Wassup Rockers


Category Archive

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

What Is Wrong With Me?

I caved and finally started crying over not owning this fucking box set that Zoé just released. I hate it, I hate feeling so strongly about a piece of fucking pop music. I feel like such a slave to it. I know I should want more important things, like world peace or a cure to cancer. No, instead I’m cranky and frustrated over some vinyl records. I don’t even care how expensive it is, I will pay! I just want a fucking copy… I can’t believe how distressed I am over this. I mean, I was just staring at that Twitter picture, and I just started shaking.

I need sleep.


WFMU Record Fair 2009.

I went to the record fair today, a nice closing punctuation mark to CMJ.  Not that I did anything CMJ-related this year, whereas I seriously waited all year long to go to the fair today.  Thinking I’d learned my lesson last year, this time I decided to budget myself and also made a mental list of things I wanted: God Is For Real, Man, Del Shannon and Roy Orbison, and maybe some Carter Family shit.

So how did I end up dropping $40 on just two records?  Obviously it’s not that much, but I was really hoping to find a shitload of beat up $5 records, so an average of $20 per record is a little much.  I just entered the place and was immediately overwhelmed, as usual.  After sweeping up and down the aisles, I decided there were definitely some things I wanted (and could afford, cos God knows how much shit I really really wanted and couldn’t pay for it).

I specifically want to bitch about this Ska Au Go Go album that I wanted.  I saw it, noted in my mind to come back to it, and kept looking for other cool shit.  (Leonard Nimoy reading HG Wells, anyone?)  Anyway, when I finally finished making my round of all the exhibitors about 20 minutes later, I went back to the spot and looked all through the crate and… it wasn’t there!  No–it was in the hands of some guy standing right next to me.  So I kinda waited a couple of minutes to see if he was gonna let go of the record so I could swoop in on that shit.  Alas, he held on to the LP pretty tightly.  Damn you, dude!!  Heh, just kidding.  I understand how these things go: you snooze, you lose.  That’s okay, I was mostly intrigued that there was a track called “I Should Have Known Better.”  Well I just downloaded that shit, and indeed, it’s a cover of the Beatles song.  Yeah, it’s pretty sweet.  Sigh, if only that record was in my hands…

Well, the more expensive one is a double LP, which inconveniently doesn’t even come in a gatefold sleeve.  It’s just a greatest hits called A Arte de Tim Maia.  It’s hilarious, almost every song sounds fine except for “Não quero dinheiro,” which skips a bit.  I imagine that whoever owned the record first played the shit out of that song, and who am I to blame them?  My dad looked at the record and pointed out that title, to which I asserted, “THAT’S THE BEST SONG IN THE ENTIRE THING!!” even though this statement might not be true.  Anyway, I felt kinda wack about having paid “so much” for the record when I’d gone into the Metropolitan Pavilion looking for deals, but by the time I got to side B of the second LP, I was just crying and crying from the thrill and the honor of getting to hear this seriously beautiful music. In conclusion, it was totally worth the money and I’m very happy with this find, even if it’s a minor Best Of.

The less expensive (but still kinda costly) record is a compilation of Chilean jazz from the first half of the 20th century.  I haven’t listened to it and I’m kind of scared to.  The seller had several records that seriously caught my eye, including a nice copy of a Joe Cuba Sextet record that cost less than the Chilean jazz one, but I wondered, “Which album is more likely to be here next year?”  I understood that Chilean jazz ain’t as in demand over here as, say, bugalú, but at the same time it’s more rare to see a record of Chilean music at all, so I decided to go with it.  Plus, the Chilean record is sealed!  Do I dare open it?  Of course!  I can’t wait to see what treasures it contains.

I don’t know that my experience was wild as previous years–for some reason the whole affair seemed a bit more muted today, did I imagine it–but I still had a lot of fun.  The best genres to check out were the kids’ albums.  My friend and I found a Topo Gigio record!!  He was da bomb.

I’ve been all right, just listening to a lot of this and that.  One of my classmates burned me a copy of The Saturdays’ Chasing Lights, which is surprisingly excellent.  So many of the songs could have been major singles, really!  I’m smarting from the Sugababes breakup fiasco, so at least it’s nice to see that there’s a new generation of pop tarts bringing cute escapist ditties to the masses.  They don’t write their own songs, but they do sing live!

Also, I’ve gone back to obsessing over Zoé.  Mostly because I randomly developed a crush on Sergio, their guitarist?  Mostly because I get the feeling that he’s one of those betas who could really be an alpha if he wanted, but he can’t be bothered because he already knows he’s fucking awesome and doesn’t need that validation?  Regardless, I’ve been going through their old stuff and I’m loving it.  I found an episode of Verdad y Fama on YouTube featuring the band and they pretty much verify that the band members, especially León, are pretty much fried out of their minds, not that it was too hard to tell.

Dude, watch that video!  It’s not even their best song, but look at the way people are singing along.  It’s a huge fucking crowd and they all know all the fucking words.  It’s amazing.  I love this band so much, I wish they’d come to NYC more often.

