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Cyber Monday World Music Picks of 2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 26, 2012 06:13am | Post a Comment

Today (Monday, November 26th, 2012), Amoeba.com is offering 20% off all purchases along with free shipping for Cyber Monday. Here is your chance to take advantage of the discount offered to expand your horizons. Today, we feature the hipster bar room vallenato of Very Be Careful and the lush anthem rock of Mexico’s greatest rock band, Café Tacuba. Check out Brazil’s equivalent of Sly Stone, Tim Maia. Also recently released is Latin Jazz legend Poncho Sanchez’s Live In Hollywood and African reissues from Tunji Oyelana and Super Biton De Segou.

Perhaps you want to take a chance at the incredible "indigenous meets futuristic beats" of The Future Sounds Of Buenos Aires? How about Jukebox Mambo, a collection of Latin inspired R&B from the '50s and '60s? What to try some Funk and Boogie from the country of Surinam, a former Dutch colony located in northern South America?

These are a few of my picks but the choices are endless at Amoeba.com

Cafe Tacuba El ObjectoVery Be Careful Remember Me From The Party?Tim Maia
Le Super Biton National De SegouGhetto BrothersJukbox Mambo


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The Future Sounds Of Buenos Aires-A Review By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 19, 2012 08:04am | Post a Comment
Future Sounds Of Buenos AiresThere will always be an argument about where the whole “Digital Cumbia “ movement started. Did it arrive from German electronic composer Uwe Schmidt, (aka Señor Coconut) forays into tropical music that merge German electro-sensibilities with Latin American rhythms? Was it Toy Selectah’s production, mixing urban Hip-Hop with Sonidero that made Celso Piña’s massive hit, “Cumbia Sobre El Rio”? Was it British world travelers, Up Bustle & Out, whose journeys into Mexico led them to discover Sonidero, mixed with Reggae and Hip-Hop? Was it 2005 white label 12” release of Cumbia Mash-Ups made by Chico Sonido & Toy Selectah, mashing up Missy Elliot and Rick Ross acapellas with Cumbia Rebajada? One can argue it was ZZK’s landmark ZZK Sound Vol.1 Cumbia Digital, which received tons of international press which led every remixer who had an account of SoundCloud to add guacharaca on every insignificant remix they made.

In the end, it really doesn’t matter. What matters is what is good and what isn’t. All those names mention above has its place in the creation of Nu Cumbia, Electro-Cumbia, Digital Cumbia, Moombaton and every-related sub-genre that was created to describe a new sound that mixed the barrios of Latin America and it’s counterparts from academia and entitlement. In the end, barrio kids and the college kids created a baby and that’s what we have now.

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Thoughts On The Passing Of John Napier

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 12, 2012 11:03am | Post a Comment
John Napier RIPI know many people will be writing about John Napier, who passed away last week. So here are my thoughts. This is not a biography, just thoughts about the times we spent together on earth and the thanks I never got to say to him in person. To read a more thorough account of the greatness (and flaws) of John Napier through the eyes of Carla Bozulich, go here

I met John in 1991.He was in a group called Ethyl Meatplow, together with Carla Bozulich and Harold Barefoot Sanders III (AKA Biff) Ethyl Meatplow was fun and disturbing at the same time. They were an electro-queer-pop-industrial group with occasional nudity and urine flow. It was nothing that Los Angeles had seen before or since. Ethyl Meatplow was a band for several years before I got to know them and  were ready to break out nationally. I had a band that would often play on the same bills as them. John especially liked my band and helped us get gigs and convinced people to release our records.

John was a strange cat, but in a good way.If you were friends with John, you often had to endure long phone conversations with the first fifteen minutes of him speaking in an Elmo-like voice with Tourette's Syndrome. Once in awhile a body part that usually covered would suddenly be exposed, as he’d be laughing in a high-pitched child’s laugh. Normally I’d find that kind of behavior intolerable, but from John, it was endearing. It meant he was comfortable with you. That’s one way he showed he loved you.

Another way he’s shared his love was through music. If he knew you had the same thirst for music that he did, he would stop at nothing to share his vast musical taste with you. It meant a lot to me, being just as thirsty as John for new music in the days before the internet, He introduced me to Can, Neu, Stereolab, The Flesheaters, Sun Ra and countless other artists. He forced me to listen to Pet Sounds from The Beach Boys because I told him I hated The Beach Boys. He made me a fan.

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Dia De Los Muertos 2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 1, 2012 07:44am | Post a Comment
Bob BabbittAs I mentioned in previous blogs about Dia De Los Muertos, I look forward to this celebration more than other holidays. The older I get, I feel the best way to celebrate life is to celebrate death without fear; with the same celebratory spirit one would have for a birth or an anniversary. The ritual of Dia De Los Muertos, the ofrenda (altar) the food and drink, and having the time to reflect those who have passed on are all-important components of this celebration. This is the day we party with the dead as we would with the living, some we knew intimately and others we admire and wish we knew better.

Besides celebrating family and friends that have passed on, I like to include musicians and artists who have inspired me in some way. This year, many great musicians have passed. Consider this a digital ofrenda to them. I hope these musicians have inspired you as much as they have I.


The Bass Players

Donald "Duck" DunnTwo amazing bass players passed this year. Bob Babbitt was a member of the infamous Funk Brothers, the backing group of musicians that played on many of the best Motown recordings of the 60’s and 70’s. Donald “Duck” Dunn did the same damage for Stax Records as a member of Booker T And The MG's, playing behind many of the greats on the Stax Records roster. You may not know their names but I bet you can hum their bass lines by heart.

Babbitt played bass on such Motown classics as "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder, "War" by Edwin Starr, "The Tears of a Clown" by Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, "Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)" and "Inner City Blues" by Marvin Gaye, "Band Of Gold" by Freda Payne, "Ball of Confusion (That's What the World Is Today)", and "Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me)" by The Temptations.

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Meridian Brothers-Desesperanza

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 15, 2012 07:38am | Post a Comment
Meridian BrothersAlmost two decades ago, David Hidalgo and Louie Perez from Los Lobos mixed experimental music with Mexican traditional music and the barrio East L.A. sound to make the excellent project, The Latin Playboys. They created a sound that was familiar yet somewhat skewed. It left me with a feeling of playing a warped gem of a record that had been abandoned in an East Los Angeles basement for years. The soul of the music on the record was worth the damage that it would have on the stylus, as would the wooziness one would get listening to a warped record.  That’s how great that first Latin Playboys’ album is.

Eblis Álvarez, a member of groups Frente Cumbiero and Ondatropica, is the brainchild behind The Meridian Brothers. When listening to Desesperanza, I got that same feeling, except the gem of a record was found in a basement in Bogota or Medellin.
Álvarez played and recorded everything himself. The experimental composer uses the contents of his native Colombia as his canvas, layering heavily “Ring-Modulated” keyboards and Caribbean guitar work that is African in nature. Vocals are usually sped up or slowed down rebajada style, giving the effect that this recording is older than it truly is. The bass and percussion come from the traditions of Colombian music. If Álvarez chose to play it straight, it would still be an accomplishment in itself as far as bringing back the old school Discos Fuentes sound.

A perfect example of what Álvarez accomplishes with The Meridian Brothers is on the song, “Salsa Del Zombie” The base of the song is a classic descarga what one would have heard on the dance floors of Colombia in the 60’s and 70’s. Layered on top are the spooky keyboards, pitched-down vocals and a killer African Highlife guitar solo. On top of that, the lyrics sound like something Peruvian singer/comedian Melcochita would have written.

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