Tag: Latin music

Danny Murcia is a Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter, founding member and creative mastermind of Los Angeles-based bilingual indie rock act El Mañana. As an English major in college, Murcia immersed himself in magical realism, a major tenet of modernist and post-modernist Latin American literature, and after graduating, he was able to marry his loves for language and music as a songwriter. Interestingly, the Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter wound up penning a number of songs that were recorded by mainstream radio and as a result of the attention he received as a go-to songwriter, Murcia wound up as part of the major label system, signing a record deal with a major label that released a single; however, it didn’t take long for Murcia to to realize that he was a commodity in a machine that wanted to exploit his Colombian heritage — and that the label was actively trying to mold him into a white person’s version of a Latino pop star. At the end of the experience, he felt as though is creative energy was sapped.

El Mañana finds Murcia returning to his original dream of what he wanted his sound and music to be: insightful, earnestly emotional and bilingual rock driven by enormous power chords and plaintive vocals. As the story goes, Murcia who suffers from bipolar disorder began writing material for this new project while he was battling cancer, having to undergo multiple surgeries before the cancer went into remission. During his recovery, he read the works of Pablo Neruda and Gabriel Garcia Marquez, which long informed his own work.

“Gota En El Mar,” the Los Angeles-based band’s latest single sonically manages to bridge the dreamy psych pop of Tame Impala and Washed Out with enormous Siamese Dream Smashing Pumpkins-era like  power chords fed through distortion and other effects pedals, thumping drumming and arena rock friendly hooks — but most importantly, the song is a swooningly urgent and earnest song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Maria Del Pilar is a Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and musician, whose family immigrated to the States when she was a child. After developing roots in her adoptive hometown, Del Pilar became an integral part of the city’s music scene as the frontwoman of the critically acclaimed local act, Los Abandoned. Pilar’s solo debut Songs + Canciones I was released to critical praise for Del Pilar’s ability to craft infectious pop hooks that possess a rock ‘n’ roll grit that recalled her Riot Grrl roots. Interestingly, Songs + Canciones I‘s lead single “En El Dancefloor” skyrocketed to the top of the Mexican radio charts and led to shows at Vive Latino and Mexico City’s prestigious The Zocalo.

Songs + Canciones II, the highly-anticipated follow-up to Del Pilar’s solo debut is slated for a November 2, 2018 release, and while finishing up the album, Del Pilar has managed to collaborate with a diverse array of renowned artists including Chicano Batman, Francisca Valenzuela, and Tegan & Sara; in fact, the album features collaborations with a virtual who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene, including members of Chicano Batman, No Doubt, Las Cafeteras, Fitz + The Tantrums and others. But in the meantime, the Chilean-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter has also performed as a backing singer  during tUnE yArDs’ most recent appearance on Conan. Adding to a growing profile, “Se Me Hace Mas” was recently  featured on the new Starz drama Vida.

“Original Dreamer,” Songs + Canciones II’s latest single is of our current sociopolitical moment, as it was written while the Trump Administration and the Republican led house was busily repealing DACA, which struck a chord both personally and politically. After the introduction and approval of 2001’s DREAM Act, millions of undocumented minors were granted legal residency in the States along with their parents and guardians. Del Pilar’s mother and father were among the first DREAMers — but sadly, her mother died when she was 12.  The stories reminded me of what I saw my parents go through when I was a kid immigrating from Chile to the US,” Del Pilar says in press notes. “I had a chance to thank my father for these sacrifices but never got a chance to thank my mom. This song gives me that chance.”

Produced by Poolside‘s Flip Nikolic, the song features looping, psych rock-inspired guitar lines from Chicano Batman’s Carlos Arevalo — and while centered around a fiercely held belief that no one is an illegal alien, the percussive, deep groove-driven song manages to bring Fear of Music-era Talking Heads to mind; but with a bold, distinctly Latin flavor and vibe, along with some infectious hooks. Of course, at its core is a deep (and much-needed) empathy and understanding of the plight of society’s most vulnerable, reminded the listener that a great deal of Americans are descendants of those who have taken great risks and had enormous dreams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stockholm, Sweden-based garage punk outfit Sudakistan is a rather unique band — with a unique backstory. Comprised of Michell Serrano (vocals), Maikel Gonzalez (bass), Carlos Amigo (percussion) Juan Jose Espindola (drums) and Arvid Sjöö (guitar), the band features one native Swede — Sjöö — while the the other members relocated from South America. And with the release of their furious and incendiary full-length debut Caballo Negro, the Stockholm-based quintet quickly received attention for a signature sound that meshes elements of Latin music, in particular, Latin rhythm, percussion and groove that would have been part of musical and cultural heritage of Serrano, Gonzalez, Amigo and Espiondola while pairing it with the blistering guitar punk of Thee Oh Sees, At the Drive-In and Death from Above 1979.

