Wassup Rockers

Category Archive

The following is a list of all entries from the Argentina category.

Lost in Translation.

The Oscar nominations were announced. You can see the entire list ici.

Way back when every country was submitting their official entries for Best Foreign Language, there was a huge hullabaloo when Chile decided that they’d be submitting Dawson, isla 10 (Dawson, Island 10) rather than La nana (The Maid). La nana is a small movie, but got distribution, was well received (Golden Globe nomination!), and surprisingly, it had a fairly good run in NYC. In the US, I haven’t heard anything about Dawson, and I don’t think it’s had a run in the city. A lot of people, myself included, thought the Chilean committee made a bad strategic move.

And so, today, we see not one but two Latin American countries get nominations. This is a huge deal because historically (and understandably) the nominations for this category have been Eurocentric. Well, both of the nominees are neighbors to Chile: Argentina and Perú. So imagine how utterly disappointed I am that Chile had a good chance, and basically they blew it. Obviously this isn’t a dis to the Argentinean and Peruvian movies nominated, El secreto de sus ojos and La teta asustada. I’m really excited for them!

I’m not even dissing the Chilean committee for their submission, either. You want your best chances, and I guess for some reason they thought Dawson, isla 10 was that chance.

No, I’m mad about the submissions policy. This is just further proof of how weird and fucked up the rules are. I mean what the fuck is this “1 country 1 rule” business! AUGHHH!

On a side note for more outrage: Lee Daniels, nominated for Precious, is only the second black nominee for Best Director, and Kathryn Bigelow, nominated for The Hurt Locker, is only the fourth female nominee for Best Director. (See here.) And this is in the 80+ year history of the Oscars! Cripes.


Aubele, Niña Dioz, Bomba Estéreo, RH+ y la Lafourcade @ Bowery Ballroom, 7/9.

Qué onda, I have to keep this short. Long story, but obviously don’t have a chance to do my usual let’s-make-the-post-as-long-as-possible thing.

Okay, last night I went to the Bowery for the LAMC showcase, mostly to see the most lovely Natalia Lafourcade. I actually sat at a table in the upstairs section for a bit, but I learned my lesson: the best way to go is to be out on the floor. I had a pretty sweet time. There were a lot of acts so here are a few words about each of them.

First off was Federico Aubele, hailing from Argentina, and I was surprised because I thought he had a bigger following. Unlike all the other artists (aside from Natalia) he was the only one with whom I was familiar. I hadn’t been impressed by the stuff I’d heard before, but I was pleasantly surprised by his brief set. I’m definitely going to revisit his recorded stuff.

Second was Monterrey’s Niña Dioz, and I swear to god, I was tickled by her presence. I just didn’t expect her and her sound… she mostly reminded me of Lady Sovereign, mostly cos she was tiny, too. Wow, I was just shocked that she was rapping for real, but I still couldn’t help that just last year (it was just last year, right??) La Mala Rodríguez was kicking LAMC ass. Niña Dioz was an oddity, but after two songs I got over it.

Next was Bomba Estéreo, from Colombia. By this point I saw the floor filling up and I decided to join in because I wanted to be right up front for Natalia. Bomba Estéreo were EXCELLENT. I knew nothing about them but the lead singer girl just comes out and she’s like, “¡¡CUUUUUMBIAAAAA!!” And you can imagine what came next. Or not! She wasn’t joking about their sound as “psychedelic cumbia.” The only thing that sucked is that they got too into their music, so that they would just draw out the psychedelic sounds to the point that it tested my patience and also felt kinda masturbatory in their part. Obviously it would have been fine if they’d been headlining but c’mon, son! If their music hadn’t rocked and if they hadn’t had such a punkass attitude I would have jumped on stage and punched them into silence.

I’m pretty sure Hector Buitrago was there!!! I love him. It’s too bad I missed him tonight at Celebrate Brooklyn. I saw him pop up at the venue when Bomba Estéreo came on.

After that was Chile’s RH+, who were okay. That’s all. Of all the musicians, I think they were the oldest, either late 20s or early 30s. (At least that was my perception.) I don’t know, man. I just couldn’t believe they came all the way from Chile when there are plenty of bands with their sound right here in the city. Underwhelming, though confident and well-rehearsed.

