Friday, March 21, 2014

New Latin But Cool Vinyl Coming Out

ANA TIJOUX-Vengo (Nacional Records, 2014): For a while, after her departure from Makiza, I remember Ana Tijoux was trying to detach herself from the confines of hip-hop, break away from the genre's inner restrictions and put out records that could appeal to people of all walks of life. Paradoxically, however, she finally achieved that massive crossover appeal with the release of her second solo album, 1977, which was all about true-school boom-bap beats and even had lyrics about the art of MCing. With Vengo, I have the feeling she's going back to her original intentions. She's got the audience's captive attention. The whole world is infatuated with her. So now she's like fuck classic hip-hop, lets explore what's beyond. She still raps, of course, but musically, aesthetically and even thematically Vengo is not a hip-hop album. It's a whatever-you-call-Calle-13's-music album. And that's dope. I know a lot of b-boys and true-school hip-hop aficionados who fucking hate Calle 13 and they probably gonna react the same way to Ana's latest effort--for god's sake, there're are more pan flutes and charangos than sampled breaks and scratches. But what can you do? Haters gonna hate and Mademoiselle Tijoux will captivate an even greater audience. Also, for the real hip-hop fans, right around the same time this album dropped, Nacional Records announced the release of 1977 on vinyl. Yeah, 4 years too late, but finally! Vengo will also be pressed on vinyl soon, even though this is probably her least DJ-friendly album, but just for the amazing art, I'm definitely ordering a copy of it. Download the HERE. Look out for the vinyl on Amazon.

ORQUESTA EL MACABEO-Lluvia Con Sol (Meneo, 2013): "Lluvia con sol," the song, was my favorite of last year and it still remains as one of my all-time favorite salsa songs (of course that's a very short list, because, as you know, I'm not a salsero). Anyway, that song was included las year in Salsa Bestial, a compilation of their previous work they did for the European market, through VampiSoul. Now, I finally got the album where that song belongs and it's equally high-quality, non-cheesy salsa. There aren't any surprises and "Lluvia con sol" is still their best song but I definitely recommend this for anybody who's even remotely curious about salsa. There're is also a 7'' pressing of two of the tracks in this LP available. Order yours HERE.

SANTERO-Tambores De Africa/El Besito (Baylando Records, 2014): This one is the joint. I played the MP3 quite a bit and now that they finally released it on high-quality, purple 7'' vinyl I can play it a lot more on my sets. Crowd's reaction have been unanimously positive. The afrobeat infectious track is a transnational collaboration with additional production by El Kool Kyle and vocals by Boogat. The B-side is more highlife and I haven't managed to sneak it into my sets yet. You can get the MP3 from the label's website or look for the 7'' on eBay.

P3CULIAR-Role Play (Casete/Kin Kon Records, 2014): Marcelo is well known in New York's Latin alternative avant guard as a nightlife personality, trend-setter, provocateur, bon vivant, DJ, blogger, model, ultimate ambiguous hipster divo. But he's also a producer and here we have his debut LP as P3Culiar, a project he put together with a bunch of other collaborators and under the artistic guidance of Kinky's Ulises Lozano. As you might be able to infer, there's a lot of glam and electroclash going on in this role-playing orgy, but also some very sexy ñu-cumbias and even some rap. A vinyl LP edition is currently being crowd-funded and I'd usually wait until I have the record in my hands to publish a review here, but I had a boner for this one so couldn't wait for it. Help Marcelo with his wet dream HERE.

Friday, January 31, 2014

ALIKA Y NUEVA ALIANZA-Dejalo Gyal/Galang (Sabor Discos, 2013)

I've first met Alika back in 1995 and she was the very first female artist I interviewed. Back then, if you asked me, I would've never, in a million fucking years guess that she would end up turning into a transnational sensation and she'd be the one, of all the kids my generation staring with hip-hop in the mid nineties, who would be making a living of her music eighteen years later.
But there she is, she just dropped a really dope album that's equal parts dancehall reggae, hip-hop and ñu-cumbia and it includes "Jengibre" one of my favorite songs of 2012.
This is a 7'' single a French record label released last year with one of her earlier reggae hits on the b-side and her ñu-cumbia with Dawn Penn from her latest album as the main attraction. I played it at my last gig and it was an instant hit. You can order the vinyl here. Digital album here.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

BEST OF 2013 - Top 11 Latin But Cool Songs

I've struggled to put together this Best Of list like I have never struggled in previous years. There are multiple reasons behind this. One of them, maybe the most important, is that I didn't feel very in touch with the Latin music scene in 2013, that's why I haven't been so active on this semi-agonizing blog. There were some cool things happening this year, for sure,  but almost nothing that compelled me to write on my blog and share, most of the times I felt that I was coming here out of inertia and an obligation to the few readers that still give a shit about my opinions. I was also a lot less active as a DJ in 2013. I didn't have time to put together any mix-tape in the whole year, and that's a first since I started this blog in 2008. I also didn't get to spin music a many Latin parties, so I didn't feel the pressure to keep up with the newest hits in the Latin dance-floors. I've played mostly for mixed crowds, focusing more on funk and hip-hop than Latin music. In fact, a lot of Latin records I bought this years, I did it mostly out of collector's habit, because I didn't get to play them much on my sets. As a result of all this, this year's best of list, unlike its predecessors,  was NOT determined exclusively by my DJ sets, but other factors too, and as usual I don't give a fuck if you agree with my selections or not.  

1.- "Lluvia con sol" - Orquesta El Macabeo: Are you fucking serious? A salsa song is the best song of the year chosen by an outspoken salsa hater? How is that even possible? Well, it's either that it was an extremely lame year and no other music managed to excite me as much as this, or I've experienced an inexplicable change of heart regarding the music genre that defines me by opposition. When I came up with Latin But Cool, it was meant as Everything Latin But... and the list of cheesy genres that followed was always preceded by salsa. I guess I've learned salsa can be cool too. This song at least, gives me goosebumps every time I listen to it and works great on the dance-floors as well.

2.- "Conmemoración" - Hache ST. feat. Bocafloja: Readers of this blog (and all lovers of good international hip-hop) should already be familiar with Argentine producer Gas-Lab, he's definitely one of the bests in the game when it comes to true-school, classic, soulful beats. Here we have doing his thing along with two of the best Spanish-language MCs of the continent, Dominican Republic's Hache ST and Mexico's Bocafloja, the Spanish-speaking Common and Talib Kweli respectively, if you may. The girl with way too much make up singing the chorus in San Francisco's Dolores Park is the same one from Los Rakas' biggest hit. The whole album by Hace ST is actually really good, but this song, and its video, are the best representation of what I would like Spanish hip-hop to be more.

