Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Celesta en la Cesta is the solo project of Laiza Onofre, a member of Monterrey’s indie-pop band Uvi.Lov. She makes sweet, affordable lo-fi songs, something uncommon considering she belongs to the much heavier bands we’re used to hear from the Monterrey-El Garage scene (now called Workshop). Some of you might recognize her from the MtyMX fest as she stepped in for Jovenes y Sexys’ Loocila who was out sick, joining Cheky in what many called one of the fest’s highlights. Grabaciones Analogas is a tiny but adorable EP from Celesta en la Cesta, recorded live in conjuction with Yo Garage and Alexico. “Hasta Que Me Olvide De Tu Existencia” is superb, short but steady, the kind of well-spirited song sure to lighten your day.
Last year when we featured La Vida Boheme’s single “Radio Capital” we mentioned on the band’s potential to go from their garage to the music video channels, and well, it’s happening. The band has proven to be one of those rare commercially reliable bands that manage to sound both, fresh and accessible. They’re also the newest band to join the Nacional Records family, so we can’t wait for all our fellow US-based blogs to meet one of the most energetic rock bands in Latin America. We included their track “Danz!” in our seventh compilation and we’re glad they’ve chosen it as a single. It’s the first song we heard from them a while ago and we remember thinking to ourselves, “this is some nice Venezuelan Bloc Party stuff.” I’m especially thrilled about this video by director Carl Zitelmann, the opening audio sequence is amusing to say the least, and the fourth-point camera travelogue exercise is impressive.
Monday, August 30, 2010
We once described Capullo’s sound as the coming together of jj, La Factoria, Micachu and the Shapes, and Los Socios del Ritmo, eclectic enough for you? Truth is, the band is so likable they have a kind of next-door band quality; that feeling that’s also present in bands like Piyama Party or Maria y Jose, all born outside Mexico’s big scenes. Listening to Capullo is like appreciating MySpace aesthetics to the fullest. Unlike the network leaded by Tom, there are no hypersexual hints here; it’s all post-puberty clarity, or an adolescent’s idea of it. Like “Power Point de Amor” suggests, these are songs that come from the intellectual, from the heart. “Prendo El Ordenador” opens the show with a tragedy; there’s no Internet on the block. This reminds me of Fernando Eimbcke’s Temporada de Patos, where two xbox fanatic teenagers had to make the best out of a lazy Sunday without power. Capullo does the same thing, creating a hiatus of a real world without real friends. Through the blend of heavy tropical percussion and electro-pop, they go on the hunt for social life.
The album’s production is underwhelming at times, mostly because it’s all over the place, while it doesn’t hurt the songs as much, it makes tracks like “Ritmo Prohibido” and “Camionero” go outside the coloring outline. The band’s web-configured vision is best captured in the album’s soft pieces. I know a couple of friends who are into email chains, “Power Point de Amor” captures the selective-idealism of such phenomenon, “no es una cadena de lo mismo, vamos abrelo!” Capullo also triumphs in “Reencarnacion,” with the highs of the song reach the level of pop sophistication as that of Quiero Club and Javiera Mena. Informática Romántica Para Avanzados doesn’t offer us the hits of the season, but it’s still a remarkable debut by one of Mexico’s most exciting new bands.
Revista 69 (aka Peru’s coolest indie blog) featured this jaw-dropping video by Argentinean musician Daniel Melero, who’s carried on a great career since the 80s as a singer and producer of well-known bands such as Soda Stereo, Todos Tus Muertos and Babasonicos. “Tenés” is extracted from Melero’s most recent album Por. This visceral (literally) video by director Agustin Carbonere is not what you’d expect from a 52-year-old rocker, the music is equally engaging and primeval. The girl in the video is the sexiest psycho, and the story is like a romanticized version of Alex De La Iglesias’ Crimen Ferpecto. Not to get into the whole outrageous Bunbury dispatch all over again, but this is the kind of stuff that transcends generations, “tenés” eso que me puede, tenés."
