Shakira - Sale El Sol

Sale El Sol, Shakira
Sony Music, Colombia
Rating: 57
By Carlos Reyes

Milquetoast. That’s the official word Club Fonograma’s staff is using to describe Shakira’s latest album Sale El Sol, the seventh album in her triumphant career. There’s a shared anxiety among music journalists to legitimize true divas, we do our own share with Shakira. The Colombian global star has created a career of unexpected turns (musically), always keeping an ambitious eye to get into the new trend, and adding her peculiar persona to anything she gets her hands on. Shakira is like the one hot girl in your class generation, who is also very nerdy (that justifies that cool The xx’s “Islands” cover). Ok, not Zooey Deschanel hot nerdy, but tidy enough to make good music through/by her sensuality. We also know her career is inconsistent, mostly on her atrocious English-language albums. Sale El Sol breaks the rule; it’s her first bad Spanish language album, aside from a few numbers, it’s inefficient, milquetoast, almost colorless.

When Shakira delivered the amazing Fijacion Oral Vol.1 she argued she was ‘trapped’ on a line between Bocanada (Gustavo Cerati) and Velvetina (Miguel Bose), she clearly found her escape with “Loba”, perhaps her finest single yet. While following the disco strings would’ve been the obvious choice, Shakira announced she was going back to her roots, a place not even Shakira is sure about. When her fantastic single “Loca” was unveiled, everyone assumed she was coming back to her ‘Latin’ roots; unfortunately, she comes back to an era of uncooked melodies, like in Pies Descalzos, except it’s not very charming this time around. The title track opens the album with a very sober Shakira picking up on her career-motif of love making people blind and stupid; somehow, she always finds a way to make it work. In “Sale El Sol”, every ounce of content is set loose to a level of self-reflective leisure.

Like most of her first singles, “Loca” is completely misleading to what’s really in store, but before getting into the depressing part, let’s highlight how amazing “Loca” is. This is the kind of mainstream hit any pop lover secretly hopes for, a song fully unattached of the pop sound (as a genre), and picking up an out-of-nowhere sound like Merengue to extend pop music even more. Rarely has Shakira sounded this good, rarely any of her peers get this sexy in and out, dragged & sweaty. Only Shakira is able to envision herself and her men as 4-leg animals over and over again, always keeping it sexy & cute. Too bad most of the rest of the album manifests so very little; the lyrics are all restrained, and the music is uninspired, only nearby to fill its purpose.

People have been salivating for a Shakira-Calle 13 collaboration, and “Gordita” finally does it. The song is not bad at all, just a bit underwhelming considering how epic it could’ve been. After dissecting in many parts, we know what’s missing, Visitante’s magic touch in the music. Talking about Residente, he shares album credits with Cuban-American rapper Pitbull (in “Rabiosa”), who he has dissed via Twitter several times. Gustavo Cerati (get well soon) co-wrote and produced “Tu Boca” and “Devocion”, two pieces in which Shakira accomplishes to sound like the rocker she’s always strike to become, despite that, they’re hardly memorable beyond its electrified riffs. Sale El Sol could be divided in two; one half with the fun dance jams, the other, with poor-to-middling tracks as little stimulating as "Waka Waka" and 97% of her English songs.

Ábrete el estómago y sácate la tripas. 12 Songs for Halloween

We highly recommend that Amylulita “Amor y Sangre” mix, but if you’re in the mood for even more Halloween treats, here are 12 awesome tunes straight from our library. Actually, since it’s the end of the month, we’ve ran out of bandwidth, so most of these songs come from the very courteous free-download button at LastFM, so yeah, this mixtape is so indie it hurts. The reason why Club Fonograma is not big on holiday themes is because we have trouble with the whole literal junk involved; as you’ll see from this set of songs, we like to blur the lines between one celebration and the next. Halloween is the most romantic day of the year after all, enjoy.

Amylulita's Halloween "Amor y Sangre" DJ Mix

Club Fonograma is not big on holiday themes, but Halloween is just too inspiring to overlook. It’s the one celebration that just never gets old; it transitions. If you’re in your 20s and up, chances are you’ll find yourself at a party, and you know the costumes & snacks aren’t enough, it’s the music what shapes up the night. If you still need some tunes for Halloween, this hot new mix from Nacotheque’s Amylulita might help. The gorgeous DJ knows how to embed different styles and generations into a sensational playlist. Amylulita’s Halloween “Amor y Sangre” mix is cohesive, obtrusive when it needs to be, scary at times, rare, and traditional. It’s a phenomenal centerpiece for your party.

1. Intro
2. Everyday is Halloween - Ministry
3. Sangre - Paralisis Permanente
4. What's Inside a Girl - The Cramps
5. Cine De Terror - Los Cretinos
6. Pet Sematary - The Ramones
7. Swing Lobo in Puerto Rico - Mataplantas
8. Ghostbusters (Dance Mix) - Thoko
9. Los Muertos Pueden Bailar - Easy Snap
10. Weird Science (dance mix) - Oingo Boingo
11. Good night, Herr Doktor (sound clip)
12. Fantasmas - Ole Ole
13. Thriller - Michael Jackson
14. Soy Dracula - McNamara
15. Halloween - Siouxsie & The Banshees
16. A Nightmare on Elm Street (sound clip)

Dave Rata - Hallucigenia Vol. I

Hallucigenia Vol. I, Dave Rata
Nene Records, México
Rating: 79
By Blanca Méndez

Unless you’re into the whole masochism thing (do what you do), you probably won’t want to listen to Dave Rata’s Hallucigenia Vol. I alone and/or in the dark. The album is a jolting ride through a reimagined 20th century New England, deceptively quiet and quaint, which is how the album starts. But don’t be fooled because Hallucigenia Vol. I is New England via the streets of Monterrey and punk rock at its finest. David Serrano, better known in Monterrey’s punk rock scene as Dave Rata, has been a major player in that scene since his days in Taladro Supremo. He also played in Mockinpott before forming Ratas del Vaticano, and now his solo project has resulted in an 11-track horror punk saga inspired by and in tribute to H.P. Lovecraft and interpreted through the lens of Mexico’s own modern day horror story.