3.- "Chalupa" - Jungle Fire: Jungle Fire is the best new band out there, period. So far they only have a couple of 7'' singles out and a few more digital releases, no debut album. It was hard to pick just one song because, to be honest, I've played them all equally in my vinyl sets during 2013, but I had to chose one and it was "Chalupa."

4.- "Codigo de barra" - Bajofondo: Presente is definitely a superb album, but it doesn't have any singles that easily stand out, it's more of a concept album, meant to be listened to as a whole. However, this track here blew my mind the first time I heard them play it live and then on the CD (why not vinyl?). For days after I've got the CD I blasted it out as loud as my speakers (and my compassion for my neighbors) allowed.

5.- "Entre rejas" - Quantic & Ana Tijoux: This one was chosen as a B-side for the Lauryn Hill cover but I ended up playing it a lot more. "That Thing" is alright, but the chorus in portuguese doesn't do it for me, the classic cumbia cover on the flip side is way better and has more dance-floor appeal. I remember many years ago trying to persuade Ana Tijoux to do some cumbias and she was like "hell no" but Quantic worked his magic and invited her to do a guest appearance Ondatrópica last year and now he got her hooked up. I really hope he manages to convince her to do a whole album together.

6.- "Same old clown" - Chico Mann feat. Kendra Morris: There're definitely plenty more songs in Chico Mann's latest album that would more accurately fit in the Latin But Cool category imposed by the URL of this blog. I know, this one is not Latin enough, but it's the one I've played the most in my DJ sets throughout 2013 so it's the first that comes to my head.

7.- "Cumbia Milagrosa" - La Misa Negra: The whole album by La Misa Negra is pretty dope, and I hate to put the spotlight on the one song there that's a cover, instead of their original compositions, but I gotta be honest, and just like in Chico Mann's case, this is the one I've played the most in my sets during this year, so it's the one that made it into the top10.

8.- "Kool" - Nico Cota: I really want Nico Cota to break into the international funk arena. He really deserves to be known outside of the minuscule funk scene of Buenos Aires, and outside of the Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas entourage. This sophomore album of his really proves that he can totally stand on himself and if it was released on vinyl I've played it a lot in my sets during 2013.

9.- "Todo sobre mi desmadre" - Cookin' Bananas: Fucking genius, man! This is the best team of hip-hop beat-makers from Spain (Cookin' Soul, who else?) with Spanish rap pioneer, Mucho Muchacho (of 7 Notas 7 Colores fame) doing a whole album together, and it's all killer, no filler. This track in particular stands out because of the lyrics, with all the clever references to Almodóvar movie titles. One that I can play to my hip-hop-deficient friends and they can still appreciate it.

10.- "Reza por mi" - Atropolis feat. Lido Pimienta: I didn't care much for the rest of the album, but this one song, I became addicted to it at first listen. I couldn't just stop singing it inside my head.

11.- "Para Papá" - Diana Gameros: In previous years, a song likes this one wouldn't have made it into my Best Of lists, simply because I was exclusively focused on music to make people dance at the parties. But Diana's voice is gorgeous and she's an accomplished composer as well. She played this song live on my podcast and I instantly fell in love with her. She's kinda like a cult artist here in the Bay Area but one that I can clearly see with international projection in the short-term future. I wouldn't be surprised if she gets a Latin Grammy nomination in 2014.

Friday, November 15, 2013

G-FLUX-Ritmo Universal/Meneito (Electric Cowbell Records, 2013)

Electric Cowbell has an amazingly eclectic catalog, rich in Latin But Cool gems many of which are mandatory in all my vinyl sets. But, overall, they always lean more towards the soulful, rootsy stuff than the electronic. That's why, when G-Flux told me he'd be coming out with a 7'' vinyl single off his latest album through Electric Cowbell, I was like "really?"
It's not like it's completely out of context in the label's catalog, but it's definitely not their usual direction. Still, they're a nice couple of ñu-cumbia tracks worth having in your arsenal, with collaborations by some of Mexico's genre leaders: ultra-kitsch performers Afrodita and my personal favorites Los Master Plus (who, by the way, should have a lot more of their music pressed on vinyl). Afrodita's track also has guitars added by Peruvian chicha legend José Luís Carballo. Both are dance-floor-oriented tracks, with simple, silly lyrics encouraging people to move, nothing revolutionary there, but adequate to the tracks' purpose and funny at moments (Los Master Plus have an incomparable sense of humor when writing their rhymes, however this, for some reason, shows a lot better when they do bastard covers of Gringo songs than their own compositions). Buy it HERE.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CHICO TRUJILLO-Gran Pecador (Barbes Records, 2013)

I love Chico Trujillo. I've said it many times and I'll say it again, they give the best live show in the whole cumbia universe so I'll never get tire of going to their concerts.
That being said, I have mixed feelings about this new album. I mainly bought it because it's released on vinyl and I wanted to support, but to be honest, the best two tracks were already released on vinyl in 7'' format a year ago and I could do with just those two.
Don't get me wrong, there are still plenty of decent moments that deserve a spin, the whole A side falls under this category. The B side, however, with the exception of the track they did in collaboration with Chile's cumbia legend La Sonora Palacios, was rather disappointing. First they try to do some Mexican ranchera or something (a major no-no in my book) and then they go into even muddier territory with some folkloric zamba. Their cover of "Linda Secretaria" is ok, but unnecessary, I rather play Mike Laure's version.
Overall, aside from the title track, the album doesn't provide any other of those classic Chico Trujillo anthemic moments that drive the crowds wild in their shows. I wish Barbes had released their previous album on vinyl instead of this one, that one included all the classics that are mandatory in any Chilean party and are, unfortunately, unavailable on vinyl. Still, like I said, it has my support and if you haven't done so yet, I suggest you buy your copy HERE.

Friday, October 25, 2013

CONJUNTO PAPA UPA-Camuri Chico/Vintage Voudou (Music With Soul, 2013)

I've only played this one just once but I instantly knew that it'll remain as a mandatory visit in all my future playlists forever. I wasn't familiar with the artist (apparently he's from Venezuela but lives in Amsterdam) so I didn't have any expectations of preconceived notions, all I know is that I'm not a big fan of traditional Venezuelan music, the way I am of Colombian music. But man, this blew my mind and made me wonder if there's more music like this hiding in dusty records in some basement in Caracas. It definitely has some cumbia elements in the rhythm, and chicha influences in the psychedelic guitar and an overall 70's tropicalia feel, but it's none of the above, it's its on thing. Plus, there're some monumental percussion breaks. So, even if you gotta pay for international shipping, you really can't afford to miss this one. Buy it HERE.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

SETENTA-Latin Piece of Soul (Hot Casa Records, 2013)

I liked their first album a lot so I had big expectations for this one. Setenta is a French band of retro-Latin Soul formed by several musicians from different bands as a side-project and together they play some amazing music, but I always leave with the feeling that there's something missing that I can't quite point out. They definitely have skills and put their soul in the music, the arrangements are top-notch and the lyrics are basic, but not bad. Still, I don't know, sometimes they sound too soft to me, too dangerously close to background music. I wish they put more power into their recordings, more balls, they sound too delicate and elegant but fail in rushing people to the dance floor the way this music is meant to. I play it while I cook and it's perfect. I always carry their records with my in my bag and I rarely play them in my set, unless it's for warmup. I don't know, maybe that's just what they're aiming for. This new double LP includes a couple of odd covers, one of Nirvana's "Smell Like Teen Spirit" that will definitely get some chuckles form the crowd and one of Busta Rhymes that barely resembles the original, which in this case is a good thing. You can buy it HERE.