Slated for a September 7, 2018 release the Stockholm, Sweden-based punk rock act’s highly-anticipated Daniel Bengtson-produced sophomore album Swedish Cobra finds the band capturing their raw and raucous live sound on record — with all five of the band recording live to tape at Bengtson’s Studio Rymden, and with minimal takes and overdubs. As the band’s Michell Serrano says in press notes, “You can hear that on the album. it’s quite raw and very intense.” And while reportedly being the most blistering effort the band has released to date, it’s also interestingly enough the most experimental one as well, as the members of the band’s roles became much more fluid. Additionally, the album finds the Swedish punk rock band expanding their sound through the use of different instrumentation to the usual punk rock arraignments. “It was much more of a collaboration between the five of us,” Serrano explains. “Things flowed differently. Carlos sings on two or three songs, and Mikael sings on one. We swapped instruments quite a lot, and because we had access to everything in the studio, we were able to use some piano, some acoustic guitar and some mandolin, too.”

Additionally, the album lyrically reportedly is the most personal while not being the most overly political as it deals with the bandmembers’ everyday reality — and unsurprisingly, each individual member contributed lyrical ideas to the whole. “Our first album was made over five years, rather than five months, so the themes on it weren’t as heavy as this. Now, we’re talking about a lot of the things that we’ve gone through together since we started the band, as well as personal things – like, why do I keep repeating the same mistakes. We talk about pursuing our own Swedish reality, but that’s just because we’re living in Sweden – it’s relatable in any other country, I think,” Maikel Gonzalez says in press notes.

To build up buzz for the new album, Sudakistan has released two singles from Swedish Cobra. First is the furious, jangling and swirling psych punk/surf punk “Whiplash” which is centered around Serrano’s howls, pedal effected guitars and tons of feedback, thunderous drumming, subtle bits of Latin percussion — and in some way, the song reminds me a bit of The Black Angels, complete with a swaggering sense of menace and an expansive song structure. Second is the mid-tempo ballad “Two Steps Back” a track that finds the band employing a 90s grunge rock song structure — alternating quiet, loud, quiet sections with a raise-your-beer-in-the-air-and-shout-along worthy hook, blistering power chords and Latin percussion. And while passionate and urgent, there’s something sobering about the material in a heightened age of nationalism, racism, xenophobia and sexism. Cultural exchange and openness has brought about new takes on the familiar, new modes of thinking, new foods, new words and perhaps more important empathy and understanding. Goddamn it, before we completely head off the rails, we need quite a bit more of that these days.

New Video: Renowned Argentinian Producer and Electronic Music Artist Chancha Via Circuito Releases Breezy and Trippy Sounds and Visuals for “Alegria”

Over the last decade or so, Argentina has become the home of an new digital-influenced take on cumbia, in which artists blend the traditional folk music of the Andes Mountains with electronic beats and production, and interestingly enough Pedro Canale, a Buenos Aires, Argentina-born and-based electronic music producer and electronic music artist, best known as Chancha Via Circuito is one of the genre’s leading figures, arguably responsible for its emergence on the global stage with the release of his 2008 debut Rodante. And since, then Canale has released a string of critically applauded and commercially successful albums, including 2010’s Rio Arriba, which Resident Advisor described as “aural magical realism,” and his international breakthrough, 2014’s Amansara, which received critical praise from the likes of The Fader and NPR among others.

Bienavaenturanza, Canale’s fourth, full-length album is slated for release next week through Wonderwheel Recordings, and the album, which derives its name from an Argentinian Spanish word that translates roughly into English as bliss will further cement his reputation for pairing traditional Andean folk instrumentation, typically flute and charango with slick, dance floor friendly electronic production centered around thumping, tribal beats; however, the album which marks Canale’s first batch of new material in over four years, was written and recorded with an unprecedented amount of care and in a highly collaborative fashion with a number of digital cumbia and regional All-Stars making appearances, including Mateo Kingman, Kaleema, Lido Pimienta, Kawa Kawa as well as Colombian Dancehall king Manu Ranks and others, who contribute their highly distinguishable sounds and talents to the natural flow of the album. And as you’ll hear on the breezy yet tribal album single “Algeria,” Canale has expanded upon his sound in an effortless and organic manner — in this case, the song seems to draw from cumbia, tribal house, ambient electronica that that’s psychedelic and mystical. Directed and animated by Kati Egely, the recently released video meshes the natural and synthetic through the use of Egely’s vibrant and childlike watercolor drawings and paintings, which morph at will from a birds, to a modern women, desperate to escape the doldrums of the workplace and so on.