The always sparkling, triangular visionary Lido Pimienta has unveiled a new single titled “Caminos,” one of three new songs to be added to her stunning Color EP, which will redefine its form into a full-length release. The album will get a vinyl release later this year by Los Angeles-based indie label Ku De Ta, who has also announced exclusive vinyl releases for Pilar Diaz and Jovenes y Sexys. A lot has happened to Lido’s young career since that Club Fonograma feature of “Mueve,” but she’s still that charismatic infectious girl we fell in love with. “Caminos” is a risky future-pop song; a challenge in both its rhythms and themes. Finding your own trail in life is complicated; it’s a series of self-contained challenges one must learn to overcome, find your rhythm.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Since my grasp of Catalan is limited (read: virtually nonexistent) I decided to type a few lyrics from “La Truita” into Google Translate. First, I entered the song’s title, and Google told me it means “trout.” Even with my dismal Catalan skills, I was skeptical about this. I don’t think “La Truita” is about a fish. After several online translations, most reinforcing Google’s definition and some telling me a truita is a tortilla, I decided it was too much trouble to try to translate the whole song. Despite not entirely understanding what’s going on lyrically, the song as a whole is a pleasantly noisy work of distorted pop and one of my favorite tracks from our most recent Fonogramaticos. The band’s debut album, A La Piscina, will be out September 14 on Captured Tracks.
Saturday, August 28, 2010
The Acoustic Sessions is an acoustic set recorded by Babaluca last year at Radio Phoenix. The band composed of Carla Morrison, Nicholas Kizer and Nikki Patte separated last year, leaving behind this wonderful set of indie-rock songs that deserve to be heard by a broader audience. Babaluca was truly one of the best bands to come out of Phoenix, they never got to record their much-desired full-length album, so this is a farewell collection showcasing 10 of their songs that will bring nostalgia to those of us who followed their steps, as well as the new fans. The set captures the band’s striking energy with songs in both, English and Spanish. Many locals remember them as “the little band that could,” but when listening to this album we can’t help but recognize it as a key piece in this city’s almost inexistent music scene. These are songs fueled with inspiring clarity and charm, these are songs to be remembered during Phoenix’s hot days and nights. Farewell Babaluca!
01. I’m Lost / 02. Red Eyes / 03. Que Bonito
Friday, August 27, 2010
You can also dig around Don Conejo’s soundcloud for more traditional neo-cumbia, pay special attention to “A Lo Perrito,” a battle between Don Conejo, Snoop Dogg and Pibes Chorros.
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Prehistóricos is one of our favorite new bands; the tranquility they bring into our iPods is like nothing we’ve encountered lately. I’m personally astonished by how well this Chilean band embodies soft melodies, without getting stuck in their own dreams. This isn’t dreamy pop; this is tuneful music with an edge, delicately rich instrumentation and tons of lyrical ecstasy. They’re an extremely young band, yet confident enough to sound instinctive even at their most distressed moments. We recently featured their song “Ya No Te Espero” (Fonogramaticos Vol.8) calling it “a quietly tortured song,” their latest track is equally impressive and shamelessly hurtful. Not to say these are songs for sadist people, we need these extreme ends sometimes in our lives.
Two months ago we warned you about this very same track. Tomas Preuss released “La Historia Violenta” last year (as part of his EP Las llamas que incendiaron mi casa) and started Prehistoricos with a revision of this wonderful track. The original track was structured on a soft electronic base, almost ambient, it was bubbly and catchy. Prehistóricos takes a risk in “La Nueva Historia Violenta,” defragmenting the song’s melodic principles and transport them into a deliberate group song. Although they decided to omit the wonderful notion of a Frida Kahlo chasing back at them, they kept some wonderful lines, “mis sabanas empiezan a sospechar de ti.” The band plans to have their debut release ready for its increasing fan base later this year.
Shout Factory! USA
by Andrew Casillas
At a time when more music is being recorded and released than ever before, and with it the inevitable increase of accompanying niche-music review sites, it’s odd to think that Los Lobos, perhaps the most niche of all niche bands, were for a brief period one of the most popular young bands in America. I’m sure if Club Fonograma existed 20 years ago How Will the Wolf Survive? would have made our Top 10 Albums of the 1980’s list, while Kiko is one of the few albums I’m certain we would have given a 99 or 100 rating to.
Sadly, it’s 2010, and Los Lobos are now part of the old-wave of Latin music, doomed to be overlooked by the kids, and without the hipster cache that keeps Café Tacuba or even Los Tigres del Norte concerts slammed with college students. But for the patient and the enlightened, Los Lobos albums are something to be treasured, with the comfort that their plain-spoken songs of transition and conscious existence will never fall prey to the clutch of trends. Which is odd to say considering that their latest album, Tin Can Trust, centers around what is perhaps the most rampant of all trends—the current worldwide economic downturn.
