Category: Latin Music

Sotomayor is a rapidly rising Mexico City, Mexico-based sibling electro pop duo featuring arguably two of their hometown’s most accomplished musicians: Paulina Sotomayor (vocals), best known for her work as a drummer in local rock/folk act Jefes del Desierto,  and Raul Sotomayor (production), best known for his work as one-half of award-winning jazz/funk duo Beat Buffet and for creating DayOff, a Sunday afternoon party that presents global bass acts rom around the world. Paullina Sotomayor and Raul Sotomayor founded Sotomayor back in 2015. And although it’s their first project together, the act which has released two album’s — 2015’s Salvaje and 2017’s Conquistador — has received attention from Vice, MTV and KEXP for a sound that meshes elements of cumbia, Afrobeat, dancehall, Peruvian chicha and merengue with modern electronic production and rock ‘n’ roll-like urgency. Adding to a growing profile, the act has toured across the UK, the States and Colombia.

Recorded in studios in Puerto Rico and Mexico, the duo’s soon-to-be released Eduardo Cabra-produced, third full-lengh album Origenes is slated for a February 14, 2020 release through Wonderwheel Recordings. Reportedly, the rapidly rising Mexico City-based act’s third album finds them continuing to draw their sound and aesthetic from the sounds of Latin America’s clubs and streets.  Possessing a strong sense of tradition, the material further cements the sibling duo’s reputation for an unerring knack for melody paired with a rock ‘n’ roll-influenced urgency — but unlike their previously released albums, Origenes finds the Sotomayors exploring and adding Afro Caribbean percussion to the mix.

“Meneate pa’ mi,” Origenes’ second and latest single is a decidedly upbeat, track centered around Raul Sotomayor’s thumping, club thumping  production featuring a chopped and looped horn sample and tweeter and woofer rocking beats paired with Paulina Sotomayor’s self-assured half-sung, half rapped vocals. Much like JOVM mainstay El Dusty, the Mexico City-based duo’s newest single envisions a globalized, genre-free world, a world as the great George Clinton once sung that’s “one nation under a groove.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(New York, NY) — The Mexican brother-sister duo Sotomayor are back with their second single from upcoming album “Orígenes” (February 14, 2020). “Menéate pa’ mí” sees the group heat things up a notch from their last single (“Quema”) with Paulina Sotomayor’s vocals somewhere in between rapping and singing over brother Raul’s uptempo beat of horn samples and a driving kick drum. Additional production work from Eduardo Cabra (aka Visitante of Calle 13 fame) solidifies the record in the Latin-meets-electronic style the group is known for. The new single is out now and is available everywhere you stream music.

 

Sotomayor is due to release their third album Orígenes through the NY based label Wonderwheel Recordings, on February 14th. On Orígenes, Sotomayor performs Latinx electronic music that is as bold, thrilling and alive as any street party, with a strong sense of roots or tradition. Yet it is also music that is defined by the duo’s qualities as songwriters, with a clear knack for melody and dynamics that add a sense of rock ‘n’ roll urgency.

They are aided on the album by co-producer Eduardo Cabra (“Visitante” of the much-missed Puerto Rican rebel rousers Calle 13), who has recently helped push Latin singer/songwriters like Jorge Drexler, iLe and Vincent Garcia into making ground-breaking fusions of Latin tradition and modern musical forms, and won two Latin Grammy Producer of the Year awards in the process. The trick appears to have been rung once more. Sotomayor are creating their own unique musical universe, fuelled by the sounds of Latin America’s clubs and streets, with a level of songcraft and production know-how that only seems to keep on growing.

The forthcoming album was recorded between Mexico and Puerto Rico, and was produced by the 28 times Grammy Winner Eduardo Cabra aka “Visitante” from the legendary band “Calle 13”. In this production Sotomayor explores a new Afro Caribbean vision in the music, much more dance floor focused, and highly influenced by percussion.