Before the vocals kick in on the album opener “Por dentro,” you might think you’re in for some light pop punk fun, but as soon as Dave belts out that first line (“Puedo correr si quiero,” in case you couldn’t make it out), you know you have to brace yourself. Equally hair-raising is “Puesta de sol,” a frantic and chaotic minute and a half of crashing cymbals and brash vocals, with a very weird fiction guitar melody that H.P. Lovecraft would approve of. And you can definitely sense the prolific writer’s influence throughout the album. Lovecraft’s writing has been described as “cosmic horror,” a term that fits Hallucigenia Vol. I perfectly, especially on tracks like “Penumbra,” a song that alludes to Yuggoth, a planet in the fictional universe created by Lovecraft (the Cthulhu Mythos), and “Sombra.” Both deal with the idea of darkness in masterful ways, employing echoes and distortion in a subtle, yet profound manner that at once evokes the cold of a dungeon and the vast loneliness of space.

For “No es nada,” Dave takes a break from the scream fest and delivers a song that sounds sweet in comparison to the rest of the album, even though it’s a break-up song (or something like it) with Dave declaring “no quiero volverte a ver ya.” But the standout tracks of the album are the most traditionally punk rock ones: “Ebrio en el Mexicano” and “Al chile soy punk.” The latter in particular is anthemic in its decrying of a city that breeds sameness and vanity, evident in lines like “los punks uniformados para mi piensan igual que todos los que se arrastran.”

H.P. Lovecraft wrote dark and cynical tales, like “The Call of Cthulhu,” set in foreign lands and complete with mythical creatures and fear of the unknown and unknowable. Ultimately, however, no matter how fantastic the tale, the true terror was stark reality. Dave takes these themes and translates them into modern language, creating his own horror poetry inspired by the real life horrors that he lives in the midst of. And “la puta violencia” that is a terrifying reality in Mexico today is far more frightening than anything Lovecraft could have dreamed up. You’re going to want to leave the light on for this one, kids.

Video: Esteman - "El Distractor"

We told you he was no one-hit-wonder, Colombia’s new pop heartthrob is a gentlemen making the most glamorous (if theatrical) pop in Latin America. Esteban Meneses, better known as Esteman has new great single to follow “No Te Metas En Mi Facebook” and “La Cosita Tropical”, his latest song “El Distractor” is already a hit in Colombia and is quickly making its way to the rest of the continent. The catchy tune has an equally glossy video directed by Salomon Simhon and Esteman himself; it’s bright and smoky, like Rob Marshall meeting Punch Drunk Love at a Sunday parade. Esteman’s spaghetti legs are to die for, and he knows how to ‘square’ his voice on parallel to his body, like all those great men he mentions on the song. The song has a pretty good English version titled “The Actor.” It’s always weird to use these words, but he was born to do this. There's no official word on the release of his debut album, but it could arrive this very same year.

Featured: Happy Corners - "Diamante"

Featured: Happy Corners - "Diamante"
Unsigned, Venezuela

Happy Corners is Maria and Victor, a Venezuelan duo making minimalist music that’s wispy and dreamy and sometimes dark, and all via Gchat. The band formed when Maria, who is currently living in Buenos Aires, met Victor during a visit to Venezuela. Since then, the two have been writing songs by sending each other beats through Gchat. The band lists Sister Crayon, Zola Jesus, and Tamaryn as influences and has recently recorded a cover of Ariel Pink’s “Fright Night (Nevermore)” that you can download over at Pinglewood.

Their first single, the sparse “Diamante,” is a mystical experience, with the haunting vocals almost like an entrancing chant and the visceral percussion weaving in and out of the foreground. In fact, it’s really the percussion that is the most interesting and substantial part of the song, going from a quiet background to a light complement to the vocals to an aggressive focal point seamlessly and beautifully. The band is currently working on their first EP, which they expect to release in the spring.

Carla Morrison - Mientras tú dormías

Mientras tú dormías, Carla Morrison
Cosmica Records, México
Rating: 90 ★★★★1/2
by Juan Manuel Torreblanca

Have you ever closed your eyes and, instead of pure darkness, found luminous clouds of color? Or unexpected geometric shapes? Has it ever happened to you that a scent in the air takes you back to how someone’s skin used to feel, or how the sun felt on yours that distant summer you first fell in love? Or… is there some secret comfort treat (say, perhaps, chocolate milk) that you always give yourself when you really need to remember how it felt to be safe and loved (like you were when you were your mother’s child)? And so now, that’s all you need, a bit of chocolate milk, to feel better. This strange quality I’m trying to describe here could be understood partly through the phenomenon of synesthesia. But what I’m aiming at, it’s bigger, more mysterious and deeper than that. It goes beyond the five senses and straight to the heart and soul. And somehow Carla Morrison’s music gets it. And gets to me that way.

There’s something perfect about this record. Something terribly familiar without this meaning it’s neither fresh nor original. ‘Cause it is, and boy, how, how powerfully fresh it is! It’s just that (I think) the world is about to listen/see/feel the birth of a new classic. And classics always feel like home. Carla’s voice is spectacular, heavenly, clean, sweet, lovely and electric. But maybe we knew that already. And her knack for crafting round, clever, unpretentious and unabashedly emotional and sincere songs doesn’t come as a surprise either. Yet here it’s just more mature, more acute, more polished… and deeper.