Of course, this being a Los Lobos album, the band isn’t content to ante up everyone’s fears and anxieties with regard to the state of the economy. Instead, they present powerful storytelling that could take place at anytime, but use the news as a shade to give each track a greater prescience. Most obvious in this approach is the title track, which details a common man forced to collect cans and bottles to support he and his lady; and while he may wear only a 10-cent shirt, he can give his woman the “one thing a man can bring.” It’s actually a pretty funny song, even if you weren’t entirely positive that it’s not entirely a fictional story. Of course, not every song is about perseverance. There are also moments, like in “Burn It Down,” where the only available option is flight. But the reasons are never revealed, and any details are obscure at best. Is the narrator fleeing because of racism, money, betrayal, bad luck, or because he shot a man in Reno just to watch him die? We can’t know, which makes the quiet storm of this opener even more delicious, with its cutting guitar solo providing a perfect close to an appropriately fiery track.
But it’s not all heavy-handed in Tin Can Trust. There are still plenty of bluesy rave-up throwbacks (“Do the Murray”), slow-burning love songs (“Jupiter or the Moon”), and faux-traditional Mexican tributes (“Yo Canto” and “Mujer Ingrata,” each written by the esteemed Cesar Rosas); the latter group I’m a complete sucker for. How each affects you just depends on your listening habits, but it’s certain that something on this record will stick with you. Although I’d also recommend the closer, “27 Spanishes,” a thought-provoking yet slinky and downright professional cut that poetically ends with the sound of junk-like percussion.
So there it is, another good-sometimes-great Los Lobos album. Many of us in the Club Fonograma world, writers, readers, and musicians alike, should thank our lucky stars that a band like this can still make records this good and relevant at this stage of their careers.* And if you want to slight them for making trendless records, well then I gladly say “Yawn.”
*we should also thank God that David Hidalgo, Los Lobos front man, is still around to show us what a grade-A bad ass rock star should be like
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Año Santo, Triangulo de Amor Bizarro
Without entering a cycle of pop culture reconsideration, Triangulo de Amor Bizarro brings the edge of what rock music should sound like. It’s through their songs that they make rock music be personal again, and it’s through their aesthetics that they enforce theoretical formation in the best of My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub. Despite flirting with noise pop, the band keeps convention as a way to frame the album’s palpable energy and its high-grade themes. Año Santo is an unmeasured set of songs scattered throughout carnivalesque lands at different time frames. The album carries a clever sense of Spanish inquires, mostly dealing with Roman Catholicism. The way they reconcile these religious notions is by juxtaposing faith with unsettling sci-fi styling. It sounds like a menace, but they afford to take such risks as they opt for expressiveness rather than impressiveness.
TAB’s fascination to customize songs allows the band to dissect strings, drums and programmable media. The album might serve somebody’s purpose as a rock-solid production to shoegaze, but one must not overlook the actual substance that’s drives these pieces to glory. “Amigos del Genero Humano” is an avant-pop mystical journey and the album’s first dosis of unframed timing. While every song is a hybrid, the lyrics are non-linear, in this case, it profiles a creature lost on the mountains, unable to howl, claiming its magic has gone death. “La malicia de las species protegidas” is a critique on a high-credited sector and a crude reality portrayal of its victims. Here the band employs an old-school recording style, while it claimes “esta cancion me la encontre tirada." This isn’t random word choice, it’s a projection of the band picking up a style and making it their own, “me pertenece.” It’s also an allegory of the predator chasing its prey, “tienes la mirada del ultimo lince.” Even if you speak Spanish, it’s hard to catch up with the lyrics, but beware of the every animal mentioned throughout the album; this includes sharks, lynxes and fishes.
“Super Castlevania IV” is the strangest, most beautiful song in the album, and a candidate for song the year. It pays homage to the classic platform video game in which our vampire hunter character (Simon Belmont) makes a visit to Dracula’s castle. The appreciation of such folklore is taken by TAB crafting the most passionate love song, where sacrifice and blood go hand-in-hand, “nena nena, por ella me quito la vida entera, o por lo menos un poco de sangre. The song’s crescendos build up the most beautiful climax, “pero por mucho que quieran, nadie podra separarnos, por mucho que quieras, no vas a quitarme de en medio.” The music allows us to see our hero slicing monsters in half until winning her lady’s love. When Isa’s voice arrives it just becomes an overwhelming experience, she doesn’t bring the expected comfort and seems unresponsive to his love, “tu no estas bien de la cabeza”, but our guy is a fighter, claiming he’s got enough love for their love to prevail, “no me importa que no me quiera, yo la quiero por los dos.”
