Monday, May 31, 2010

Featured: Detectives Salvajes - "Aljibe"



Feature: Detectives Salvajes – “Aljibe”

Tercer Mundo, Costa Rica


We don’t get much Central American music around here, but once a door is open it’s usually easy to sneak in to survey what’s happening around the corner in this giant network. Such is the case with Detectives Salvajes, an amazing band we probably wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the support their fellow Costa Rican band Las Robertas are giving them. It’s easy to see every nation regardless of its size, having a ‘scene,’ but judging from these two bands alone, seems like we’ve been missing out from some great adventurous rock.

Detectives Salvajes put on the psychedelic wardrobe the minute they decided to embrace formless decibel, the outcome is something close to a revelation of self-indulgent stardust and exhilarating weight. Such is the case in the rip-roaring and enervating “Los Suicidas”, the first cut from an EP the band released last year titled Cairos Papasquiaro. They know how to be noisy, but even better, they rock their way into dusty orbit, perhaps not yet on a White Denim-No Age level, but already on the Yo! Linares-Nos LLamamos league.


♫♫♫ "Aljibe"
MySpace

Sunday, May 30, 2010

24 Hours with Ximena Sariñana


Last Monday, Club Fonograma’s Andrew Casillas saw Ximena Sariñana perform as her tour rolled through Austin, TX. Despite each party’s best efforts to meet up after the show (Andrew could not be found because apparently his green sweatband isn’t bright enough), they were resigned to congregate the following afternoon. What started out as a casual invitation to lunch turned into a 24-hour whirlwind of shopping, drinking, shit-talking, and intellectual discourse. Oh, and he managed to squeeze in an interview during al
l of this. What follows is an account of that 24-hour period, with the pertinent transcriptions appearing intermittently throughout…

Tuesday, 3 p.m.

I met up with Ximena and her band at a vintage store on South Congress avenue, a multi-block strip of secondhand stores, trendy and moderately-priced restaurants, a variety of food carts, and frustratingly impossible parking. However, I didn’t so much meet her band, as I noticed them. Mainly, because they were the only Latinos on the block dressed with the same hipster panache as me. So, yeah, don’t let anyone ever tell you that racial profiling never works. [Writer’s Note: This is not an excuse to racially profile anyone. Apartheid’s over, people.] After exchanging well-mannered greetings and jokes about the sweltering heat with the band, Ximena came out of the shop. After a quick introduction, we agreed to conduct an interview as we all walked from shop to shop. From the moment we walked into our first kitsch-filled antique store and began expressing incredulous statements as to some of the items (Seriously, a wooden doll arm for $18. Not the doll itself. Just the arm. Creeeeeeeeeeepy.), I knew that this was going to be unlike any other Club Fonograma interview that I’ve ever conducted.

Andrew Casillas: You’re 24, but you made that last album about 3 years ago. A lot of the songs weren’t really about things that you’d think a 21 year-old would really sing about.

Ximena Sariñana: Depends on the 21 year-old. Some of them are intense.

AC: Take for example, “Normal,” [Writer’s Note: I probably the greatness of “Normal” about 77 times throughout our time together. Sorry of it bugged you, Ximena] that’s a song which, on it’s face, is about this unbearable kind of weight being put on a romantic relationship, with this world weary tone. It’s the type of song you’d expect to hear from a singer who’s really lived what its saying. Would you say that your music is mature beyond your age, or do you just see the music as a reflection of your life?

XS: Well yeah, I just write about stuff that, at least on that first album, that’s very reflective. I think stuff through a lot, and I try and find to see what I’m doing wrong than what other people do. I’m always questioning myself and the outcome of things—that’s how I was brought up, to always question myself. On the first album there’s a lot of that, looking back at relationships and analyzing things from a very cold point of view, very dark—

AC: Analyzing things from you personally? Or things that you’ve seen?

XS: No, from my personal view. For example, “Normal” was kind of like a lot of relationships grouped together on one song, and it was just talking about how everything in the end, like you’ll go into a relationship and everything is so passionate, and so full of feelings, and everything is so extreme, and then time passes, and it’ll turn into something normal—it’ll end. Or how, at the same time, it’s something that you feel very passionate about but everybody’s been through that kind of intense love. Being normal just takes validity out of it—everyone going through it kind of takes away the value. And that’s kind of like what “Normal” spoke about. But there’s a lot of that in the first album. It’s very reflective about past situations and my feelings about them and analysis. It’s very open and honest, and I’m not worrying at all about being judged.

Tuesday, 4 p.m.

Continuing our discovery of Austin’s most decadent ephemera, Ximena, her band, and I began discussing some of the more notable features of Austin’s nightlife. Or at least, I attempted to, until the conversation turned towards where one can get cheap beer in this town. [Writer’s Note/Travel Tip: Barton Springs Saloon has $1 Miller High Life on Tuesdays. Really, there’s no other option.] Of course, the natural result of this talk on frugality was Ximena deciding to buy a pair of shoes.

AC: It’s interesting that we’re referring to your songwriting being very personal, because you personally have a very interesting history. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a musician whose music I passed along to friends, only to have them become excited because they remember you from a soap opera from like 12 years ago…

XS: The amazing thing about the soaps is that they just re-run them, and re-run them, and re-run them, like people recognize me more for those three soaps than for all of the music or movies that I’ve made since then.

AC: It’s because you were the antagonist. EVERYONE loves to hate the villain. Of course, you were like 13, which is sort of twisted.