Monday, September 30, 2013

September's Reviews Roundup

KINKY-El Sueño De La Máquina (Kin Kon/Nacional Records, 2012): Even though it was released in 2012, I didn't review it until now because the vinyl LP came out in 2013 and if it wasn't for the vinyl I wouldn't be talking about it here. Back in 2001 I was Kinky's biggest fan, their self-titled debut album was my favorite release of that year and the 12'' single of "Cornman" was, hands down, the record I played the most in all my DJ sets, up until 2007. I still consider that album as a groundbreaking masterpiece and I think that's pretty much the consensus out there, however after the success of their debut they radically switched directions to focus more on pop-format, radio-friendly songs and less on DJ-oriented tracks. I can sort of understand that decision because it definitely gave them access to a lot more female fans/groupies, but the fact is that the tracks from their first album are the ones that keep being used in TV commercials, more than a decade later. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'm not a fan of current Kinky but I still support them and they still sound better than 99% of the music that comes out of Mexico, I just don't think I'd play this in my sets, but as soon as I saw it available on vinyl I knew I had to get a copy for my collection. I'm just happy that bands that stopped pressing vinyl after the Serato revolution kicked in in 2006 are finally coming back to the format. If I was them, I'd reissue their debut on vinyl. Buy it here.

VARIOUS ARTISTS-Perú Maravilloso (Tiger's Milk, 2013): There was a time, not too long ago, when nobody gave a rat's ass about Peruvian music. Nobody outside of Peru, I mean. Somehow, somewhen in the first decade of this current century, white fellas from the northern hemisphere "discovered" Peruvian music and all of a sudden you have compilations like this one coming out from the places like the UK, pressed on high-quality double vinyl (a privilege this music never enjoyed in its birthplace). I don't fully understand how this happened, if it was because of Novalima or the Roots Of Chicha comps or the sudden realization that a Peruvian band predated punk rock in sound and attitude or something else, but in the last six of seven years I've been exposed to more Peruvian music than in my whole previous life combined. And I was born and raised in Argentina, which is not too far from Peru. I'm not bitching here, I'm glad people in the Europe and the US are finally looking beyond their belly-buttons for musical inspiration, but I can't help getting a bit cynical whenever I see a trend like this take over one country's culture while completely disregarding many other countries in Latin America (and the world) and their potential in rich music to be exported and exposed globally. Don't get me wrong, I'm loving this compilation (it's too long, so I haven't heard the whole thing yet), but I'd like to see equal interest from the so-called first world in the music of say Bolivia, Ecuador or Paraguay. Get it here.

LOOPEZ-Free (Nodo Music Network, 2013): My first contact with Loopez was back in the early days of this blog, when I reviewed an Uruguayan compilation of electronic remixes of Eduardo Mateo in which he participated with one track. Since then he fell off my radar until recently when I rediscovered him thanks to my Argentine friend, DJ and producer Ezequiel Lodeiro, a.k.a. Doctor Stereo. As his name suggests, Loopez makes loop-based music, very much in the style of downtempo instrumental electronica, with plenty of bossa influences and some touches of hard hitting funk. I've been playing his single, "Lost Tape #1" in my sets for a while now and I recently got the full album, Free, which I had playing as background music at work all last week. Most of it is too chill and delicate for my sets, but it'd work out perfect if I was doing a lounge or something like that where making people dance is not the only goal. Sometimes I miss that. Anyway, Loopez deserves more vinyl pressings, so record labels out there, keep an eyen on this guy. So far, this is available digitally only and you can get it here.

BOSQ OF WHISKEY BARONS-Bosq & Orquesta de Madera (Ubiquity Records, 2013): And I left the best one for the last. Not because I wanted a climatic ending to this post, but because I have been waiting for this album to come in the mail for over a week and I really wanted to review it once I actually had it on my hands and I could play it on my turntable. Unfortunately, the package got lost or delayed or the fools at Ubiquity are just too lazy to send out orders in time, so I still don't have it, which pissed me off because I really wanted to play the shit out of this on my party last Saturday. So I guess I'll have to give you my impressions based exclusively on the MP3's that I got as a free download when I ordered the record. Whiskey Barons are at the top of the food pyramid when it comes to remixing and reworking classic Afro-Latin tracks with funky break beats and that's pretty much the foundation of my DJ sets so I've been playing their edited tracks in every single gig I had for the past couple of years and they never disappoint. Bosq is one half of the producing Boston-based duo and he surprised me with this solo debut where he actually composed and performed all original material, with the expected influences from Afro and Afro-Latin beats and his impeccable use of breaks. There's a little bit for every taste here and all the tracks are ready to be dropped anytime and getting the party going, guaranteed. I just wish I had that on vinyl seven days ago, when I should've received it. Order yours here.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


QUANTIC & ANITA TIJOUX-That Thing/Entre Rejas (Tru Thoughts, 2013): This one has all the ingredients to please Juan Data ultimate fetishistic fantasy. It has one of my favorite producers Quantic and my all time favorite femcee and friend Ana Tijoux (reclaiming her old-school name Anita) collaborating again (I'd love to see them put a whole album together), it has soulful cumbia and hip-hop, it is pressed in a beautifully packed 7'' record and it has an ass on the cover! It's like somebody read my mind and decided to do this with the explicit and exclusive intention of making my mind blow into pieces. I played it last week at Remezcla's party in SF and it sounded great. I got two copies, I suggest you get at least one, this is gonna be a collectible item. Buy it here.