Understanding the complexity of Año Santo would equate understanding Albert Serra’s 2009 Spanish film El Cant Dels Ocells, a film that “revises the Three Kings' relationship to one another while they traversed the world's deserts in search of Christ.” Año Santo is less of a contemplative piece and far less situational. Like Serra, Triangulo de Amor Bizarro exploits religious imagery and codifies it into a fantastical journey, one closer to wolfman than to Christ himself. This is why songs like “Muchos blancos en todos los mapas” or “El culto a cargo o como hacer llegar el objeto maravilloso” do an excellent job transporting their chaotic sound into impulsive generational songs. As the title track suggests, this is an album to get lost in, “I’ll get up to the swirl that almost ate my grandfather… there I’ll find the music notes and voices that were calling us.”
As described by Jimenez, this is some kind of violent mambo, one that chases some kind of escape, and consequently finds it towards the end, or at least it negotiates through very aggressive speed. It's not only an explicit song, it also holds very dark humor behind all its rhythm(s). The beats, synths and gaps are as well located as any song by Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. While the song has the warmth for individual interpretation, it also speaks to Mexico as a whole, “que violentao tu, que violentao tu!”
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
8106 premiered the brand new video from Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Laser for their single “Baila Duro,” the first cut from their forthcoming third release. It’s been two years since the release of Juventud En Extasis, so we’re deeply surprised they’re only releasing an EP, or at least that’s what the rumors say. We reviewed the single a few months ago, questioning what had happened to Nuevos Ricos, the kitchiest Mexican label we’ve ever seen, Jessy Bulbo commented Nuevos Ricos was actually death, so we wonder who’s going to take care of all the dysfunctional bands they left behind. Maria Daniela y Su Sonido Lasser won’t have a problem, by now they are as mainstream as they can get.
“Baila Duro” won’t change the fact that they’re the most hated pop band around, but they have first-class hardcore admirers such as CSS, Javiera Mena and 2manydJs. This flashy video isn’t very interesting, but there’s good use of limited resources and I must say, the song is still burning hot.
Not just a soda, it’s Jarritos. Ok, as you already see, this is a total WTF moment in Club Fonograma as we’re supposedly a Latin Pop music blog and not a product review site. A few weeks ago one of our readers who loves our blog said he would send me a box full of Jarritos, and if I wanted, I could tell you guys if I liked it or not. Yeah, pretty much what happens when labels send us their latest releases, so I said, why not? Let me reaffirm you this isn’t some kind of promotional deal or advertisement; there’s no money involved here, just 100% natural flavors! (and a nice little distraction from a writer-block moment I’m having).
Although I don’t take this blog very seriously, I realize writing about a product is too much of a stretch, however, I grew up drinking Jarritos, and I love me some Jarritos. They sent one bottle of every flavor they got; I think I’m going to have to hide them from my very traditional Mexican family. The bottles are super elegant, and you know opening a bottle cup is always fun and romantic. My favorite flavors: Tutifruti, Tamarindo, Fresa, & Guayaba (reflective of my music taste?) They also sent a tshirt, and a ClubJarritos exclusive compilation with absolutely awful music by artists such as Belinda, Alejandra Guzman, Emmanuel, Christian Castro, etc. You bet I won’t mix Jarritos’ explosive flavors with that kind of tasteless music. But of course, we got your back. (Hint. Fonogramaticos!)
And just for fun, my recommendation to supplement every flavor with a particular artist.
Tamarindo: Lido Pimienta. Tutifruti: Los Amparito. Jamaica: Maria y Jose. Lima-Limon: Jovenes y Sexys. Mandarina: La Bien Querida. Piña: Ceci Bastida. Guayaba: Javiera Mena. Toronja: Fakuta. Mango: Adanowsky. Limon: Julieta Venegas. Fresa: Le Butcherettes.
Monday, August 23, 2010
“Compartir” is immediately engaging; it holds the simplicity of her last EP as it welcomes a new layer of melodic sophistication; the alluring instrumentation here is not only a good example of the vintage, near-the-wall sound, its steady appearance is also mischievously visceral in all its elegancy. The entrance base is specially grabbing, opening your heart to that special someone deserves this kind of walking tall arrival. Carla’s songcraft allows her to go beyond descriptive love songs (which is why she can get away with diminutive wording), she makes poignant conversations out of them, "porque me haces enloquecer, tu me enchinas la piel." This is one gorgeous song. "Compartir" is now out on iTunes, Mientras Tu Dormias will be out in a couple of months.
Friday, August 20, 2010
SuperPipes, Pipe Llorens
By Carlos Reyes
“Soy el niño mas indie-rock, tambien me gusta Indiana Jones.” Coahuila’s bad boy Pipe Llorens is one of the most interesting characters in Mexican rock today; we were first introduced to his captivating (and weird) world through the intriguing song “Indys,” which pretty much criticized the Mexican indie-rock scene, dissing (if you will) everyone from Saul Hernandez, to Austin TV, Vive Latino, Reactor, etc. The song was a bit too substantial for many of us, but still quite mesmerizing in the way it personalized a cheesy, but well-sustained regional thought where the Mexican scene pretty much ignored the healthier and more stimulating music coming out of El Norte.