I’m reaching the point where I have to talk about one of the main catalysts for this growth and brilliance. And this would be Natalia Lafourcade’s involvement in the production of this album. Natalia discovered Carla not long ago, through MySpace and various recommendations, and soon feel in love with her talent and her voice. She even invited her to be the opening act for the official presentation of HU HU HU (which has now been released as a CD & DVD too) and also invited Carla to sing with her onstage then, and a couple of other times later. So it happened naturally that Natalia decided she wanted her first real attempt at producing someone else’s music to be this, working with sweet Carla. Carla was thrilled with the idea and they got at it right away. Carla traveled down from Tecate to Mexico City to lock herself twice at Natalia’s home studio where they recorded almost everything assisted by Neto García’s intuitive engineering and opinion (he also mixed it afterwards). Concerning this Carla has told me that the experience was especially delightful because Natalia was a very respectful producer and always told her “this is your record and you decide what goes and what doesn’t”, Morrison also told me this: “Natalia is a genius and I believe that we made a good team together, but she definitely gave so much, so much!”

One can definitely hear Natalia’s touch here, in the huge atmospheres, the desert percussion, the velvety wide spaces, and some of the echoing answers that woodwind instruments and trumpets give to Carla’s melodies. And they both share their love for the nostalgic 50s & 60s doo wop style arrangements. However I want to say it out loud: those who say Carla sounds like Natalia are seriously shortsighted. The difference is as clear to me as sunlight. And this collaboration only made it clearer to me. The first time I heard this recording I couldn’t help it, I had to close my eyes. And it happened: I saw both of them. It was almost like watching the aurora borealis, like watching the northern lights dancing. And they both had their own colors and shapes. I might be crazy, but it does happen to me. When music is truly magical, it makes me see things. "Pajarito del amor" is the perfect example; it’s the duet that just had to happen in this record. The simple acoustic guitar draws the ground for them to dance over perfectly, Carla’s voice appears and it’s like a caress to your hurting heart, and then Natalia’s voice steps in and you feel the space within you grow. Then Carla sings the chorus and Natalia hums around her voice, and it’s like watching twin water fountains dancing, like an embroidery of fireworks, but all subtle and intimate. So moving. It brings tears to my eyes.

I believe that Natalia’s presence in this recording only makes Carla shine brighter and show herself, her spirit in a way that’s purer and more beautiful than ever. That’s all it does. And this speaks tons to me about both artists. I understand better than ever the talent and reach of Carla. And I respect more than ever Natalia’s humble genius. Carla sees Mientras Tú Dormías as an EP but I see it as a short and complete album. Every song has a role to play. "Compartir," the first single, opens the album exposing Carla’s new sound in its entire splendor. It also exposes her passionate poetic contradictions that somehow click with our hearts and with the truth of being in love so well it’s scary.

Como es is surprising in its oxymoronic nature of being a cool f-you song. A song of love-gone-bad that depicts Carla as her (very Mexican) character of the despechada chanteuse. Jealousy and the treason of the ungrateful lover eventually empowers her as it allows her to understand that all the love she has to give is worth more than that. It opens her eyes: “tu acción fue mi bendición, ahora sí están abiertos mis ojos”. And I have to add that I have experienced Carla singing this one live a couple of times and it’s one of those that the crowd just loves to sing OUT LOUD! But, then again, I think that almost all of her songs make her fans go crazy that way! The trumpets near the end give it this drowsy mariachi air that ‘s just lovely.

"Suciedad" is a brokenhearted dark and moody dance of disappointment and frustration with all the dirt that at any given point we can find in ourselves, without the words or power to say them. The contrast of a shattered soul sung with such gorgeousness is one of Carla’s extraordinary strengths. The playful percussion echoes the sense of humour hidden in the lyrics: “me busco una solución, tequila o whisky, algo que me haga aunque sea balbucear”, you’ve got to love her. "Yo Sigo Aquí" is the powerhouse of the album. The first keyboard notes are recognizable Carla Morrison style, in their charming simplicity; but the drums that immediately rush in are unexpected, exciting, sexy and awesome! This could have been the second "Bestia" that many Hello Seahorse fans were expecting for their comeback but this is all Carla in her sweet heart-on-her-sleeve greatness, with a new epic reach that’s very, very welcome!

"Este momento" gives me a church choir feeling, I can almost picture Carla singing it with her guitar to a classroom full of kids, and it’s got this troubadour vibe that makes it perhaps the folksiest of the pack. Yet the wordplay exposes Carla’s deep philosophical and spiritual reflections (in her down-to-earth style) “abrazar al momento con los brazos abiertos, ahí es cuando estás realmente viviendo”. "Tu luz" walzes in as another meditation from a naked heart, but this time the vulnerability is so spiritual and poignant it brings shivers down my spine. The deep, deep bass plays so well against Carla’s voice, and when the piano solo comes in… I don’t know, faith comes back to me again! I believe that (despite the fall of the recording industry) we are truly and really being lifted to a new era of latin music. There’s hope.

"Una salida" bounces entirely on this Doo wop groove, but in such a minimalist arrangement that (honestly) when I first heard it I couldn’t stop myself from laughing! But don’t get me wrong, it is just so full of joy. I know that the lyrics are not happy. But there’s so much joy in the beauty and the melancholy of her craft that my ears and my body felt a shower of happiness upon listening to these songs, and… I just laughed, being tremendously moved. And "Pajarito del Amor" (the last song) I already talked about, but looking at it closer. We will always need songs that help us say “I’m sorry”, that help us say “I still love you”, and ultimately that help us bawl our eyes out when our hearts are full of rain. And this one bids us farewell (for now) just like that. It leaves us wanting more… and it leaves me certain that Carla Morrison has a long and fruitful career ahead of her. She is one of a kind. A true, blessed, star. We’re lucky to have her voice and songs.