So far the new album Orígenes, has received accolades from FADER and The New York Times with their lead single “Quema,” out now. “Quema” lets you know what it is straight-away: the “chuck-chucka-chuck” rhythm of the scraper (guira), the rising bass line, the keyboard that appears to be sending out an alarm signal. This is clearly cumbia, but it isn’t recognisable for long. A pounding bass line takes over, a beat is set and then Paulina Sotomayor’s voice enters, guiding the track. At first she is slow, assured, but then the chorus hits and there’s a release, a soulful higher-pitched melody as new synth lines bubble below. Elements of that original cumbia beat return in new ways, adding urgency, rhythm and detail, as the song continues to reinvent itself and play with ideas of what global bass and cumbia should sound like, all the while giving full focus to the song itself, to telling its story.

The cherry on top is the guest appearance of Totin “Arará” Agosto, one of Puerto Rico’s most loved singers and composers, and a man pivotal in putting Puerto Rican bomba back on the map. He adds joyful second vocals, seemingly losing himself in the music. His presence is a reminder that the musica callejera (street music) he plays does not have to be so different to club music. This is music to dance to, to revel, to telegraph delight.

Sotomayor are the brother/sister duo of Raul and Paulina Sotomayor. They formed in 2015 after years of activity in Mexico City’s emerging indie scene, playing in bands such as Jefes del Desierto and Beat Buffet. Orígenes is their third album following Salvaje (2015) and Conquistador (2017).

“Sotomayor’s bold take on Latinx electronic music mixes up innovations in the genre with traditional cumbia rhythms, creating something familiar yet refreshing.” – Fader

“n “Quema,” Sotomayor — the duo of Mexican siblings Raul and Paulina Sotomayor — gestures briefly toward traditional percussion, then rolls in 1980s-flavored synthesizers, with a drum machine, a fuzzy bass line and bubbly arpeggios.” – New York Times

” Origenes due out early 2020, will be co-produced by two time Latin Grammy Producer of the Year winner, Eduardo Cabra (aka Visitante of the Puerto Rican giant, Calle 13). That alone places this release into the upper echelon of the Latin music stratosphere. And, quite merited, from what is heard on their first single.” – KCRW

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The Jacksonville, FL-based Salsa and Afro-Cuban collective LPT is comprised of a cast of local scene vets, including Josué A. Cruz (lead vocals). Milan Algood (timbales, vocals), Angel Garcia (keys, vocals), Mike Emmert (baritone sax), Bryant Patterson (trombone), Jonah Pierre (bongo and bell), Stan Piper (bass), Juan Carlos Rollan (tenor sax, vocals), JP Salvat (congas) and Steve Strawley (trumpet). Initially forming with the mission of keeping Salsa Dura (Hard Salsa) and Descarga Salsa alive, the act have quickly become ambassadors of Salsa and Afro-Cuban music in the Southeast. Along with that, the band has managed to share the diversity of the area with a new, young audience while allowing the band’s grizzled vets an opportunity to play old school-inspired sounds.

The band’s full-length debut Sin Parar is slated for a January 2020 release, and the album reportedly finds the band capturing the high energy of their live set while featuring their thought-provoking take on hard salsa. Interestingly, the album’s first single, album title track “Sin Parar” — which translates into English as “non-stop” is a Fania Records-like dance floor friendly song that is centered around lyrics that encourages listeners to start looking at their world critically. 

 

“The inspiration for the single is the feeling we all get from the machine,” according to the band’s Josué A. Cruz. The Machine as Cruz explains is a metaphor for life, work. tech and family going non-stop. “As a band,” Cruz adds, “we decided that if the machine is going to march on without stopping, then so are we. It’s almost innate in the metaphor that you have to keep marching on if the machine is marching on. It’s the only way to deal with the grinding of the gears and nerves.”

The band concludes, “Salsa music, and Latin music as a whole, is easily characterized as simple party music with whimsical lyrics, and there is a place for that. Yet, there is a rich tradition of music with substance in our genre. Music created on the street is going to have something to say about said street. We hope to humbly add our fingerprint to the thought-provoking canon.”

 

 

 

New Video: JOVM Mainstay Neon Indian Releases an Absurdist and Politically- Charged Single and Visual

Alan Palomo is a Mexican-born, Denton, TX-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer and film maker, who’s best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed recording project Neon Indian. I’ve written quite a bit about Palomo and Neon Indian over the years, and as you may recall, with the release of four albums and an EP, 2009’s Psychic Chasms, 2013’s Era Extraña and  Errata Anex EP and 2015’s Vega Intl. Night School, Palomo firmly established a slickly produced synth pop sound indebted to Prince, Michael Jackson and others. 