When approaching his songs, it’s important to accept them as very pretentious pieces, it’s the only way to fully appreciate their irony and defective complexity. His latest EP SuperPipes is barely five minutes long, but that’s enough to bring up a superhero element to his already eccentric image. The title track shows up in a very guitar-clouded entrance, it quickly finds its own renaissance to a very uplifting hero-anthem, “gritando bien arriba, soy superman!, la gente me grita, andas mal!” It’s this kind of indefinite and self-aware combo what makes this act so appealing. “Manejando en mi carro con Ludwika Paleto, la condeza es mia cuando piso el pavimento,” see, he makes it rhyme (if you don’t know the actress you won’t get it), he also rhymes (Ximena) Sariñana with “araña” and exits his costume with a lovely “adios superpipes bye bye bye.”
Some would take his inclusion of popular names to the mix as opportunistic; we are rather amused by his cynical use of pop culture, this includes the presence of the Diego Santoy and Erika Pena as his top friends on MySpace, responsible for the double homicide scandal in Monterrey in 2006. Pipe Llorens can get bleak and confronting, as he did on his amazing and gigantic anti-anthem “No quiero ejercicios de respiracion, quiero pastillas.” SuperPipes is less confronting, but equally fascinating in its sound. “Dame Un Besito” is breezy and fun, almost resembling a young Beck or the soft moments by Plastilina Mosh. But beware, Pipe Llorens isn’t just concerned with provocative lyrics or catchy hooks, he is a rapper of all sorts, a stupendous pop executer, and a well-formulated joke.
Las Robertas are without a doubt, one of the year’s revelations. Many of us were first enlightened to find a badass all-girl band from Costa Rica, but once you pass the specifics, you realize they really are a fantastic band with a very solid debut. Artist Advocacy invited them to do a Guest Mixtape, and they decided to make a playlist full of Iberoamerican talent. It includes some of our favorites like Javiera Mena, Algodon Egipcio and Triangulo de Amor Bizarro, to a good fair amount of bands we don’t know and we're quickly falling in love with, such as Spain’s Mirafiori and Mexico’s San Pedro El Cortez.
So our mixtape is ready.. it took us quite long because we wanted to do something very cool including bands of friends around de Spanish/Latin America speaking world.. so here it is finally.. The setlist includes (in order), the artists,country of origin and song title. We included legendary bands and musicians such as Los Saicos and Spanish 60’s pop darling, Jeanette. Lots of new and upcoming interesting projects that we like and are in love with, such as Dávila 666 (we’re planning to play together as soon as we can) and various new cool bands such as all-girl-Barcelona’s-band: Aias (they sing in Catalan), Mexico’s San Pedro El Cortez and Spain’s Beat Happening/K records revival band: Kokoscka…
We learned via Me Hace Ruido about the new single from Guadalajara’s Suave As Hell, probably the last band that had us debating over the Bands Singing In English dilemma. Sorry for bringing it up again, but for us, “Controlling the Sun” was the perfect example of a band making worthy music regardless of the language, as we applauded last year, “this is an extension of the globalized skill.” We’ve seen this pattern repeat itself over and over, bands with English-language debuts come back with a more diversified project, and yes, singing in Spanish too.
“Maravillas” is the title of their upcoming self-titled album. The single’s first act is quite sublime (on the best of Jumbo and Furland), but when the chorus arrives, it goes downhill on a very distressing melodic extension, and a very noticeable downgraded lyricism. Yes, it's an uneven track, but still, the band manages to pull out an affectionate pastiche of the sounds coming out of both, Mexico and the international arena. "Maravillas" is available for free download through bandcamp.
