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News From The Latin Section, Amoeba Hollywood

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 16, 2011 05:35pm | Post a Comment

End of the year usually means the major labels release all their biggest releases of the year and Latin Music is no exception. On the pop side we have releases from Paulina Rubio's Brava and Laura Pausini latest, Inedito, which has a ’Spanish and Italian version. Former Aventura singers Romeo Santos and Henry Santos release their first solo albums. Henry Santos Introducing and Romeo long-anticipated Formula Vol. 1 has been selling like crazy. Even solo, these guys are still the Kings Of Bachata.  Not to be outdone is Shakira with another live CD/DVD, Live In Paris.

On The rock side, Mana has yet another deluxe version of Drama Y Luz, with a DVD with videos and bonus tracks not on the original deluxe version. We had another monstrous in-store; this time it was Enrique Bunbury promoting his newest release, Licenciado Cantinas with an autograph session. We sold over 300 advance CDs for the signing and a bunch more online and now we have the vinyl version, if you are so inclined.

On the Hip-Hop and Electro side, we have from Nacional Records, Welcome To The Ritmo Machine, which features Chile’s Latin Bitan And Eric Bobo, Son of Willie. Also available is the new Choc Quib Town, Eso Es Lo Que Hay on Universo Latino and on the indie tip is Los Rakas, Chancletas Y Camisetas, which is one of my favorite releases of 2011. Lastly, the soundtrack behind the wildly popular Mexican Pointy Boots youtube video has arrived! 3Ball MTY is Erick Rincon, Sheeqo Beat and DJ Otto taking their Tribal Guarachero sound to the main stream with their debut, Intentalo


In the Regional Mexican section, there is a new Pepe Aguilar, Vicente Fernandez and two versions of the new Jenni Rivera. There is  a new Soundway Records Cumbia collection compiled by Quantic called The Original Sound Of Cumbia And it is selling like hotcakes! The Salsa section has a new Tito Rojas and the arrival of the long awaited Supercubano by Isaac Delgado. From Fania Records there is a new Ismael Rivera collection and a box set of the best Fania Funk, Boogaloo, and Disco & Latin Grooves CD compilations called El Barrio.

I am currently working on a Best of 2011 World Music list and a shoppers guide for Christmas, which will be up soon. Also, my very first Disco Inmigrantes radio show is now available for a download podcast at radiosombra.org.  Check it out!



Radio Sombra Debut & The Future of Internet Radio In East L.A.

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 20, 2011 11:50pm | Post a Comment
Last Thursday, I took part in the debut of Radiosombra.org, a new Internet radio station based out of Boyle Heights in East Los Angeles. My show was one of several that debuts that night as part of a new collective. Among the debuts were The Tao Of Funkahuatl hosted legendary Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara, Art & Grooves, an aptly titled show by art curator and deejay Reyes Rodriguez. Another show is Merkado Negro, hosted by Nico from Los Poets Del Norte and DJ Libre. their show concentrates on everything underground in the real Eastside from subversive art and music to community –building projects. My personal favorite is the brilliant Heart Break Radio, hosted by Lady Imix from Imix Books. Just like the title insinuates, it's a collection of songs to cry yourself to sleep.

Discos Immigrantes is the name of my show. It will focus on the migration of records and people, which in some cases are quite similar. In future shows, I will have interviews from folks who have either immigrated to the U.S. or who are the product of immigration (i.e. first generation Americans) The show will focus on their stories and music they have brought with them, whether in the physical form or in their memories.

Radio Sombra is the brainchild of Marco Amador, a musician and long time community activist, who set up the station and for the time being, is financing the operation. I spoke to him briefly on why he felt the need to start an Internet station in the heart of East L.A.

What made you start this station?


I felt although the technology to start an Internet radio has been around for some time now, it was not something common in our neighborhood. Sure, people have access to join other Internet radio stations around Los Angeles and that is good, but we wanted to create radio programming that is unique to our community. I feel that it is important to have our own space, our own voice. Our goal is that our station would be defined by the community its in.

