Tropicaza-Bamerette (cassette release only)
Bamerette is another excellent mix tape by one of Mexico’s best audio archivists, Carlos Icaza aka Tropicaza. This is a loving tribute to the Bamer Hotel, in particular The Bamerette, a nightclub located on the top of the hotel. Located in a part of Mexico City once called the Latin Quarter, where the nightlife congregated to enjoy the sounds of the best Cuban and Cuban influence musicians of the day. The heyday for The Bamer Hotel was between 1940 through 1970 before the hotel was shutdown for good after the 1985 Mexico City Earthquake. Many underground events were thrown in the ruins of the hotel, with many saying they could feel the spirits wandering around the complex while they were there.
Tropicaza’s mix feels like you are walking through the halls of the abandoned hotel, listening to those spirits conversing in Chilango slang as they share their memories via vintage Afro-Cuban rhythms and early Mexican rock & roll. The songs of Perez Prado, Carlos Roman, Nacho Mendez, J. C. Esquivel, saturated with delay for the ghost that still roam the former Latin Quarter.
With swinging Mambos, dirty joke songs and big band psychedelia, Bamerette is more than a mix tape, it is a story of a Mexico City long since past. Much like Sun City Girls audio journals (released by Sublime Frequencies) Bamerette should be listened to as a whole, rather for it’s individual tracks.
Tune into a new episode of Discos Inmigrantes, as we explore the sounds of Chicano Rock From 1960-2013. The first hour, wee will cover the days from the British and Detroit influenced sounds of Cannibal & The Headhunters and Thee Midniters on through the 70’s conscious rock from El Chicano, Tierra and Sapo. The second hour will focus on the punk influenced 80’s sound of The Brat, The Plugz and Los Illegals, to the 1990’s re-conscious sounds of Quetzal, Ozomatli on to today’s sounds of Thee Commons, Chicano Batman and Chicano Son. Discos Inmigrantes will air live from 8-10 pm PST on October 14th on the world famous Radio Sombra, Boyle Heights Community Radio station. Radiosombra.org.
Tropicaza-Bamerette (cassette release only)
I can't tell you how many times people ask for Manu Chao music on vinyl. So it's my duty to inform you that Because Music out of France is re-releasing most of Manu Chao catalog on LP. All the early Manu Chao's catalog on CD as well as the original LPs have been long out of print and sell for collector's prices. Six of his titles, Clandestino, Promxima Estacion: Esperanza, La Radiolina, Radio Bemba Sound System, Baionarena, and Siberie M'Etait Conteee, his all French language album that was never released on LP, will be released November 12th. All releases are double LPs (Baionarena will be a triple LP) that will come with a CD version of the album.
Los Angeles has sure changed.
Some have been welcomed changes and others are hard to get used to. I’m constantly reminded this when I deejay in spots in Echo Park, Hollywood or Highland Park. Those parts of town were once considered the scourges of the city. It was riddled with gangs, drugs, homelessness, crime, earthquake damage and rows of buildings for lease. Ten years later, it’s now it’s a playground for the dull and ordinary. The argument of hipsters no longer applies here, because there is nothing hip about the people that play here. At best, they are in college; at worst they are former frat boys who have come to roost now that the area is safe.
When I used to tour for a living, the best thing about coming home to Los Angeles was getting away from the countless generic college towns that most of the venues were located. Much like the Wilson Pickett song “Funky Broadway” , where every town has a "Broadway and a Broadway women", the college town had the same restaurants, coffee houses, record stores, frat bar, alternative bar and everyone looks the same. Ethnicity as a whole was slim to none, as people of color were always relegated to the “other” parts of town. Being Chicano, I always felt I was in the wrong part of town when as well.. Places with diversity, such as Chicago and New York, were always welcomed stops on the road because I felt I could take a breather from the generic college town. I was never one to wonder why Los Angeles couldn’t be like Austin, Olympia or Chapel Hill. I liked Los Angeles the way it was. It was spread out, not connected by trains so you can play tourist in someone’s barrio. It was damaged and a place for the strong to thrive and the weak to avoid. It short, it was great.
Currently, Jorge is a second year doctoral student in the History Department at the University of California, San Diego and hold a Masters Degree in History from Cal State Northridge.
In a conference Jorge spoke at back in 2008, Jorge lecture was entitled, "Yo Vivo Así, It's My Reality: How Rock En Español Started a Conversation Between U.S. Latino Youth and Their Latin American Counterparts” Jorge had this to say;
In the 1990s American rock music thrived in the suburbs under the alternative label, offering songs that dealt with teenage angst. At the same time, rock en español arrived in the Barrios of California and was appropriated by the Latino youth to create a sheltering space that shielded them from a hostile social climate created by anti-immigrant political initiatives such as Propositions 187, 209 and 227. With lyrics that directly denounced social injustices, Rock en español gained popularity and for the first time, generated close contacts among the "close others"; second and third generation young Latinos began a continuing conversation with immigrant Latino youths that came of age listening to this music in their home countries. This conversation created a new Latino youth subculture that considered Spanglish cool and fostered fads and trends derived from music, films, fashion, art and language that emanated from both American cities as well as Latin American metropolises.
Now this is a young man's summer vacation..
To someone who works as much as I do, summer is just a mere acknowledgement than a season. For instance, It is summer because it’s hot. It’s summer because the sun is out later and it’s because people are wearing less clothing. There is no summer vacations or lightening of loads for this working guy, just a little more sweat than usual.
However, this year I did take a summer vacation from this blog. The plan was to reenergize and come up with a fresh perspective of what to write about and whether I should continue to do so. It really hasn’t worked. Almost four months later, I still struggle in front of the computer thinking what I should write about. Clearly, there are better writers than myself, not only from all the great music blogs, newspapers and magazines from around the world, but within our pool of talented writers that work for Amoeba as well. They can write about the same artists and genres that I can, and with more eloquence and detail. Still, I don’t think that most of these writers have their hands in as many musical pies as I do. I came to realize that is my strength. I’m ashamed to admit that I’m the equivalent of one of those annoying foodies that can pontificate about the wonders of food cooked with liquid nitrogen then geek out on KFC Mac & Cheese. In the end, that what keeps me writing about music, the simple love of it.
So, I made it a point to listen to more music than usual, not pigeonhole myself and just enjoy what I enjoy. The following are some releases I really dug over the summer.