Friday, December 24, 2010

BEST OF 2010-The Hard Data Awards

BEST ALBUM COVER ART: Cumbia Beat Vol.1 (Vampisoul, 2010)

Dear record industry, do you want to start selling records again? Get some kick ass graphic art for your album covers. At least it worked with me. I actually bought this album twice! First as a digital download as soon as I saw it on emusic, and later, as I promised on my review, I bought again on vinyl. (The last time I remember buying an album twice it was M.I.A.'s Arular in 2005, which I bought on vinyl and CD). And it wasn't a cheap purchase either, but it's a double album with a bunch of visually appealing inserts and notes and just that cover in itself, designed by Victor Coyote Aparicio is frame-worthy. And it says Vol. 1 meaning we can all hope for more of thees goodness coming up soon. I can't wait.
OTHER CANDIDATES: DJ Lengua's Cruzando, Monareta's Fried Speakers, Gotan Project's Tango 3.0, Sacassaia's Sampelando Deus e o Mundo, Rita Indiana's El Juidero
WORST COVER ART: Cuarto Poder's In tha House.

BEST ALBUM TITLE: La Gran Estafa del Tropipunk by Kumbia Queers


The title is an obvious reference to the Sex Pistols' mockumentary The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle which Spanish translation was La Gran Estafa Del Rock and Roll. And nobody could embody that perfect title better than the the Kumbia Queers. It's ingenious, witty, cynical and most of all, true.
OTHER CANDIDATES: Sampelando Deus e o Mundo by Sacassaia, Neobailongo by Lagartijeando, Piratas de Sudamerica by El Guincho, Discotape by Capri.
WORST TITLE: In Tha House by Cuarto Poder.

BEST ALBUM INTRO: Calle 13's "Intro" for Entren Los Que Quieran

When I had my phone-interview with Calle 13's Visitante he kept repeating "wait until you hear the intro, it's all in there." He was right. With a style and sense of humor that resembles Family Guy's musical bits at their very best, this is quite possibly the best intro to a Spanish-language album I've ever heard. I can just close my eyes and imagine some cartoon characters dancing while singing "nos cogieron por el culo."
OTHER CANDIDATES: La Mala Rodríguez's "En la Línea" from Dirty Bailarina (just because she opens an album repeating "deja que te coja" and -taking it out of dialect context- I wanna let her do just that).
WORST INTRO: Dante Spinetta's "Pyramide" for the album of the same title. I wonder where I found the strength to keep listening after that awful auto-tuned monstrosity.


BEST MASH-UP/REMIX: Aaliyah's "Try Otra Vez" by DJ Still Life

Brooklyn's own DJ Still Life released this collection of Aaliyah's classics vocals over tropical beats right around the anniversary of her death. I played this one that same night and it was an instant success so it remained in all my DJ sets since then. I never even played any of the other mashups included in this digital release. Just that one.
OTHER CANDIDATES: "Hola Cumbia," (Lyrics Born vs Calle 13), by DJ Zeph, "Jimmy Cumbia" (Los Empresarios vs Old Dirty Bastard) by J-Boogie, "Mostro" by Dante Spinetta (remix by Super Guachín), "Fuego" by Bomba Estéreo (Frikstailers remix)
WORST MASH-UP: Pitbull & 50Cent Pshickedelic Cumbiass by Brujjas (nothing that has those to walking insults to rap music together in one track can be any good).


BEST 7'' SINGLE: "Ananas Tornillo"/"Pitchito" by Frente Cumbiero


I already explained this one before, so don't be lazy and go read it in my previous post. Oh, and go buy this single right now, if you haven't done so yet, because this, I can guarantee, will turn into a collectible item.
OTHER CANDIDATES: "Silbando" by Los Rivereños, "Dina's Mambo/La Muralla" by Bio-Ritmo, "Primavera en la Selva" by Chicha Libre.
WORST 7'': I love this format way too much to hate any.


BEST COLLABORATION: Li Saumet + Niña Dioz + El Remolón + Villa Diamante on "Cumbia Prohibida"
OK, maybe it's not their best song, the lyrics are not like original or anything, but it was probably written on the spot the same day of the recording and the results are quite powerful, in fact "recontra-power." What makes this collaboration so significant is the fact that it unites nü-cumbia ambassadors from the three main nations where this movement has developed: Colombia, México and Argentina. I think it's the first track to have artist from those three nations together, trying to find the common ground in their distinctive approaches to cumbia. The only other example I can think of is the still unreleased "Cumbia Nena" song we did with Nes (from Mexico), Ephniko (from Colombia) and myself (Argentina) as Bondi Blaster.
OTHER CANDIDATES: Shakira + Calle 13 on "Gordita," Don Omar + Lucenzo "Kuduro," Poncho + Shannon Funchess on "D.I.S.C.O"
WORST COLLABO: Shakira + Pitbull  on "Rabiosa," tie with Dante + Adrián Dárgelos on "Cumpa-El Mero Mero"

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