What was behind picking the hosts for the debut?

All the hosts are people have spaces for creativity or create great art themselves. The hosts have created spaces such as Imix Books and Tropical De Nopal, events such Eclectica and CaminArte, or in the case of Ruben Guevara, have been creating music and movements for decades. It is important to introduce them to the community that may not know them. The best thing about Internet radio is that it is worldwide, in a sense; we are introducing some of the most creative minds of our community to the rest of the world. I want to give a voice to those who have been doing great things in the community for a while. 

As you mentioned earlier, there are many great avenues for people to have radio shows in Los Angeles. Dublab.Com has been strong for 10 years. Killradio.Org opens its doors to new programming on a regular basis. Even KPFK 90.7, allows some sort of community programming. Why not them instead of starting another radio station?

Our primary objective is to make it available to people in the community of East Los Angeles and not only offer them the chance to broadcast but a space to create as well. Yes, you can find other avenues but you can’t find it in East Los Angeles, and that’s a problem. Most community programs offered in East L.A. are geared towards children, which is great, but what about adults? What avenues are given to artists or the community organizers to express themselves? There needs to be something for them as well. A way to express themselves artistically as well as socially. Some of the other progressive stations have an all-talk format throughout the day, with a few music shows at night. We want to have a balance of both. On top of that, Internet radio is great for learning to link with other community through out the world. Our voices will be globally as well as locally.

What is next for Radio Sombra?

We will continue to build our programming; we also will be broadcasting live from Eastside Luv on November 30th. It will be musical performances by some special surprise guests & myself. It will also feature DJ sets from our Radio Sombra DJs. That will be from 8 pm to 2 am. PST

New World Music Releases on LP!!!

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 14, 2011 12:28am | Post a Comment


There has been an amazing amount of new World Music releases on LP over the last three months. It has become so overwhelming that I thought I’d better call attention to it. Whether you like reissues of obscure World Music albums, hits collections, compilations, or new music, we have plenty of recent arrivals for your turntable. Not only do we have lots of new releases, but at the Hollywood store we have plenty of used LPs and two rows of collector LPs on the wall just above the Country/Bluegrass section. Listed below are some of my favorite new releases, broken down by geographical regions. 




Africa:

La Grande Cantatrice Malienne Vol 3 (plus download) - 
Na Hawa Doumbia
Danger - 
Lijadu Sisters
Wake Up Your Mind - 
Joni Haastrup
Give The Beggar A Chance & Dawn Of Awareness - 
Monomono
Jealousy/ No Discrimination / No Accommodation For Lagos  / Progress - 
Tony Allen
Bambara Mystic Soul – The Raw Sound Of Burkina Faso 1974 to 1979 V/A
S/T El Rego
Obi Agye Me Dofo Vis-A-Vis




Latin America:

Revolucion Psicofasica En Bolivia 1969 to 1975
  - V/A
Dreaming - Sabrina Malheiros
Original Sound Of Cumbia – History Of Colombian Cumbia & Porro As Told By The Phonograph 1948 to 1979 – Compiled By Quantic -  V/A
Constelacion Los Destellos
Rhythms Of Black Peru V/A



Europe:

Roses Rouge Sang / Electro Rapide 
Jean Claude Vannier
Movimento Perpetuo / Guitarra Portuguesa Carlos Paredes



Asia/South Asia:

Beautiful Rivers And Mountains – The Psychedelic Rock Sound Of South Korea's Shin Joong Hyun 1958 to 1974 - Shin Joong Hyun
Nippon Guitars – Instrumental Surf, Eleki, & Tsugaru Rock 1966 to 1974 - Takeshi Terauchi
Bollywood Bloodbath – The B-Music Of The Indian Horror Film IndustryV/A
Life Is Dance – Plugged In Sounds Of Wonder At The Pakistani Picture House V/A



Middle East/Turkey/Afghanistan:

Hip 70s Afghan Beats Ahmad Zahir
Istanbul 70 – Psych, Disco, Folk Classics V/A
Mechul – Singles & Rarities Erkin Koray


  Can't make it to our store or find it at Amoeba.com? You could always use our mail order!

