Fonocast #15: Hit Rewind

Fonocast #15: Hit Rewind
by Blanca Méndez and Giovanni Guillén
  • I Can Chase Dragons! - "Tauro"
  • màquina total - "palmeres i megatron"
  • CLUBZ - "Celebrando"
  • AJ Dávila - "Lo que no será" (feat. Alex Anwandter)
  • Delorean - "Spirit"
  • BFlecha - "Mundo Bizarro" (feat. Arufe)
  • Danna Paola - "Agüita"
  • Natalia Kills - "Problem"
  • Joseline Hernandez - "Mi Colta"
  • La Insuperable - "Dime Linda Te Llenaste de Odio"

    Video: Xenia Rubinos - "Hair Receding"

    Set in "New England's Spanish Main Street," aka Park Street in Hartford, Connecticut, the music video for "Hair Receding" closely follows Carmen—Xenia Rubinos' charming grandmother—through her daily life. Directed by Francesco Lettieri (Whirl Wind, Pan y Café), the video brilliantly rises to the challenge of addressing aging and the ephemerality of life in a jocular way, both respectfully and without complacency. With nine GoPro cameras strapped to her body, Carmen draws us in to look out at the world through her eyes. The experimental footage emerges as a poignant testimony, making us smile and then reflect on how to address the passing of time and the loopholes that we all use to forget the monotony of life.

    The track, Magic Trix's standout, abandons the existential angst and rather artfully plays with the idea of the time remaining. Rubinos’ warm and pure voice rises against the dramatic backdrop of distorted guitar-like synths and the steady percussion of producer/drummer Marco Buccelli, building a universe of emotion charged with introspection and poetry. Her strength and sense of urgency shines through with every note. 

    MP3: Lucrecia Dalt - "Glosolalia"

    As I told my Fonograma colleagues as soon as I came upon Lucrecia Dalt’s new song and lead track from her upcoming album, Syzygy, we’ve probably been ignoring her for far too long. The Colombian-born, Barcelona-based musician released her sophomore effort, Commotus, last year (and has had her name appear on the blog through collaborations with Los Macuanos and Los Amparito), an album with an apocalyptic cover whose eerie soundscapes and icy bass action earned her comparisons to Angelo Badalementi’s Twin Peaks soundtrack. If there’s one thing the emerging crop of Latin electronic troubadours have excelled at a lot better than Latin folk troubadours is at developing their own signature sonic environment. With her latest track, “Glosolalia,” she crafts yet another puzzling piece that focuses on mood rather than melody and this time feels like a perfect fit for the psychotic tension and uneasy anticipation of Jeff Nichols’ Take Shelter. Just as I will be in a few months, Lucrecia Dalt is a civil engineer. And if there’s one thing about the discipline that seems to have overlapped with her music, it’s the understanding of your own environment’s unpredictability and constant evolution, how sometimes one can still be amazed despite years of study and experience. Grab the track on the Soundcloud player below. Syzygy is out on October 15 via Human Ear Music.

    Bam Bam - Arre Krishna

    Arre Krishna, Bam Bam
    Arts & Crafts, México
    Rating: 81
    by Pierre Lestruhaut

    There’s no point in delaying the aggrandizing statements Bam Bam are worthy of: their second full-length Futura Vía is still the best Latin rock album (not made in Chile) we’ve come across this decade so far. A little over two years after its release, the record still holds up incredibly well as both a solid collection of tunes (not a month goes by without the need to occasionally spin amazing tracks like “Ragatrón” or “Abismático”), and, more importantly, as part of the rare breed of albums that can be considered a round success for excelling in concept, structure, and execution. It’s the type of record that’s part of the reason why we still, occasionally, despite the distractions of the internet era, dedicate ourselves exclusively to the experience of listening to music.

    Upon first impression, Arre Krishna, Bam Bam’s most recent EP and follow-up to Futura Vía, feels not like the triumphant return of one of our most beloved bands, but more like an overly delayed release of outtakes from the Futura Vía sessions, which, in comparison to Bam Bam’s couple of excellent albums they had released so far, feels rather disappointing. In terms of the average bulk of Latin rock releases we tend to come across, we couldn’t be happier to have new material from the regiomontano quartet. To compare Arre Krishna to its immediate predecessor would be putting it on an uneven playing field and also overlooking how it’s, in its own right, a solid collection of four tunes and an 11-minute psychedelic trip.

    There’s been mention of two tracks being part of the Futura Vía sessions,“Tirando pa fuera” and “¡Regocíjate Hermano!,” which are not coincidentally the ones where you’ll hear former band member Luxor singing. “Tirando pa fuera” begins the EP in medias res with a soft laid-back melody but quickly speeds up the tempo and shifts towards beatlesque hooks and melodies. “ROD” is Bam Bam’s catchiest song to date behind “Ragatrón” and also their most populist incarnation with a much traditional hook-oriented slice of '60s psych rock. It’s in “¡Regocíjate Hermano!” where the EP reaches its climactic moment of vitality and urgency and raises the question of why the potentially best song in Futura Vía was left out of it.