XS: Hahaha. Of course.

AC: Uh-oh. It appears that [the band] wants to begin drinking…

Tuesday, 5 p.m.

So here we are. Sitting on the patio of Doc’s Motorworks, I felt compelled to re-pay Ximena and her band for allowing me and some friends free entry into her concert by buying them a few pitchers of Dos Equis. [Writer’s Note: Dos Equis really is the Bruce Bowen of beers. It’ll never be in the Hall of Fame, but still a totally reliable part of your team. Not to mention that Kobe Bryant really hates them both.] From here, Ximena and I discussed serial television (fine, we just talked about novelas), fast food (she calls San Antonio-based fast food chain Taco Cabana her “favorite thing ever.” As someone from San Antonio, I say “Ew.”), and carbonated soda (particularly Big Red, which honestly is the most delicious thing ever), before continuing with the interview.

AC: What is your goal? Are you just trying to grow specifically under your own terms or do you want to become as big a star as you can while still maintaining your sense of art?

XS: That definitely is a goal, and I think that’s everybody’s goal. I don’t think anybody will tell you the opposite, and if they do, they’re lying. {laughs} It’s like the ideal process. To be able to live from what you do without compromising, what you really like without changing your artistic voice. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want that?! To be able to make money off of this. It’s the best deal ever.

(Writer’s Note: Ximena then takes a sip of Doc’s signature margarita, looks up, and says “Oh shit.” I think I should also mention that she was earlier warned by yours truly that said margaritas would “fuck you up.”)

XS: Once you start the path of writing and making music, and going into the business. That’s definitely the main and ultimate goal for everyone. But it never was my goal to make a living out of music. I mean, I was singing jazz and I wanted to start making an album that I was gonna do on my own and everything was gonna be super organic in little baby steps, and then as soon as I put that thought out into the world, suddenly I had managers watching out for me, and then a record contract. And then before I had two songs, I had an album that I had to turn in and then I was like “Oh shit! I gotta start writing music! Oh fuck!” I was going crazy, writing and writing, and it’s been like that since then, even with this second album. The same thing, I was thinking in baby steps, to manage it easier. And then suddenly, BOOM!, something happens that throws me into this tornado that makes me come out way higher than I thought I would be at this point.

Tuesday, 9 p.m.

After about two hours at Doc’s, I needed to get away for a few hours to study (and sober up). However, I agreed to meet up with Ximena and the band later that night at a local interior Mexican restaurant. At our second meeting, Ximena and I discussed some of the more notable events from her show, including the sound at the venue, her merchandise options, and an incident where Ximena had to tell a group of chatty women to be quiet between songs. But what I was really interested in talking about was the most abrupt change in her sound. Ladies and Gentlemen, Ximena Sariñana is now singing in English. Yes, amongst some new Spanish songs (including one co-written with Natalia Lafourcade), and old re-mixed favorites, were programming-based English-language tracks. Of course, being completely new songs, they didn’t exactly get the most enthusiastic response from the crowd, but for the most part, it was an intriguing enough direction that I had a few questions about it.

AC: You’re known for singing in Spanish, but you also speak pretty much perfect English. And you’ve proven on this tour that you can write and sing songs in English. What’s your personal feeling about the divide amongst many Latin musicians regarding singing in both languages?

XS: I’m not at all skeptical of it. I just think that the problem with a lot of musicians that sing in English before singing in their native language is that they find writing in English easier. And my only feeling with writing in English versus in Spanish is that you can do whatever you want as long as it’s a challenge, you know? That was my initial approach towards Spanish. I grew up studying in a British school, and all of the music that I mainly listened to was in English; I guess it was just natural for me to write in English first. But I found Spanish to be such a beautiful language and so important to me, to be able to master that language, that I just focused 100% on my Spanish songwriting. And that was why I started writing in Spanish, and why I developed my Spanish-style, I guess. For example, nowadays, I feel like I’ve reached a certain point in my Spanish writing that I can say that I’ve clearly established a way of expressing myself that works. Now I find it a big challenge to do it in English.

Tuesday, 10 p.m.

At this point, pretty much everyone is tired and/or drunk. At this point, everyone begins discussing music making, music writing, and music criticism. Of course, these are not topics that I’ll bore you with writing about further. Instead, I will enlighten you with some of the details from our Village People argument. Look at the following cover to their “Macho Man” 12”, which Ximena’s programmer apparently purchased earlier in the day for 25 cents (which is still about 35 cents too much for a Village People single):

OK, so I see a cowboy, a construction worker, a police officer (who clearly influenced Eddie Murphy’s late-80’s stand-up wardrobe), an Indian, and a “biker.” But WHO THE HELL IS THE GUY AT THE END SUPPOSED TO BE?! The “normal” one? Is he the older brother of Rerun from What’s Happening? Did he just forget his costume at home?! We need to have this answered!!

AC: So Spanish was the challenge at the beginning and you mastered that. Now English is the challenge. Do you, when you sit down to write, have in your mind that you’re going to write in Spanish/English today? Or does it come more organically?

XS: I wish it was like that, all organic and stuff. But to tell you the truth, it all comes from a prior decision. In my case, for example, I’d written a couple of songs in English, [while] most of my writing had been in Spanish, and then suddenly I realized that I had this bulk of Spanish songs already and very few English songs, and I went through a very important phase in my record-making process where it just hit me—I was taking the easy route. I could have produced the album myself or done more, but then everything would have been very organic, but I wouldn’t have grown as much as much as I feel like I have. That’s one of the reasons that I started writing in English more. It was part of the challenge.