I’m finally looking forward to stuff, too, after a long funk of not caring about what was next.  First, I can’t wait for the new Shakira, which seems like it’s becoming an unmarketable dud for her label.  I can’t believe “She Wolf” hasn’t really taken off, “Loba” is doing pretty well on MTV Tr3s and I personally fucking love that song. Awooooo…!!  The last English album of hers I bought was Laundry Service, which in hindsight I find a bit blah, but this single has me really excited and I’m totally gonna buy the new album.  I also found out that Gustavo Cerati, god bless his Jewfro’d self, just released a new album and I can’t wait to track it down and listen to it.  Not only that, Javiera Mena is finally gonna release her second full-length (about time!!) and apparently she did a song with Jens Lekman!  Hope it turns out well.  She’s also busy at the moment opening for Kings of Convenience, who also have a new album out and I’m trying to decide whether I want to hear it.  My undying crush on Erlend tells me to do it, but half of the time I find their shit beautiful and the other half I find it boring.

Y’know what I mean?


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
Azul
-o-
Casa

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.


Hola Mexico Film Fest: Desierto Adentro (Rodrigo Plá) @ Quad Cinema.

Well, the Hola Mexico Film Festival ended today. I almost forgot about it, just as I pretty much forgot about TeatroStageFest this year. Seriously, I’ve just been so out of it. I feel really bad about missing the TeatroStageFest events, too, cos a couple of weeks ago I even got a call from one of their peeps reminding me about the shows. But of course at that point I was like, “Meh, there’s still time to figure out my schedule,” and of course just last night I was like, “Holy shiiiiit.”

Luckily, I remembered to attend the Hola Mexico fest. I was torn between watching Voy a explotar (I’m Gonna Explode) or Desierto adentro (The Desert Within). A while back I read about the former on Super45, and the soundtrack listing excited me, but the storyline seemed kinda boring. I was interested in the latter because it was directed by Rodrigo Plá. Last year I saw La zona, which he also directed, which was quite memorable, if not exactly perfect.  If you couldn’t tell by the title for this post, I ultimately decided on checking out Plá’s new one.

This movie wasn’t perfect either, but as it happened with La zona, it’s given me a lot to think about. Both works are lacking in hope and infuriating, which I see as a good thing.

On a superficial level, Desierto adentro could not be more different from La zona, which makes me appreciate Plá’s willingness to try different things. Whereas La zona is wrapped up in modernity, the urban and the secular, Desierto adentro is steeped in the olden days, the rural and in Catholicism. La zona, too, focuses on a close-knit community that chooses to close itself off from the corruptions of the greater society, whereas in the newer film, isolation is imposed upon the individual, and it’s never voluntary; rather, it’s meant to be experienced as a punishment.

The story is broken into four clearly marked acts, and we get cues to the main theme of each section. We meet Elías, whose choices lead to a series of events that lead him to be cursed out by a priest and disowned by his mother. A deeply religious family man, Elías understandably takes this very badly. Even worse, he loses his wife and one of his sons, Aureliano–and this is only the beginning of his troubles. (BTW, Cien años de soledad vibes, anyone? Aureliano is not a name I hear thrown around very often…)

The rest of the movie we see Elías trying to show penance for his errors, growing increasingly desperate as time passes, but what complicates things even more is that his 7 children suffer right along with him… some more than others.

We experience most of these events through the eyes of Elías’s son, Aureliano. No, not the Aureliano who dies. See, Elías’s wife was pregnant, and she died giving birth to a boy. To honor the memory of Aureliano, the baby is named after his brother. Elías sets Baby Aureliano (literally) apart from the other six surviving children, nurturing an artistic side. Some scenes feature animated versions of the pictures Baby Aureliano draws.  To a degree, Baby Aureliano thrives and finds comfort in this, but he soon comes to understand that Elías’s excuses of wanting to protect Baby Aureliano are rooted in more complex and sinister motives.

I’m sorry, I want to keep talking about it but I’m really tired and I need to work tomorrow.  I’ll try to edit it and update it mañana, maybe. :( Before I go to sleep, I want to mention the music in this movie, which was used to great effect. We only hear music intermittently, which makes it more conspicuous when it does appear. It just shows up on occasion, a naked chorus of voices, no accompaniment. It’s so creepy.


Inolvidable.

WHAT. THE. FUCK.

(1) That is Gael García Bernal.
(2) He is singing a cover of “I Want You to Want Me.” In Spanish. Norteño-style.

Is my mind blown? My mind is totally blown. I’m also glad to finally see a trailer of Rudo y Cursi, which has been in production for a very long time. (The music video is some sort of promo for the movie.) Anyway, I found this video on Remezcla, and you can find a trailer for the movie, too. It looks like a comedy so now I’m kinda looking forward to it. But enough about the Gael/Diego film reunion. When is Gael getting back with Ludwika Paleta, that’s what I wanna know. Then again, girlfriend should probably stop doing the whole trashy telenovela thing.

Actually, if you read the credits in the video above, you’ll see Diego Luna’s name in there, too. I think Gael and Diego met on the set of El abuelo y yo. And yes, I used to watch it when I was little and I had no recollection of Gael, so you can imagine the shock of finding out Gael was in that novela. At that point I only watched the show for Ludwika, who was so so pretty and who was well-known among my age group since she had been in Carrusel, which was an incredibly successful kids’ telenovela.