And, if you will, let me just say one more thing, something really obvious, to help myself finish this: I had never heard these songs before the first time I did, and it was not long ago. And despite that, they made my heart feel so warm and full and joyous… just like that glass of chocolate milk my mom used to make for me when I was sad.

Fonogramáticos Vol.10. "Nosotros Los Rockers"

Fonogramáticos Vol.10
"Nosotros Los Rockers"
A compilation by Club Fonograma

(right click > save as)
Genre: Festivo
Album cover by Alexis Zambrano

  1. Silva de Alegría. “Lento” (Café Tacuba Cover)
  2. Ceci Bastida y Julieta Venegas. “La Sofi” (Rita Indiana Cover)
  3. Algodón Egipcio. “Nosotros Los Rockers” (Piyama Party Cover)
  4. Joe Crepúsculo. “Hasta La Verdad” (Javiera Mena Cover)
  5. Piyama Party. “No quiero ejercicios de respiración, quiero pastillas.” (Pipe Llorens Cover)
  6. Alex Ferreira. “Bombay” (El Guincho Cover)
  7. Gepe y Pedro Piedra. “Maestro Distorsión” (Astro Cover)
  8. Emilio José. “Merequeteke” (Capullo Cover)
  9. Andrea Balency. “Pez” (Lisandro Aristimuño Cover)
  10. Torreblanca feat. Turra Medina & Sonidolandon.“Por La Ventana” (Gepe Cover)
  11. El Medio. “Tus Amigos” (Los Punsetes Cover)
  12. Triángulo de Amor Bizarro. “Lento” (Julieta Venegas Cover)
  13. Balún. “Fiesta Permanente” (Pau y Sus Amigos Cover)
  14. Astro. “Pacifico-Atlántico” (Los Espíritus Cover)
  15. Carla Morrison. “Estas Que Te Pelas” (Intocable Cover)
  16. Sr. Amable. “Pussygrama” (Mr. Racoon Cover)
  17. Lido Pimienta. “Platanitos” (Rita Indiana Cover)
  18. Orlando feat. Mariel & Sonidolandon. “Abrázame” (Los Rakas Cover)
  19. Ulises Hadjis y Alex Ferreira. “Como Es” (Carla Morrison Cover)
  20. María y José. “Guerrero” (Rebolledo Cover)
  21. Dënver. “9.6” (La Bien Querida Cover)
  22. Pipe Llorens. “Nosotros Los Rockers” (Piyama Party Cover)
  23. Jessy Bulbo. “Métele Sazón” (Tego Calderón Cover)

Bootleg Promo: Dënver - "9.6" (La Bien Querida Cover) / Fonogramáticos Vol.10

This is the last song you’ll hear from Fonogramáticos Vol.10, until it gets released, hopefully in the next 24 hours. Dënver has been one of the big surprises of 2010 and they definitely keep their tremendous year with this wonderful cover of La Bien Querida’s “9.6.” Honestly, we have no idea how you’re going to react with this all-covers compilation, this is not a disclaimer, we’re just letting you know that most covers are, um, weird. We’re also nervous because this is the first volume where we serve mostly as a ‘middle eye.’ The previous nine volumes of Fonogramaticos have been meticulously crafted, every release drawn from a selection of hundreds of songs, this was entirely different. We supervised every cover, but left the final ideas and creation to the artists. Having said that, we can’t wait for you to hear it, thanks to every band who took the time and effort to contribute in our celebration. The footage for “9.6” comes from Gerardo Naranjo’s Voy a Explotar.

Bootleg Promo: Silva de Alegría - "Lento" (Café Tacvba Cover) / Fonogramáticos Vol.10

Furland has kept momentum all year long promoting Historia de la Luz, one of our favorite records from 2009. By now, we all recognize the gifted voice of singer Sergio Silva, who’s currently working on his solo side project, Silva de Alegría. While we had a list of songs we would like for bands to cover, we were pretty open to consider anything else, including material released way before any of our compilations. No band has influenced our generation as much as Café Tacvba; the rock pioneers have set the example, here is a wonderful cover to honor our idols. Silva decided to take one of the most beautiful tracks from Reves/YoSoy, keeping it very faithful but delivering one of the compilation’s best tracks. We won’t lie to you, we are nervous about what some of the original minds might think of the covers, but everyone has reacted with positive feedback, including Joselo, the voice and mind behind all the “Lento” beauty. Video footage comes from Alejandro Valle’s VHS-fantasy film Historias del Desencanto.

El Sueño de la Casa Propia - Historial de Caídas

Historial de Caídas, El Sueño de la Casa Propia
Pueblo Nuevo, Chile
Rating: 83
by Andrew Casillas

There’s nothing really original about Historial de Caidas. Actually, now that I think about it, there’s nothing really original about El Sueño de la Casa Propia, either. I mean, glitchy, sample-fueled electronica has been making its way around clubs for the past 20-25 years or so. Much of this kind of stuff could rightfully be accused of being easy, lazy, boring, or confused (I’m looking at you, Greg Gillis). However, there are certainly exceptions that float up from time-to-time: You've Come A Long Way, Baby , Since I Left You, and Thunder, Lightning, Strike are perhaps the quickest that come to mind—and for good reason. Each of those records is a complex, dedicated, and gutsy album, yet also built-up a sincere and engaging narrative that kept their unapologetic thievery (in the legal sense) from seeming wrong and empty.