ELASTIC BOND-Real (Nacional Records, 2013): Nacional Records is really getting their act together and putting out some unexpected dope stuff lately. First they released that Adrián Quesada-produced second album by Natalia Clavier and now this one. Two albums with deep roots in Latin soul music in just a couple of months. Plus, both are done by US-based artists which is a great sign because, historically, with only a couple of exceptions, Nacional has mainly distributed for the US market music that was already released successfully abroad. The fact that they took the risk of signing a small, new band of local musicians (they're from Miami, FL, of all places!) I think is great for the scene. I loved Elastic Bond's self-released demo, last year, and this proper debut album is even better. It has some cumbia, some Latin house, plenty of funky beats, a couple of mellow chill moments, some Brazilian influences and a great female vocalist... I mean, what's not to love about this, really? Buy it here.

TREMOR-Proa (Wonderwheel Recordings, 2013): Tremor is one of the artists that came out of the ZZK stable that I play the least in my sets and it's not because I dislike them, it's not because they're bad. On the contrary, they might be too good, if there's such a thing. But their music is too complex, experimental, and weird to be played at any DJ set I get to mix and that's OK, because I don't think they have crappy DJs like myself in mind when they carefully put together those magic-filled tracks. These cats are definitely into some next level avant-guard shit and I imagine they must trip their balls off when doing their thing in the studio because I listen to their music and that's all I want to do. There has not been any public statement on why they are releasing this through Nickodemus' label instead of ZZK and I don't have an inside scoop on it so I won't speculate. If you DJ at art galleries or you like listening to trippy shit on your headphones while you get stratospherically high, I suggest you get a copy of this. Buy it here.

LASCAMÃO-Rufar dos Tamborins (Names You Can Trust, 2013): You used to be able to trust Names You Can Trust for hard-hitting funky stuff, you know, the GRC style that gets everybody dancing. Lately, however, they've been going a little more into the experimental route with stuff like Meridian Brothers, Mecánica Popular and Aillacara 2743, even the latest Frente Cumbiero release was a crazy experimental. I'm down for some crazy stuff like that every once in a while, but when I'm DJing a set, I mainly wanna bring people out to the dancefloor and most of that stuff can be a bit too weird, specially for the Latino crowd that aren't necessarily the most open minded fellas. Anyway, this latest release by NYCT is all about dancefloor-igniting drumming madness, while it's still very experimental, the up-tempo batucada beats will definitely get the girls to come out and shake their bundas. A must have. Buy it here.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mementos from LAMC 2013

LUCAS ARRUDA-Sambadi (Favorite, 2012): I arrived in New York on Monday but it was too late and I was too tired to do anything. On Tuesday, however, I woke up and the first thing I did was do a yelp search for vinyl record stores. It was my only day off, aside from the show of RVSB in the Bronx later that evening, and I wanted to spend it digging. So I went to all these stores and spent a lot of money on records and this one here is the best one I got. It's a German pressing in 7'' of this single by this soulful Brazilian multi-instrumentalist who I had recently discovered online thanks to Argentina's soul master Ezequiel Lodeiro who posted a link to his music on his facebook page. I became an instant fan. As I mentioned already in last year's LAMC coverage post, for me the intersection between Brazilian music and funk is the exact location of musical heaven. The original track is pure beauty and it comes with a remix on the b-side that's even funkier. Get it HERE.

BEBE-Un Pokito De Rocanrol (EMI, 2012): Wednesday. Before going to the hotel for the registration I stopped by at Remezcla's office in Williamsburg and I picked a promo copy of Bebe's last year album on vinyl. I don't know who had the insane idea of pressing this at EMI, mayor label vinyl releases, especially deluxe editions like this one, with gatefold cover, are a total mystery to me. It's like once very blue moon they pick the most random artists to press them on vinyl and nobody ever finds out because it doesn't get any distribution anyway. Oh well, the art in this one is pretty cool and there're at least a couple of funky tracks that are definitely DJ-friendly while the rest is, as you might expect from the title, mostly simple rock-based indie pop with silly lyrics. Anyway, I'm not complaining, I love vinyl and I want more Latin music artists to be released in this format, so I welcome this. My only problem was that after going to the hotel for the registration we went straight to a concert, all this while my backpack was progressively getting heavier and heavier which ended leaving me with some serious back pain by the end of the long day. Buy it digitally HERE.

ELEANOR DUBINSKY-Listen To The Music (self released, 2012): So I got to the hotel for the conference registration and it was late so the line was long. As soon as I got in line this one girl, standing in front of me, turned around and gave me the first demo of LAMC 2013. She's not Latina but she sings a little bit in Spanish (besides English and French) and she does it right, plus she's quite pretty. The whole demo is very chill, well produced but lacking of any edge (as you can probably guess by looking at the yoga-inspiring cover). The title-track has some nice flamenco vibes and the most obvious, generic lyrics ever: "Listen to the music, Escucha la música" (seriously, what else can we do? Dance to the music? Oh yeah, she says that too later). Anyway, if I was at a bar having a drink or at a bar mitsvah of some family friend and she was there singing live, I'd be absolutely fine with it, but listening to it on CD doesn't really appeal to me. Get it HERE.

AMAPOLA DRY-Buenos Aires New York (self released, 2013): Right behind me on the line was Argentine producer Martín Fuks, who had worked with some mestizo stars in Barcelona in the past but now lives in New York and does this pop-electro-tango thing called Amapola Dry. There're female and male vocals and Spanish and English lyrics. I like her singing in Spanish and him in English the best, but they both go both ways. The production is slick, chill and elegant, nothing too crazy experimental but neither cliché. I haven't done lounge DJ sets in a long time, but back in the beginnings of my career I used to play all sorts of electro-tango stuff, Gotan Project was the main dish of all my sets for many years, and this one would've fit perfectly right there. One of the highlights of the festival was running into him again during Catupecu Machu's concert and talk about our mutual love for Sumo and the legacy of Luca Prodan. Buy it HERE.

LOS CREMA PARAISO-Sleepwalk (self released, 2013): So you're an struggling upcoming artist and you wanna make a good first impression when you meet music journalists at a crowded conference? You want yours to stand out amid the pile of demos that keeps accumulating in my backpack? Take this piece of wise advice from veteran DJ Afro. Yes, Los Amigos Invisibles composer, guitarist and overall mastermind also was at the registration line but he didn't bring any of his invisible friends with him, he was instead promoting this side-project he has with two other musicians from New York called Los Crema Paraiso, and guess what? His demo was not a CD but a motherfucking cassette tape! That's the way to go! Sure, 7'' vinyl would've been way better, but those are hella expensive to produce, so a tape will get you pretty much the same effect. I haven't got a tape in a long time and this one, by default, went right to the top of my pile of things to listen from LAMC. Plus, if you're so lame that you don't even have a boombox anymore or you're too young and never had one, you don't even know what they are, no worries, it comes with a download code. The two tracks are instrumental only, but on the LAMC compilation (that's only digital this year) they have a bad-ass cover of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus with some female vocalist. You wanna get it? Read the fucking link on the picture and type it on your browser you lazy mofos.