Yes, in Latin America they trained us to become telenovela fiends from a very early age.

ANYWAY. Seeing the norteño version of “I Want You to Want Me” reminded me of another Gael movie with an awesomely weird and unexpected cover, El crimen del padre Amaro. Okay, in that movie, I heard this really great version of “One Way or Another,” and so I tried desperately to seek my soul, but I finally gave up after like a month or two. It’s one of the few songs on which I’ve given up. Another notable song I haven’t found successfully is Ray Charles’s version of “Bein’ Green,” as heard on an episode of The Cosby Show. Argh, remembering my downloading misadventures makes me want these songs even more.

Also, I’m suddenly itchin’ to listen to more norteño shit. It’s that polka bounce… it’s too catchy to be true…


Will the Next Zoé Album Suck?

So. Will the new Zoé album suck? I know it’s not like, the question of the century, but I’m really anxious to hear what they come up with. The answer is probably out there on the internets, but I’m too scared to go seek it out. Thank god that there’s only a couple of days left, not even. For now, all I can say is, I hope the new Zoé doesn’t suck. It’s just that they set a whole new standard with Memo Rex, and what’s frightening is how well the album sold, too. So the pressure is there. At least I’m happy to say the first single is pretty sweet. “Reptilectric” has been out for a while now and if you check out the website, you can watch the trippy video that goes along with it. At least I found it more impressive that TVOTR’s first single.

Hope they come on tour soon! Would love to see Zoé live again.

I’ve still got other interesting album releases to check out: Aterciopelados, which I had no idea about, and mofuckin’ Calle 13. Gotta get cracking on that.


Estoy Aquí.

Hi. It’s been a while.

In case you cared, and I’m sure you don’t, I did go see Kinky for my very first time a few weeks ago. I had this whole post about how much I loved the entire afternoon, from Pistolera to Mariachi Real de Mexico to el Instituto Mexicano del Sonido to Kinky. I was wrong about my guess in the previous post; IMS did not DJ the show and instead played a solid set with his band and it was wonderful. At one point they did a real 1-2-3 punch going from “Para no vivir desesperado” to “Mirando a las muchachas” to “Hip hop no pares.” They’re my favorite songs of his so I was ecstatic.

Well, I scrapped that whole long post because all those silly little details aren’t crucial, what matters is that I was watching Kinky from the back, and I saw how strongly people reacted to their set, and I really had one of those moments where I thought, “Why am I not doing something like this? I could do it!” I don’t mean to say that Kinky were so sub-par that I thought I could do better. But I did wonder what stops me from making music while other people just get up and do everything they can to make music. Siiigh. You know what they say: those who can’t, blog.

Last night I went to a free screening of Velvet Goldmine at McCarren. It was fun. There were a few technical snags which were annoying as hell, but for the most part, I had a good time. I feel like I giggled through the entire movie. At first it didn’t seem like there were gonna be a lot of people but when the movie ended and I looked back at the crowd, I was surprised! I also thought there would be a big queer contingent dominating the crowd, but there was a strong mix of people to see the movie. Either way, I’m glad there’s so many people who dig the movie.

I leave you with a real gem I found on YouTube. Absolutely glorious.


A Day in the Park.

Oh guck!  I mean, oh fuck!  Alejandro Escovedo had to cancel his appearance at SummerStage tomorrow so he’s been replaced by el Instituto Mexicano del Sonido and Mariachi Real de Mexico!  I’m sorry to be so happy about this change, but I’ve wanted to see IMS live forever and missed every chance.  I’m mad excited about this!  However, it sucks Escovedo had to cancel due to illness, hope he gets better soon.

I’m gonna take a wild guess and say that IMS will be DJing throughout the afternoon.  The Central Park folk run a tight ship in terms of scheduling, so I’m sure it’ll be like the Jamie Lidell show with three performances and a DJ playing between sets.

This video makes me so happy.


Don’t Ask Me How Stellet Licht Ends.

I just went to see this movie called Stellet licht, which was being shown at the Hola Mexico Film Festival. Our screening fucked up. Instead of film, they were showing us a DVD and you betcha it decided to freeze on us. The DVD quality was fucking great and honestly I wouldn’t have noticed that it was a DVD if it hadn’t frozen (though now that I think about it, I should have realized there were no “cigarette burns” in sight). It froze once and they just skipped over to a part that was okay, which was an odd decision—I wondered if I’d missed anything important, I couldn’t tell how much we’d skipped. I tried to forget it, but then the movie froze again. It was awful. I’m so mad because all I wanted was a refund and all I got was a stupid pass to see another movie at the Quad Cinema. I love movies and that’s all fine and dandy, but $10 is a lot to me and I could have had a whole fucking meal with those $10. I wish they’d just refunded the money to me. I mean, I’m hungry right now, you know? I skipped on lunch. They told us we could come back and see the movie for free the next time there is a screening, on Sunday, but I don’t know if I can make it then. They also gave us a choice to stay and just see the rest of the movie from where it froze the first time, but I didn’t have the heart to go back in again. I’ve been having a bad day. I really want to go home right now, but my internet died on me again, which is why I’m at the school computer lab, and also because I’d been meaning to go see El Guincho, which is tonight at the South Street Seaport. But frankly I’m bummed beyond belief. Such a downer, cos I had a really good day yesterday.

