Friday, January 31, 2014

Juan Wauters – “Escucho Mucho”


Within the first few seconds of "Escucho Mucho," Uruguayan-born, Jackson Heights-based Juan Wauters' shambling rhythm guitar brings us back to the naive candor of childhood, that very candor that made his band, The Beets, so intriguing. With a unique awareness and a fair dose of self-irony Wauters shares his take on confusion, alienation and isolation. As the track progresses, a psychedelic flight on an electric guitar is layered over the jaunty melody, bringing Wauters’ existentialist-folk to a cosmic level. His true melodic sensitivity and irresistible charm will have you humming under your breath without realizing it. "Escucho Mucho" is the second single off of his debut solo album N.A.P. North American Poetry, out February 4th through Captured Tracks.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Romeo Santos ft. Drake - "Odio"



Stop whatever it is you’re doing and listen to this. It’s Drake rapping en español. With the hairless former Aventura frontman. THIS IS NOT OPTIONAL.

Now that you’re done conceptualizing this pairing, you can listen to the song, which is…a Romeo Santos song. Meaning it has a skittish bachata beat, faux-romantic lyrics, and a complete lack of bass in the vocals.* But Drake’s here! And he’s rapping in two languages! The short Spanish verse isn’t as bad as expected—he certainly adds the casual seduction lacking on most pop bachata hits. The English verse is basically a rehash of his flow on “The Language,” but all-in-all, good on Drake. As for Romeo Santos, please stop invading my radio, dude.

*As our own Pierre Lestruhaut perceptively asked, “Is Drake the first male ever to perform a bachata song while NOT sounding like a eunuch?”

Video: Russian Red - Casper



“Casper” is the first single off Russian Red’s upcoming album, Agent Cooper. This will be the third full-length record by Spanish pop singer-songwriter Lourdes Hernández, who was born and lives in Madrid and recently sang on Joe Crepusculo’s “Leyenda.” The video, directed by Diego Hurtado de Mendoza, was shot in Los Angeles (where the album was recorded) and tells the story of a girl dreaming about a boyfriend who never comes, a story of despair, resentment and sadness.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Búho - "Night Clinics"


As a lifelong San Antonian, I’ve come to expect that few of the city’s great artists will proudly proclaim themselves fellow natives. But the past few years have seen quite the explosion of music talent with strong civic pride, from the experimental DJ works of Ernest Gonzales and (city councilor) Diego Bernal to the slinky rap of Milli Mars to the hard rocking Girl in a Coma and Piñata Protest. And now we can add the three-piece experimental rockers Búho to the tally.

The group has worked long and hard to get recognized amongst larger outlets, and it seems that they’re poised to break out with their latest record. “Night Clinics” is available only as a 7” at the moment, but what it provides is a great insight into the band’s M.O.: fast-paced, chord-driven, melodic rock. Think of a less-screamy Cloud Nothings or At the Drive-In. Indeed, to compare them to fellow Tex-Mex rockers At the Drive-In would be right and wrong. They share the El Pasoans detail and scope, but cure everything with far more melody and nuance than you’d expect from any post-hardcore outfit. And, if there’s anything to learn from the Spurs, don’t keep anything from San Antonio off your radar.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Little Jesus - Norte

Norte, Little Jesus
Independiente, Mexico
Rating: 67
by Carlos Reyes

The hyperbole that preceded the releasing of Little Jesus’ debut album, Norte, was received with coldness and skepticism among our staff. Collected overhype kills your chances of becoming the-little-band-that-could, especially for a newcomer band like Little Jesus –a band tailored to sound so straightforwardly indie. For a while, it seemed like one blog after another were celebrating singles that simply left us unmoved. When putting the hype in perspective, one can find that those building the excitement are the same publications that don’t bother to review records or formulate any critical input into their novelty-based content.

While indifference was a very civil and appropriate stance to have on the band, the actual release of Norte presents us with an album that’s aesthetically pleasing, well constructed, and often clever. It’s by no means an album for best-of-the-year consideration, but it’s the kind of easy-listening experience that will adjust to just about any disposition on your end. But it’s perhaps that inability of emotional impact and aural assaultiveness that hurts Norte’s chances of becoming an essential piece to the Iberoamerican landscape. But where it lacks artistic sharpness, Little Jesus’ opera prima blooms in relevancy. They trigger the sounds of today and execute their ideas with privilege manufacture. The pristine production of the album (especially its first half) pushes the slightest pin drop to the foreground. If rhythm-shifting songs like “Cretino” and hit single “Berlin” sound so impeccably clean and ready for radio/commercials, it’s because they’ve succeeded at delivering an all-encompassing canvas.

