante provide a lesson in embracing your culture… As danceable as it is thought provoking, as joyous as it is radical, this is the reggaetón “Johnny B. Goode”. That is, the standard by which all other Latin hip-hop songs will be judged, and the song that will be played to Alien visitors a thousand years from now if we ever need to explain what reggaetón was. AC




001. Javiera Mena. “Al siguiente nivel”
Esquemas Juveniles
EPIC. Anthem written all over it, infectious from beginning to end, aware of its form, clickable… “Al siguiente nivel” or the song that welcomes us to this new century is a glorious remark to our generation. Javiera’s visionary capacities carry our spirit into a world of new media, because artists are the visionaries of change and her bouncy perfect tune heart beats a new era. “Va con la dirección de mi generación que va a pasar al siguiente nivel.” CR