AND THEN: Natalia. And two band members, one who was on synth and xylophone and backup vocals, and also a drummer. Natalia was so beautiful and er, Lilliputian. Como una muñeca de porcelana, pero no como las extrañas que me dan heebie-jeebies. She was so full of joy, every statement she made was pretty much followed with a giggle. Her thank yous were so sincere and she genuinely seemed to want everyone to just love her new material.

I think bands like Grizzly Bear would just seethe with jealousy if they heard her music. They would go into a small room and weep to themselves, “Why didn’t I think of that melody first??” Her music is a refreshing pop delight, and I think I left the venue with cavities she was so damn sweet. I can’t fucking wait to hear the new album and I hope she comes back to the city real soon. The music was so uplifting.

I just want to say that her bandmates were right on. It wasn’t just that they were competent and focused in doing a good job, or that they were happy to be there. It was more like, they were so ecstatic to be with Natalia and when she played a couple of songs alone, they would bop their heads and mouth along to the lyrics–they clearly LOVE the new songs. It was so great. Especially the drummer, I loved him so much! He was this flaco who looked like a mouse and you could tell that he’s one of those dudes who drums because he can’t mofuckin’ sit still. Even during the songs when he wasn’t drumming his ass off, he was just swaying along happily.

After their set was one more artist, León Polar. Unfortunately, it was already past 1 am by the time Natalia finished, so I couldn’t stay. (In fact, I got home at around 2:40.) As Natalia and her buds cleared their way, I waved to her drummer “¡OYE!” and when he noticed me I asked, “¿Me puedes dar el setlist?” He was kind enough to do so, and even though I said gracias, I kinda didn’t get to say it loudly enough, and there were other concertgoers behind me clamoring for a setlist, too, so he was distracted and didn’t hear me. I wish I’d had a chance to ask him his name, so I could thank him appropriately. Oh wells.

I don’t have a scanner or whatever unfortch, but here is what the setlist says:

Bowery Ballroom
Natalia L

Cursis Melodías
Ella es Bonita
No Viniste
Hu Hu Hu

I will say, however, I don’t think they followed the order quite as it was. They definitely did NOT play “Casa,” probably because they were running out of time and they were too nice to be like, “I don’t care, I’ma do what I want!” Ah well. La próxima vez, right?

BTW! I thought I saw Jon Pareles at the show, but it was from a distance so I wasn’t sure. Turns out I was right! Do I get points for being geeky enough to recognize him? No? Boo.

Jesus, my post still turned out in epic length. I’m so sorry.

Some Notes.

Part I

I just read this post on Moleskine Literario (¿otra vez? ¡pos sí!) about Julio Cortázar’s former spouse selling the rights to three unpublished stories. Iván wrote,

Está claro que Cortázar no decidió publicarlos en su momento por considerarlos equívocos, pero no importa, nadie espera demasiado de esos textos, lo interesante es el legado. Eso sí, el libro será de ultra lujo: solo 100 ejemplares a 260 euros cada uno.

That is, “It’s clear that Cortázar decided not to publish the stories at the time because they weren’t right, but that doesn’t matter, no one expects much from those texts, what matters is the legacy. That said, the book will be an ultra luxury: only 100 copies at 260 euros each.” (My emphases. Also: not a literal translation.)

What really annoys the fuck out of me is that it seems ridiculous to charge 260 euros to get your hands on three unpublished stories. Honestly. This woman couldn’t donate (or even sell!) the works to a museum or a library? Turning the stories into a commodity, a very expensive commodity at that, pisses me off so bad. My dearest hope is that the people who get their hands on this ARE establishments such as museums or libraries that will allow the masses to have some sort of access to them for free, rather than having the copies go to private individuals who, for all we know might use the stories to wipe their asses with them (o lo que sea). Argh. 260 euros! And none of it going to the fucking author, cos he’s dead. So why is it so fucking expensive? Supposedly, it’s just how much it’ll cost to bind the stories in a beautiful volume, and that the publisher won’t be making a profit. Pffft. Okay, even if that’s true, for the consumer, it becomes much more of a “haha, I got one and you don’t” situation. I don’t see why Cortázar’s former wife couldn’t just make it available to a wider mass of people so that we could get a better sense of his writing process and the like.