New Video: JOVM Mainstay El Dusty Returns with a Swaggering, Genre Mashing, Club Banger

Born Horacio Olivera, El Dusty is a  Corpus Christi, TX-based JOVM mainstay producer, DJ and electronic music artist, who has seen 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 and house music and samples of classic and beloved cumbia songs — with the end result being a swaggering, club-banging take on Latin music that as you may recall resulted in a Latin Grammy nomination. Adding to a growing profile, the Corpus Christi, TX-based producer, DJ and electronic music artist has bee named one 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.

Olivera’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Cumbia City is slated for a May 11, 2018 release through AfterCluv Records, and while the album will further his reputation as one of electronic Latin music’s highly-sought after producers and collaborators, the album also finds Olivera pushing his signature sound in new directions as the album’s material crosses genres, trends and cultures while redefining what both Latin music and electronic music should and could sound like. “This album is cool as hell and funky!” Olivera says in press notes. “This takes the old with the new and it becomes a new style, a new song, a new genre – it is more than Cumbia, it’s electronic styles with live drums and modern beats.” El Dusty adds “I approach the whole album with live recordings in mind. Every sample was re-recorded live to create a mashed up turntable-like production meets a song-like format.” Unsurprisingly, El Dusty’s full-length debut, is deeply influenced by his musical upbringing which included Tejano anthems, Chicano soul music, classic rock, boom bap hip hop, house music, drum ‘n’ bass, turntablism, but mashed up and re-imagined for a new generation of bass-heavy and soundsystem music.

Album title track “Cumbia City” is a swaggering track around tweeter and woofer rocking boom bap beats, trap snares, an iconic sample from San Jacinto,  Colombia-born cumbia star Andres Landero and Boogat spitting fire in Spanish — and while mischievously bending and playing with genre boundaries, it’s an anthemic and crowd pleasing banger.

Set on the streets of Corpus Christi, the brightly colored video for “La Cumbia” is a cinematically shot video that features dancers of all ages and from a variety of the city’s cultural traditions — from the ancient and contemporary — to the song’s thumping beats.

With the release of their critically acclaimed full-length debut La Allianza Profana and its follow-up, Serpiente Dorada, the Lima, Peru-based electronic production and artist duo Dengue Dengue Dengue, comprised of Rafael Pereira and Felipe Salmon quickly received attention for a sound that possesses elements of traditional cumbia, dub, dancehall and techno — and for being at the forefront of an expanding electronic cumbia movement.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout the course of its eight year history, you may have come across a couple of posts featuring the Peruvian electronic production and music duo  — in particular Siete Raices‘ album singles, “Guarida,” a hauntingly ambient track that meshed ancient and traditional Peruvian sounds with contemporary, electronic production in a timeless fashion, and “The Enemy,” a glitchy and percussive track that nodded at El Dusty‘s club-banging, nu-cumbia but with a subtly menacing and uneasy vibe.

The Lima, Peru-based duo’s latest album Son de Los Diablos (which translates into English as Sound of the Devils) derives its name from a traditional dance that was brought to Peru by the Spanish conquistadors, which consists of a procession of dancers and musicians taking to the streets wearing devil masks. By enlisting Lima’s sizable African slave population, this procession increasingly incorporated the rhythms and dance styles that would eventually become known as Afro Peruvian — one of the main elements of modern Peruvian music and culture, which also informs Dengue Dengue Dengue’s sound. Interestingly, Son de Los Diablos‘ latest single “Cobre” features breezy and minimalist production consisting of looped woodwind instruments and stuttering African percussion. While the song  evokes a slow procession of marchers stomping to a throbbing beat, it possesses a murky and menacing undercurrent.

