Thursday, December 20, 2012

TOP-11 LATIN BUT COOL ALBUMS OF 2012

1.-Campo - Campo
Country: Uruguay.
Label: Bajofondo Presenta.
Genre: Subtropical pop, post-electrotango, ñu-cumbia.
Format: CD/Digital only, unfortunately.
Why: Even though it was released in Uruguay in 2011 it didn't make it into last year's top 11 because it came too late in December. The international release didn't happen until summer '12. By far it's the album I listened to the most during 2012 and there's not one song I dislike of it. Both "Cumbio" and "La Marcha Tropical" are some of the best produced ñu-cumbia tracks ever. Can't believe some people are still sleeping on this one. 


2.- Ondatrópica - Ondatrópica
Country: Colombia/UK.
Label: Soundway.
Genre: Retro-ñu-cumbia, Afro-Colombian Soul.
Format: Tripple Vinyl plus 7'' bonus single. Best packaging ever.

Why: The most historically significant album of 2012. Don't trust any End of The Year list that doesn't include this record. In the future this will be digger's gold in the same way the records that inspired it are gold to the diggers behind this: Quantic and Frente Cumbiero. As a plus, it includes the first guest appearance of Ana Tijoux pressed on wax.



3.- Los Transatlánticos - First Trip
Country: Colombia/Germany.
Label: BBE.
Genre: Ñu-cumbia meets transglobal bass.
Format: CD/Digital.

Why: If you were disappointed by Bomba Estéreo's latest release, look no further. This is the album Bomba Estéreo should have recorded. It has all the grit and the bass and the irresistible global dancehall beats Elegancia Tropical was missing. It may not have Li Saumet's sexiness and charisma but it makes up with some dope collaborations and remixes. If it was available on vinyl it would've been featured even higher on this ranking. Just saying...  

4.- Bocafloja - Patologías del Invisble Incómodo 
Country: Mexico/USA.
Label: Quilombo Arte.
Genre: Hip-hop.
Format: Digital.

Why: I still like purist hip-hop en español sometimes. When its done correctly. Bocafloja is Mexico's Talib Kweli, the rapper for the back-pack crowd that digs soulful samples and lyrics full of intellectually pretentious, cryptic, tongue-twisting verses. Plus, there's a girl's ass on the cover and not even one booty-shaking beat. 


5.- Illya Kuryaki & The Valderramas - Chances 
Country: Argentina.
Label: Sony Music
Genre: Funk, rap, rock.
Format: CD/Digital.
Why: Back in 1991/94 I was their biggest fan. Then I got annoyed by their new audience of mainly teenager girls who admired more their looks than their music and I turned my back on them. Then they broke up. Then I sampled them in pretty much all my linyera mixtapes. Now they are back and they're funkier than ever. If it was available on vinyl I'd pay top dollar for it and I'd be spinning it in all my sets. Since it's not, I just listen to it on my headphones while I count the nipples exposed on the album cover.  


6.- Mati Zundel - Amazónico Gravitante 
Country: Argentina.
Label: ZZK Records/Waxploitation.
Genre: Ñu-cumbia, digital folklore.
Format: Double Vinyl LP.
Why: Cumbia is still present, but there's way more Andean folk and ayahuasca-inspired trippy tunes here. Unlike his previous alter-ego Lagartijeando, Mati Zundel's stuff is less dance-floor oriented and a lot more centered around well crafted songs and it's in the songs ("Por El Pueblo") where the album finds its best moments. 



7.- Chicha Libre - Canibalismo 
Country: USA.
Label: Barbès Records.
Genre: Chicha revival.
Format: Vinyl LP.
Why: They started doing covers of chicha classics, they ended up writing their own new chicha classics which had nothing to envy from the genre's bests. The opening banger "La Plata" was an instant favorite. Makes me wanna go down to the Peruvian Amazon jungle riding a helicopter while blasting the cumbia cover of Wagner's "The Ride of The Valkyries".


8.- Kumbia Queers - Pecados Tropicales 
Country: Argentina/Mexico
Label: Confort Zone.
Genre: Cumbia-punk.
Format: Vinyl LP.

Why: I love these girls to death. For a second I thought this third album was a fail because it took some unprecedented directions (they went from doing cumbia cover of punk songs to do punk covers of cumbia songs) with uneven results, however, once I saw them perform it live it all made absolute sense. It's fucking genius from beginning to end. 





9.- Los Míticos Del Ritmo - Los Míticos Del Ritmo 
Country: Colombia/UK
Label: Soundway.
Genre: Instrumental cumbia.
Format: Vinyl LP.
Why:  The cover of Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust" in instrumental cumbia form is a must in all my DJ sets, and it's welcomed by all audiences, from Gringos to Latinos, from underground to mainstream heads. The rest of the album is not bad either, it's just that it's really hard to compete with Ondatrópica, released just a few months apart. 

10.- Batida - Batida
Country: Portugal/Angola
Label: Soundway.
Genre: Kuduro.
Format: Vinyl LP.
Why: After Don Omar put the word kuduro in the mouths of all moronic mainstream Latinos, some thought the Angolan genre would have more chances to cross over to the Latin dancefloors. However, 99.99% of those Latino club-goers who sing along to "La mano arriba..." have absolutely no idea what kuduro means, nor do they care to find out. For the other 0.01% this is pure beauty.


11.- Various Artists - Future Sounds of Buenos Aires
Country: Argentina
Label: ZZK Records/Waxploitation.
Genre: Ñu-cumbia and beyond.
Format: Double Vinyl LP.
Why: If it wasn't for the fact that many of the tracks are repeats, this compilation would be way higher on the list. It's the fact that it was released in a delicious double vinyl LP what makes it stand out, since the majority of those tracks were not available in that format until now. If it was digital only I'd say skip it, you probably already have most of the songs anyway. Since it's vinyl, I say it's a must have. 

1 comment:

Gary said...

Thanks for this list ... I really want to find that Campo album ...