Wednesday, 11 a.m.

That next morning, Ximena texted, asking for places in town where she can get fruits and veggies. While there were certainly many options around, I figured that I would suggest the Whole Foods headquarters that was a few blocks away from her hotel. However, it appears that the rest of her band was, um, “tired” from the night before, so this turned out to be a private lunch between a future big-time lawyer and a current major label pop star.

From the moment we got there, it was apparent that Ximena REALLY LOVES WHOLE FOODS. She was virtually in awe of all of the food stations, and the variety of choices available to her. And did I mention that she’s already been to Whole Foods many times?? Oh, and did I also mention that I freaked out too? And that I’ve been to this particular Whole Foods dozens of times over the past few years? What I’m saying is, I’m completely full of shit. So of course, while Ximena went from station to station looking for healthier food to eat for lunch, I went straight to the Indian station and loaded on the curry. Because NOTHING beats the heat on a 90-degree day than some spicy ass food and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

After we finally sat down to eat (the future lawyer pays, just in case you were wondering), Ximena and I kept the conversation light, mainly discussing the awesomeness of El Paso (CHICO’S TACOS FTW), At the Drive-In/the Mars Volta (Ximena’s boyfriend is guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez), and the best music of 2010 so far (her pick is Owen Pallett’s delightfully ornate Heartland, my choice is still Four Tet’s There is Love in You). But there’s also talk about her personal disdain for social networking, and how she is too easily compelled by it, but becomes frustrated by the amount of time that she ends up putting into it. And we even had a chat about Club Fonograma’s delightful commenters (we both love each and every one of you…especially Carla Morrison ;)).

AC: Obviously you have a bit of a dramatic background. Do you bring that into your music or do you consciously not act while you’re singing?

XS: I think there’s definitely a bit of acting when it comes to performance, especially when I would sing jazz standards. It really helped me to have that kind of acting background. There’s a lot of taking what you’re saying and relating it to something that you’ve lived through; find a point of recognition in the song so you can make it more your own. It’s the same process when it comes to character building. I really think that stayed with me, at least to remind myself that I’m interpreting and that I have to come through with a point, and set a point across to the audience. Acting definitely helped me do that.

Wednesday, 1 p.m.

Right in the middle of our Whole Foods shopping (Ximena wanted to pick up some gluten-free foods for the road and home [stash pictured above]; I jumped at the chance to purchase some good green chai tea), her band called asking us to meet them at the Clay Pit, a downtown Austin Indian restaurant. Resigned to the fact that Mexico would not likely come back from a 2-0 deficit to the Netherlands (CURSE YOU, VAN PERSIE!!!), I figured this would be a good distraction. What followed was some light-hearted “business” talk, and a verbal judo match over “What’s the best city in America?” with the final candidates coming down to Austin, Seattle, San Diego, and Chicago during the summertime. Oh, and there was one tip for the ladies: Girls, the key to Juanes’ heart is through Metallica. So I suggest you begin memorizing Master of Puppets and Ride the Lightning as soon as possible. I see no possible downside from this.

AC: I want to talk about the second album. Let’s face it: your first album was very successful, at least by Mexican pop standards. Do you feel any pressure for this next album, especially considering the fundamental changes in sound and language?

XS: Well…I try not to think about it in terms of success. I don’t wanna put that kind of pressure on [myself], especially now that I’m barely finishing it, and I just tried to do the best that I could, and that’s pretty much all that I was focused on. Now, when I see that the deadline is coming, that’s when my head starts thinking, more than in terms of sales, I think “Am I making the right choice? Did it come out right?” I don’t know how people are going to receive this bi-cultural, bilingual thing. There’s just a lot of fear, of course. But I guess that’s how it is with any life project or change. But I made a decision, my decision was to jump in, front all consequences, and make the best out of it, and enjoy it as much as possible.

Well, that was my 24 hours with Ximena Sariñana. While some of you may have been expecting some sort of rock star-stereotypical decadence and insanity, let’s remember that the industry has changed. No one can afford to party like they used to, well, unless you’re under the impression that Gossip Girl is a documentary.

I’d like to thank Ximena and her band (including Gustavo Gallindo) for all of their warmth and good cheer during their short time in Austin. Sadly, I was not able to procure any Big Red for them to try, but they still provided me with this wonderful quote to close this piece with:

AC: Carlos Reyes: shy, or just a giant pussy?

XS: HAHAHAHA. He’s the nicest guy, but yeah, he’s super shy. [which is totally nice girl-speak for “giant pussy.” Sorry, ‘los.]


Video: The Mocks - "Golden Ring"


Monterrey’s The Mocks are releasing their second album tomorrow, it will be available for free download through their website. M is Adventure follows their critically acclaimed debut M is Correct. Last year we fell in love with “Flaunt”, a song that, to quote myself “radicalizes the pop genre while embracing every single posture of its emblematic grace.” The duo has just released a video for the single “Golden Ring”, several things come up while watching this, including a superb cinematography, but especially, that they’re not kidding around when they say they make glamorous pop, a sort of Gwen Stefani meets Pet Shop Boys, we like it.

Friday, May 28, 2010

María y José - Kibosé EP

Kibosé EP, María y José
Cocobass, Mexico
Rating: 78

by Blanca Méndez

Let María y José, Tijuana's patron saint of tropicalismo, be your spirit guide on a celestial quest for enlightenment, and he will lead you into the glittering depths of a vast cosmic jungle teeming with hordes of iridescent insects all humming happily because the universe has conspired to bring you, oh lucky earthling, to their infinite party.