The director of Hola Mexico or whoever was running the show today was bugging out about the whole situation. All those cranky older people at our matinee… I’m not saying he handled the fiasco very well, but seeing all those people yelling at him, I certainly didn’t envy him.


Julieta Venegas, Plastilina Mosh + DJ Bitman @ Central Park SummerStage.

Went to Central Park today to see DJ Bitman, Plastilina Mosh, and Julieta Venegas. I got there 30 minutes before the show started, which was stupid of me. I mean, it’s not like I wasn’t gonna get in, but I woulda had a better spot if I hadn’t had issues with the trains. Thirty minutes before a SummerStage show is cutting it too close, especially when it’s a big fucking deal like Julieta Venegas, y’know? La próxima vez tendré más cuidado.

Can I tell you something hilarious? I totally forgot that DJ Raff was gonna play with DJ Bitman. I was so stoked to see him on stage, for real. Big step for him and for Bitman, and I’m so happy for them. I don’t know Bitman’s material too well but it was cool to hear him spinnin’, especially cos they did Raff’s “Latin ’n’ Proud.”

Weird, on the hard copy version of the SummerStage program, it says, “Chilean musical veteran DJ Bitman a.k.a. Jose Antonio Bravo (of legendary group Los Tres)…” I heard a huge record scratch sound in my head, y’know? I was like, HOLD UP. Los Tres?? I don’t know what the source for this bio was (the one on the SummerStage website is accurate), but it’s like, if he had really been in Los Tres, I sure woulda heard about it. And I probably would have paid more attention to him, because Los Tres are fucking awesome. I’ve checked out some other sources and none of them even mention that.

Anyway, it was a good set, very hip-hop heavy. They had a rapper with them, he seemed really nice, had a decent flow but mostly a chill vibe. Oh, and for one of the songs, this pale little flaquita with the shortest mini-skirt evz came out and I was confused and realized that it was Francisca Valenzuela. She did her thing and immediately disappeared. I can’t even remember what she sang, I had my earplugs on (and thank the lord cos shit was mad loud) and on top of that, her fucking mic was too low. Actually, during Bitman’s set there were major mic issues. Like sometimes Bitman would wanna say some stuff to hype up the crowd or say thanks, and they wouldn’t turn on the mic for him. Goddamn. The sound people should pay closer attention!! That’s actually why I didn’t catch the rapper’s name, but I think someone said he was venezolano? Will have to verify.

Plastilina Mosh were a surprise for me. I’m not too familiar with them and I expected them to be not unlike Bitman and Raff, just a lot of electronic stuff, so imagine how I felt when a full-on band showed up on stage. Yes, there was a keyboardist and a laptop DJ, but also two fellas mainly on guitar, a main vocalist/guitarist, a bassist, and a drummer. The drummer was a woman! That was fucking exciting, you don’t see many female drummer bumming around, you know? She was really good, too. For some reason they were all dressed as if they were in different bands, which made me LOL a little. They had great energy and it was actually really cool to see that they were muy rocanrol.

They did, however, lose me around the time they did their “we don’t really know how to reggae but here’s our attempt at reggae” song, mostly cos in my less-than-knowledgeable ears, it didn’t sound very reggae and even worse, it was kind of too slow to be playing during a hot summer day. And this slump dragged on for like three songs before the good vibes picked up again. They covered “Viva Las Vegas.” They also did this really catchy song that they dedicated to all the ladies, which was really great until they started going “Me so horny/love me long time,” which are phrases that just make me really uncomfortable.

Y qué digo sobre Julieta. Let’s start with the superficial stuff: I think she’s better-looking in person, which is incredible because whenever I’ve seen pics or video footage of her, I’ve always been captivated by how pretty she is.

I know I must sound demanding but her set was a mixed bag for me. It was way too short, for one thing, and that made me wish Plastilina hadn’t gone on for so long. Second, it was very heavy on newer material, like from the past year or so. Now, I absolutely LOVED “Primer día” and “Eres para mí,” but I’m not that big a fan of Limón y sal. I mean, I sang along to “Me voy” and “Limón y sal,” but c’mon… they’re pretty weak pop songs by Julieta standards. Also, she did the rap part to “Eres para mí,” and I almost fainted from the shock, just cos I’m so used to Anita Tijoux rockin’ the mic at that point. This live version was fierce though!! The songs included “Lento,” “Algo está cambiando” and “Andar conmigo,” which I’m not complaining about. It just would have been nice to hear some of the lesser known stuff, like “A tu lado.” ALSO! She did “De mis pasos” which is such a badass song and the live arrangement for it was awesome. Seriously, one of the best pieces she’s ever written and I’m glad she still keeps it in her repertoire.