ANDREA ECHEVERRI (Nacional Records, 2005): Aterciopelados' singer Andrea Echeverri released a second solo album in 2011, but this one here was her first one and, I'm not 100% sure, but it was probably also the very first release by the label Nacional Records. Well, somehow that CD appeared on my LAMC goodie bag, in an odd move that can only be interpreted as Nacional Records cleaning up their storage room and getting rid of slow-moving overstock to make room for more social media interns in their office. Also on that same bag there was Manu Chao's third album (from 2007) and every single LAMC compilation starting in 2002 (these are tripple albums, so do the math and add that to my backback). At least those I can give away, but that CD of Andrea singing about giving birth and breastfeeding, that one nobody likes it, not even my female friends who are Aterciopelados fans and have babies of their own. If you pay for the shipping I give you my copy for free, if not, you can Get it HERE.

HACHE ST-Zafra (Quilombo Arte, 2013): Now here's some really dope shit. I've been meaning to get a copy of this since it came out a couple of months ago, mainly because that track, "Conmemoración" is one of my favorite songs of 2013, so far. So, right after I was done with the registration I headed down to Central Park where they had a Latin hip-hop showcase with Fat Joe as a headliner plus Venezuela's Cuarto Poder, Oakland's Los Rakas and Chile's Latin Bitman. In the middle of the crowd I ran into Mexico's premier MC, Bocafloja and his Dominican protégé Hache ST, who are respectively the equivalents of Talib Kweli and Common in the Spanish-language hip-hop arena. The CD is full of leftist, politically-conscious, combative, intellectual lyrics, and jazzy, organic-sounding beats. No auto-tune, no bling, no booty-shaking hooks. In other words, the exact opposite of what was going on on stage at that very same moment, with Los Rakas. This is exactly the kind of rap in Spanish that used to wet my panties back in the day and nowadays mostly appeals to my nostalgia. If I've heard this in 1998, when I was going crazy for Jazz-Two, this would've been my all-time favorite album. I kinda outgrew that purist hip-hop format since then and as a DJ I lean more towards funkier beats that will put people on the dance-floor instead of lecturing them with complex lyrics about the history of African slaves in Latin America. I might not play this at my parties (where I do play Los Rakas) but I'm definitely adding all its 15 tracks to my playlist to listen on my iPod while commuting. Get it HERE.

VINILOVERSUS-Cambié De Nombre (Altamira, 2012): Appearances can be deceptive and when I first heard the name of this band, or actually saw it in the list of artists that I was expected to interview, I got excited only because they had the word "vinilo" in their name and I instantly assumed, naively, that it had something to do with vinyl records manipulation. That's my shit, right? Then I saw their photo and they looked like a pop-rock band with pretty boys and I thought they'd start singing corny love songs. Then I pressed play and they sounded like Black Sabbath. Seriously, I saw people walking out of their showcase after hearing their first riff arguing that they were "heavy metal." Viniloversus is essentially a Venezuelan rock band with one guitar and to bass players so you can imagine their sound is super dense. They do have some corny love songs for the ladies but they're at their best in tracks like "Yunque" that ignited an fierce instant moshpit in the Mercury Lounge on Wednesday night, something you don't usually get to see in LAMC shows. If I wasn't carrying my backpack full of crap, I would've joined. Buy it HERE.

SUBSUELO-Me Quedo Con Los Recuerdos/El Viejo Boombap (Gnawledge Records, 2013): It was Thursday at the conference when I got to interview Los Rakas, for the first time. We live in the same town and we constantly cross paths, but I never had an opportunity to sit down and talk to them. Not that I was dying for it either, I'm not their biggest fan, but I am a fan of their touring DJ, DJ Ethos, from Mexico-via-Los Angeles, who I met back in 2010 when he was the touring DJ for Ana Tijoux. Ethos did a great set the day before at Central Park and I would've love to have him in the interview too, but only the two MCs of Los Rakas showed up, so as soon as I was done talking to them, I went up to Ethos to say hi and he surprised me with this 7'' record. Besides DJing for Los Rakas and the Quilombo Arte crew, Ethos is also part of the multidisciplinary Subsuelo crew who are behind the best global bass party in East LA and are now releasing some music too. They put this beautiful little record together and it's not commercially available yet so I'm happy to be among the firsts to review it. It's pressed in 33rpm instead of the standard 45, so it fits a lot of extra stuff, including some bonus beats, intros by a sonidero announcer that are fucking awesome and a scratch track for Ethos to do this thing. Yes, you read that right, a 7'' record with a scratch track! The A side is very rootsy flamenco and downtempo, the B side mixes flamenco guitar with a boom-bap beat an some scratching. So far you can only get this personally at the Subsuelo parties in Los Angeles, but keep an eye out for it dropping soon.

LOS CHINCHILLOS DEL CARIBE-Demo (Self Release, 2013): Right after I interviewed Los Rakas I met these guys who apparently work with their same publicist. They are a modern cumbia band from Puerto Rico. Yes, now even fucking Puerto Rico has their own cumbia! I've heard cumbia coming from Denmark, Australia and the UK, but never in a million years did I expect somebody to start doing cumbia in this Caribbean island. Mainly because in my DJing experience, all the Puerto Ricans that I've encountered fucking HATE cumbia. Puerto Rico is one of the few countries of Latin America (along with Brazil, Cuba and Dominican Republic) where cumbia was never popular. But these guys, apparently, enjoy swimming against the current and I applaud that. They sound like commercial Argentine cumbia villera mixed with some Mexican cumbia elements and aesthetics and their lyrics are hella cheesy. There's basically nothing "alternative" or "ñu-cumbia" about them so I don't know what they're doing in this conference but I welcome them with open arms anyway. After all, they wear Mexican wrestling masks and told me their debut album will be titled Nos Fuimos, deja-fucking-vu, right? Download their demo HERE.

EVA CAUTIVA-Mil Idiomas (Self Release, 2013): Some people still think that I like "rock en español," I don't know why, maybe because they don't read my blog. I guess this publicist I met at the conference on Thursday is one of them. She's also one of the kind of publicists that gets mad at you and takes it personal if you ignore her pitches and don't review the music that she gives you. So I feel pressured to review this album, that's totally not my style and under normal conditions I would've skipped after reading their bio and seeing that they still use "rock en español" to describe their music. Anyway, they're from Puerto Rico and they definitely have some influences from some iconic '80s pop-rock, which I guess is the reason they still use the expired label "rock en español." Their initial three tracks were very energetic and I actually enjoyed it, but then they went limp-dick on me on the fourth and I almost pressed eject. Instead I skipped and the following track wasn't bad at all but with their sixth they reached the limit of my patience for this kind of music and the eject was definitive this time. On a side note, the album art is pretty amazing. The album is not yet available in the US.