First, take it all in with “Selva Cósmica,” a slightly haunting and powerfully intriguing track that draws you in to this exciting new musical dimension that María y José has created out of sand and stardust. It is tropical and electronic (electropical?), sensual and robotic at the same time. Once you’re comfortable, kick off your shoes and find a dance partner or two because if you’re not dancing by “Maravilloso Sonido Tropical” then you might as well go home. The steamy title track is a rush of driving percussion that will make you dizzy, then slow down and entrance you, and finally shove you back in the deep end of hypnotic loops. By this time, the entire jungle will be a great pulsating mass of cosmic energy, and you will achieve a glorious transcendence that would not have been possible without your trusty spirit guide.

This is what happens when a true innovator like María y José makes music. A whole new world is constructed from layers of sounds and beats, and it challenges the way you listen to and experience music. Espíritu Invisible definitely did this, and, though in five short songs it is impossible to achieve the same magic, the undeniably sexy Kibosé EP continues this trajectory with unabashed lust that engulfs you and evokes an otherworldly beach party that you’ll never want to leave.

MP3: Protistas - "Mi Pieza" (Moustache! Remix)



We’re not a bit contained to call Protistas one of our new favorite bands, as they get everything ready for the release of their upcoming EP, we found ourselves carving around for more and discovering some sides of their multidimensional package. For example, this hot remix by fellow Chilean duo Moustache! for their awesome single “Mi Pieza.” The remix itself isn’t the true great discovery here, is finding out Protistas' potential to breakthrough as a major band internationally. Listening to this is like getting Phoenix, Bam Bam and Grizzly Bear on the same plate, stunning. The track is part of a single release the band had back in November, as one would expect, it did extremely well at The Hype Machine (191) from our idols over at Super45.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Los Punsetes - LP2


LP2, Los Punsetes
Recordings From The Other Side, Spain
Rating: 85
By Carlos Reyes

Scattered rock is best when dotted by peculiar nostalgia, even better at the hands of an enfant-terrible band like Los Punsetes. This hot band from Madrid is the real deal when it comes to rock melting geographical distinction; in a sort of Atlantic Ocean adventure, they have managed to surpass their celebrated debut with LP2, a splendorous set of songs deeply carved in pop’s perplexing bizarreness. Los Punsetes have stepped it up, their opera prima was wonderful but a bit stuffy, with the help of producer David Rodriguez (producer of La Bien Querida’s Romancero) they have polished one of the albums of the year.

“Polished” is probably not the best description of the album; it’s actually wonderfully uneven, perhaps rude. For those completely unaware of Spain’s pop idiosyncrasy, this might be a hard album to sell, but this album is guaranteed to wash away any kind of self-esteem obstruction preventing you to stop for a moment and laugh at yourself or the person next to you. “Tus Amigos” is a great first single that genuinely exploits this premise, “que le den por culo a tus amigos, pasa de ellos y ven conmigo”, it’s like justice being negotiated through humor, one that’s not harsh nor critical, it’s rather an opportunity to harden friendship.

Much has been said about Ariadna’s singing, I happen to like her voice more than I would care to admit to. But don’t me wrong, I wouldn’t give the argument of Ariadna having a unique style, it’s about acknowledging her voice as a result of music’s infinite possibilities. Los Punsetes couldn’t be less concerned to defend their ‘style’, they rather make the most of it in “Estilo,” one of the few potential anthems in the album. This track is a like a dream for those of us that enjoy Kanye West and Residente Calle 13’s ego-friendly tunes but are a bit shy to follow them, hypocrites they say (see, I'm already embracing my persona), “yo no tengo las respuestas yo no tengo estilo, sin duda alguna la belleza esta en el interior, pero a algunos les asoma y a otros no.”

LP2 is a storm of lyrical force, one-liners and double meaning; from “conmigo ya tienes de sobra” in “Tus Amigos” to just the title of “Yo Creo Que Creo en Satanas.” The band lyrics are creative within their language and the music is equally stunning. The riffs in the opener “Los Cervatillos” (Deer) are desperate and distressing, eventually layering up high and enough to find their way out of their misery. In some songs like “Hospital Alchemilla” and “Dinero” they sound like legit pupils of The Jesus and Mary Chain, needless to say they are the most nostalgic tracks in the record. LP2 is a killer, a reunion of exquisite songwriting and top-notch execution, what else is to ask for.

Odisea Teaser


Here is a nice teaser video for Alex Anwandter’s new project Odisea. It’s making us even more anxious for his forthcoming album. Interestingly, this is starting to sound nothing like Teleradio Donoso; Anwandter’s amazing characteristic vocals are definitely here, but the music itself is supremely personal. In fact, Odisea feels closer to Neon Indian and Washed Out than to any other of her Chilean colleagues, a nice sign of diversification in Chile’s booming ‘indie’ age. Don't forget to grab the first single “Cabros” on our latest compilation.

IMAS 2010: Take a look at Club Fonograma's Ballot!



Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s Indie-O Music Awards, particularly to Club Fonograma’s favorites Hello Seahorse!, Furland, Los Amparito, Mexican Institute of Sound, Marvin & Vicente Gayo. As you might remember we were up for Blog of the Year, we didn’t win, but it was great to see our name among the nominees, it’s particularly special considering we are a US-based blog, so it feels great to get some love from the jury (comprised of musicians, journalists & people in the industry). You can see the full list of winners HERE. But just to build on our ego, here is our dream line of what your CF editor (@carlosreyes) voted for as part of the jury.

