Wednesday, June 27, 2012

CHICO TRUJILLO-El Gran Pecador (Electric Cowbell/Barbés Records, 2012)

Last week I got to DJ again at a Chico Trujillo show. It was my third time in three years. First time was a La Peña, in Berkeley, second at Elbo Room, in San Francisco and this last time at New Parish in Oakland. But this was the first time I did an all vinyl set, the previous two had been digital (I live in Oakland and I don't have a car, so doing a vinyl set in another city usually gets too complicated, I can't just carry a rack of records on my backpack).
Anyway, I was playing a bunch of cumbia 45's and right before they went on stage the band's singer, a genuine old school cumbia lover and also a lover of the 7'' vinyl format, like myself, approached me at the decks and started peeking at my records and chatting me about records. For a random coincidence at that point I was playing Silbando, by Los Ribereños, remixed by GRC and that record was the first one put together in collaboration by two of my favorite New York-based labels: Electric Cowbell and Barbés Records. I was really hopping those two labels would soon join forces in other similar releases (I was, I mean, I still am, expecting a single release by Chicha Libre off their latest album) but it took a while and here it is, finally their second joint effort in a beautifully packed 7'' by none other than Chico Trujillo themselves!
That's, for me, a multiple source of reasons to celebrate. I love Chilean music and I'm not completely sure, but I haven't seen a vinyl release by a Chilean artist in ages. In fact, the only other vinyl release by a current Chilean artist I have in my collection was 1997's 12'' single by hip-hop trio Tiro de Gracia (there must be others that I don't know of, or maybe not, my Chilean readers can probably help me on that). So the news of a Chilean cumbia artist getting pressed on this format had to be huge, for myself, for other collectors of the genre and for all Chileans.
I've always been a fan of Chico Trujillo's unique brand of high-octane party-crazy cumbia-punk but I rarely played it in my sets unless I was playing for a Chilean audience because I assumed people from other nationalities wouldn't necessarily get it. Part of me is still convinced that to be able to really get Chico Trujillo's greatness you have to experience it live, be there, sweating in the middle of the cumbia moshpit. But last Saturday I was DJing my regular all-vinyl set at my regular venue, for a mix crowd, with no Chileans present, and I dropped this 7'' at the peak of the night and the club went crazy. They loved it. So yeah, finally, welcome Chico Trujillo to my DJ set. And here's for more Barbés/Cowbell releases in the near future!

 Don't even waste a second thinking about it, get this now, HERE.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

THE FUNK ARK-Funky DC/El Beasto (ESL, 2011)

This one came last year, but I recently bought it when I was actually looking for any available vinyl release of their latest album, High Noon. I enjoyed The Funk Ark's debut last year, it was neat, but it didn't drive me crazy or anything. Their aforementioned newest release however, blew my mind, it became one of my favorite, most listened to, albums of 2012, on constant rotation on my living-room's cd player and a must-have for all road trips. It would definitely qualify for my Best Of list at the end of this year, if only it was something more explicitly Latin, but it's not. As far as I know the only Latin component in it is the album's producer Adrián Quesada (of Grupo Fantasma, Brownout) who brought High Noon's sound way closer to the Latin funk perfection than his own band(s) has ever been. Still, The Funk Ark is not Latin funk, it's a dope jamming funk band with some strong Latin and African elements.
Anyway, like I was saying, I was originally looking for High Noon on vinyl, or any 7'' single off it and so far I couldn't find any, which was very disappointing because I'd be playing the hell outta this on my vinyl sets if it was available. I guess High Noon is still a recent release and there's a chance ESL will make up their minds and invest on some very much deserved vinyl pressing for this. I mean, they did this 7'' last year for them and this new release is so much stronger, how could they not?
Still, while I keep waiting patiently to play the Quesada-produced High Noon on vinyl, I'll take this, that it's not as good but it's the best next thing. The b-side, "El Beasto," was my favorite track on that album anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2012

BROWNOUT-Flaximus/I Won't Lie (Kept Records, 2012)

Yet another sign of the 7'' record revival and I couldn't be happier. A new label, from Canada, set out to release funky music exclusively in this format (for now, at least) and for their second release they went with a single off Brownout's third album.
I honestly wasn't that excited with Brownout latest release, that's why I didn't review it here. I don't know, maybe I didn't listen to it with enough attention, but their previous two releases were a lot more interesting to me.
However, when I saw this was out on vinyl, I didn't think it twice and I grabbed a copy and I don't regret it a bit.
"Flaximus" is a really dope instrumental funk and I can totally picture blending it in comfortably into my sets. The b-side is a slower jam, with some scattered singing, nothing mind-blowing (it reminded me a bit of the psychedelic experiments of Echocentrics). Even though it should be still categorized as Latin funk/soul, the Latin elements are not very present on either of these tracks and I guess that was part of my disappointment with the album as a whole, it didn't have much of a Latin feel to it. Something weird coming from Adrián Quesada who also produced the latest release by DC's The Funk Ark (out now on ESL music) which has plenty more of that evident Latin feel (I desperately wanna see some 7'' singles off that album). Anyway, like I said, at least that one track here is tight as hell, and really original.
If you're a 7'' vinyl fiend like I am, I strongly suggest you keep an eye on these Canadians for future releases, so far they've shown to have remarkable taste and great quality for their records.

Buy it HERE.