The Poni Republic released a very special EP with remixes for Jóvenes y Sexys’ first and still only release Bruno EP. Club Fonograma favorites Maria y Jose and Pepepe took care of the remixes for “El Reloj” and “Gold Day” respectively, the Venezuelan duo reinvented “Suerte” in a very dark, smoky, and possibly defining sound for their future full length album. Now we can’t lie to you, we’ve had 75% of this release on our iPods for a long time (years maybe), but it’s nonetheless, a nice recollection of what was our second favorite EP of the 00-10 decade. But we particularly love Nuuro’s Re-Remake of “Divine Hammer”, as you know, it’s an original from The Breeders. Nuuro’s version sounds truly refreshing, but don’t let the sound fool you, he’s not coming back to melodic adolescent pop era, this was recorded years ago during the TurnThatShitOff era. Download Bruno Remixed, HERE.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Jenesaispop has the scoop on a new song by El Guincho, to be included on his sophomore LP Pop Negro. We feel his last release Piratas de Sudamerica has not been properly taken care of, it’s extremely good and there’s barely any attention to it anymore, but then of course, this is one of those blogs that would actually appreciate the songs’ recreations. But we’re always hungry for more El Guincho, and this new cut titled “FM tan Sexy” definitely keeps the excitement alive. Pablo’s cousins want to show you how they enjoy Pop Negro, introducing this hot-off-the-wall and very sweaty track in a very eye-pleasing video. Both upfront songs have been a revelation, “Bombay” did it through its lyrics, and this new cut does it with the actual sound CREATION. Pop Negro will be out next month through YoungTurks/Beggars.
Acorde On is an interesting character out of San Luis Potosí who, to put it simply, mixes music that he likes. He is also known for performing in a biohazard suit, which we won’t go into because we don’t quite know what that’s about. In his “Dios salve a la reina (Selena Megamix),” he pairs some of Selena’s best songs with driving percussion, while still allowing her voice to remain the focal point. His reverence for Selena is definitely apparent. From the quiet introduction with “Como La Flor” to my favorite, “Si Una Vez,” in which the octave jump at the end of the “ve-i-ve-i-e-i” is further emphasized by a cymbal, to the triumphant ending with “No Debes Jugar,” the mix is a nostalgia-inducing production that will make you want to dig up those old CDs and long for the Golden Age of Selena.
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Even if you don't read magazine tabloids, chances are you’ve heard the wonderful news of Julieta Venegas becoming a mother, as she confirmed it a couple of days ago via Twitter. It’s no secret that she is one of our favorite people in the world, mostly because of our compatibility when it comes to music taste. The video for “Bien o Mal” was spectacular, and when we heard the video for Otra Cosa’s second single “Despedida” followed the same line of visual-imagery extravaganza, let’s say were searching the web nonstop. “Despedida” was directed by Maxi Blanco and Agustin Alberdi (director of “Bien o Mal”), and it was shot in Argentina and Mexico. It’s a visual ecstasy and a sort of anti-comedy trip that’s as hard to describe as the bunny’s significance in the whole album. Having animals in a video is always something noteworthy, having animals mate (or trying really hard) to a breakup song, that’s genious! And indeed, the video follows the structure of the first video, except that this time, we get to see Julieta in a very pregnant shape, gorgeous.
Ulises Hadjis is one of our favorite artists to have picked up “la cancion melodramatica latinoamericana” as means of expressionism. He belongs to that vein of authors making conversational, down-to-earth and folksy music, a vein that includes Juango Davalos, Orlando and Camila Moreno. This humble and clever Venezuelan talent makes the singer-songwriter tag a reality. After his incredibly solid debut Presente and a Remixes EP, Hadjis is ready for the next step, the always-bloodcurdling sophomore album, to be titled Cosas Perdidas. He recently took a trip to Mexico to meet his friends and fellow musicians Juan Manuel Torreblanca and LoBlondo from Hello Seahorse!, both artists recorded songs for his new album after months of preparation via Skype.
The first single “Música Normal” is one of those apparently ‘little’ songs that end up having much more substance than many of the intricate vanguard pieces we usually feature. His method of composition is intriguing to say the least; he makes lyricism seem effortless, but he’s not compressing emotion at any moment (he is no minimalist), these are three minutes of pure magical simplicity. “Música Normal” also achieves a compelling instrumentation, as enchanting as that memorable soundscape in "Preocupacion Genuina."