Once again, this is not the list of winners; it’s my personal ballot. You can download the full list of ballots HERE.

Band of the year: Hello Seahorse! Selma Oxor
Song of the year: “Por Medio de la Lectura” (Los Amparito) “Fan de Carcass” (Piyama Party)
Live Act: Quiero Club Hello Seahorse!
New Artist: Los Amparito Carla Morrison

Rock Album: Selma Oxor (Selma Oxor) Bestia (Hello Seahorse!)
Solo Album: Aprendiendo a Aprender (Carla Morrison) Katy (Mr. Racoon)
Punk/Garage Album: Guacala los modernos y su electro (White Ninja) Melocochambre Sonico (Los Margaritos)
Hip Hop Album: The Re Album (Zozaya) Obus (Quid Comba)
Dance/Electro Album: Roba orgon de plantas y animales (Pepepe) Family Reunited (Unsexy Nerd Ponies)
Unknown genre: Historia de la Luz (Furland) CUU LP (Sr. Amable)

Art Package: Bestia (Hello Seahorse) Historia de la Luz (Furland)
Video of the year: "Mis amigos y yo te amamos" (Alexico) "Minutos de Aire" (Quiero Club)
Internet Radio: Radio Global Rock & Radio
Publication: Marvin R&R
Blog of the year: Panamerika 8106
Label of the year: Nene Records The Poni Republic

Best 5 Mexican independent albums of the decade:
Porter – Atemahawke (Tercer Piso)
En Ventura – Los Gandharvas (Delhotel)
Hello Seahorse! – Bestia (MUN)
Bam Bam – Bam Bam (Nene Records)
Porter – Donde los Ponys Pastan (Tercer Piso)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

New Single: María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser - "Baila Duro"

This disquieting half riot, half lousy girl keeps doing some of the most divisive music in Mexico, guess which side are we on? Of course on the positive shoulder, her sketchy and ultra flamboyant music satisfies our needs for effervescent pop. María Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser are taking longer than usual to release new material, but their recently announced EP seems to be closer to see the commercial light this summer. The album is comprised of four new songs and two covers.

Promotional single “Baila Duro” has been rotating around the web since last year to very little attention, which is surprising considering how catchy this tune turns out to be, “que se rompa el suelo, que tiemble en todo el mundo y que explote todo.” Well, it seems like we won’t be getting a more mature María Daniela, but we can’t complain, there’s plenty of more sweat-potential carved in the Juventud En Extasis premise. It’s not as fun and glamorous as “Miedo” or “Pobre Estupida” but this aspiring reggaeton holds and shakes its ground impeccably.

Recently, María Daniela did a very decent job recreating “Mi Muñeca Me Hablo” in the 31 Minutos album tribute. We’re not sure what has happened to Nuevos Ricos, they used to be the hippest Mexican indie label and they seem to have vanished completely. While we wait to see who ends up publishing their album, “Baila Duro” should do a good job gathering buzz for this intrepid duo.

MP3: La Bien Querida - "“Hoy Empieza Todo”



With the release of La Bien Querida’s Romancero in the states (through Nacional Records) here comes another fanwave, we can hardly contain ourselves as we revision the album, an absolute masterpiece. As you might have heard, Julieta Venegas invited her to be the opening act at a few of her concerts in Mexico, where she has found a fan base of her own. Ana Fernandez-Villarde has also been announced as part of the Latin Alternative Music Conference to be celebrated in New York in a few weeks.

But let’s get into “Hoy Empieza Todo” (Sintonia para Hoy Empieza Todo), it’s a rare, virtually unknown song we got a few days ago and as expected, we’re digging it. Turns out this is part a series of compilations by Producciones Doradas (Tarantula, Internet2) that work around a concept, in this case to recreate and play homage to Radio 3, a well respected station in Spain that has been hit badly by the Internet. She shared the compilation with other Club Fonograma favorites including Joe Crepusculo, Extraperlo and Manos de Topo. Download the free compilation here.

Video: Joe Crepúsculo - "Batalla de Robots"


We must admit Joe Crepusculo’s third album Chillout was one of the weirdest and most difficult albums we heard last year, so confusing none us took on the challenge of reviewing it. It’s been a couple of months and it’s still a hard one to get through. But don’t worry, this techno master still holds a big space on our hearts; the fact that he is so challenging is reason enough for us submerge into his bizarre world. One thing is for sure, his method to approach existentialism takes unexpected turns, like in his latest video “Batalla de Robots.” According to Hipersonica, this is a new song specifically written by Joe for “the first interplanetary robot combat.” Geeky or not, the song is a blast and the video is what one would expect from such fascinating event. "Despierta el robot que llevas dentro."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Bigott - This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship

This is the beginning of a beautiful friendship, Bigott
Grabaciones en el Mar, Spain
Rating: 78
by Andrew Casillas

The use of dreams as a songwriting device usually results in far more misses than hits. While there are certainly a few gleaming examples out in the pop canon, from the Everly Brothers’ “All I Have to Do is Dream” to Bob Dylan’s 115th to Shakira’s “Ojos Así,” for the most part, any sort of visio is relegated as an easy crutch, or a cheap excuse for an artist to engage in whatever fanciful crap they can throw onto a lyric sheet while still claiming artistic “vision.”

