We're gone for the week!
Monday, October 30, 2006
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Some unconventional South American music, you're not likely to hear on the radio...
Los Tres started in the Chile of the nineties, an exciting era for rock music as loads of new groups were forming after 20 years of military repression. And instead of following the commercial trend to copy American styles of rock, Los Tres went back to Chilean folk music, and blended it with rockabilly, jazz and other long-forgotten genres. "Camino" is an example of this truly unique style. (It's the first single of the band after a five-year hiatus... check out their new album Hágalo Usted Mismo). They're probably a hate-em-or-love-em kind of band, but I'm definitely inclined to loving 'em. PS: Yes, that was the best picture I could find.
I was a bit surprised when I found out Libido are from Peru - in fact they're Peru's most famous rock band. But listening to "Nicotina", off their latest album Lo Ultimo Que Hablé Ayer, the strong North American and Argentinean influences conceal their Peruvian origin. It's a fast-paced, country-inspired rock song, not initially appealing but slowly growing on you.
After some research it seems this non-native sound of the album even caused some disturbance among fans... a drummer switch made Libido radically change their course, to a more experimental and international one. Successfully, it seems - at least they're featured on an English-language music blog :)
Los Tres - Camino
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Libido - Nicotina
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Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Most Latin American tv shows nowadays are based on an American or European concept - Big Brother, Star Academy, Survivor, etc. But with ABC's new tv series Ugly Betty, things went the other way round: a succesful Colombian telenovela called Betty La Fea was rewritten for the American audience. And it's got viewers hooked: an average of 14.8 million people watch the weekly show.
So last week, I happened to bump into this song called "Las Bragas". Turns out singer Veronica Orozco is the sister of the original Betty la Fea, Ana María Orozco. It's a small world...
Despite the distinctively Argentinian sound of the track (thanks to the beautiful accordeon), she's a 100% Colombian actrice/model debuting as a singer. And not doing a bad job at all... the track sounds dark enough to appeal to a hipster crowd of loungees, but poppy enough to be on the radio. And most of all: sensual, and purely feminine. Softly ripping her way through male souls, Veronica sings about doing whatever she pleases, with anybody... even your sister. ("Yo le quito las bragas" is loosely translated as "I take off her underpants").
There are a few things I don't like about this song though. First, there's no decent chorus, or any song structure at all. And second - maybe being slutty and provocative sells, but she's pushing it a bit too much no? Anyway, forget all the side stuff, pretend you don't understand Spanish (maybe you don't even have to pretend ;)) and enjoy a beautiful and quiet electro-tango pop song.
Veronica Orozco - Las Bragas
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Wednesday, October 11, 2006
A quick post on a song that's been haunting me for days. "Noche de Entierro (Nuestro Amor)" is the addictive new single of top reggaeton producers Luny Tunes, off their latest album Los Benjamins. The guest list on the track is impressive: Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel, Zion, Hector 'El Father' and Tony Tun Tun. This last guy is actually a merengue singer, but it's his input on the chorus that takes this song to another level, because he can actually sing.
It seems Luny Tunes (and their new protégé Tainy) remebered the success of "Mayor Que Yo", the single off their 2005 album Mas Flow 2, because exact the same principle is used: get Tony Tun Tun for the chorus, a load of stars for the rhymes, and put an innovative beat under all that. Recycling or not, Noche de Entierro sounds fresh and sunny (the flute sample!), and is catchy as hell.
So it's a shame the rest of the album is such a disappointment. A new Luny Tunes album is always big news, because of their reputation of innovativeness, but besides Noche de Entierro there's not one song on Los Benjamins that could grab my attention. Lots of macho brawling, some nice blips & beeps but nothing new. Even the much-hyped collaboration with Mexican soap stars RBD sounds ordinary and uninspired.
It seems the big public is still not tired of testosteron-filled perreo though: Los Benjamins is topping all the latin sales charts. But when I'm in need of some tropical beats, I'd rather give my copy of Tego's The Underdog another spin...
Luny Tunes & Tainy ft. Daddy Yankee, Wisin y Yandel, Zion, Hector 'El Father' & Tony Tun Tun - Noche de Entierro (Nuestro Amor)
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Sunday, October 08, 2006
Something's moving in the Mexican charts. Besides the traditional latin rock artists like Maná, a wave of fresh, young bands are flooding the hit parade. Not influenced by the big latin rockers of the 80's, nor relying on traditional latino elements like salsa to spice up their songs, this new generation is educated by MTV and styled by modern punkrock bands (Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Panic! At The Disco, ...).
And unlike mentioned English-language punk groups, for these bands music is still more important than looks and a hit video. Moderatto, Allison, Zoé and Motel have nice pop-punk songs without screaming too loud or being too melodramatic. Motel has been featured on this site before, and their new song "Olvídame" is a worthy second to debut single "Dime Ven". I'm still not a big fan of lead singer Rodrigo Dávila - his voice is just too commercial to sing the dark lyrics he writes. But the subtle touches in guitar play make the song better than average.
Zoé is even darker, their first hit single "Vía Láctea" loaded with greasy riffs (like in modern britrock) and spooky vocals (like in the early eighties). The strange video and wacky album title (Memo Rex Commander y el Corazón Atómico de la Vía Lactea - Memo Rex Commander and the Atomic Heart of the Milky Way) add to the mystery. Vía Láctea has a special kind of appeal to me - and judging by the charts, also to millions of Mexican kids. Have a listen, and check their official site for a back catalogue of ink-black rock songs.
More about this new punk movement at Reuters (Article via The Latin Americanist).
Motel - Olvídame
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Zoé - Vía Láctea
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Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Get your groove on with the latest cumbia and merengue hits.
If you're in need of positive vibes, "Traga Maluca" by Bonka will certainly please you. We've had Bonka on these pages before, and to be honest this song sounds exactly the same as the one posted before. But no other cumbia band succeeds in creating such a sunny atmosphere - Traga Maluca is a song to forget all your problems and enjoy.
Two typical merengue songs: "Un Nuevo Amor" (Los Toros Band) and "El Candigato" (La Banda Chula). I love the semi-outdated sound of the first song - the echo on the voice, the sentimental tone, the melancholic trumpets all contrast wonderfully with the fast and modern rhythm. The instrumental parts remind me a lot of Juan Luis Guerra's nineties classic Bachata Rosa (a timeless album, if you don't have it, buy it now).
El Candigato on the other hand, is pure fun. Lyrics are nonsense, all that matters is rhythm and dancing. No wonder this was a big club hit in the Dominican Republic...
Bonka - Traga Maluca
Los Toros Band - Un Nuevo Amor
La Banda Chula - El Candigato