Sunday, January 20, 2013

Short Reviews For Short Records

I have a little pile of 45s that  has been accumulating since the beginning of the year and I haven't found the time to write about them. It's been kinda abnormally busy around  here, with too many overlapping new projects and work but I didn't wanna miss the chance to send some shout-outs to al these brave people that keep on trusting in the vinyl single as a viable format to put out music in this day and age. So, here we go, some recent Latin But Cool tracks in seven inches each.

KUMBIA QUEERS vs SCREAM CLUB & ELECTROSEXUAL-Scream Queens At The Cumbia Club (Confort Zone, 2011)
This one came out a while ago, but I didn't find out until way later and I wasn't able to get my hands on it until my recent trip to Argentina. Shout outs to Mercurio Disquería in Palermo, Buenos Aires, for  being one of the few places in town that carry current vinyl by local artists. Anyway, this is basically a split record the Queers did with some electro-rapping chicks from Germany, each doing a remix of the other. I personally liked the cumbia remix of the rap song a lot more than the electro remix of the cumbia song, but that's just me. Get yours here.

DOCTOR STEREO-Shake Hand Shake/Joe Says (Resense, 2012)
Another one I brought from my trip to Argentina. This one was given to me personally by the artist himself, Doctor Stereo, also known as Ezequiel Lodeiro, a versatile and multifaceted DJ, producer and remixer based in Buenos Aires who somehow figure out the way to get his tracks pressed on vinyl by some of the most prestigious labels of the Northern Hemisphere. Unlike his previous more latinized tracks this one here is more straight up soulful jazz over frenetic drum-and-bass tempo beats. "Shake Hand Shake" is my favorite, I haven't played it yet in front of a live crowd but I can certainly predict a good reaction. Order it here.

CHRIS READ-Mambo Jazz Del Pito (Breaking Bread, 2012)
Built around a sample of Joe Cuba's classic Boogaloo, "El Pito" this awesome mambo track by Chris Read is a must have. The main version is pretty jazzy and laid back with a hip-hop beat, the flip side gets super dope and highly danceable with a remix by Captain Planet who basically kills it. What a great combo these two guys make, I'd like to see them collaborating more frequently. Buy it here.

LOS CHARLY'S ORCHESTRA-The Latin Edition, Vol. 2 (Imagenes Recordings, 2012)
I downloaded some stuff from these guys a while ago and I wasn't too crazy about it. It was a lot more disco-focused, which mto my ears made them sound like a second rate Los Amigos Invisibles. This one here, however, I love it so much I can't stop listening to it. Some of the  funkiest Latin funk ever imaginable, with irresistible up-tempo grooves and mind-blowing breaks, plus minimal vocal intrusions. There's nothing I dislike about this. I really hope they keep on dropping singles exploring this line. Don't miss your chance to get one here.

FRENTE CUMBIERO & GREENWOOD RHYTHM COALITION-Brooklyn a Bogotá (Names You Can Trust, 2012)
This one here is a collectible item. It was done for the recent GRC Colombian tour in a very limite edition and only a handful made it back to the US. To make the offer even more tempting, it comes with a  gorgeous hand-made cover. It's basically a split single with the GRC doing their funky thing the way only thy know how on one side and Colombia's Frente Cumbiero getting all weird and shit on the flip side. There're probably a few left at the Names You Can Trust secret stash and I strongly recommend you order yours quickly because they're not gonna be there for too long. There you go.

AILLACARA 2743-Cumbia (Names You Can Trust, 2013)
This one caught me by surprise. I had never heard of the artist, but I know the NYCT guys are way more than two steps ahead of me when it comes to discovering new cool shit emanating from the darkest corners of Latin America. Apparently it's a French dude living in Chile and digging deep into the funkier sound of the folkloric rhythms of the continent's extreme south. Both tracks include the word cumbia in their titles, but this are anything but regular cumbia tracks. There was some chacarera beat on one side that I wasn't expecting at all. Pretty cool stuff. Now purchase link yet, I'll come back and update the post when it goes out on sale.

Monday, January 14, 2013

DJ NU-MARK-Tropicalifornia/Oyá-Indebuê (Hot Plate Records, 2012)

This one came out a few months ago, in fact I've already wrote about it on Remezcla, but now I finally got it on vinyl and I was so excited I had to post it here too.
I've been playing the digital version of "Tropicalifornia" sporadically in my sets and I even think I've played it on my podcast once. It's a pretty cool track with a fucking amazing video, one of the bests of 2012
The b-side, however I had not payed attention to until today and I was instantly enamored by it. It has some really dope Afro-Brazilian upbeat funky beat that will definitely make it into my sets, maybe even more than the track with Quantic, that's a bit more on the laid-back side.
Anyway, the reason I didn't get around to buy this gorgeous piece of collectible 10'' vinyl until now was because I was waiting for volume 5 of the series to order them all together. I think Nu-Mark had a really good idea in the way he released and marketed this ambitious project. Instead of releasing the LP first, he took his time to deliver these 10'' singles one by one (each one comes with acapellas and instrumentals) and then when the whole five installments were out he finally delivered it as a whole album. A genius maneuver to please his loyal fan-base of diggers and real vinyl appreciators. And at the same time he gave a lot of the tracks for free as MP3s, for the rest of the non-vinyl-fetishist mortals. I wish more labels were taking this sort of approach (yes, I'm talking to you Nacional Records, who made me buy the latest M.I.S. album imported from Germany because you don't release it in vinyl in the US because it's not profitable, as if somehow Germany had a bigger Mexican music fan-base than your home, California!) 
Pretty awesome shit, all five volumes are worth getting (they all come pressed in different color high quality vinyl) but this one is probably the best one if you have to pick just one.

Get it here.

Monday, January 7, 2013

EMPRESARIOS-El Sonido Mágico (Fort Knox Recordings, 2012)

Empresarios' second full length album came out a couple of months ago and didn't get the exposure it deserved. I'm in part guilty for this, I neglected it and I didn't give it the time to actually listen to the whole thing, from beginning to end, until this past weekend. Now I feel bad because I should've been paying more attention to it. 
It's a great album, the problem, I think, was that they overwhelmed me (and maybe others out there like me) with so many EPs and remixes during year so, so by the time the album finally came out I just saw the playlist and I was like, "whatever, I already have most of the tracks anyway, why bother?"
Now when I finally put the CD on the home stereo the other day and listened to the whole thing, well, it was a different experience and it made more sense than the lose track, here and there, lost in my playlist. It made me appreciate a lot more the wide range of styles these guys have mastered, and incorporated since their splendid debut. I particularly enjoyed the addition of dance-floor-oriented house tracks. The trippy, dubby side, explored on the instrumental tracks has always been delicious, and that didn't change. There was no other "Cumbia" like the one on their debut, the track that made me turn my attention towards them on the first place and there's a bit of reggaetón and other stuff that doesn't really go with my palate but I can tolerate in contained doses. Also, the intro is pretty awesome.
Empresarios is mainly a party band, they don't have much of a message, no deep content in their lyrics, they just want you to enjoy some good music with positive vibes and dance so if that's what you're into, you'll love this since the production is top-notch. For me, coming from my underground hip-hop background, sometimes its hard to tune off the lyrics part and focus on the music, and maybe that's why I always prefer their instrumental tracks. Fortunately they have plenty of everything to please a heterodox crowd, from the most eclectic to the mainstream latin urban radio listeners. Unfortunately there was no vinyl release of this one.

Buy it here or here.