Julieta was backed by fourteen other musicians! There was a string quartet, a 4-person horn section, and some percussionists, as well as a regular band. They were supercool, plus they all seemed to be having fun which made me happy. And she played on guitar, keys, and (the crowd favorite!!) her accordion, though half the time I think she just sang.

I think the best thing about this lineup was that they’re all acts that have been around a while. They were all very polished and professional and got through the minor technical difficulties that appeared on occasion with a smile. Not only that, the fact that these acts have been doing their thing for a “long” time meant that they were all comfortable and had a great connection which really helped the vibe. I will say that this wasn’t my best experience at the LAMC show for SummerStage but I definitely enjoyed it for what it was. In part I was a bit upset with some of the crowd, but I don’t wanna get into it because I don’t have the energy to get mad. I dealt with it as I could. And believe me, when the announcer peeps came up and mentioned how many people had to be turned away, I was definitely grateful that I got a chance to see all these musicians.


ND/NF 2008: La Zona (Rodrigo Plá) @ Walter Reade Theater.

It was the last day of New Directors/New Films stuff. I fucking missed out on one movie I really wanted to see, Etgar Keret‘s Jellyfish, but today I made sure to see Rodrigo Plá’s La Zona. The movie’s about this closed off community–it’s literally walled off–and of how they deal when these robbers infiltrate the area. I liked it a lot because it was such a timely movie, touching on topics that really interest me such as technology, surveillance, police corruption, class differences, as well as urban/suburban issues. The narrative arc of the story was well-handled, I feel, with certain little details you forget and think are throwaways until they end up playing a big role in the story.

The movie featured that really hot woman that Gael García and Diego Luna fall for in Y tu mamá también, as well as someone who had the same last name as Javier Bardem and pretty much looked like him, so I’m guessing that it was his brother. Oh, I just googled him and I can confirm that he is indeed Javier’s brother. It was cool cos Carlos Bardem was supposed to be Mexican in the movie; I suck with discerning accents and stuff but I thought he did a pretty sweet job. Maribel Verdú kept her native accent, which I also think is cool. I thought she was underused in the movie, her character was this really honest, virtuous, moral (and superhot!!) wife married to a more amoral man, but instead of being a full character of her own, she seemed to exist as a reaction to the amoral man (played by Daniel Giménez Cacho). The boy who played the married couple’s son, Daniel Tovar, was really really good. I hope people pay attention, it would be cool to see him blow up and get even meatier roles.

The movie was showing at the Walter Reade at Lincoln Center, and I was scared it was gonna sell out so I woke up early this morning and took the train down to the movie theater and made sure to get a ticket. It was $10, which, I’m sad to announce, is a FUCKING BARGAIN. I’m not gonna complain, cos I was checking out the movie listings for the Tribeca Film Festival, and those are $15 per person. Yikes!

Anyway, since I got the ticket early, I bummed around for a while at the Barnes & Noble nearby. And guess what?? They totally had multiple copies of Alberto Fuguet’s Road Story! And I totally bought a copy! For like $18! I know it’s stupid, but it hadn’t even occurred to me it would be published en los EE.UU. Then again, I never even thought Fuguet and I would be in the same country at the same time, but apparently he’s teaching some classes at UCLA (so he blogs). I seethe with envy at those kids who get to take his classes… well, unless he’s an asshole of a teacher. Who knows? Either way, I think it’s exciting that he’s only 3000 miles away. I wish he’d stick around in the country until, I don’t know, fall–he should totally come to the NYFF then! Haha.

I would like to express my beef towards the Virgin for not stocking There Will Be Blood before the release date. What da dilly, yo! You release In Rainbows weeks in advance but not There Will Be Blood? Boo!! Oh well, at least I just have to wait until Tuesday.


Pluses!

(+) Went to MoMA to see a screening of Machuca, a Chilean movie from a few years ago. It was hilarious, it was like me and maybe 200 old folks. Uh, so when I was really little, I used to watch this telenovela called Estúpido cupido, which featured this pretty handsome actor named Francisco Reyes, and he was totes in this movie looking really fly even though he had one of those unfortunate 70s pornstaches. I mean when I was little I didn’t think anything of him, but wow, I so would!

The movie itself was really cute (and fucked up and sad!) though I thought it was totally awkward seeing these prepubescent kids pretty much making out with a pubescent girl. I like to tell myself they were only a couple of years apart but honestly, I couldn’t figure out the age difference so who knows?

The most surprising thing about this movie is that they use the word “pendejo” in Chile, too. Word?!?! What’s the point of “pendejo” when you’ve got “huevón”? Oh, I guess the connotation is a bit different for each. But I don’t ever remember using that word, and I always thought it was a North-of-the-Equator word. Seriously. And I figure they’ve been saying pendejo in Chile forever, cos that movie was set in 1973.

(+) Finally got a copy of Nuuro‘s All Clear! Yay!

(+) A few days old, but a fantastic read nonetheless, mostly because it’s probably the only list you’ll read that includes both González Iñárritu and GOB Bluth. Ahhh, too good to be true. Though it’s really annoying that they refer to my González Iñárritu as just “Iñárritu.” Okay, quick lesson on names in Spanish-speaking nations! If you were to look up the director’s name in the phonebook, or some sort of official record (birth, marriage, lo que sea), he’d be listed under “G” and not under “I.” Ugh, I guess I shouldn’t complain too much, at least they got their accents on the right vowels.