Vampire Weekend and Real Estate are fitting comparisons to the outlining of Little Jesus as a band, but the execution of Norte stills draws them back to music making that merely provides a service to your day. Not everything lacks excitement/ambition. “Azul” and “Color” are proof the band can survey maximalist structures and enrich its assembly from them. Aesthetically, Norte is coherent at keeping itself very clean and simple. The artwork and one-word song-titles parameter make things truly round. And even if the lyrics throughout the album sound a little too Magneto-ish to grasp the intellect, they reinforce the simplistic aspirations. Norte is indeed simple, but perhaps a bit too distant in its conception. Plenty of time ahead for Little Jesus to articulate on its discourse. For those craving profound myriad melodies, please refer back to Los Gandharvas.

Friday, January 17, 2014

MP3: Los Waldners - "Ella Usaba Vestidos"


Producer, radio host, and guitarist Daniel Ortuño is one of the main voices behind the quiet but active music scene in Costa Rica. He hosts Findependiente, a radio show that exposes genres and music movements overlooked by other radio stations in the area. But Ortuño is best known for producing albums for local bands Las Robertas, Niño Koi, Zòpilot!, The Great Wilderness, and (alongside Vito Petruzzeli and Adrian Poveda) the Si San José (2011) compilation, an audio documentary of the Costa Rican indie scene.

As the San José-based producer has hopped from project to project and style to style over the last five years, he's maintained the air of an outsider. With his band Los Waldners, he channels his vagabond emotions into something universal and inviting. Of course, he couldn't accomplish this without the help of singer Luis Carballo, bassist Gustavo Quiros (Keep The Gap), and drummer Andrea San Gil (formerly of Lolita Piñata, and TGW). First single from their upcoming album due in February, "Ella Usaba Vestidos" delivers a jangly, fresh, and compact pop song with sturdy melodies and arrangements that emphasize the endearing edge of Carballo's' vocals. Download the track via Bandcamp.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Franny Glass - "Pasan Aviones"



One of the latest gifts from last year's holiday season was brought to us by Gonzalo Deniz and his musical output, Franny Glass. "Pasan Aviones" is the first cut off his next album, the successfully crowdfunded Planes, the follow up to his beautiful third album El podador primaveral (Contrapedal, 2011). Deniz's approach with this album was to record it with a clasic rock band formation, unlike his previous one, which was recorded almost entirely by himself and producer Xoel López. So he brought his usual live support band: Martín André, from Mersey; Matías González, from Vincent Vega; the talented singer-songwriter Diego Rebella; and Guillermo Berta, who made his return as the producer.

And the full band approach can be felt on "Pasan Aviones," a song with a simple structure, that barely surpasses the 2:30 minute mark, but it is so varied in itself that it feels like it lasts a longer. Each verse has a different vibe: the first verse is folky and delicate; the second one is rockier, with a slight Latin feel; and the third one sounds like the 60s pop of the Beach Boys kind. On top of the interesting chord progression there are the very visual and contemplative lyrics, and on the chorus he sings a phrase rather perfect to start the new year: "El año ya terminó, el futuro llegó."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Video: Betunizer - "Pantera Pura"



Valencian trio Betunizer presented the clip for "Pantera Pura" late in December. It's the promotional cut extracted from their third album Gran Veta (BCore, 2013). A certain stench of machoism overflies the whole story shown in the video: a fight between three drunk men (featuring members of Za!) in a bar. The clip, like the album itself, is openly testosteronic, which is not necessarily a negative comment. Gran Veta is a raw punk hardcore album that owes a lot of his special features to José Guerrero’s voice, who also plays and sings in Cuello and, even if published by the end of the year, made it to several spanish best-of lists.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Video: Carmen Sandiego - "Ocupaciones y Oficios"