CATUPECU MACHU-El Mezcal & La Cobra (EMI, 2011): Thursday night. I was never a fan of these guys but I got to see them playing live a few times back in the mid-to-late nineties in Buenos Aires and then again in Los Angeles in 2002 and always had a great time at their shows. They're one of the few Argentine alternative rock acts from that era that enjoys cult following at home but never quite crossed over to international audiences with success, and I think that's because their music doesn't make almost any sense in recorded form; Catupecu Machu is one of those bands that must be experienced live. They have so much energy on stage, it's like an overdose of power and loudness. Amid the Latin Alternative scene, that's been dominated for the last couple of years by the sans-balls-ness of skinny Chilean indie boys who sing like 13 year old girls, their injection of pure, high-octane testosterone muscle rock, can be refreshing, to say the least. Even to me, that I don't even like rock and I don't have a hint of macho chromosome on my DNA. But I don't know, somehow they appeal to my primal instincts and to my nostalgia and bring me back to my stage-diving days before I went fully b-boy. Also, it was a pleasure interviewing them on Friday because they're surprisingly intelligent and articulate. The album is not yet available in the US.

ZUZUKA PODEROSA-Carioca Bass (Self Release 2013): Friday night, it was raining so I skipped the M.I.S. show at Prospect Park and went to take a nap instead, so I could attend this party where I finally got to meet her majesty, the queen of baile funk, Zuzuka Poderosa herself, in person. I had interviewed her in the past and she was one of the funnest interviewees I've ever encountered. I was really glad to find out that she's as charming, playful, and sexy in real life. Plus she's so gorgeous that I had to drink a couple of beers before I gathered the courage to walk up to her and introduce my dorky self. If there's one thing that LAMC has historically failed at was including more Brazilian acts in their line-up. I'm always perplexed by the whole bullshit demographic segmentation of the music industry in the US; to me (and everybody else with half a working neuron) Brazil is a part of Latin America and Portuguese-language music, like Zuzuka's, deserves to be included along the music en español and not crammed in the world music section. Maybe it's because I grew up next door to Brazil and I'm way more familiar with their music and culture than the average Mexican or Puerto Rican immigrant, who are the main target audience of Latin Alternative music in the US. I don't know. Anyway, Carioca Bass is her latest EP, it has two explosive bunda-shaking tracks in multiple versions each and they'll make anybody dance regardless of their knowledge of Portuguese. Get it HERE.

ATROPOLIS-Transitions (Cumba Mela, 2013): After spending a good amount of time chatting with Zuzuka Poderosa, I saw her climb on stage and join the performance of Lido Pimienta, resulting on one of the hottest impromptu moments in LAMC 2013. I don't know if the guy DJing during Lido Pimienta's show was in fact Atropolis, because I don't really know what he looks like but he might have been, since well, that was in part his party at Drom. I think. I don't know, all my recollections from that specific night are kinda blurry. In a good way. All I know for sure is that this Atropolis guy has Lido Pimienta doing a beautiful song on his upcoming debut album, and that's why I made the connection. I also know that Lido's performance was very sexy, but it was late at night and I was already drunk so I may have imagined it. Atropolis debut album, Transitions, was actually waiting for me in my mailbox when I came back from New York and it instantly took me back to that amazing unofficial after-party of LAMC. Not available yet, dropping August 13th.

K.SABROSO-Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Funky (Breaking Bread, 2013): Aside from the long chats I had with my former editor, some of the best moments during this conference days had been my conversations with K.Sabroso, both that Friday night at Drom and on Sunday at the NYTC backyard bbq party. We have plenty in common, me and this guy who I had never met before, he comes from a hip-hop/b-boy background and approached Latin music from a break-beat angle, he loves 7'' singles and most importantly, he takes the hour of the party invitations literally and is usually the first to arrive, something I happen to do as well. As a direct result of this, we spent long periods of time sharing DJing anecdotes before anybody else arrived at both those parties. K.Sabroso is still very new to the scene, he has done some awesome remix work for other artists and this is his vinyl debut. Two up-tempo funky instrumental tracks obviously heavy on the breaks. Nothing indicative of his Central American background on these particular track, but he has done some awesome work with Garifuna music that deserves to be pressed on vinyl too. More info HERE.

DEL EXILIO-Panamericano (self release, 2013): One of the biggest problems you run into during this kind of conferences is getting to meet all the people you were supposed to, in such a short time. Same with the concerts, you can't possible catch them all, there's always some stuff you'll miss (in my case I mainly regret missing Natalia Clavier). Anyway, it was part of my plan to meet with Del Exilio's David Sandoval but it didn't happen, so he ended up mailing me his CD and I didn't get it until a week later, hence this addendum to my post. Panamericano is an imaginary (or real life?) trip through the Americas through music, covering places like Buenos Aires, Perú and Mexico but also New York, LA and Florida. It's all about looking in those connections for some answers about what it means to be Latino, something that's legitimately troubling for many Latinos born and raised in the US, like David who claims to be 100% American and 100% Latino in the best track of the album, aptly titled "200%." With splendid production in the hands of Los Amigos Invisibles' DJ Afro, the album blends a lot of different influences in the beats, with well crafted pop song formats and outstanding vocal skills. Not necessarily DJing material, but still quite funky at moments. Very radio friendly. Great for road trips. Buy it HERE.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Short Reviews Roundup

Yet another batch of instant, lazy, uninspired reviews collected in one post just to make people that send me free records happy. Keep supporting independent artists and record labels and don't forget to buy vinyl whenever available. 

NICKODEMUS feat. SAMMY AYALA-Baila a Tu Manera [Whiskey Barons Remix] (Wonderwheel, 2013): I wasn't very impressed with last year's Nickodemus release Moon People, but this one here brings him straight back to the Nickodemus we all loved six, seven years ago. I don't know if it's the guest vocalist, Sammy Ayala, who I have no fucking idea who he is, or if it's the Whiskey Barons that have that midas touch to make everything funkier, but I love this 7''. I can tell for sure it's gonna remain on mandatory rotation on my sets for a while. Buy it HERE.

DOCTOR STEREO-Jet 2 Panama/Hágalo (G.A.M.M., 2013): Argentina's Ezequiel Lodeiro, a.k.a. Doctor Stereo, has recently become the most sought-after producer/remixer from his country. At least I'm absolutely sure no other Argentine DJ had his music pressed on vinyl by so many of the  the most prestigious, DJ-oriented record labels in the Northern Hemisphere. After being released by Lovemonk, Resense, Names You Can Trust, Bastard Jazz and Jack To Phono, he now drops this indispensable rework of the Mandrill classic "Hágalo" with an even funkier instrumental flip-side on this 12'' released by Sweden's kings of bootlegs G.A.M.M. Buy it HERE.