“What matters is the legacy,” right. But why should Cortázar’s legacy touch only a select few who can afford it? I hope at least one of the people lucky enough to buy the stories just scans the fucking thing and leaks it onto the internets.

Musical Interlude A

“Soch na kya,” from Ghayal, which is a reinterpretation of “Llorando se fue,” better known as the song that inspired “Lambada.” Further proof that this song is bangin’ in pretty much every language and arrangement. Just recently I noticed that “Llorando se fue” actually has Japanese lyrics, which I noted from the use of the words “anata” and “watashi.” Yay for rudimentary Japanese language skills. Anyway, as soon as I realized that I thought, “Geez, I never knew were Peruvian.” It’s just that whenever I think of big Japanese populations in Latin America I think of Peru and Brazil. Heh. But Los Kjarkas are actually Bolivian. Regardless of where they’re from, I’m curious as to why they sing in Japanese in the first place. ¡Qué misterio!

Part II

Words Without Borders updated! Its theme for February is “The Graphic World,” and there’s some sweet translations of comics available. It’s also worth checking out their archives for older translations of comics. For example, there’s an excerpt in English of Fuguet’s “Road Story.” Good shit!

Musical Interlude B

I never made a list of favorite albums of 2008, and I’m so glad because I only listened to Utada Hikaru’s Heart Station recently and I’m loving it. I’m kinda dreading her forthcoming English language album, mostly cos I listened to her newest single and it’s dreadfully boring. But Heart Station is undeniably awesome.

Part III

How do the Kindle fiends do it? How can anyone stare at a screen and just read for extended periods of time? I had a hard enough time wanting to read Colson Whitehead’s “Wow, Fiction Works!” I mean, I opened the page and it loaded in like, five seconds, and then I… proceeded to not read it. Jesus. For like hours and hours I was like, “Oh, let’s put it off for a bit until I’ve finished watching this stupid youtube vid of [insert your favorite pointless youtube time-waster of choice here].” Finally I understood that I wasn’t going to read this essay unless I printed it. Because if I printed it, I wouldn’t be distracted by other open browser pages, not to mention it felt good to have something tangible to read. And it didn’t hurt my eyes to read it! In fact, I was pretty giddy about it. Whitehead is so gleeful in his delivery that it’s infectious.

Babasónicos @ Highline Ballroom, 6/26

My current Fbook status: “Elizabeth totally wants to think that she and Adrián Dargelos had a moment of hot eye sex at the Babasónicos show.”

I just came back from seeing Babasónicos in concert for the first time, and it was the first show I saw at the Highline Ballroom. It may also have been the first time I saw a show without an opener–and boy was that exciting.

I was fucking stressed out because my feet hurt something awful and I didn’t have no dinner, which made me cranky as fuck, pero al final everything worked out fine, tuve mucho ánimo durante el concierto y bailé mucho y Babasónicos were fucking fantastic. I’d seen some of their live footage before and it was so wonderful to experience their show live.

Psst, you wanna know a secret though? For all the fucking stereotypes of Latinos knowing how to dance, lo que sea, the crowd near me sure broke all those expectations by not really moving around. A select few were, but many weren’t. Couldn’t figure out what it was. Of course, for some, it’s just not their style. For others, though, I feel like they were stunned by the group.

I was fucking stunned, too. I’ve mentioned it before; the reason I was stunned is cos, honestly, I don’t know that much about the people behind this music, so it was really cool to get a good look at the band. The only band member I coulda recognized on the street would have been the singer, and only because he has the most incredible nose. Seriously, it’s unforgettable. He was kinda… gloriously hilarious, wiggling his hips all over the stage in this super-sexy, borderline scandalous manner. But the other members, oh Lord, they’re actually quite handsome, esp. the guitarist who was near me on stage left. (He did backup and some lead vocals on a few of the songs.) I thought the bassist was cool but I did feel a small pang knowing that Gabo died so recently, but if I remember correctly, he’s been with them for a bit, since Gabo had been sick for a while and had to quit touring when he was alive. The band interacted well together, the chemistry among them shows and it’s a testament as to why they’ve stuck together so long.