Last year, Palomo released his first narrative short, 86’d, “a love letter to New York cinema and in a way, a final recapitulation of the Night School universe,” the JOVM mainstay explained in press notes at the time. “Shot on 16mm over the course of three nights, it was an ambitious undertaking for all parties involved but honestly making it was such a blast that at times felt like just that, a party. I’m eternally grateful to all the wonderful people that came together to realize this kooky project and proud to finally be able to share it with music and movie goers alike.”

Directed by Palomo, written by Palomo and Kai Flanders, edited by Pete Ohs and Dustin Reid, the film stars Buddy Duress (Good Time, Heaven Knows What), Lindsay Burdge (Easy, Thirst Street, The Midnight Swim), Seaton Smith (Top Five, Mulaney), Chase Williamson (John Dies at The End), Mitzi Akaha (Lowlives, Dark Side of The Moon) and musician Alex Frankel (Holy Ghost) as well as Palomo. Set in Ed Koch-era NYC, Max takes a mouthful of mescaline and desperately tries to make it home before it kicks in. On his way, he decided to stop at an all-night deli for a quick, late night meal. After numerous order delays and full-on trip stampeding into his psyche, he is made to pay witness to the colorful cast of Lower East Side weirdos, visualizing their stories through his newly altered lens: A Times Square dominatrix meets up with one of her regulars to reveal an answering message left by his wife. Two punks discuss an ultimatum as one reveals his connection to a pistol found in a drug bust. A recording engineer convinces an aspiring singer to re-record a destroyed vocal take from a canonic 80s group and attempts to pass it off as the original. Visually speaking, the short would remind a lot of viewers of Martin Scorcese’s After Hours as its centered round a New York and peculiarly New York characters that are sadly long gone — and situations that can’t possibly happen in a sanitized, suburban mall version of New York. 

Along with the film, Palomo wrote and recorded the short’s theme song “Heaven’s Basement,” an 80s inspired, synth pop, club banger centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a sinuous bass line, scorching, distorted guitar solo and Palomo’s dreamy falsetto. And while continuing on the slickly produced club friendly sound of his previously released work, the song managed to possesses a lysergic buzz. 

Interestingly, Palomo’s first single of 2019 “Toyota Man” is a decided left turn for him and for Neon Indian, as the song is the first song written and sung in his native Spanish — and perhaps more important, finds the project leaning towards a seamless mesh of synth pop and psychedelic cumbia. Interestingly, “Toyota Man” may arguably be the most politically charged song, Palomo has even written and released, as he sings in Spanish “We came here to study, we want to work” as a protest, which is followed by mischievously dueling riffs of “La Cucaracha” and “The Star Spangled Banner.” In some way, it points out that the experience of the Mexican, Central American and South American migrants and immigrants are equally as American and as valid as yours or mine. 

Directed by Alan Palomo and starring Palomo Brian DeRan, Chris Silcox and Veronica Sanders, the recently released video is part a proud and defiant view of the border culture that Palomo grew up in and an absurdist comedy inspired by a wild melange of things that features a proud and defiant view of the culture of his people and a possessed Trump piñata that gets its deserved comeuppance. 

“’Toyota Man’ was filmed along the road map of what essentially was my path to American citizenship: Monterrey, the Nuevo Laredo border, San Antonio, and finally Austin. The process is a multiple decade commute known by many Latinos and other Americans,” Palomo says of the video. “Though my music has always been generally apolitical, I realized when recording this song that it was impossible to write biographically (in the rhetorical context of the Trump administration) without being entirely that: political. The story of my family, which before felt commonly American, was suddenly politicized. Recognizing the absurdity of it all, I thought it would be refreshing to address the social narrative around immigration through comedy – nods to Benny Hill, misremembered San Antonio car commercials, and School House Rock. My family and I had a ton of fun making this and I hope it’s equally as fun to watch. Enjoy!”