Historial de Caídas doesn’t quite reach the heights of those mentioned above, but it certainly makes a valiant and satisfactory effort. Jose Manuel Cerda Castro, the man behind the El Sueño de la Casa Propia, seems to have a decent understanding of pre-digital electronic music. His sample manipulation is rudimentary, but not elementary; almost like early-90’s IDM. When the record starts to perk up the glitches and pops, Castro doesn’t override or counteract his beat, he makes sure it stays central to the auxiliary sounds. Let’s use the most-notorious track on the album, the (obviously) Michael Jackson-sampling “A la Velocidad del Amor,” as an example: about halfway through, the MJ “whoo”’s and looped guitar picking eventually clash into each other in a frantic, almost exaggerated fashion. With a lesser mixer, these pieces would come off as bold as a 30 Rock smash cut, which works completely fine in a top-quality American sitcom, but not with this sort of music. But Castro gives the entire track an atmosphere where the transitions and manipulations become natural and logical—an impressive trick, indeed.

From this point on, it’d be futile and a bit time-wasting to single out any other highlights, which, in a way, also highlights how solid this record really is. So what I’m going to do is just encourage you to listen to this, however you’d like. If you’re a record-hoarder, you’ll definitely have a great time playing “spot the sample” (psst, the most interesting is the Bowie one, the best utilized is the Flaming Lips mouth-beat); if you’re a fan of this sort of sampledelica, you’ll find this to be the giddiest record that the Go! Team ever made (and without the shitty mixing!); if you like pop music that makes you dance, well, you’ll certainly dance.

And honestly, that’s the true appeal here. This is a record that’s deep, complicated, and full of warmth and optimism. But it also sounds like a banger playing on your speakers. Something for your head and your tippy toes. It’s an almost-great record in a genre that rarely makes almost-great records. And if you hear this and disagree, well then you’ll always have your Girl Talk and the Big Bang Theory. The rest of us will be here nodding and watching Community.

Bootleg Promo: Andrea Balency - "Pez" (Lisandro Aristimuño Cover) / FONOGRAMÁTICOS VOL.10

The “open invitation” we did for Fonogramaticos Vol.10 turned out to be not so open at all. We assumed not a lot of our favorite bands would take the time to participate, but the response was heart-warming. In every compilation we put out, about half of them are brand new faces, but not this time. So far, we’ve selected two “new” artists for this compilation, both have been part of Fonogramaticos before but as part of their bands, this time, they arrive with their solo projects. One of them, is the beautiful Andrea Balency, from Torreblanca. She seemed a bit shy when she sent us this track, but we didn’t hesitate to approve her entry, it’s gorgeous. She covers Argentinean folk astro Lisandro Aristimuño in a beautiful arsenal version of “Pez.” The way she orchestrates her voice with a wheel of pounding instruments is simply stunning. The song comes with footage from Claudia Llosa’s socio-religious masterpiece Madeiunsa.

Stream: Ceci Bastida y Julieta Venegas - "La Sofi" (Rita Indiana Cover) / Fonogramáticos Vol.10

Rita Indiana’s “La Sofi” is a truly special song to both, Rita Indiana’s career and Club Fonograma. Although her fame arrived with “La Hora de Volve,” this is the track that made us fall in love with her. As we mentioned on our review of El Juidero, “it was the start of her colloquialism, the start of the Rita Indiana narrative.” The Dominican star recorded the track a long time ago (in 2005 to be exact); it was somewhat of an experiment, a rough draft of what was to come. This song came before Miti Miti and was embedded into her Casifull project, an electronic-inclined act that was never consolidated. Years passed by, and we came across this deliriously funky song; it had the aesthetics of third-world punk, the charm of Caribbean lo-fi, and an unprecedented voice getting ready for her own revolution. “La Sofi” is our daily struggle to find freedom, a complex study of social behavior, a dance jam, it’s a lot of things.

Virtually unknown, we included “La Sofi” on Fonogramaticos Vol.3, and later declared her as CF’s “Queen of Downloads” after her song surpassed the 250,000 downloads, to this day, the most downloaded track in our site’s history. Overwhelmed by the response, Rita decided to take the necessary steps into the formation of her next project, Rita Indiana y Los Misterios. Between the start of her new project and the release of her album, she sent us five amazing tracks for our compilations, the rest is history.

When we invited Julieta Venegas to participate on the compilation, she said it sounded like a very fun thing to do. In her MySpace, she had included “La Sofi” as one of her favorite songs from 2009, so we didn’t hesitate to ask her if she wanted to do a version for it, she was thrilled about it. Not only did the new mom found the time to do it, she also surprised us with the news that she was teaming up with Ceci Bastida, her sister of many adventures (their “Pobre de Ti” performance is still this year’s peak moment at Vive Latino). By now, we all know the chemistry behind this pair of gorgeous Tijuanenses, but this is their first official collaboration. In fact, the ladies tell us that when they were in High School they tried to make a project together, but only lasted for a month, so this is super romantic.

“La Sofi”, as covered by Ceci Bastida & Julieta Venegas, is one of the peak moments in our new compilation. It’s everything we wanted in a cover, and more. They recorded the song themselves, Ceci in Los Angeles and Julieta in Mexico, the outcome is stunning, a joyful and off-the-hook version that’s got Rita Indiana herself overwhelmed. “Tengo un disco e' Rita Indiana.” This cover will be available for free download next week, as part of Fonogramaticos Vol.10.