I was fascinated by the fact that half of them had ‘fros going on top of their lovely heads. It kinda reminded me of the Strokes. Maybe it wasn’t a random comparison, since Albert Hammond, Jr.’s mama, after all, is argentina. Anyway, thinking about the Strokes actually made me sadder than thinking about Gabo, since I hardly knew anything about him, whereas I used to be a huge Strokes fan so I’m so disappointed these days with how much the Strokes have declined in quality.

I thought the band’s relationship to us, the audience, was really interesting. They’re not much for stage banter and they were more into more physical showmanship. Like the singer, Adrián, was totally posing for us and the (many many) cameras and shit, singing directly to specific people, etc., pero para mí pareció demasiado “show.” Quiero decir que, aunque verdaderamente divertido, I felt like they (not just the singer) were hiding behind this performance, protecting themselves. It’s like, “Here, let us give you a bit of titillation and sass and you can leave us in peace.”

I’m not sure if that makes sense. I don’t mean it as a bad thing. I think it’s actually really good to set limits as to how much access the fans should have. Speaking of fans and access, a number of girls ran up to the front and tried to jump on stage. At first I was annoyed by them, even though they were dancing, and the reason is this: they seemed to be more focused on getting on stage and, I don’t know, groping the members of the band instead of just enjoying the music and being with friends. Just felt like a lot of attention hogging. All of them took too long climbing on stage and by the time they were up, the security people were escorting them back down. The truly hilarious thing is that each time a girl (I can only recall one boy) tried to climb up, it was when Adrián was actually doing his thing on stage right, so he hardly even noticed the people on stage left climbing up and (theoretically) ready to pounce on him. The guards tackled the people before he even knew what had happened. In the end a girl did make contact, but with the drummer.

I admit, though, as soon as the kids came back to the floor, they weren’t keen on jumping on stage again and just enjoyed themselves. And I appreciated that a lot more than the people who seemed frozen in place. I also appreciated them way more than the (mostly) boys moshing. Damn. I will never understand why people would want to bump and grind against other sweaty smelly people in such an aggressive manner. (Unless we’re talking about people in a relationship just having a sexual encounter, ¡pero eso es otra cosa!) I didn’t mind them too much at first but halfway through the show I had to give up my spot and ended up much closer to the moshers which was annoying. The reason I had to give up my spot was to make room for an audience member who was in a wheelchair. I wasn’t so baffled by his presence, since disabled people are perfectly capable of enjoying music and I guess he took an elevator up to where the ballroom is located in the building. PERO. (1) I can’t understand why the disable person and his caretaker couldn’t reserve a spot in the front before the set started and (2) I was actually worried that the person would get hurt by being on the floor with the rest of the crowd instead of at a table on the side or something. Oh wells. He really seemed to enjoy it, and I totally loved the set, too. In the end, even though I was closer to the moshers, I also found myself around dudes who were attentive to the show and I was able to dance along as I had been earlier.

It’s just that. The concert.. it all went in a blur! The band went on stage a bit past 9 pm and the set lasted, what? 80 minutes? Algo así. Wasn’t even 10:30 when it was all over, encore y todo. The dudes have been around for so long and they have so much back catalogue so I was so so disappointed by the relatively short set. They did play some amazing jams. Even the new stuff sounded lovely. I was really happy to hear “Microdancing,” which is begging to be released as their next ~*HIT SINGLE*~. Oh, and there was this huge singalong during “Putita” which is such an extraordinary song, both melodically and textually.

Not to make it sound like I’m an ungrateful bitch, but once they left the stage for real and the light went up, I couldn’t help thinking, “That’s it?” Me encontré jangueando close to the stage, not ready to give up the night, and suddenly I saw one of the techies tear off a set list. The techies are used to people asking for the set lists, claro, so he immediately downstage to give the set list away. I reached. And I got it. It’s the first set list I got! I don’t have photographic proof because, to be frank, I don’t know how to work my camera (I HATE CAMERAS!). But here is the list, as it was written on the page:

– RABIOSO [ = “Estoy rabioso“]
– DIABLO [ = “Sin mi diablo“]
– PIJA+ [ = “Pijamas“]
– COMO ERAN [ = “Como eran las cosas“]
– MICRO [ = “Microdancing“]
– Y Q’ [ = “¿Y qué?“]
– CARISMA [ = “Carismático“]
– IRRESP. [ = “Irresponsable“]
– ASI [ = “Así se habla“]


I’m pretty sure they followed the set exactly. They put on an excellent show, they rocked so hard. If only they could have played some more of their older shit. Man, didn’t even realize how new all the songs were until I looked at the set list. Bueno, a lo mejor la próxima van a tocar “Los calientes”…

Please forgive all my grammatical and factual errors. I’ll try to fix them if I notice them.

Mucho y Más.

I haven’t heard anyone else hollerin’ about this, so I figured I’d let you know. On the Babasónicos website, all the tour dates are for May, but their NYC date is on June 26. It will take place at the Highline and tickets are already on sale ($25, cripes!). There’s no word on the openers yet. Full info here.

I’m not sure if their new album is available yet. It’s supposed to be this week but I don’t know if that’s only in Argentina or only Latin America, or if it’s also in the US, too. I don’t know if you’ve heard their lead single but it’s gloriously beautiful–go check it out at their official site or their MySpace. I guess I’ll go to the Virgin after work and see if there are any domestic copies available.

Current Jams.

Some stuff I’ve been listening to:

1. The Roots of Chicha: Psychedelic Cumbias from Peru

Sit down, my chillun, let me tell y’all a story. So on leap day, my token 90s friend and I went for an early dinner to Yaffa Cafe, which is located on St. Marks next to that odd-smelling but otherwise way cool used bookstore next door. So here we were, having dinner early like two old ladies, not many folks around so that the waiters were all kinda chillin’, hangin’ back. There was this Latin shit playing in the background pero yo no sabía lo que era. And it was hilarious, too, one of the tracks was like this Latinized version of “Für Elise.” Can I get a LOL, anyone? So when my friend and I finished eating our din din, I asked the waiter what the album was. He said he didn’t know but he’d check the iPod for me. He did so, telling me it was this album of chicha jams. Actually, he wrote it down and even specified that I could buy it at Other Music. Well, imagine that. I really appreciate that the waiter took the time to help me out.  Is that great service or what?

My friend and I had nothing to do after dinner, so we just sashayed our way to Other Music and I bought the CD. It’s really fun! If you bum around the website of the label that released the album, you’ll see they are planning to release another chicha-happy album in a few weeks. I’m definitely gonna have to check it out.

I know that for kids who read the more well-known music blogs, “afropop” is probably a buzzword maintenant (god bless Vampire Weekend!). But with the hispanoablantes, I’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about a resurgence of cumbia. Por ejemplo, check out this feature from NYRemezcla. This is totally delightful for me, since I think I was born to dance to that shit.

2. Infame, Babasónicos

Well, I’ve been digging this band for a while, but I’ve been obsessing lately. I keep wondering if it’s some morbid fascination with the fact that their bassist died last month, y’know, like having some nostalgia that never belonged to me in the first place. After all, I really have no idea who’s even in the band. They’re just one of those bands where I’m more wrapped up by the music itself than knowing everything about every person in the group.

It’s really shocking how powerful this album can be. Mostly I’ve listened to Jessico, but I was rereading Lechner’s Rock en Español and he was all like, “ZOMG I love Infame,” so on the same evening I bought the chicha album, I somehow drifted into the world music section of the Virgin at Union Square and once I grabbed onto Infame, I couldn’t let go. I know it must sound silly to want an album that I already have and have listened to on my computer, but it’s really not the same. I’ve been listening to Infame on my CD player and it’s been pretty great. On Saturday I was home listening to it alone and during the chorus of “Putita” I just started crying. It wasn’t over Gabo, though I do want to make it clear I think it’s fucked up that he died at such a young age. It’s just that the melody and the lyrics meld beautifully in this song. I wonder if all the band members are proud of all the music they’ve created through the years. I think they should be. ¿No les gustaría haber escrito esa canción? Y cuando oyen canciones como esta, ¿no les parece un honor de ser capaz de oir? This is the kind of song that reminds me to take care of my ears so I won’t go deaf…

3. Multiply, Jamie Liddell

I’m just mentally preparing myself for the release of the new album. He’s playing a couple of shows at the Bowery Ballroom in June. They should be pretty wild.