(+) I’m going to see Café Tacuba tomorrow!

(+) My mom just found my huge stash of condoms! LOLLERSKATES Y’ALL. She asked me where I got them. I was like, “School!” Practice safe sex, everyone! You don’t wanna end up on Maury, that’s all I’m sayin’.


Volver.

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!


Totes Random.

Well, I just sent these songs to myself (from my desktop PC to my laptop), but I think it’s a waste to be the only one to download these ~*HOT JAMZZZ*~ so I’ll share.

(1) The first is that song that plays in a loop on the Amores Perros DVD menu that you’d think would drive you crazy but it’s so damn good and fierce and aggro and if there’s one song that truly represents the movie, it’s probably “Sí señor.” It’s not “Me van a matar,” which is more of a “Hey, Julieta Venegas sorta had cred back in the days (lol)” song; it’s not “Aviéntame,” which is more of a “Yay, Meme gets to sing” song. Oh wait, I guess “De perros amores” is the most representative song, cos it has the Control Machete grit in contrast to Ely Guerra’s vulnerability. But it’s like, these three songs I just mentioned aren’t in the movie actually. “Sí señor” is, and used in a fantastic way.

(2) The other song is just a cover of “Whip It.” En español. By Los Prisioneros. Doesn’t that sound awesome? To be honest, it’s mostly awesome because it’s faithful to the original.

Control Machete – Sí señor

Los Prisioneros – Azota


Café Tacuba, Pacha Massive + La Sista @ Central Park Summerstage.

I got to the show exactly at 3 pm and it already started. Damn, these shows in public parks are so punctual. The line wasn’t very long either, so I got in pretty quickly.

La Sista was so-so. She had a big stage presence, but it was the same kind of hip-hop shout-out crap, y’know, “Where my ladies at?! How many boricuas we got out here today?!?! I can’t hear you!! Blah blah blah.” She was so busy in between songs it felt like she only had like four songs. She kept asking where people were from, and she had a few people jump up and dance. The reggaetón was okay. But! She did bring out these women dancing to bomba! That was really fun to watch. I love the dresses they wear, except I felt bad for them since it was so hot!

Pacha Massive were also so-so. Mostly it’s because I don’t care for their jam band world music sound. Boooooring. This is not the type of music to hear when it’s really hot and there’s a lot of people and you’re getting antsy waiting to see ~*THE MOST IMPORTANT BAND FROM MEXICO*~. I was surprised because the Pacha Massive folk mostly spoke in English. But the thing that really drove me mad? I can’t figure out how to pronounce “Pacha.” I say it the way it’s written, emphasis on the first syllable. But other people kept saying “Pachá,” emphasis on the second syllable. I feel like I’m right, but still…

So! Café Tacuba! itfapoq8409qmdlsknss4a9047qks!!!11!!!uno!! I’d never seen them before so I was totally ecstatic! I feel like I can die a little bit more in peace now. Haha.

The biggest pity was how rough the crowd was. I mean, Latino men tend to get stereotyped for being all macho and all sorts of heterosexist but you should have seen the huge mosh pit. All those sweaty dudes slamming, many of them shirtless and some of them in lucha libre masks (¡uy! ¡qué kinky!)… can you say homoerotic? But not in a cool way. Like there were so many people trying to get out of the way and not get hurt, but their stomping around got the dust on everyone. I kept coughing and when I blew my nose, my snot was brown. Yuck, I know.

But wait, I haven’t spoken about the music! Oh man! It was so effortless coming from them. It was so beautiful. And they seemed so happy to be there! Rubén is so funny, he came out wearing a white suit (muy David Byrne) and this white hat that totally covered his eyes. Except there were these slits on the hat so in reality he was able to see just fine and grin and jump around and be awesome. Aw, he’s so adorable, I loved his braids. OMG and Joselo totally cut his hair! He looks like a dad!

Well, the running joke through the concert was that Rubén kept saying that they’re all viejitos now. It bummed me out a little bit cos I was like, “So what, are you going to retire now?” But when they did their little boy band dance for “Déjate caer” I was like, “Viejitos my ass, you’re at your peaks!!!” Oh man, and I love love loved “Las flores”! They played that new song they’ve been trying out live, which was really pretty and makes me very excited about the next record! The crowd got really crazy during “La ingrata” so I couldn’t really dance to it, though, so that makes me really sad.

I was also kinda sad because I could hardly see Meme, who’s my favorite. I know that sounds silly because he’s like the tallest one, but I just couldn’t see the keyboards and stuff because of where I was standing. But then!! For the “encore,” Rubén was nowhere to be found, and instead, Meme came to the mic! And sang “Eres”! So I think that was my favorite performance of the day. It wasn’t the song; I do love “Eres” but the performance wasn’t that cathartic, it was just fantastic to see Meme. He’s adorable.

Haha, okay, this post is getting a bit too fan girl-y now. To conclude: not the best lineup out there, and the crowd was insufferable, but Café Tacuba were totally totally worth it. Great stage presence, gracious, and the music was fantastic.