 

 

 

Featuring the Pacheco Brothers and one of several local session bassists, the Los Angeles, CA-based band Thee Commons formed in 2012 and since their formation, the trio have developed a reputation for a sound that meshes psych rock, punk rock and cumbia; in fact, the trio landed at #15 on LA Weekly’LA’s 20 Best Live Shows of 2016,” thanks in part to a live show in which they frequently go off-script at a moment’s inspiration. Adding to a growing regional profile, the band have played at several of the region’s most prestigious venues and festivals, including Echo Park Rising, Desert Daze, Viva Pomona, The Echoplex, The Regent Theatre, The Glass House, The Roxy and The Observatory, as well as a weekly burlesque dancer-based residency dubbed Cumbia Psicodelica Cabaret — and they’ve opened for the likes of Chicano Batman, Bomba Estero and Thee Midniters.

Along with that, the band has managed to be remarkably prolific: 2013 saw the release of their 7 inch vinyl EP, Sunburn at Midnight; an 8 volume, limited edition EP series Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors released the following year, an effort that since 2015 has been released through Burger Records as a full-length 20 song CD; 2016 saw the release of their sophomore effort Loteria Tribal, which was released through Burger Records, as well as two 7 inch vinyl albums — one that included a cover of Los Saico’s “Demolicion,” which was releaed through Denver‘s Heavy Dose Records and a single featuring “La Fiesta,” an obscure Mexican track with a cover of Selena‘s “La Carcacha” released through San Pedro,CA-based label, Steady Beat Records.  Earlier this year saw the release of their third full-length effort Paleta Sonora, an ambitious 18 song effort that saw the band expanding upon their sound, as well as their live sound. Interestingly, the Southern California-based band end 2017 with the release of a double single — “El Jale, Vol. 1: Alitas/Dr. John.” 
“Alitas” is as shimmering and propulsive track that will further cement the trio’s reputation for a sound that clearly draws from 60s psych rock, garage rock and surfer rock and cumbia — and in a way that seems loose, effortless and mischievously anachronistic as though the song should have been included in a Quentin Tarantino soundtrack.  The second single “Dr. John” continues in a similar vein but with a loose jam band meets punk rock vibe, complete with some blistering guitar work. And while being an impressive way to end a year for the up-and-coming band, it’s also a revealing look into one of the more unique sounds I’ve personally heard this year.

 

Martin Morales is a Peruvian-born, British-based, DJ, record collector, audiophile and pioneer of Peruvian food in the UK and was recently named GQ‘S Food and Drinks 2017 Innovator of the Year — but he’s also known as the co-founder of renowned world music label Tiger’s Milk Records. And although he’s spent half of his life in the UK, Morales in recent years has frequently returned to his birthplace — and in particular, the Andes — in search of recipes, records, sounds and inspiration for a variety of projects under the umbrella of his London-based company Ceviche. Morales, along with Tiger’s Milk co-founder Duncan Ballantyne, former Soundway Records label manager, and Peruvian DJ and crate digger Andres Tapia del Rio teamed up to create a series of compilations featuring the sounds of the Amazon and Andres, starting with the ANDINA: The Sound of the Peruvian Andes — Huayno, Carnaval and Cumbia 1968-1978. 

The compilation is meant to offer a fresh perspective on Peru’s multifaceted heritage, brining to light the divergent, exciting traditions that have emerged from Peru’s strip of the Andes Mountains, including cumbia, folkloric harp, Lima-based big band jazz that was influenced by their highland countrymen and so on; however, the compilation was never intended to be a definitive or complete overview of Andean music. Besides focusing on a particular period of music, 1968-1978, the compilation is selection of what they think are the most exciting insights into Andean musical culture, with the debut release of many tracks outside of Peru since their original release on Peruvian labels like Iempsa, Sono Radio and El Virrey — but perhaps more important, the sound most represented is a cumbia where groups imbued a tropical, Colombian style with Andean folk rhythms and rock-like electric guitars, the number of traditional folk numbers recorded and released during that era and of course, carnaval music; in fact, some of the featured bands took touchstones on much-loved music criolla — black music from the coast — but filtered through cumbia, and others employ Afro-Peruvian sounds. Or in other words, the Andean sound draws influences from the musical and culture legacies of indigenous Latin America and the African diaspora. The album’s first single Los Compadores Del Andes’ “La Mecedora” pairs is a cumbia featuring a tight, African Diaspora-influenced, percussive groove with a breezy, organ-led tropicalia, and bright blasts of brass, but perhaps most important, the song reveals a deep truth about the sounds of Peru and its Andean regions — that it’s arguably one of the most unique yet dance floor friendly of the entire region, while giving you a view into the sounds that were popular during the late 1960s.