    Although fitting more experimental ventures with pop tunes in a single release is a rather rare thing to attempt since the advent of punk downplayed the artification of rock, closer “Líjate bien” sees Bam Bam distancing themselves from their trademark pop tunes in a sort of Ravi Shankar and The Beatles meets Neu! and Kraftwerk, as its Middle Eastern psych groove quickly morphs into a kraut motorik beat. It feels rather anachronistic, but works well on a visceral level. Bam Bam doesn’t want you to take their religious and interstellar references too seriously, and “Líjate bien” is aimed at stimulating your gut rather than your brain.

    Regardless of whether Arre Krishna will turn out to be an interlude amidst a continuous series of aesthetically similar works or the epilogue closing a period and making room for a new one in the oeuvre of Bam Bam, the EP lives up to both parts well enough. With a mixture of Futura Vía outtakes and brand new songs, including one that sees the band sort of leave their comfort zone, Arre Krishna fulfills its duty of being both a very enjoyable rock record that provides new material for individual track listening and as a “batch of songs that should be preferably listened to in a certain order.” It’s a short record that reminds us how much we can enjoy good rock and roll and its whole spectrum of primitive, urgent, emotional, and left-field forms.

    MP3/Video: Eva & John - “César Gutiérrez” / “Ciempiés”

    Seven out of the eight rock songs from our Midyear Report compilation belong to bands with a revivalist flair. Whether it’s a fashion of the zeitgest or a wave of distillation to detach from the aughts, the soundscape feels truly inspired. We can add Eva & John to the line of introspective revivalists placing urgency at the center of their melodic core. Plastilina Records has published their first reference, a flexi single so gorgeous, that profiles Eva & John as the most exciting Peruvian newcomers in a long time. Leading single “César Gutiérrez” surveys the underworld/paradise of a political figure from Lima who carries a bomb on his pocket and aims to be the alpha male of his city. I’m sure there’s one just like him on every city. Second track (and not necessarily a B-side) is the overwhelmingly sweet “Ciempiés” which truly melts your heart and whose video is sure to get a laugh or two from you. Eva & John carry sensibility on every dusty chord of their near-religious composition –the content is idiosyncratic but so heartfelt that it becomes universal.

    ♫♫♫ “César Gutiérrez” / Bandcamp

    MP3: G-Flux feat. Afrodita & Jose Luis Carballo - "El Meneito"

    Not everyone agrees with the notion of cumbia being a social equalizer (read my review on Los Angeles Azules’ Como te voy a olvidar). A dear friend of mine (who’s an authority of the genre) said it was impulsive and overly romantic to apply such political weight on a music that’s pedestrian and nonchalant. I still hold up my discourse. Nothing wrong with being overly romantic when doing what you love. Where we did reach consensus was in envisioning cumbia as the one popular musical genre that we could call a continental romance for an intercontinental audience. G-Flux (Gustavo Naranjo) understands the affair and services from a tone of cumbia that is nostalgic but also looks forward.

    Pointing to mass consumption but refusing to take the easiest route, G-Flux constructs a notable prospective hit with “El Meneito.” The Mexican producer recruited regular compatriot collaborators Afrodita and Peruvian chicha legend Jose Luis Carballo in the making of a song that’s unafraid of anthemic thought and happens to be quite hilarious as well. Humor and anthem contemplation are typically red sirens when applied to traditional music—this is where cumbia, as an abrasive, all-welcoming genre, proves to be an ideal canvas for a track that aims to entertain. Afrodita provides the comedic sparkle, Carballo’s strings dictate the movement, and G-Flux’s bold production holds momentum and gives everything a form. Grab the track below, on free download for the next two weeks.

    CLUBZ - "Golpes Bajos"

    A bluish-grey universe, a moving fragility, and a tormented romance powered by a hypnotic, sonorous vortex that’s utterly new wave, if not downright candy-coated pop. Coco Santos and Orlando Fernandez (also members of Husky) push the envelope of rock revivalism further with their new musical project CLUBZ. "Golpes bajos," the band’s second single, is unmistakably reminiscent of the work of The Cure and Indochine, though using humor and self-deprecation to reveal what it feels like to fall out of love. Atmospheric and accessible pop with a taste for all that is melancholy.

    Video: Dënver - "Las Fuerzas"

    Almost three months with Fuera de campo and our full-length review has yet to surface. Maybe because a certain opening track has commanded so much of our attention (not to mention the replay button) that it’s delayed the listening experience altogether. Let’s face it, though, “Las fuerzas” is pure gold. Surely the kind of classic that will always be there to accompany you at the most decisive and essential moments in life: from the womb, to your wedding, and even your own wake.

    So what kind of video could possibly accompany such a momentous hit? As always, Dënver respond to the challenge by completely throwing us off. Directed by Bernardo Quesney, “Las fuerzas” receives a disquieting treatment, somewhere between Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist and the films of Maryse Sistach (Perfume de Violetas & La Niña en la Piedra). In it, three friends take to the woods to cement a union that Carlos Reyes describes as “a modern love story that mines deep beneath the surface of human pain.” Slow motion images illustrate scenes that could really only exist in Dënver’s universe, even with its shocking ending (that is necessary viewing) all of it serves to highlight the true charm of a song like “Las fuerzas.” It’s a song that breaks hearts then cures them; it mends old wounds then infects new ones. Make sure to stick around for the ending credits.