Zoé, The Pinker Tones + Cuarto Poder @ Prospect Park (Celebrate Brooklyn).

I guess I missed the announcement, if there was any, but Chetes was a no show last night. This was even more puzzling because his bio in the program says he’s moved to Brooklyn. So I really don’t know what happened.

I got there around 7:15 but the music had already started! And then I was really shocked because there were seats! Most of them were empty, but by the time Zoé came on there were probably a few thousand people. There was also a grassy area in the back where a lot of people were chillin’ and picnic-in’. I didn’t dig the set up too much, because there was a huge press pit, which stayed fairly empty because VIP people have no gratitude for having ~*SUPER SPECIAL WRISTBANDS*~.

Cuarto Poder subbed for the pop singer-songwriter, and you know what? Ultimately, this was a much better lineup. There were hundreds of empty seats at that point but Cuarto Poder, who hail from Venezuela, gave a really good show. At first I was like, “Oh yeah, I’m totally missing the Calle 13 show right now, boohoohoo,” but Cuarto Poder won me over! They were totally cute. I’m sure as hip-hoppers they’ll be a little offended by my use of the word “cute,” but I swear I mean it in the best sense possible. Their songs were fun, energetic, and they worked hard to engage the audience. They had two guys dancers, too. I’m surprised they didn’t have scantily-clad women as dancers, but shoot, I’m not complaining, the dudes were good-looking and they had obviously practiced a lot. The whole group seemed focused and professional and I appreciated that. Oh, and the DJ was really cool, he also played bass and I think guitar and he sang a bit too. Good times.

The Pinker Tones (from Spain) were okay. I was surprised because I kept thinking they were a duo, but then three of them showed up, hahaha. I was actually really tired by that point and since they’re pretty much a DJ group, they mixed their songs so that the entire set felt like one looooong song. Even worse, I have a short attention span, so having them play one looooong song was brutal to sit through. No, I wasn’t dancing. The music was fun, I guess. I just… it was goofy to just watch. They seemed to be having a lot of fun, but they were dancing and jumping around like they were still pimply 17-year-olds in their rooms dancing awkwardly to their favorite techno records. At the same time, I found them a lot more fun live than what I’d heard on record. I do think they tried. I mean, they know that being a DJ standing behind turntables isn’t the most engaging thing in the world, so they had this really elaborate video setup. There was animation, some sort of weird collage work that reminded me of the Manú Chao website (hehe), live action stuff too. They didn’t take themselves too seriously which made them much more likable. It was really funny, they were all wearing jackets and at one point they all decided to take them off, so they threw the jackets behind them, but one of the dude’s jackets hit one of the other DJs right in the face. Overall, I kinda wish I’d just seen them doing a set in some crappy club instead of seeing them in broad daylight, outside.

What can I say about Zoé? They’ve obviously been around for a very long time. The show went pretty flawlessly. My one disappointment: I really wanted to hear “No me destruyas” but I think my expectations were too high… I ended up being underwhelmed. At the same time, most songs sounded fantastic live. Never been a big fan of “Vía lactea” but it was compelling to hear last night! And I didn’t think “Paula” would translate well onto the stage but it was great! It was moving! I wished I hadn’t gone alone and I had someone to hug as I listened to the song!

The singer dude seemed a little out of it. It was as if he really wanted to be THERE but he just needed some substances first. I feel he felt better once he lit a cigarette. He sounded “japi” to be in “Bruclin”. He’s not just flaquito, he’s really gangly. It was fun to watch him moving around the stage. I feel like the band was really enjoying their time here and the singer dude was upset about the press pit (¡yo también, hombre!). He mentioned it was kinda hard when most everyone was so far away, and he was like asking the festival people if the kids couldn’t just jump the barricade and come into the pit. I thought that was really sweet. And eventually for the last song they did allow us reg’lar folk into the pit (I stayed put, I was happy where I was).

Well, the last song was “Love” and I… I don’t know why that song is so addictive. I did think my heart was going to explode, which I didn’t expect at all. Everyone was so happy to hear the song, and people were climbing onto the stage, and the security was busy tackling all the kids, and I think the security were rougher with the guys, but the singer dude was still upset that security was being so lame, and it was even worse because he kept singing about “love, love, love” and here we were with security taking their jobs too seriously. Honestly, I think people who climb the stage and run to the singer and dry hump the singer are totally embarrassing. But the singer dude sounded pretty annoyed and it almost ruined the awesomeness of the song.

What a great night!

And today… Café Tacuba! Gemelos! And a house party, too!


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


Appy Polly Loggies.

WOW I HAD VANILLA COKE AND I’M SO EXCITED IT’S BACK ON THE MARKET YEAHHH!!!!!

Ahem. Back to the music.

Let’s see, I was at Super 45* and this album review fascinated me so I hunted down the album and I have to say I’m impressed. Y’see, I’ve heard some of Gepe‘s stuff and I thought it was good but not my thing. I found him too much of a boring singer-songwriter at times. But it’s like I can’t deny him anymore, I really like Hungría! So to the dude in Gepe: my bad.

