Balún - "Años Atrás"

“This is our song for the summer,” sighed José and Angélica, leaders of Balún. “Años Atrás” (released on the last week of the summer) may seem like it has serviceful intentions, but it’s one of the nicest surprises of the season. When the act buzzed over the concept of making something called #dreambow, I had no idea what they had up their sleeves, but oh boy, they’ve hit the right buttons. As the band welcomes Shayna Dunkelman (of Peptalk/Xiu Xiu) and Raul Reymundi (of Las Ardillas) into their lineup, they also seem to expand their musical spectrum. Not to say Balún has not had fun throughout the years, but lately it just seems like they’re opening the bedroom pop window in more accessible and engaging ways (like this Ricky Martin cover from earlier this year).

The infectious “Años Atrás” contains what we love about Balún (the dreamy, the fragile, the whimsical, and the introverted), but it also presents the band with the opportunity to showcase a catchier, more pop-polished side.” Hazy recollections of a plane crash in an imaginary place in the tropics,” the band explains. Of course, these guys don’t stop at at lyrical narrative and literally confront their pedigree with dembow. The result (first single off their forthcoming album) is northing short from exhilarating. More than just their summer song, this is Balún's most memorable single to date. Free download via Bandcamp.

//////// - "M O O M B A H W I T C H"

Nothing better to rekindle the passion of blogging (after a writer block), than articulating on a tiny and mysterious piece such as “M O O M B A H W I T C H.” Despite its menacing all-capitalized title (a la C L U B N E G R O), this is a song that mingles between being a transitional (intro or interlude) number and a centerpiece. At less than two minutes long, one would justify the former, yet, its pristine construction would tell us otherwise. This is a chopped dembow piece coming out of Puerto Rico, by a truly enigmatic producer vaguely named ////////. This is the first piece unveiled from the upcoming release Abolir, for which the producer doesn’t seem preoccupied to build a virtual presence. As unclear and ungooglable as this is, I can’t help but be intrigued by the animosity and eerie conception of this piece. Feeling like a bared Luny Tunes canvas (if it was assisted by Capullo and Dani Shivers), here is hoping this project isn't victim of its own subversiveness.

Video: Javiera Mena - "La Joya"

My dissection of “La Joya” (at first glimpse) was one of mixed emotions. In fact, I doubted the single’s self-sustainability and joined the club of skeptics for what was to come. Three months have past and I must say that there’s not another song I’ve listen to the most all year long. The song went from middling to becoming one of her best singles to date (better than “Espada” for sure). At around the 50th play, “La Joya” dusts away its tongue-in-cheek polish to reveal itself as daring and brilliant piece of pop composition. The clip for the song, directed by slurpTV & Vladimir Crvenkovic celebrate the song’s ever-shifting melodic directions, rejecting to become a template (and pushing for platforms instead). The frame is overstuffed and at times too busy to look out, but it sure services as one of Javiera’s most colorful moments –a bold step towards pop stardom.

Onda Temporal, Episodio Doce: Calafia Puta

Queen Calafia, has been depicted as the Spirit of California, and has been the subject of modern-day sculpture, paintings, stories and films. She often figures in the myth of California's origin, symbolizing an untamed and bountiful land prior to European settlement. The character of Calafia is used by Rodríguez de Montalvo to portray the superiority of chivalry in which the attractive virgin queen is conquered, converted to Christian beliefs and married off. Is a part of California history, and she also reinforces the fact that when Hernán Cortés named the place California, he had 300 black people with him.This history allows me to conclude the fact that this band calls this queen a "puta" because of the paganism and violence that develops its origin, all the unjust acts committed in absurd unjustified ways by the spanish crown and religion for the conquest and colonization of America. Not as barbaric as the ideology planted by the grindcore band Brujería in one of the greatest records of mexican power metal called Matando Güeros, but more intimate, regional and involved with their country and Tijuana.

Listening to Calafia Puta is like attending to a Mike Tyson fights, just when you're excited, everything is finished with a knockout. But, what did you expect from powerviolence? Is a raw, aggressive and dissonant subgenre of hardcore punk. So, there's no room and time for sentimentalism or melody here. All that matters is the content, the way in which an idea is expressed. Their lyrics are verses dedicated to the youth and sung with the revivifying aggression of modern time violence. And like that, this is maybe the best way of ending Onda Temporal, the Club Fonograma's expected journey recorded in unexpected places by a big and not-so big artists. In this one-minute performance of "Manifiesto Anarcojunior," Calafia Puta improvised on the street ringing in arrangements of the best trasheo tijuanense and sing "Más que un saludo, es un adiós. Mi más sentido pésame, hace tiempo nos mudamos de este mundo para siempre". All the chapters of Onda Temporal scoped by Carlos Matsuo's were not only live sessions, were living expressions.

Onda Temporal, Episodio Once: Santos

When director Carlos Matsuo sent me all the links of the episodes that made up Onda Temporal I skimmed through about half of them. Then I decided I would wait and unfold each episode one at a time –unfolding the narrative on a more nuanced and less exclusive pace. It’s intriguing to see the second to the last episode of the series take place at a cemetery. While Matsuo’s scope had taken us to holy grounds on its second episode (Alberto Acinas), this new one pans through a cemetery where the grass is sublimely green and rows of gravestones appear to be mysteriously new –perhaps belonging to the outburst of deaths the drug war has caused in Mexico. Looking like a not so friendly monk with dark shades, Tijuana’s Santos sings “Sin Salida” with a certain militant (not freed of irony) tone that registers as both, truthful and sinister.

Onda Temporal, Episodio Diez: Matilda Manzana

Óscar Rodríguez on a beach in the fog. Matilda Manzana's mastermind spins around and sings the bookending track of 2012's Conjuntos Cartográficos - the tempo of the melody a little more frantic than the dense, soft focus of the atmosphere around him. The beach in its out-of-season temperament makes a good metaphor for Matilda Manzana's brand of existential misfitting. We see other people in the background (and a pony at one point), the lifeguard's tower and a 4WD, highlighting the fact that Rodriguez is not really isolated in a murky void. His pining is one, as Club writer Pierre Lestruhaut pointed out in his Todas Las Ciudades Inundadas review, of a "guy-who-spends-his-time-in-a-small-bedroom-in-front-of-his-laptop." The jetty/pier may disappear into the white, but Rodriguez is not ready for that escape; he's still searching on the ground, at the feet of the main event.