Japan Tour 2011: Part 2 By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, November 7, 2011 12:36am | Post a Comment

Joe Bataan Tokyo Show Poster
 
After our Shenanigans in Shibuya, we rested most of Saturday. The next day was the Joe Bataan show and load-in was at 10 a.m. Joanna and I spent most of the day resting and taking walks around Chofu. There is a small river/reservoir that runs through Chofu. The water level was low but it’s full of lush greens. Giant crows and cranes dive into the water to pick up the smaller fish that were making their way downstream. There were many cats that hung out by the reservoir. I would see the same cats everyday, hanging out in their favorite spots. The cats in Japan are much bigger than the cats in the U.S. A good word to describe the cats is “beefy” They are not necessarily fat, just thicker than the average U.S. cat. In the evening, once Shin and Miho were done with their duties with Joe Bataan, we took Shin’s bikes and rode to one of his favorite “hole in the wall” to eat. The best places to eat anywhere in the world are the neighborhood spots that only locals know about. This place was no exception. Shin & Miho were concerned that some of their favorite dishes wouldn’t go over with us but those were the dishes we liked the most. Fresh sardines to start off followed by fresh cucumbers, Miso soup with small oysters, ginger pork, octopus and many other great homemade Japanese delicacies. The place had a few drunken locals hanging around; include one drunken guy that kept asking us to move from our table so that he could look for his lost cell phone. It reminded me of being in one of those great taco spots in L.A. and being harassed by the local tecato. It made me feel at home.

The next morning we were up early to get ready for the show. By then, my internal clock was all messed up, having to adapt to Japan time followed by staying up until 7 am then having to go to bed early for Sunday’s show. Shin’s company is a record label but from time to time he serves as a promoter. The venue was a big empty room. There was no sound system or stage and all had to be constructed before sound check. Joanna and I used this time to walk around Asakusa, another part of Tokyo, were the venue is located. The club, Super Dry Hall, is inside the Ashai Beer Building that is famous for it’s Philippe Starck sculpture on top of the building. It is supposed to look like golden beer foam coming out on top of the building that is shaped like a pint glass.  Almost everyone that looks at the sculpture thinks of the same thing, “ is that a piece of poop on top of that building?” The Japanese has given it a nickname, kin no unchi, which translate into “The golden poop” The building is now know by locals as unchi biru (the poop building)
 

Sensoji Temple
 
Nearby kin no unchi is Sensoji, a Buddhist temple dating back to the year 645 and is Tokyo’s oldest. The following day was a national holiday so the temple was extremely packed with tourist. We didn’t go into most of the temples, as there seemed to be services in many of them. We walked around the many vendors, including a street called Nakamise, somewhat outside of the temple. From there we walked around Asakusa and watched a somewhat unusual marathon. They didn’t block the streets for it. The runners had to obey the traffic lights and run on the sidewalk. They ran in groups of a fifty at a time so they wouldn’t talk over the whole street. Every so often runners, many of them in Halloween costumes, would overcome us as we walked.
 

Joe Bataan (center) & Willie-San (left) at soundcheck

We returned to the venue and everything was up and running. I’m always amazed by the efficiency of Japanese workers. In less than a few hours they had constructed a stage, set up lights, a sound system and were already sound checking the band. Having worked for sound companies in the past, I know how long a job like that should take and it was pretty impressive they did it so quickly. We said hello to Joe and his wife Yvonne, as well as Willie-San, getting ready to shred on his timbales. The hired band from Japan wasn’t well prepared. They were sloppy and forgetting parts. You could see the frustration in Joe’s face. Other than Willie-San and a few other musicians, the band lacked the swing that most of Joe’s backing bands have. It looked like a potential disaster waiting to happen. At the end of sound check, Willie-San took all the members of the group backstage and had a half-time style meeting with them.