Niña Dioz Preps New Mixtape, Features Collaborations From Plastilina Mosh & Bomba Estereo's Liliana Saumet
Monterrey’s Niña Dioz was last night’s guest at Indie103.1’s Sala de Espera, where she premiered a couple of tracks from her upcoming second mixtape. This soon to be released mixtape includes a collaboration with one of the Plastilina Mosh’s guys (can’t remember which one), as well as a mouthwatering collaboration with Bomba Estereo’s Liliana Saumet. Her label has kept us waiting for way too long for the release her much-anticipated debut LP La Nueva Escuela, but that’s not stopping her from creating new exciting music, which only keeps getting better as she is starting to fully command her medium. As our very own Jean-Stephane Beriot commented, “she’s got the square/precision factor we love in rappers, it shouldn’t be all about speed.” This mixtape will also include one of her best songs, “Frepo Minimal, Man!,”a hot-as-fire tune featuring a very promising 17-year-old kid named Kid Kimera. Also, you don’t want to miss her collaboration with Ceci Bastida, currently offered as a freeload at The Fader.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Rey Pila, Rey Pila
Sony Music Entertainment, Mexico
Like the best dark comedies, Diego Solórzano’s debut album as Rey Pila is a masterfully crafted narrative that toes the line between tragedy and comedy with impressive agility and creates a functionally dysfunctional family of songs. But unlike most dark comedies in which the humor is masked by the morbid, the music’s cheerful melodies and buoyant rhythms almost betray the melancholy and disenchantment of the lyrics, while allowing the gloom to float just below the surface. This sounds hard to pull off (because it is), but it helps that Rey Pila delivers the vocals with a cheeky and irreverent, almost smug self-awareness, which is a departure from Solórzano’s less subtle days in Los Dynamite. For his latest project, he enlisted the help of producer Paul Majahan, who has previously worked with acts like Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio. The result was a half in English, half in Spanish, clever and misleadingly upbeat album.
With this new musical sensibility, the comparisons to Devendra Banhart are inevitable. And, yes, vocally they are quite similar. But, while Banhart wistfully plucks away at his guitar in the woods somewhere, Rey Pila wears out his dancing shoes at the discotheque. Yes, the discotheque. Just watch his video for “No. 114,” the album’s effusive first single. Outside of the opening sequence in which the backlighting makes him look like Jesus, Rey Pila looks like a disco king in neon lights with his white shoes, bow tie, shades, and luscious locks. The second single (and its controversial video) might not exactly be what you’d expect from a disco funk number, but “No Longer Fun” perfectly sums up the pert, sometimes sarcastic energy of the album. The playful bass line and staggered percussion that almost sounds like it’s tripping over itself act as a counterpoint to the song’s disheartened lyrics.
The album’s opener, “Sordo,” is an invitation to badmouth Rey Pila and his life decisions because he’s not going to hear it. The song’s measured handclaps and glittering synths build into a densely layered and grandiose climax that might make you feel like you’re going to go deaf (in the best possible way, of course). And the children’s choir singing the chorus of “Pictures of the Sun” evokes a certain nostalgia for the innocence of childhood, when we didn’t know the meaning of censorship and voiced whatever was on our minds.
In the second half of the album, Rey Pila becomes more forthright about the darkness of the album. “The Lost Art of Crashing Cars” narrates a car crash from the point of view of the person in the accident in what is the musical equivalent of a scene in a movie in which a character’s life flashes before his eyes. Then in a surprising turn of events, the album ends with a love song. A completely honest, no trace of sarcasm love song with lines like “your face reminds me of the future and the places I’d like to go” and “you see, this is as honest as I could be. You’ll get my life, you’ll get it for free.” Maybe that car crash/near-death experience brought with it some perspective. Whatever it was, “Our Project” is a lovely way to end things and to bring closure to the narrative of the album, which is a work of intelligent and entertaining progressive pop that you’ll want to listen to again and again, if only to discover more of its subtleties with each listen.
Here is an extracted piece from Coco Bass’ second release La Malilla Seca by Ciudad Juárez duo Prepare To Meet Thy Broom. “Una oda a las chicas, a la droga, a la ciudad que los vio nacer y los quiere ver morir.” They bring up a very sweaty, upbeat and yes, very violent execution of beats. In “El Abuelo Is Dead”, they work their magic around a time clicking sound device, soon turning it into a chased-by-the-monster cumbia. After this and that great Kibose EP by Maria y Jose, we like where Coco Bass is going. Download La Malilla Seca HERE, pay close attention to a very down-low yet epic-striking refix of Cypress Hill’s “Ilusiones.”
Monday, August 16, 2010
by Carlos Reyes
Adanowsky’s voluptuous messy hair and beard are taking over his El Idolo-era looks, switching his overall aura to a much contained, vigilant, and even more sober character, Amador. Adanowsky is a showman in and out of stage. His new album isn’t the best platform to embrace his eye candy qualities; it’s rather, a manifesto of a man that sits down to write provisional songs, using a Mariachi jacket as a coat, and exploiting melancholy as his driving force. Amador isn’t motivational or awe-inspiring, yet it still holds seductive reason beneath all its depressive coating. As part of a trilogy, the concept of Amador works, not only is it it full of well-written songs, it’s a personal riot, and an opportunity to recontextualize his career.