NOVALIMA-Karimba Diabolic Remixes (Wonderwheel, 2013): Nothing will ever be as awesome as Novalima's Afro, for obvious reasons; they used all the dope classic Afro-Peruvian songs there. After that, the only thing they had left was to dig deeper into more rare tunes or create their owns, which sure, it's a lot more interesting from the artistic point of view, but none of their original creations have the effect that "Machete" and "Mayoral" have when you play them at a party. Anyway, this new collection of remixes redeems their latest album, Karimba, which was a bit too rootsy for me, bringing it back to the dance floor with reworks by a who-is-who of todays most prestigious remixers. No mentions of vinyl yet, but you can get the digital release HERE.

SAOCO Vol. 2 (VampiSoul, 2013): I'm definitely not an expert on this kind of Puerto Rican music, probably the total oposite. In fact, I don't even know what saoco means, I'm pretty sure it's not a Spanish word, that's all I can say. This is the second volume of a compilation put together by Spain's VampiSoul dedicated to bomba and plena, some pre-salsa, heavy percussion-based Afro-Boriqua music. Unfortunately they sent me a digital promo, and this is where I'd like to have the vinyl instead so I could read the liner notes instead of embarrassing myself with such a lame, waste of time of a review. Order yours HERE.

GEKO JONES & ATROPOLIS PRESENT-Palenque Records Remixed (Dutty Artz, 2013): I don't know who or what Atropolis is, but Geko Jones is mad cool and deserves all my props for his mixes and remixes. Anyway, here he put together for Dutty Artz a compilation of remixes of Afro-Colombian music produced in the Atlantic Coast. It's a lot closer to West African music than cumbia and very upbeat. These are all high-octane dancefloor igniters guaranteed, specially the ones by Captain Planet and So Shifty. No talk about vinyl. Buy it HERE.

BACHACO-Bachaco (Delanuca, 2012): Remember Locos Por Juana before they got rid of the band and became a ñu-cumbia soundsystem? Bachaco pretty much follow that same formula, in the sense that they are a party rock band playing a mix of reggae-ska-cumbia tunes with bilingual lyrics and some rap here and there. Oh, and they happen to be from Miami, FL, so I guess this must be a quite popular style there. There's definitely some strong cumbia-based numbers there that I assume must explode when they're played live, like "Jamaican Cumbia," "Cumbia pa' la nena" and the El Gran Silencio-reminiscing "Culebra." Nothing super edgy or innovative there, but still, fun stuff. The album also comes with some forgettable moments, like the corny romantic number "Mi sol" (which could easily hit with the mainstream Latino crowds) and the retro-rock-en-español cliché-filled "La Ola." Still better than 90% of the crap that plays on commercial Latin radios in the US so it gets a pass. Buy it HERE.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

NICO COTA-Escucha El Ritmo (Pop Art, 2013)

I have a couple of problems with the funk from my hometown. On one hand, it's too white. And when I say white, I don't mean it (exclusively) in an ethnic way, in the sense white is understood in the US, but in a sense of upper-middle class, bourgeoise comfort and all that. Not only because of the socioeconomic background of the majority of its visible players, but also because of its target audience. They tend to lean onto a type of funk that's too clean and elegant and lacks any sort of edge, which in turn falls dangerously close to easy listening. My second problem with Argentine funk is that a lot of it, if not most, is just a gimmicky imitation of classic African-American 70's funk with virtually no local flavor added. In other words, if you're looking for Latin funk, you'll have a lot more luck finding it in US-based Latin funk bands (from Mandrill to Brownout) because most Argentines, as it's popularly known, are genetically impaired to let loose and appreciate any Latin flavor in their music.
That being said, Nico Cota's second album is a really solid achievement for Argentina's burgeoning funk scene. Virtually unknown outside of my old country, DJ and multi-instrumentalist Nico Cota was directly involved with Argentina's funk royalty, also known as the Spinetta Clan, since the beginnings of his career. He had played with both, Spinetta senior (also known as Luís Alberto, legendary pioneer of Spanish language rock, every music snob's favorite) and junior (Dante, also known as one half of Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas). In fact, the one time I got to see Cota spinning, back in the day, it was at the most posh and exclusive of all nightclubs I've ever been to in Buenos Aires, where many members of the Spinetta clan where hanging out with top models and celebrities (I left that party convinced that Cota was one of the best DJ's in my hometown and with the preconception listed above, about Argentine funk being an elitist phenomenon). So, evidently, the Spinetta influence is present in Escucha El Ritmo, in fact, Illya Kuryaki show up to suport Nico as guests on one track in this guests-packed and interlude-packed, 25-track long album. Even though Nico approaches funk from a similar angle than Dante, he doesn't have Dante's undeniable charisma or sex-appeal, nor does he have his sometimes annoying non-sequitur sense of humor when writing lyrics. What he does have is a deep understanding of beat construction and delicate sonic architecture. It's easy to figure out why it took him so long, since his Jamiroquai-esque debut in 2003 to deliver a follow up.
Amongst the many guests, there's also Rubén Rada's daughter, Julieta, with whom he had worked in the past already, as her producer. Now if your looking for something really funky and definitely not-white, with explicit Latin connections in the Southernmost part of South America, Afro-Uruguayan candombe legend Rubén Rada '70s recordings should be your digging quest's square one. Unfortunately, very little of his legacy is shown in Nico Cota's white-boy funk. Fortunately it's not as clean-cut and gimmiky as most of his contemporaries and competitors.
Other guests include dancehall toaster Miss Bolivia (who you may know for contributing with many in the ñu-cumbia scene) and R&B singer/actress/Playboy model Emme (yet another daughter of a famous musician, in her case, composer Lito Vitale).
Regardless of its help perpetuating of the notion of Buenos Aires funk scene being an reality show of rich heirs to celebrities, this album, along with last year's Illya Kuryaki's are some of the best examples of current Argentine funk you'll find. I just wish it was grittier and had more dance-floor igniting moments. A vinyl pressing wouldn't hurt either.