Gomez With A Japanese Lowrider
 
At this point, I was sound checking the levels on the turntables when the other DJ showed up. It was Masaki Motomiya or DJ Motomix, a Japanese Lowrider from Sapporo, located in the northern part of Japan. I met him randomly on the street the last time I was in Japan. He and his friends were in Tokyo to catch the Quetzal/Luis J. Rodriguez shows and he saw us eating in a restaurant. We had food together and took photos outside the restaurant. Later, some of his crew came to the show. Masaki is the president of the Esmeralda Car Club in Sapporo and it’s main DJ at the car club events. Shin said he was expecting him to bring a few members of his car club with him, but at the end they were about twenty-five deep. Pretty impressive I must say, coming all the way from Sapporo.

Motomix had the Lowrider set down! He could easily kill it at any Lowrider show in the states. I liked how he mixed in some non-traditional Lowrider jams and made it work. He played Los Amigos Invisibles “Mentiras” a song on its own I wasn’t too crazy about but worked well with all the Zapp and Gangster Hip-Hop tracks he played. It was one of those sets that you start subtracting in your head all the bangers that you can’t play because he got to them first. At this point, I didn’t know what to play. His entire crew is dancing around the DJ booth as people start to pour in.

It didn’t matter. People were there to have a good time. The crowd kept moving and the Lowriders high-fived me anytime I played a song they liked. Random people came by to thank me or to check out what I was playing. It was a pretty easy going set. Shin came up a played a few bangers as well before the show started. A group of Japanese Salseras did a choreographed dance to Joe Bataan’s “Subway Joe” just before Shin played an advertisement for his up coming releases on the video screen. I was happy to hear that the loudest response came when they played a Chicano Batman song and album cover came on the video screen.

Joe Bataan hit the stage and immediately you could tell that the band was on fire. Whatever nerves or forgotten parts the band members had were now long gone. They started off with “Gypsy Women” and played all his biggest hits like “Subway Joe, “Afro-Filipino”  “When Sunny Gets Blue” “Mestizo” and many others. Joe was part James Brown, part Sinatra crooner, part Fania/Salsoul legend and all Joe. The band swung hard as well, with Willie-San leading the charge on percussion. All in all, the band blew the doors off the poop building.
 

Joe Bataan, Gomez Comes Alive, Joanna, Yvonne & Records!
 

After the set was complete, I went back on the turntables while Joe signed autographs. As the line formed, I also signed a few autographs of my own and took some pictures with the Lowriders. I was happy that people bought some copies of my new mix CD, as well as some of my past releases. After my set, Motomix took over and I got in line to get my Joe Bataan singles autographed and to take pictures with Joe. After we were done, we drove back to Shibuya to drop of Joe & Yvonne, who were leaving the next day. I also had another after party to play. By then, everyone was beat, including myself. Joanna left with Miho back to Chofu and I stuck around with Shin.

We met up with Shunsuke, who catered the Joe Bataan show and whose restaurant was hosting the after party. At the Joe Bataan show, Shunsuke made his version of a taco, made from a Brazilian chorizo sausage with guacamole in a tortilla. It wasn’t the prettiest dish. It looked like a weenie inside of a tortilla with some green sauce. But to my surprise, was quite tasty. His spot, Yagi Ni Kiku wasn’t as swinging as Friday’s event. It was more of “kickback” with couches and a laid back vibe. Some of the Japanese Lowriders came by but soon all of us were all drained of energy and fading fast. I was expected to play until early morning but there was no way I was going to make it. To top it off, Shin was staying in Shibuya to take Joe back to the airport. That meant after my set, I would have to wait until the 5am train to make my way back to Chofu. Lucky for me, Willie-San was there and lived near Chofu. He offered me a ride back. He had the smallest car and it was full of percussion instruments, but there was just enough room for my records and me. I played a short set before a one-man reggae dub artist went on. He had a drum machine, an organ and tons of delay petals. I left as a sea of echo hit my ears.