New Video: San Antonio’s Fea Releases an Anthemic Ode to the Working Class

With the release of 2016’s self-titled, full-length debut, the San Antonio, TX-based punk outfit Fea, which features Girl In A Coma’s Phanie Diaz and Jenn Alva with Letty Martinez and Sofi Lopez, quickly developed a reputation for a trailblazing and proudly genre-defying aesthetic that meshed Chicana Punk, fuzzy power chords and three-part vocal harmonies with Riot Grrl ethos. 

Now, as you may recall, the San Antonio-based punk quartet’s Alice Bag-produced sophomore album No Novelties is slated for a November 15, 2019 release through Joan Jett’s Blackheart Records, and the forthcoming album features bilingual material that thematically focuses on a number of hot-button topics, including sexism, the toxic self-awareness, self-promotion and vapidity of social media and others — with a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor and feministic punk sensibility. Additionally, the material may arguably be the most intricate in the band’s history — to date, at least. 

Last month, I wrote about No Novelties’ first single “Let Me Down,” a blistering takedown of modern society’s dependance on social media and reality TV that calls out the obsession with fame, constant praise, instant gratification, self-absorption, self-promotion, sex and consumerism at its core. Sonically, the song found the act meshing classic ’77 era punk with power pop in a way that was infectious and defiant. The album’s second and latest single “Ya Se,” is a blistering, old school punk anthem, centered on the plight of the constantly exploited working class sung entirely in Spanish. Considering the constant torrent of racist bullshit coming from our current administration that’s aimed at our brothers, sisters and friends in the LatinX community, the song possesses a deeper sense of righteous fury. 

“The title is Spanish for ‘I know,’ vocalist Letty Martinez says in press notes. “Most of our generation is living paycheck to paycheck. Getting caught up in that cycle where you spend the money you don’t have on vices just to feel relief from the financial stress.” Guitarist Sofi Lopez adds, “When you just work work work, you get into this groove that you can’t escape. But it drives you mad in the end.“

The recently released video stars the members of the band as frustrated blue collar mechanics, who are exploited by their white collar — and very male — boss. The band members work hard for very little money and to escape their dreary lives, they spend what they earn on vices — booze, weed, gambling, cigarettes. But at the end, they all revolt against the dreaded time clock, which enslaves them. 

Lyric Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Teams Up with Tiano Bless on a Sultry Club Banger

Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about the  Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, El Dusty. And as you amy recall, the Corpus Christi-born JOVM pioneer has received attention across the blogosphere as a pioneer of a sub-genre he’s dubbed “nu cumbia,” which features elements of hip-hop. drum ‘n’ bass, house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs in a swaggering, genre-defying and club banging take on traditional border music. 

Not only has El Dusty received a a Latin Grammy nomination for his work, he was named on of Rolling Stone‘s 10 New Artists You Need to Know, Billboard‘s New Latin Act and to Watch and was placed on Pandora‘s Latin Artists to Watch. He’s also played at EDC Las Vegas, EDC Mexico, Ciudad Sonido Festival, Fiesta De La Flor, Universal Records‘ Latin Grammy Showcase, Brisk Bodega Tour, the Mad Decent Block Party, Austin City Limits, SXSW, and others.  And adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi-born and-based JOVM mainstay released his full-length debut, last year’s Cumbia City, an album that found him pushing his sound and approach in new directions, further revealing why he has quickly become a highly sought-after producer and collaborator. 

Since the release of Cumbia City, El Dusty has been busy producing original music and collaborating with a variety of artists on releases through his independent label Americano Label. His latest single “El Pescador” is a sultry, two-step inducing club banger, centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, a classic cumbia sample that prominently features accordion and Latin percussion and an enormous hook paired with 2012 Rototom Latin contest winner, drummer and vocalist Tiano Bless contributing hip-hop inspired rhymes to the proceedings. 