During the first week of the album’s single release “Me Siento Solo”, a couple of people justly compared the song to Reyli’s “Desde Que Llegaste,” that guilty-pleasurable “arrabababasei” pop hit. Not to say Adanowsky is down there with Reyli’s sailor-scheming composition, but when trying to understood music moods, making such comparisons should be applauded. “Me Siento Solo” hurts, it’s an inconsolable song that cries its agonizing sorrow with lines such as “me quiero ir de aqui, lejos de mi.” This great opening single sets up most of the album’s temper. He has never been the most genre-diverse artist out there, but when creating new character, you don’t have to reject a sound, you should evolve it. While Amador is a fairly superior album than El Idolo, the songs alone struggle to find distinctiveness. That’s except for the non-Spanish language tracks: the very Frenchy “J’aime Tes Genoux” and the collaboration with Devendra Banhart in “You are the One.”
If you’re in the right mood, Amador’s reflexive moments will work their magic just the way Adanowsky intended. The first true revelation in the album comes with “Amor Sin Fin”, the kind of song where Adanowsky’s multi-national entity comes to life; it’s got the depth of the new Chilean song, while it blurs the lines between Jacques Brel and José José. Also melancholic, is that Cucurrucucu Paloma-inspired track “Dime Cuando.” I intended not to mention his father Alejandro Jodorowsky on this review, but it’s quite impossible when he appears in most of the album’s lyric credits as a co-author. But most of all, because Adanowsky includes a cover of “Dejame Llorar”, a song many of us movie lovers recognize as it’s one of the key pieces in Jorodowsky’s Santa Sangre, a 1989 movie in which Adan Jorodowsky had his debut as a young actor.
As you might know, we’re in love with Chilean label Cazador, and they’re releasing some truly great stuff every week at their site this month. Club Fonograma’s staff is very excited about the upcoming Protistas album, but we’re starting to get the feeling that the August 22 debut release by La Reina Morsa will be incredible too. Their sparkly song “Fiesta Pequeña” (from Fonogramaticos Vol.9) has become a favorite, and as we should’ve expected, it plays spectacularly well at hipster-friendly gatherings (yes, we tried it). Our favorite Spanish blog La Pagina de la Nadadora is in love with them too, they described it as “una especie de maravilla pop tropical.” Here is a little flat-out gorgeous teaser for their upcoming album Dónde están las jugueterías. Via Paniko.
This video and song might sound a bit too old to a section of our readers, it came out last December but we’re barely discovering, it’s one of our favorite tracks from the 2010 LAMC Sampler discs. Poncho is an electronic band from Argentina currently promoting their debut album Ponchototal. From listening to their first single “Kansas”, we can tell the band owes their references a bit too much on the creativity department, nonetheless, this tune featuring Banda de Turistas is one hell of a ride. The video is quite amazing too, it’s alarming and comforting. And they must be doing something right, the record also features collaborations with !!!’s Shannon Funchess and Luis Alberto Spinetta.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Buenos Aires-based DJ and producer, Un Mono Azul, got his start in the Mendoza “tropitech” (he calls it tropitech, I call it electropical) scene and since then has produced a lot of intriguing and expertly mixed and textured music employing a variety of genres that you might not expect to work well together. But Un Mono Azul makes them work, and you can hear for yourself in his recent compilation, Arca, which he describes as “14 of his remixes, edits, mash ups, and other accidents” and as “a way to rescue his little mutants from the end of this era, and from the hard disk of his laptop.”
This particular mash up is a slow grooving amalgam of sound that, despite having so much going on, manages to remain surprisingly quiet and minimalistic. It’s quite impressive, actually. Usually when I have a cocktail with too many ingredients, it makes me sick. But this cocktail goes down nice and easy. Watch out for Un Mono Azul’s Manimal EP to be out on Sub Klub Records soon. Download the ARCA compilation HERE.
Friday, August 13, 2010
This morning we woke up to Mad Decent’s most recent release, one we’ve been salivating for too long. We’ve been pumping Maluca’s China Food Mixtape all day long. She sounds crazy, evil and damn sexy. It’s not the official debut LP everyone is wishing for, but after a year and a half of nonstop attention solely for her hit “El Tigeraso”, we finally get to hear more. Mad Decent describes this as “a biographical trilogy (Past, Present and Future), if you will, of her musical influences and own music.” While we weren’t expecting this mixtape, we would have hoped for her to include that Gloria Trevi cover so many people talked about on her Mexico City shows. Pay close attention to “Jungle Violento”, “Loca” and of course, the title track. To be reviewed in depth soon. Download Mixtape HERE.