Una Forma de Hablar, Maria Rodés

Una Forma de Hablar, Maria Rodés
BCore, Spain
Rating: 82 ★★★★
by Juan Manuel Torreblanca

A lo mejor soy yo. Maybe it’s just me, but I do feel that women have –perhaps little by little, but unquestionably– taken over the world… of music. I might be wrong, but I think it’s clearly been going on for the last 3 or 4 decades. At some point it was more of a struggle (for the Janis, the Joni Mitchell and even the Tori Amos… and we don’t wanna get into the intimate hardships of an Edith Piaf a Billie Holiday or a Nina Simone) yet now, we would seem to be full bloom into the age of woman, of ease, grace, sweetness, intelligence, mystery and of that subtle and fierce strength… the tenderness and all of the magic that the feminine creativity brings to the music universe. I could list my favorites amongst these new girl-led projects, but the list would be too long and I would deviate further and further from my initial goal for this text. Thus, I must focus on one: Maria Rodés and her 2010 album, her first under her own name, Una Forma de Hablar.

So, what does the record sound like? At first there’s the hiss, the ffffff, the breathing of electricity, the loopy repetitive nature of the pumping heart of the machine that has become as important an instrument as the guitar or the piano… the machine that has made it possible to pull these days’ muses’ gifts down to earth even if you don’t yet have the budget or the recording studio available to do it as was needed in the olden days. But this hiss is here by choice (not anymore due to a lack of means or quality), the record gets cleaner and a bit glossier as it pulls us deeper into it, it’s electronic atmospheres and cutting edges play peacefully next to her guitar and amazing vocal pads. Hers is an enviable instrument I must say. The excellent production is partly Ricky Falkner’s fault (he’s also produced Love of Lesbian, Sidonie, and his own band: Standstill) as well as Maria’s.

Rodés’ songs have the immediacy of modern folk, not as extreme as the irreverence of anti folk, but decidedly fun, honest, organic, definitely fresh, definitely strong and particularly mesmerizing. Think Sufjan Stevens and then try to think Juana Molina at the same time. Maria brings truly memorable melodies to the table, sorta like (instant) classic, timeless melodies; gorgeous yet simple and (as it’s been said before when referring to her) naïve tunes that work perfectly as canvases for her truly felt, sincere lyrics, which mainly deal with the matters of relationships, people, thoughts. Everyday things any young girl could relate to. Birds chirp, more hiss, wind, wind instruments.

There’s a bit of Spanish indie pop in Maria’s work for sure, but there’s a bit more than that too. There’s a bit of chanson française in those charming songs. Reminiscent at times of the work of France’s First Lady, Carla Bruni (the whispering voice, the mature, sultry, witty and terribly feminine songs), hell there’s even a hint of Brigitte Bardot in "Rima con Canción’s" strip-tease-worthy beat. I’ve learned now that there’s a reason to Maria’s French side. She found her musical calling in Paris, after fleeing a career in Audiovisual Communication in Barcelona.

Rain. Thunder. Toy instruments. Water pouring. The crackle of a vinyl record going round, before you know it, you’re transported. You feel somewhere else, you’re in Europe, you’re looking out a balcony of a fourth story, you’re looking at the rooftops of Paris, there’s cooking in the kitchen, you’re in love, you see doves fly across the sky, (it’s almost like a perfume commercial) clouds look like cotton candy, angel choirs harmonize to your humming… and then you pay closer attention and the lyrics aren’t all that loving, you get the words and… what? Is she telling you that you’ve got her so tired she’s even bored of herself? Darara darara dararararara ra ra… Irony doesn’t sound this delicious often. Nor angels this naughty.

So, what else does the record sound like? Well, it reminded me of Laura Barrett and her kalimbas with Desastra. It flaunts a Kings of Convenience reminiscent elegance in "La Nana del Agua." It builds some pretty cinematographic spaces, but always makes enough room for Maria’s voice to shine through with ease. This is an album that breezes by, never feeling long, its 11 tracks are thoroughly a pleasure to listen to and each is a little jewel, full of detail, full of joy, more accurately: melancholy and joy. Approaching the end of her record, Maria sings “Mis canciones son fugaces” and well, you could say that, but fortunately we can go back to them as often as we want. Or bring them into our living room to turn it into a Parisian flat for a while.

Bootleg Promo: Algodón Egipcio - "Nosotros Los Rockers" (Piyama Party Cover) / Fonogramaticos Vol.10

If everything goes right, we’ll be releasing Fonogramaticos Vol.10 on Monday October 25th. We still got some last minute contributions and a bunch of work to be done; we don’t even have the artwork yet. Let’s build momentum, this time, we unveil the title track of the compilation, Piyama Party’s “Nosotros Los Rockers” in a sublime, almost horrifyingly beautiful version by Algodón Egipcio. Every single cover we’ve received sounds weird at first, it takes a couple of spins to fully appreciate them, but this one was love at first listen. Cheky took this anthem to a new galaxy, adding dazzling weight on every corner but suspending it high enough to make it very danceable. It’s the summation of electronic beauty to a very optimistic song.

Too many people ask us about the cute dancing girl with the cute dress, now you get to see her in motion. The footage (and iconic dance scene) comes from Azazel Jacobs’ The GoodTimesKid, featuring stellar performances from Gerardo Naranjo (director of Voy a Explotar) and the beautiful Sara Diaz.

La Ola Que Queria Ser Chau - Entre Un Ladrón y Una Beba de Seis Meses

Entre Un Ladrón y Una Beba de Seis Meses,
La Ola Que Queria Ser Chau
City Bell, Argentina
Rating: 75
By Carlos Reyes

The switch from childhood to adulthood can be especially hard for kids who rock their brains off. La Ola Que Queria Ser Chau’s debut 3-track EP is driven by hormones, from the melody to the gonads. It’s a revealing coming-of-age gem similar to La Casa Azul’s El Sonido Efervescente de la Casa Azul and El Otro Yo’s Traka Traka. In the strict sense of the word, this is an album about growing up. It stays away from exploiting on the annoyance of those thespian teenage years, which is refreshing. Instead, they opt for brainy love songs, but don’t worry, they also stay away from Diablo Cody.