Another person who deserves an apology from me is Ely Guerra. I feel bad, I know part of it had to do with the fact that she’s ~*SO DAMN PRETTY*~. I dismissed her as a lightweight and I admit she doesn’t ROCK OUT like some people, but what the hell, she still writes solid material. And from what I can tell, she’s a pretty good performer too. Too bad she’s had trouble finding her audience.

In addition, I’ve been listening to this dude named DJ Raff, who has pretty much worked with all the people who matter in Chilean hip-hop. Really nice stuff, he’s more of a studio mastermind I think.

Gepe – Hebra prima

Ely Guerra – Bésame

DJ Raff – Break it Like U 1

*You should also check out Super 45’s recent “New Sounds of 2007” feature, though part of me can’t believe they chose Valentina Fel as one of their winners. It’s weird, I love that cheapass funk carioca sound but for some reason I’m not down with her stuff.


Fresquitos.

YES! I RULE THE WORLD. I finally got my hands on the latest Volován album, Monitor. In truth, this album was released a few months ago, but there hasn’t been much buzz over it, especially not in the US. Back when The Strokes were supposed to be cool (lol, remember??), Volován were dubbed “the Mexican Strokes.” They even had US distribution and shit!! Their self-title first album was a solid pop album and I’m still baffled that they never became famous, not even south of the border. Even worse, I think on In-D* they said that the band’s label folded or dicked them over o algo así, no estoy segura. Maybe you can look it up on the In-D YouTube archives. But basically, the band never got a fair chance to take over the world!

Speaking of bands that were dubbed as “the next Strokes,” Los Bunkers (they were “the Chilean Strokes”) are releasing a live DVD in the US. It comes out tomorrow! God bless, Nacional Records. Plus, it’s gonna include their videos, so I’m definitely thinking of buying it. I’m sick of watching the muthafuckin’ “Miño” video on YouTube!

Another exciting release tomorrow is the new Calle 13. HOLY SHIT! I have been waiting for this piece of crap for months now. It’s pretty much the only album I’ve been waiting for and it’s finally coming out! I can’t wait to hear the track with Tego Calderón. Even better, I love the arrangements that Visitante creates. I love Residente but we all know the real magician in the group is Visitante. Jon Pareles has already given his blessing to the new album… I can’t decide whether this is good or not. Can you imagine el viejo listening to this album? And seriously, did he get a translator to explain all the dirty lyrics? LOLLERSK8S!!!!!

So here are some tracks you can listen to while you recover from my abuse of exclamation marks:

Volován – Monitor
Volován – Flor primaveral (from their first album)
Los Bunkers – Ven aquí (from their most recent, Vida de Perros)
Calle 13 – Tango del pecado

*In-D’s not that great of a show but I still like watching it. It helps me keep up with Mexican stuff. Plus, la VJ Reclu is mad cute.


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.


Ahem.

Honestly, I don’t have anything too poignant to add (I’ve been watching that Pussycat Dolls show for cryin’ out loud), it’s just that I’ve fallen in love… with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s voice.  I don’t know what it is, it drives me crazy.   If the movie thing doesn’t work for him, he should just go back to radio, hahaha.


The Redemption of Julieta Venegas?

I got into Julieta Venegas pretty late in the game, when the “Lento” video was released, and I still haven’t checked out her old stuff very well. But I’m perfectly aware that many of her older fans felt cheated when she released . Her music used to be more moody, but all of a sudden she fell in love and she changed her look (no complaining about that, she’s fucking hot) and she started writing super happy pop songs with this dude Coti, who helped pen her big hits on . I really love that album, but having heard bits of Aquí, I do feel a bit disappointed that her sound changed so much, especially because her old sound was so badass.

Anyway, I heard “Me voy,” her first single from Limón y Sal, and I was pretty bummed. It’s like, I love pop songs, but why make it so damn anemic? It’s such a lazy composition compared to “Lento.” Her second single, “Limón y sal” was released and that one was pretty terrible too. I figured if the two singles were so damn bad, why should I bother buying the album? Well, Julieta just released her latest single, “Eres para mí,” and all I can say is DAMN.

Or maybe I should say sorry instead?

This song is so fucking good. It’s clearly a post- track, most reminiscent of “A tu lado,” but at the same time, it has that bite that reminds me she’s not a fucking wuss. Even more impressive is her partner-in-crime, a chick named Anita Tijoux. I admit it, after the first two singles, I wouldn’t have given this one a chance if I hadn’t found out that Anita is Chilean.

It’s the first time I’ve heard of Anita Tijoux and I’m seriously impressed. I obviously have to research her a bit more. From what I gather, she’s been doing the music thing for a while now. She used to be in a rap group or something, but I think now she’s a pop singer-songwriter, but she doesn’t seem to be as saccharine as Coti. In “Eres para mí,” she raps. Anyway, this is the most exciting thing I’ve heard from Julieta Venegas in a while, and I hope she keeps working with Anita Tijoux.

A few Julieta Venegas tracks:

De mis pasos” from Aquí (1997)

A tu lado” from (2003)

Eres para mí” from Limón y Sal (2006)

Sorry, I don’t have any tracks from Bueninvento!