All of which makes what Bigott does all the more special. If his music has a modus operandi, it’s undoubtedly the examination of dream-like states. However, Bigott doesn’t see dreams as a metaphor for real-life, what’s revealed within each song is a mini-examination of one-man’s carnal psyche. Sex, death, booze, pretty flowers, prettier girls; these are the subjects of an average Bigott song, with all of the obsessions, narcissism, and neuroses that accompany them.

If Bigott’s new album, This is the Beginning of a Beautiful Friendship, details the current state of the artist’s slumberworld, than this appears to be a world where Errol Flynn, Larry Bird, and Dean Martin make guest appearances in the same way that former SNL cast members show up on 30 Rock. The album’s wry, dry, and provocative tone is set form the album’s very first lyric, “I said to the doctor ‘Can you help me with my Mum?’ And he said ‘Oh, your Mum is out of tune.’” Such a statement can’t help but exhibit an equal amount of shock and intrigue out of the listener; luckily, the rest of the delightfully morbid lead single “Dead Mum Walking” is just as interesting, with Bigott’s Matt Berninger-like vocals clashing just right with the dour, sprite instrumentation. Other highlights pop up from time to time, from the chipper and charismatic “Sparkle Motion,” to the Jose Gonzalez-but-way-more-fun vibe of “Pachanga,” to the thumping, resolute “Not Drunk Today,” the best of this album is a tour-de-force of funny, tragic, engaging, and sometimes sexy folk-rock.

Yet, you’ll notice that this album’s rating falls just a bit short of Descatado territory. I’d love to give an extrapolated, well-thought out, critical reason for this, but this is of course the internet, so I’ll just be blunt. Where Bigott decidedly succeeded on Fin was when he was accentuating the sour, sort of self-flagellation of love and heartbreak’s intersection. On here, there’s a sort of hangover effect. The song’s are shorter and less detailed, and even the few that go on for longer than three and a half minutes contain much juice.

That’s not to say that any of the above are necessarily bad things. What’s lost on This is the Beginning… is the freewheeling spirit that he last two albums made sound so effortless. But by no means is this album a misstep. It’s just a bump in the road. And considering the man’s prolific nature and past productivity, Bigott’s sure to steer himself in the right direction soon. He probably just needs to take a couple of good naps first.


Video: Superaquello - "Flor Es Ser"


Puerto Rican band Superaquello provided us with our Fonogramaticos Vol.8 theme “Un Delirio Paranoide”, a line from their song “Flor Es Ser,” one of the best tracks in the compilation and one of the best singles of the year. It’s definitely the best piece in their latest installment Superaquello Interpreta Latarde, as you can see wordplay takes a very important role here. This recently released video is magnificent, from the production design to the superb acting from Superaquello’s wonderful Patricia Davila. The clip starts with two characters walking down the road, but it’s not a wedding, it’s the moment to departure and blossom into higher dimensions. It also resolves the identity of the intriguing man on the album cover, watch it! The album is out now on Atrumorbis and you can grab the song on Vol.8.

LOST finale SPOILER. This was better than the season finale of Lost and equally fatalistic.

New Single: Adanowsky - "Me Siento Solo"

Adanowsky comes from a family of poets and visionaries, we might be romanticizing the whole thing a bit too much, but after listening to his latest single “Me Siento Solo” (via Panamerika) it really seems like we’re framing him right. With just one album under his arm, one can’t deny that much of his colossal success arrived through his charm as a seductive heartthrob, but he happens to be quite a good musician too (and a hell of an entertainer). “El Idolo” was a consuming single so powerful that it defined Adanowsky as a character rather than as an author, but the risk was justifiable because the song was mesmerizing.

When he announced that he was killing “El Idolo” (the character), we were very skeptical of the future, mostly because everything pointed to a much sober and serious Adanowsky, one we didn’t really like in “No” and “Estoy Mal” because the guy drowned these melodies in shallow sentimentalism (not to mention he sounded half-sleep and a bit drunk). His new song “Me Siento Solo” from his forthcoming album Amador is anything but drowned, it’s well measured and although not the happiest song in the world, it justifies every second of it as pure honest emotional rest.

A song to recognize flaws and confront the blurry lines of between the one's self-esteem and aspirations. He will no longer be an idol but an ‘amador’, we’re thinking more of a Don Juan, but we’ll see. Amador will be out next month and according to Panamerika, it features a collaboration with Devendra Banhart.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jóvenes y Sexys Remix Natalia Lafourcade



It’s hard not to fall in love with Jóvenes y Sexys, we certainly are. Every song they put out reinforces what we’ve been saying; they’re the new great South American band and will breakthrough as high and loud as Hello Seahorse! did with Bestia. This time they’re surprising us with a daring remix for one of HuHuHu’s most celebrated tracks, “No Viniste”, recently covered by Carla Morrison.

The remix is one of the many revisions expected to pop up on consideration to appear on Natalia Lafourcade’s special edition of her critically acclaimed album, planned to hit the shelves in a few months and which will also feature a collaboration with LoBlondo from Hello Seahorse! The Venezuelan duo did a sublime job, and as a fun fact, yes, that is Cheky singing! Watch out for the anticipated Bruno Remixed release through The Poni Republic out really soon, there's some awesome remixes on it as well from Nuuro, Pepepe and María y José.