“Estamos cambiando, pensando todo el dia en lo que hacemos, haciendo todo dia lo que pensamos.” They serve from their well-lived experiences to craft three songs with plenty of charm and appeal to internationalize their wide understanding of the lo-fi trend. While I prefer the defiant noise-pop of Smith Westerns, Bam Bam or Wavves for this kind of teenage-dream themed record, La Ola Que Queria Ser Chau have all the signs of a potentially great band in the process

“Cariñito” is one of the year’s most infectious rock songs; it’s got the charm of an all-small-caps junior high poem, completely unsuspicious of what it’s getting into. You can’t get any more expressive than by encapsulating your feelings in a diminutive structure, and rocking around it with plenty of skill. “Como Te Llevaria” shows the band as an accessible band, the catchy tune is ready to be the theme of a sitcom. “Estamos” has great punk energy, if you’re looking for a rush a la Hold On Now, Youngster (Los Campesinos), this might just do it. La Ola Que Queria Ser Chau is still on diapers, but they're getting the right amounts of protein to build adult muscle, they’re a truly refreshing band to keep an eye on.

Dadalú Releases "Gracias." Video + Single/EP with Remixes

Singing to gratitude is rare in secular music, and when it happens it usually comes in the form of subsistence and in very traditional fashion (such as Joan Sebastian’s “Gracias Por Tanto Amor” or Mercedes Sosa’s “Gracias a la Vida”). Chilean singer-songwriter, rapper, and pop enthusiast Dadalú takes on such duty, reuniting her skills and sharp style to put on a modern (and very personal) template of appreciation. “Gracias” is the first single out of Dadalú’s forthcoming debut album Período, which fans have been waiting for a couple of years. The song also offered us with our Fonogramaticos Vol.9 theme “El Silencio No Nos Matara.”

Like Valentina Fel and Pipe Llorens, Dadalu’s unmeasured rhymes come in at various speeds. “Gracias” has a nice jazzy, of-the-minute clamor that makes it epic. The emerging keys and rotating orchestration outline a revealing, glossy, and soulful piece. Dadalú just released “Gracias” as a single, officially. It features a set of remixes by Gen, Namuel, Miss Bolvia, Sokio, and Warjol, plus an instrumental version and its acapella counterpart of course (for free download through Michita Rex. The video is really pink (not bloody red as the album title suggests), shot on 16mm by Francisco Shultz.

♫♫♫ “Gracias”

MP3: Michel & Lilibeth - "Suerte y Muerte"

We might scare off every purist rocker among our readers with this one. Colombian blog El Amarill0 introduced us to Michel & Lilibeth, a peculiar and very underground champeta duo making huge buzz in Barranquilla. The infrastructure of the Colombian music industry is somewhat concerning for interesting acts like Michel & Lilibeth, who rely on word of mouth and local radio stations to spread their music. They’re so underground we couldn’t find any profile at any of the social networks. “Suerte y Muerte” is a half-baked hit, the kind of modest song that’s on its way to becoming a popular hit. It’s also a catchy and unexpected melodic piece in all its middling practices.

Its excess of everything is ultimately why the song works, that passionate cheesy intro justifies all of the song’s unexpected shifts. The upbeat vocals are so high they sound like jj, the actual sound is closer to Capullo and Bomba Estereo. The champeta goes through a cut-rate disco loop just as a guy in the song argues the sky is crying his pains. “Suerte y Muerte” has as much dramatic ambition as a telenovela, yet it’s got the personality and warmth of a block party. Despite getting hundreds of thousands of plays on YouTube already, no one has yet to find their identity.

Video: Torreblanca feat Turra Medina & Sonido Landon - "Por La Ventana" (Gepe Cover) / Fonogramaticos Vol.10

When we made the call for entries for our upcoming Fonogramaticos Vol.10 compilation we weren’t expecting any videos, but our dear Juan Manuel Torreblanca surprised us with this fun, self-claimed ridiculous video. This very special video is a surprise and is filling our hearts with joy. As you can see from the awesome t-shirt he’s wearing in the clip, Juan is a big fan of Chilean pop astro Gepe, and we can’t think of anyone more suitable to cover Gepe’s catchiest song “Por La Ventana.” Torreblanca recruited his Mexico City-based Chilean friends Sonidolandon and Turra Medina to craft this very hip, amusing and gripping version, by far, one of the most joyful tracks in the compilation.

This video was shot by Jimena Montemayor as the group of friends met to record this awesome version. We told every band participating to have fun, and if all the other bands had half as fun as these guys, we couldn’t be happier. We’re not sure what’s up with the banana motif, but great job recreating Gepe’s awesome video, the guys sure look sexy with those wigs (and that La Rosa de Guadalupe moment is priceless). We'll unveil more tracks this coming week through a set of bootleg promo videos, all framed by great Latin American movies.

Video: Rita Indiana y Los Misterios - "El Juidero"

El Juidero’s booklet starts with a travelogue detailing the creation of this blaxpoitation video, which is the backbone of the album’s aesthetics. If you don’t recognize “El Juidero” as a deeply political song yet, this amazing video might do it. It was helmed by Puerto Rican visionary Noelia Quintero, who also directed “La Hora de Volve.” In the booklet Rita explained about the history involved in this video, and wrote about the ‘undocumented history’ of politicial and civilian assassinations in the Dominican Republic during the 70’s. “El Juidero” is the scene of a nation impacted by “el Trujillismo y el Balaguerato.” As a matter of fact, the car Rita is driving in the video belonged to the unmerciful Doctor Balaguer. La Montra and her gang have done it once again, the clip's fixation with the Salsa aesthetic is tremendous, and that Johnny Ventura cameo is simply priceless."El Juidero nuestro de todos los dias."