New Video: Inland Empire’s QUITAPENAS Releases an 80s Spielberg-Inspired Visual for Breezy Album Single “Tranquilidad”

Deriving their name from the Spanish slang term for “to remove worries,” the Inland Empire, California-based tropical, Afro Latin sextet QUITAPENAS, which is comprised of Daniel Gomez (guitar, vocals), Mark Villela (guacharaca), Hector Chavez (bass, sax,  vocals), David Quinetero (keys, bass), Ivan McCormick (drums), Eduardo Valencia (conga, drums) formed back in 2011. And since the band’s formation, they’ve developed a reputation for a sound that draws from the sounds of Angola, Peru, Colombia, Brazil and elsewhere during the 60s-80s, but with a subtly modern touch. But interestingly, the California-based act has a simple mission —  to make you dance all night, and forget your worries. 

QUITAPENAS latest album Tigrada is slated for release on Friday through Cosmica Records, and the soon-to-be released album reportedly finds the band speaking about the realities of the world they come from — and in a joyful and fiercely confrontational fashion. The album’s latest single “Tranquilidad” draws from the Funana music of Cabo Verde and Puerto Rican Bomba, and as a result the propulsive, dance floor friendly track possesses a breezily escapist air. But underneath that is a song that pays homage and respects to the environment. 

Directed by @Bracero.LA,  the recently released video for “Tranquilidad” follows an extraterrestrial, who crash lands on Earth — and fittingly in the band’s native Inland Empire.  Although the brightly colored creature has traveled the known universe in peace, discovery and friendship, as soon as it leaves its damaged spaceship, the authorities — in this case, the dreaded la miagra — chase after it, with intentions to lock it up. The extraterrestrial, which is the anthropomorphic representation of tranquility manages to charm some local kids in the immigrant and migrant community of Inland Empire. And of course, it’s the local kids and a handful of other kind souls that protect the extraterrestrial traveler, helping it return to its spaceship to escape. Drawing from Star Wars, ET, The Goonies and Stranger Things, the video, which was shot in what director Andrew Vasquez puts it “the Tatooine of Riverside,” a “. . .reimagined world that Spielberg left behind.” While serving as a statement on the power and idealism of youth pushing humanity forward, it’s also an apt (and much-needed) statement on the humanity and decency of our country’s immigrant and migrant communities. 

 

J. Hacha De Zola is a Rahway, NJ-born, Jersey City, NJ-based singer/songwriter and musician, who became a scientist and a musician because of his father: a year within a Ph.D. program in Biochemistry, Hacha De Zola’s father died. He had to quit school to support his mother and the rest of the family, but the situation presented another life change that pushed him into pursuing a life long passion — music.

With the release of 2016’s Picaro Obscuro, the second of his two “urban junkyard” albums of that year, Hacha De Zola publicly insinuated that he might not continue on to make a third and that if he did, his plan was to “lighten up” the sound that he has previously described on some occasions as “boozegaze.” 2017’s Antipatico was the third album Hacha De Zola and his backing band had written and recorded in over two years — and with each successive album, Hacha De Zola increasingly found his own voice.

Hacha De Zola’s  John Agnello-produced fourth full-length album Icaro Nouveau is slated for a March 8, 2018 release through Caballo Negro Records and much like his previously released material, the New Jersey-born and-based singer/songwriter and his backing band practice his “reductive synthesis” method of what he has called “shooting the arrow and painting the bullseye around it.” Hacha De Zola explains, “I never go to the studio with songs written. I allow the musicians to be themselves and throw all they got at it. Then I’ll go and peel back the various layers to fashion a song from it all. It’s a pretty risky way of making an album because when it’s all done, you may have something that isn’t agreeable to you. Other times, you arrive at something truly magical and the songs take on a life of their own. There’s a certain kind of voodoo there that could not be planned.”

Interestingly, the album’s material is also deeply influenced by the life and death of longtime collaborator, Ralph Carney, a saxophonist best known for working with the legendary Tom Waits. Carney not only served as a player but a spiritual guide and mentor for Hacha de Zola. “He was an integral part of this sound. He was my secret weapon,” Hacha de Zola says. “His horns were ever–present, as was his input. Not having him around for Icaro Nouveau was unsettling for me.” But his spirit was still in the room while they were writing and recording the album.The album’s latest single “On A Saturday” finds Hacha De Zola and his backing band, sonically drawing from classic, barrio salsa — but seemingly played through rusty and busted instruments and with a drunken, lilting wobble.