MP3: Ivana Berenstein feat. Coiffeur - "Ahora"



We’re really digging this track we found at Zona Indie, it’s titled “Ahora” and is the first single from Argentinean singer Ivana Berenstein, leader of the band Que Tul. Her album is titled No Te Duermas and it seems like we’re just on time to witness a great talent on the rise. The single features fellow singer-songwriter Coiffeur, whose song “Que Mala Suerte!” is quite popular among our iPods. “Ahora” is a steady folksy track that embodies a sort of inevitable syncretism where pop and traditional music merge without much complication. It’s strangely sexy and irresistible, like Bigott meeting Lida Damunt but with totally opposite vocals. “Pisamos el freno en vez de avanzar.”

♫♫♫ "Ahora"
MySpace

Video: Julieta Venegas - "Abel"


Here is a promotional video for Abel, the first fiction film by Mexican actor turned director Diego Luna. The movie was premiered earlier this year to rave reviews and was just presented at the Cannes film festival to equally enthusiastic reception. It’s said to be a well-stylized film with a lot of heart, or at least enough to be considered a crowd-pleaser. This is a behind the scenes, behind the movie footage featuring some really charismatic kids and "Abel", an original song from Julieta Venegas. The singer has contributed to Mexican cinema before, most notably in Amores Perros and Quemar las Naves. The song was produced by Yamil Rezc (Hello Seahorse!) and the film’s music supervision was under the always-reliable Lynn Fainchtein.

Update: You can now download the song for FREE at Reactor's Zona de Descargas.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

New Single: Javiera Mena - "Hasta La Verdad"



You rarely see Club Fonograma as excited, enthusiastic and wholehearted as when we sit down to write about Javiera Mena. It’s no secret we’re head over heels about her, Esquemas Juveniles has inspired us like no other album; it’s our reference to how pop music should sound like, and how complex and danceable it should be. After providing our generation with monumental anthems like “Al Siguiente Nivel” and “Sol de Invierno”, or the shining “Como siempre soñe” and “Camara Lenta”, our favorite girl in Latin Pop is ready for her next journey, her much-anticipated sophomore album.

Javiera is the one shining artist responsible for our Song of the Decade “Al Siguiente Nivel” and our #2 favorite album of the decade, we’re clearly thrilled to present hew brand new single “Hasta La Verdad”, first cut from her new album titled Mena. The record was in the works for over 3 years, a long gap in which the Chilean artist refined her youthful fixation into pop prisms. Everything brilliantly captured and elevated by Cristian Heyne, the genius producer of Esquemas Juveniles and other great Chilean landmarks including Gepe’s latest Audiovision.

“Hasta La Verdad” reveals itself as a utopian universe of its own, with tumbling unassuming vocals, disco strings (by the great Kelley Polar), and striking reflective lyrics. It’s flowery, shimmering and very flirtatious. What’s truly fantastic about this is to see Mena’s search for musical landscape intact, her qualities have clearly evolved, but the hunt by which her music breathes is as grandeur (in all its simplicity) as before. It might not be as immediate and accessible as any of her past singles, but it only takes a few spins to roll with it and discover its greatness.

The single will be published in Mexico by the recently formed project Union del Sur and FV Management. If this is any indication, the upcoming 9-track Mena sure seems like another winner.


Friday, May 21, 2010

Fonogramaticos Vol.8



Fonogramaticos Vol.8

A compilation by Club Fonograma

DOWNLOAD!

(right click > save as)
20 songs, 117 MB
Theme: "Un delirio paranoide"
Genre: Emocional, Joven, Devota

Picture by Cuauhtémoc Suárez






1. Prehistóricos. “Ya no te espero” (Unreleased, Chile)
2. Kali Mutsa. “Jauja” (Unreleased, Chile)
3. Klaus & Kinski. “Eres un sinvergüenza” (Acuarela, España)
4. Los Espíritus. “Pacifico-Atlántico” (Unreleased, Colombia-Mexico)
5. Superaquello. “Flor es ser” (Atrumorbis, Puerto Rico)
6. Bigott. “Cool Single Wedding” (Grabaciones en el Mar, España)
7. Jessy Bulbo. “Tirun Dan Diri” (Unreleased, Mexico)
8. Los Rakas. “Abrázame” [Uproot Andy Remix] (Independiente, Panamá)
9. Triangulo de Amor Bizarro. “De la monarquía a la criptomancia” (Mushroom Pillow, España)
10. Gepe. “Por la ventana” (Quemasuabeza, Chile)
11. Maria Rodés. “A lo mejor” (BCore Disc, España)
12. Napoleón Solo. “Tiene que acabar” (Terrícolas Imbéciles, España)
13. Orlando. “Solo Dios Sabe” (Static Discos/Verdigris, Mexico)
14. Capullo. “Reencarnación” (Independiente, Mexico)
15. Daniela Spalla feat. Ximena Sariñana. “Por hoy al menos” (Independiente, Argentina-Mexico)
16. Las Acevedo. “The weather smells like oranges” (Unreleased, Republica Dominicana)
17. Odisea. “Cabros” (Oveja Negra, Chile)
18. Mr. Racoon. “Y lo olvido” (Unreleased, Mexico)
19. Quiero Club. “Musica” (Happy-Fi, Mexico)
20. Las Robertas. “History is done” (Independiente, Costa Rica)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Video: Los Amparito - "Por Medio de la Lectura"


We learn via Panamerika about the new video by Los Amparito for their hit “Por Medio de la Lectura.” You should know their music by now, if not, you’re missing out on one of the most exciting new bands on our circuit. Los Amparito grabbed a nomination for Best New Artist at this year’s Indie-O Music Awards, another hint of why they should be releasing some sort of release soon. Mastermind Carlos Pesina (Pepepe) is quite a visionary and this glossy, highly textured and glooming video does a tremendous job scoping a song built on shouts and fireworks. Los Amparito was just announced to perform at this year’s Sonar in Spain, they’re going places!