Video: Triángulo de Amor Bizarro - "Amigos del género humano"

Rolling Stone MX premiered the brand new video “Amigos del Genero Humano” by Triángulo de Amor Bizarro. The catchy second single out of TAB’s amazing sophomore album Año Santo is an avant-pop mystical journey, and one of the album’s strongest doses of unframed timing. We imagined zombies, or some kind of human flesh consumption for to this video, instead, we get a weird countryside adventure. It’s weird to say, but they look pretty. By now, we can pretty much go ahead and call Año Santo the best rock album of the year, perhaps in any language. I know we’re stretching our Vol.10 promo a bit too much, but hey, it is our blog. Add Triángulo de Amor Bizarro to the list of bands participating on our upcoming compilation, they did a jaw-dropping version of “Lento” by Julieta Venegas, and it’s 10 minutes long!

Piyama Party - Michael Esta Vivo

Michael esta vivo, Piyama Party

Delhotel Records, México
Rating: 81 ★★★★
By Blanca Méndez

“Praise the goddess and pass the lube.” This is how Piyama Party’s latest EP, Michael esta vivo, starts and how I know it’s going to be a good time. Not that I expected otherwise, given that last year’s Mas Mejor was one of my favorite rock albums in recent memory. The band’s playful DIY style even inspired the theme of the soon-to-come 10th volume of Fonogramaticos with their anthemic “Nosotros Los Rockers.” Michael esta vivo isn’t as overtly rock and roll as its predecessor, but it is equally witty and charming.

The appropriately fuzzy “Mal Porno,” opens the album with a lo-fi attitude that evokes the shoddy camera work of comically amateur home movies, perfect for a song about outdated porn on VHS, featuring girls in out-of-style lingerie. Also in the same vein is the slightly scatterbrained garage rock tune in which the band asks the late King of Pop, “Por que te hiciste blanco?” For “Historias feas” the band leaves the garage and heads to the rodeo for a twangy western of a tune about the border and horror stories warning people not to travel to those parts because it’s not worth the risk just to go the mall for some T-shirts.

Piyama Party’s trademark humor is best showcased on “Canciones que me hacen sentir guapo,” a song about exactly what it sounds like it’s about. When I heard the first part of the song and how it’s hard being modest when you look so good I couldn’t help but think, mamones! Then came the line “yo te entiendo si piensas que soy mamon,” and it was perfect. “Rapera,” featuring the band’s fellow Coahuilense Pipe Llorens, is the classic tale of Rocker Dude falling in love with Rapper Chick. In between Pipe’s verses, the song is surprisingly and pleasantly soft. And the bird chirping around the time that Pipe calls his rapper love “mi pajarita” is one of the highlights of the album, conjuring a very Disney-esque image. If you think about it, the love that isn’t meant to be storyline of this song is kind of perfect for a Disney movie. I’d watch it.

And “Rapera” isn’t the only love song. The electro-tinged “Tus padres estan mirandonos” is adorably awkward, like the tough guy who can’t properly express emotions showing up at your door with flowers because he thinks that’s what he’s supposed to do. Then he realizes that talking to horses with you is a much better idea. “Hablas con los caballos, tambien yo voy a hablarles, de ti yo voy a contarles” might be the best moment on the album. And “Tocayo (version brownie magico)” is the perfect note to end on. The hazy retelling of a house party with fireworks leftover from December is what every post-holidays party is like where I’m from (minus the whole incestuous porn part).

In terms of musical style and subject matter, Michael esta vivo is all over the place, which is actually quite impressive considering that the EP is only seven short songs. The way it goes from garage rock to hip hop to country to electro and covers everything from porn to border violence to love and self-esteem might be confusing to some, but it makes perfect sense for these irreverent rockers. There’s no such thing as compromise in rock and roll.

Video: Systema Solar - "Malpalpitando"

If like us, you’re having trouble departing yourself from the beauty of Rita Indiana’s El Juidero (obra maestra absoluta), you may want to consider Systema Solar as a way to keep your world rolling. After over a year of their self-title debut release, these Colombian tropical maniacs are finally getting the broad attention they deserve. The FADER premiered their latest video “Malpalpitando”, highlighting it as a “spirit journey.” This is the band’s down-to-the-bone moment in the album, every second of the song seems like a supreme skirmish between men and its nature. The imagery and coloring of the video add up to nothing less than a visual fest in the best of Juan Mora Catlett’s films.

Teaser #1: Fonogramaticos Vol.10: Nosotros Los Rockers

Fonogramaticos Vol.10 is on its way, we don’t remember ever being this excited before. As you know, it will be an extra special edition as we celebrate our 10th compilation. The premise is ambitious (from our part), having bands recording covers with their own time and resources is something you just don’t see everyday. Every cover we’ve received so far holds a very special place in our hearts. We would love to give you the tracklist with all the awesome artists participating, but we can’t do that just yet. But let’s start the thrill with this little teaser where we reveal the compilation’s theme: "Nosotros Los Rockers" (by Piyama Party). There isn’t another song on our library with this much ClubFonograma attitude; a band without a place to rehearse, a bootleg album by The Strokes and a blown up amplifier, it's an anthem.

We will be unveiling a couple of the covers in the next few days (through bootleg videos also), expect the compilation to be up on our site the last week of October. Teaser #1 footage belongs to Fernando Eimbcke’s Temporada de Patos. Stream Piyama Party's "Nosotros Los Rockers" below. "Prestamela, Prestamela!"