Man, I miss the good old times when I was getting horrible commercial crap from Machete Records to review almost every week. The cynical spirit of this blog was set by those classic rants. Nowadays all the music people send me for free is actually pretty good and it's hard to make fun of it. Especially with seriously good music like this one here.
My friend at Six Degrees sent it to me last night and I was like, whoa! Where this shit came from? Then I read the press release (something I almost never do before reviewing an album because I don't want it to affect my first impressions) and guess what? This shit came out from Texas!
Yeah, you know that state full of assholes and women with too much make-up that we all like to make fun of? That's right. There seems to be quite a lot of cool Latinos doing really cool music in that piece of shit state. At least a lot more than in Florida, another southern state that we constantly make fun of for similar reasons. In fact, when it comes to new school cumbia, the history of the genre in the US should probably start in Texas. True, it became hipster-cool later on in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, but Texans where playing and experimenting with cumbia since way before. And I'm not only referring to DJ's like DJ Dus and Panik or bubblegum-pop-proto-neo-cumbia stars Los Kumbia Kings, I'm talking about live bands like Grupo Fantasma.
Like Toy Selectah once said while we were having Vietnamese food in The Mission with Disco Shawn from Bersa Discos, "Grupo Fantasma is the best cumbia band in the US right now... they even play back-up band for Prince!" And it's true, they are pretty pretty good.
The thing is the whole idea of having a cumbia band touring with Prince really fucked with my brains. How is that possible? But, hey, it was true, and then I kept thinking, well, if they can play some kick ass funk for that midget freak, they can probably play some kick ass funk by themselves too, and they probably play a lot of that while they are in the rehearsal studio and they think "hey, this shit is so good, but we can't play it live as Grupo Fantasma because cumbiancheros won't get it".
So, yeah, they came out with an alter-ego! Grupo Fantasma goes into the funky phone-booth and comes out disguised as Brownout, the ultimate Latin funk super band! I'll have this album on heavy rotation in my Ipod for the next week or so. You should check it out too but you're warned, don't expect any cumbias here. This is pure old school deep Latin soul funk, the type that Fania Records would be putting out if they still existed. Go Texas!
Available on emusic, itunes, amazon, etc.