Simona - "6.40"

Simona is a relatively new band from Mexico City that generated a lot of buzz last year with their EP México Distrito Federal, México Distrito Federal, México Distrito Federal. Honestly, we didn’t pay much attention to them, mostly because their music was pretty damn hard to find, although we really liked their video “Mia.” 2010 is looking like an even juicier time for them; we heard nothing but good things from their SXSW showcase and their music was finally available for (free) download through Andamos Armados. Simona is promoting their new fatalistic single “6.40”, and they’re not kidding around smoky vintage pop like most of their peers, they’re the real deal. Download Here.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Video: Hidrogenesse - "He Falls to Me"


Spain’s most original and bizarre duo is back with a new 5-track EP titled Hidrogenesse versus The Hidden Cameras. You might remember them for their exciting wardrobe, their heels or for that wonderful fluorescent video for “Disfraz de Tigre.” This EP follows their critically acclaimed records Animalitos and Bestiola. Hidrogenesse recently toured around the U.S. and Mexico and announced this homage to Canadian band The Hidden Cameras. Hidrogenesse picked up five tracks from their album Origin:Orphan and reconstructed them. The album will be out next week through Austrohungaro.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Defensa EP, Torreblanca



Defensa EP, Torreblanca

Independiente, Mexico

Rating: 85

By Carlos Reyes


It was around 2007 when I first came across the music of Juan Manuel Torreblanca, an instant MySpace music crush that turned into friendship. It’s hard writing objectively about a friend’s music, it’s even harder if that friend happens to be an occasional (sharp and amazing) contributor to your website. Have no doubt, there’s sentimental tissue here that tunes my senses into Torreblanca’s music. Instead of trying to approach this as an outsider, I’ve decided to embrace the proximity between the ‘critic’ and the artist, not allowing such conditions to overthrow this review’s sincerity and heartfelt study.

Juan Manuel has come a long way since cutesy songs a la “Pancakes” or “Nada Me Saca de la Cama”, his music has evolved into songs that are hard to spoil, between the brimming and the transcendental, and the nihilist soundscape. Under the format of a band, Torreblanca exclaims autonomy in all four tracks that comprise the captivating and far-fetched debut Defensa EP. And it doesn’t hurt to have Andrea Balency as a member of the band; she does some of the most outstanding vocals I’ve heard in a while. This is a pop record worth of investment on just about any of its layers; it’s polite, agonizing, audacious, but most of all, an overture of music’s very own virtues and contradictions.

First single “Defensa” is a puzzling rare track, a sort of extravagant shout on guilt and pleasures hard to resist. Defensa EP is built on beautiful struggles and unconceivable victories. Despite its warmth, I found the overall journey to be a riveting violent record, only subtle to those “in the mood for love.” Torreblanca holds its romantic spirit in its classical and ravishingly modern constitution. Particularly in the richly textured “Parece Navidad”, where the orchestral passages parallel to the on&offs of a light bulb. Either as a mournful welcoming of Christmas (“te digo la verdad, yo me porte muy mal”) or a moment of meditation (“mentiras, mentiras, mentiras, ya no!”), the song is an absolute beauty.

“Largo” is collaboration with best pal Natalia Lafourcade, and another page in understanding Defensa’s curiously uplifting strength. It’s a deliciously painful song, “tengo miedo tengo mucho mucho miedo”, comforting and distressing at the same time. The song is well-grounded, unfolding its leaves on a “me quiere no me quiere” fashion which is as terrifying and faltering as silence itself, hearing Juan singing “algo, digan algo” brought me to tears. Torreblanca proves to be dynamic in the bombastic “Nunca Acabo Lo Que Empiezo” featuring LoBlondo from Hello Seahorse! Like Patrick Wolf or PJ Harvey, Juan Manuel Torreblanca’s vocals flirt with music in unexpected manners. The song’s imaginative and dripping brushes reconcile Torreblanca’s anxiety to portray pain as a valuable, healing and untamed resource for inspiration. A wonderful, edgy and ferocious debut.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Video: Gepe - "Por La Ventana"


One of the songs of the year by one of Club Fonograma’s ultimate favorite artists has a video. “Por La Ventana”, first cut from Gepe’s third album Audiovision. The clip directed by Luciano Rubio is as lovable, dynamic and colorful as Gepe’s character and irresistible charm. After watching this video it’s quite easy to understand the album cover’s fragmented lines and especially those clothes on his head. Starting with the 1989 World Tour sweater from The Beach Boys, the masks, the moustache, the wig! this is cloth extravaganza at its finest. Gepe is joined by the great Pedro Piedra, Fernando Milagros and Valeria Jara.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Video: El Sueño de la Casa Propia - "Voluntad de oro"


El Sueño de la Casa Propia has to be one of the coolest band names ever. This up and coming Chilean band is actually a one-man project by Jose Manuel Cerda Castro, who’s about to drop his also wonderfully titled album Historial de Caídas next month through Chilean netlabel Pueblo Nuevo. The promotional track “Volutad de Oro” keeps the project’s coherence to show struggle in some way or another, this is goes from attractive to stimulating because of the challenging cues of the software and samples involved.