Buy it here.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Short Reviews Combo

I haven't been able to post here as frequently as I'd like to, mainly because I've been focusing my unpaid writing time to a big upcoming project that's also taking over most of my creative energy. Still, I received some cool new music worth mentioning and it's my duty to give props where props are due and share my suggestions with the few loyal readers who still visit this blog. So there we go, one paragraph reviews starting now:

EMPRESARIOS-El Sonido Mágico Remixed (Fort Knox Records, 2013): I haven't listened to the original Sonido Mágico in a while and these remixes reminded me of how good that album was and that I should play it more often on my sets. As with all compilations of remixes, there's gonna be a hit-and-miss factor, but there's way more than enough hits on this one to make the purchase of the whole album worth it. My very favorite is the remix Fort Knox Five made of "Maria Juana" a song that, surprisingly, in it's original version, was one of my least favorites. The funky remixes Omegaman and All Good Funk Alliance made went also directly into my playlist rotation. On a second listen I got more into the house track, especially the one by Bobby C Sound TV. There's some reggaetón, dub and ñu-cumbia there too, so a bit for everybody. Unfortunately hasn't been pressing any vinyl for a while now, so I'll assume this will only be available digitally. Get it HERE.

VVAA-El Sonido De La Carretera Central (Masstropicas, 2013): I have no idea what the fuck this is but it was a fun ride. As usual, Masstropicas lectures me into darker and deeper territories of the unknown world of Peruvian chichadelia. Now that everybody and their mothers across the world are acquainted with chicha music, for those who got hooked and wanna find out about even more obscure stuff, well, Masstropicas, is your place to go. This is a compilation done around one artist, a virtuoso guitarist who played for several bands throughout the 70's and 80's and did some remarkable stuff. Like with all this kind of music, I'm always leaning towards the instrumental tracks and I tend to skip the ones with vocals, because the lyrics, as a general rule, are absolutely horrible, but if you don't understand Spanish, you might enjoy those too. Buy it, on vinyl only, HERE.

CHICO MANN-Magical Thinking (Soundway Records, 2013): This is funky. It's retro. It's futuristic. It's danceable. It's artsy. It's trippy. It's a very interesting album in so many levels. Plus it has the best cover art of any record released so far this year and just for that, you should grab a copy of this LP. Chico Mann is a genius producer and all his music has some hypnotic qualities to me, but I rarely play it on my DJ sets. This album, however, might change that, I think there're at least four songs there that I'd spin. Haven't tried it yet because I only have it on digital format, but it's on my plans to get it on vinyl as soon as I come across a copy. Get it HERE.

NATALIA CLAVIER-Lumen (Nacional Records, 2013): Adrián Quesada (Brownout, Grupo Fantasma) produced this one and I'll basically buy anything that this guy produces. He had already worked with Natalia on Echocentrics a couple of years ago and most probably the idea of producing a whole album for her came from there. She hasn't had a break yet as a solo singer but she's lent her vocal for other artists such as Thievery Corporation and Federico Aubele (who I'm convinced must be her husband, or boyfriend or something). This is her debut for Nacional Records and that's great news, except for the fact that Nacional, as we all know, doesn't press too much vinyl, and I doubt they'll ever press this one and that's a pity because vinyl should be the mandatory format to play anything produced by Quesada. get it HERE.

LOS ANGELES AZULES-Cómo Te Voy A Olvidar (Sony Music, 2013): Back in the early days of ñu-cumbia Toy Selectah, then with Sonidero Nacional, did a remix of Los Ángeles Azules' one-hit-wonder "Cómo Te Voy A Olvidar" that I remember I played a lot. I'm pretty sure I even included it in my very first ñu-cumbia mixtape, done even before this blog existed. So, at least five or six years had gone by since then, and now Toy Selectah, along with M.I.S.'s Camilo Lara produced this sort of self-tribute/compilation of greatest hits for the Mexican romantic cumbia icons, and of course it's titled after their only internationally famous song (and includes two versions of it, one with Kinky, one with Nortec). The list of names that show up as featured artists in this is long and packed with very familiar faces for anybody that follows current Latin Alternative music and to my surprise not all of them are Mexican. If you ever have to DJ a Mexican wedding or quinceañera party, playing Los Ángeles Azules is a must, so having this versions in your hard-drive might make the experience a bit more tolerable. (Available only in Mexico, so far)

Thursday, May 30, 2013

POSTALES Soundtrack (Car-Del/Colemine, 2013)

I'm not big into soundtracks, but they rarely get pressed in vinyl anymore, so I didn't miss my chance to get a copy of this one.
I haven't seen the movie and for what I can infer by watching the trailer it's about some White gringos going to Machu Pichu, in Perú, and of course the young girl in the family falls for a street kid from Cuzco who doesn't speak a word of English while there's some sort of conspiracy to build some resort for foreigners at the expense of the locals rich heritage. In other words, everything that appeals to the white-liberal-guilt of the gringo audience.
With all these clichés I wasn't particularly dying to go watch this flick, but I instantly dug the soundtrack. It has elements of soul and dub, mixed in with chicha and spagetti western and it's mainly composed and performed by Los Sospechos. I have no idea who Los Sospechos are or what the name means (is it a misspelling of Los Sospechosos?) but I had one of their 7'' singles that Colemine released a while back and I liked it quite a bit. I think the band has common members with Budos Band, or actually, that's all I could find about them online in the thorough twenty-five-second research I just did before writing this line. The thing is, it doesn't matter. I've been playing this album a lot for the past couple of weeks at home while I cook and I love it. It's mostly all chill instrumentals with a distinctive retro sound, plus two dreamy tracks with vocals by Las Hermanas Ponce de León (I won't even bother googling them) and a short Andean folk tune. If I was more into sampling I bet I'd find some awesome loops and breaks in here and then have somebody lay some rap verses on top.

Buy it here.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MEXICAN DUBWISER-Revolution Radio (Kin Kin Records, 2013)

Marcelo Tijerina, a.k.a. Mexican Dubwiser has been in this ñu-cumbia thing since the very beginnings of the genre. In fact, as I've already mentioned on this blog before, he was of a great influence to me at one point, because he was the first DJ I saw spinning Toy Selectah-produced cumbia remixes back when I still didn't have the balls to do so myself. It was after I saw him opening for Kinky that I said to myself, hey, I could be doing that myself, that could be me. And eventually that led me to create that new DJ persona that started spinning ñu-cumbia in San Francisco's scene back in late 2006.
It took him a long time and a bunch of hard work and perseverance, but after all those many years and a couple of successful bootleg comp releases, Mexican Dubwiser finally got his official debut album out.
It's packed to the rim with top-notch guests and there's a second disc (in the Mexican version of the album only) with plenty of remixes. As expected cumbia is the glue that holds it all together but there are many other spices in the mix. Now of course, ñu-cumbia isn't really blog-worthy news anymore and most of the hipsters who were into it a couple of years ago now are impatiently looking at their Twitter feed to see what's the next cool thing coming after moombahton. Marcelo isn't here to please those types trying to come up with the next cumbia-trap bullshit. Leave that to soundcloud babies, I say. There are some really good joints here for those true heads who stuck around and I'll be spinning them next time I have a chance.

Buy it here.