Arriving as if completely in tune with how burnt out and over list-season we are, the new clip from Carmen Sandiego (along with their just-released LP Ciudad Dormitorio) is pretty much better than anything those Reyes Magos brought us. First single "Ocupaciones y Oficios" is warm and endearingly cynical, a song that recalls Fonogramáticos-era classics (Vol. 11 in particular). For its visual treatment, the lyrics desaturate against an amusement park in Montevideo where director Bernardo Quesney must have set out to remake Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha. Presented as a "making of" of sorts, the video collects moments taken towards perfecting a scene, ("shooting a film is like a stagecoach ride in the old West.. by the halfway point, you just hope to survive.") Yet what's strange is for all its candid and imperfect bits, the clip still manages to execute a polished and memorable look that with any other song, any other director, any other band just wouldn't have worked.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Fonocast #16: New Kids on the Block


Fonocast #16: New Kids on the Block
by Blanca Mendez, Monika Fabian, Glòria Guirao Soro, and Jeziel Jovel
  • Kana Kapila - "Sangre Joven"
  • vàlius - "Kim"
  • Interpretators - "Why Here and Not Somewhere Else"
  • Irene Diaz - "I Love You Madly"
  • Meridian Brothers - "Desesperanza"
  • Los Chinchillos del Caribe - "No me pueden parar"
  • Princess Nokia - "Versace Hottie"
  • Kat Dahlia - "Clocks"
  • Ibi Ego - "Hookie"
  • Trillones - "Vacío"


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Album Reviews 2014

★★★ Los Rakas - El Negrito Dun Dun & Ricardo
PANAMA. UNIVERSAL MUSIC LATINO. BY PIERRE LESTRUHAUT
★★★1/2 Kap G - Like a Mexican
USA. INDEPENDIENTE. BY PIERRE LESTRUHAUT
★★★ Juan Wauters - N.A.P. North American Poetry
USA. CAPTURED TRACKS. BY SOUAD MARTIN-SAOUDI
★★★ Trash No Star - Stay Creepy (no) Summer Hits
BRAZIL. TRANSFUSAO NOISE RECRODS. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★1/2 Santos - Mi Technobanda
MEXICO. TROPIC-ALL. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★ Hawaiian Gremlins - Girls EP
MEXICO. SICARIO. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★ Univers - L'Estat Natural
SPAIN. FAMELIC. BY CARLOS REYES
★★1/2 Adanowsky - Ada
CHILE/FRANCE/MEXICO. EVERLOVING INC. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★ Silva - Vista Pro Mar
BRAZIL. SOM LIVRE. BY SAM RODGERS
★★★1/2 Las Chaquetas Amarillas - Diez Primeras Canciones
CHILE. INDEPENDIENTE. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★1/2 Los Waldners - Eclipse Total Del Corazón
COSTA RICA. INDEPENDIENTE. BY PABLO ACUNA
★★★ Shakira - Shakira
COLOMBIA. RCA. BY ANDREW CASILLAS
★★★1/2 Kana Kapila - Tambor, Canción y Danza
SPAIN. COFRADIA DE LA PIRUETA, SONIDO MUCHACHO, DISCOS WALDEN. BY GLORIA GUIRAO SORO
★★★1/2 Fuck Her, Or The Terrorists Win - What Is Hurt?
MEXICO. DELHOTEL RECORDS. BY SAM RODGERS
★★★1/2 El Mañana - Muertos
MEXICO. FANCLUB RECORDS. BY MARTY PRECIADO
★★★ Carmen Sandiego - Ciudad Dormitorio
URUGUAY. INDEPENDIENTE. BY MONIKA FABIAN
1/2 Calle 13 - Multi_Viral
PUERTO RICO. EL ABISMO. BY PIERRE LESTRUHAUT
★★★ Nva Orleans - Las Caras de la Muerte
CHILE. INDEPENDIENTE. BY PIERRE LESTRUHAUT
★★★ Los Mundos - Retroterapia
MEXICO. SOUR POP/CASETE. BY ENRIQUE COYOTZI
★★★ AJ Dávila - Terror/Amor
PUERTO RICO. NACIONAL RECORDS. BY CARLOS REYES
★★★1/2 Juventud Juché - Quemadero
SPAIN. GRAMACIONES GRABOFÓNICAS/SONIDO MUCHACHO. BY GLÒRIA GUIRAO SORO
★★★ Little Jesus - Norte
MEXICO. INDEPENDIENTE. BY CARLOS REYES