Felix Cristiani.

Hey, remember when I first mentioned Felix Cristiani? I thought nothing would come out of this discovery. I thought no one would really notice and I’d be the loneliest Felix fan ever. Of course, at this point I didn’t know anything except that I liked his music. I’ve learned a little more about him, like how he is Daniel Melero’s current bassist, so the cred is there, haha. Anyway, Super 45 reviewed his album, which has sent me into a tizzy because I still haven’t managed to hear the entire thing.


Felix – “Calor”

I dunno if it’s an “official” video or if someone just dug the song so they made a video. Who knows.


Heyyy guess who’s going to see Café Tacuba in November!!! Can’t wait for the album to come out. I’m actually gonna buy it, even if most of it sucks, “Volver a Comenzar” is a beautiful song and worth the money.
Now if only Soda Stereo would hurry over to NYC. They already added a Miami date. Honestly I can’t believe they haven’t arranged and finalized when Soda Stereo are coming to New York. I know I sound like an entitled bitch but I really want to see them! It just bothers me that when Latino (rock) bands come around they play like 5 shows in Cali and Texas but they only do 1 in NYC. Of course it’s different with reggaetón groups, because the market for that genre of music is bigger here so they show a lot of love, but I’m not keen on going to shows for that.

SOB’s has some awesome shows lined up though, including Pistolera/Austin TV for a Día de los Muertos show. My friend Roland mentioned this band Syme to me recently so I decided to check ’em out. At first I was like, “BAH! RIFFIN’ ON AUSTIN TV’S AWESOMESAUCE!” But after giving them another try I realized they’re both very different bands.

I have some great personal news. My dad is finally gonna become a U.S. citizen. My hope is that he will have proper health insurance now. I don’t understand why it took about 7 years of “background checks” (of course it wasn’t really) for them to give him his due. Whatever, I’m happy, especially cos I watched the most recent episode of Ugly Betty and Betty’s dad has mad immigration issues. I know my dad is one of the lucky ones!

Me Verás Caer.

I read some terrible news over at the Onion AV Club: Punk Planet is dead.  Isn’t that so sad?  I understand that there’s a lot of folks who don’t even buy magazines any more and all they do is go on Hype Machine, which is okay, I guess, but it’s sad because Punk Planet stayed independent for so so long.  Their view of punk, too, is incredibly broad, which I really appreciate.  Then again, this is also extra incentive for me to go out and buy We Owe You Nothing.  I recommend you do the same, the people included are super interesting.  Also, I think they are still going to keep their book imprint so maybe you can buy some of their novels and the like.  Es una verdadera pena.

In other news, I’m terribly conflicted.  I just found out that Calle 13 are playing the same night as Zoé + The Pinker Tones + Chetes.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to the Zoé since it’s free but it still kinda pains me to think about, and I sort of really do want to see Residente + Visitante + PG-13.  Damn.  Yeah, yeah, I know, you wish your life was as difficult as mine.  Haha.

Also, I was a li’l miffed in my previous post about this Soda Stereo reunion shit, but honestly I think if they came to the US I’d go.  I’m just, y’know, perfectly aware that they’re viejitos and that they hate each other and that they’re probably just doing it to feed their families.  Hard to believe they did get back together.  They must be getting so much dinero!

Soda Stereo – Danza rota

Soda Stereo – Ella usó mi cabeza como un revólver

Fave Music Videos by Latino Artists

A continuation of my previous post.

Los Prisioneros (Chile) – We Are Sudamerican Rockers

Soda Stereo (Argentina) – Cuando pase el temblor

Café Tacuba (Mexico) – Aviéntame

Vaquero (Mexico, again) – Sunshine

and because I can’t post this one enough:

Zoé (Mexico) – No me destruyas

ALSO! Here’s a video by Los Bunkers, “Miño.” It’s probably the best song this Chilean band has written. This song is named after this man who committed suicide (in public!) by setting himself in flames. It’s a long story, but one that shocked me when I found out the basis of this song.