I can’t remember what Willie and I were talking about. It was a tripped out conversation. I was so tired and Willie-San English was limited. We drove around the empty streets of Shibuya looking for the expressway back to Chofu. It seemed like Willie-San was lost. There were many police out and Willie-San seemed nervous, which made me nervous. Willie-San does not drink so he was fine on that front. Perhaps he had that same nervousness I have when I see cops in Los Angeles. The feeling that even though you are legal and not intoxicated that they still will find something to harass you. Even though I had only been in Japan a few days, until that moment, I had forgotten how it was to feel that way. In Japan I felt free. I felt appreciated and free from some of the everyday fears some of us have living in Los Angeles. In my head I was telling Willie all this, but the words never came out. I was too tired to talk.

By the time Willie-San found the expressway I was out. I slept until we got to Shin’s office, a mile or so from his place. He dropped me off there and I walked the rest of the way home, records in tow. As I walked next to the river/ reservoir that went through Chofu, I could hear the birds’ dive-bombing into the water to get the unsuspecting fish. It was an odd sound because it was so dark that I couldn’t see the birds but could hear them. There wasn’t a single person out except for me. It felt like the whole world was asleep. Soon, I crept into Shin’s place. I took off my shoes at the door and tried not to make too much noise. I didn’t want to disturb the sleeping world. I only wanted to join them.

Joanna and I would like to thank the following people for making our trip so great. Shin Miyata and Miho for bringing our hosts in Japan Joe Bataan and Yvonne for letting me open for their show. Thanks to the great Willie-San, for being awesome and giving me a ride back to Chofu. Thanks to Sundaland Café and Yagi Ni Kiku for throwing the after parties and Hajime Oishi (El Parrandero) and Shunsuke for hosting them. Thanks to all the great DJ’s I played with in Japan. Thanks to The Esmeralda Car Club of Sapporo and the lovely Chise, Sanae and Catane for helping us at the Joe Bataan show. See you next year Japan!

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Japan Tour 2011: Part 1, By Gomez Comes Alive

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 31, 2011 12:56am | Post a Comment

Sundaland Cafe, taken during my set

A few weeks ago I went to Japan. This was my third time in Japan and my second as a DJ. The first time I went it was in 1994 when I played bass briefly with the artist, Beck. The second time was in 2006. It was for a Chicano/Japanese cultural exchange with the band Quetzal and the writer, Luis J. Rodriguez, author of one of my favorite books, Always Running. Each trip was a different experience. The Beck tour was a straight-up rock tour, with nice hotels, chauffeurs, backstage food & drinks and on occasion, girls waiting in lobby for the bands. The second time was about experiencing Japanese Lowrider culture and how the much Chicano culture and Japanese culture have influenced each other. It was honor to be in the company of Luis and Quetzal on that trip and I was honored that I would be asked to attend. In Los Angeles and even in my own community, most of us feel like we have to bend over backwards just to get a gig. To say that the Japanese have been very good to me is an understatement.

This time around I was to play in three different shows. The biggest by far was an opening DJ set for the legendary
Joe Bataan. The budget for this tour was much smaller then past tours. There was to be no hotels and I took the train to most places. My friend Shin Miyata, who has released several of my albums on his Barrio Gold/Music Camp label, was my host for the tour. We stayed at his apartment while he tended to Joe Bataan, who also has a few albums on Music Camp.

When I arrived in Japan it was a Thursday afternoon. Shin was there to pick us up. I came with my girlfriend, Joanna. We waited another half hour or so for Joe Bataan to arrive. Together, Shin drove through the rush hour traffic of Tokyo, which makes L.A. traffic seem like nothing. Joanna and I were lucky were in good company. Joe Bataan and his wife are the nicest people and Joe was full of great stories. Once we got to Shibuya, where Joe’s hotel was, we met up with a man that we come to know as Willie-San, a percussionist from Japan that at one point studied and played with Tito Puente. With his long hair, he looked part samurai, part 80’s Salsa musician. Shin told me he was a total bad ass on the percussion. He definitely looked it.

We went to eat but I don’t remember much of it. I hadn’t slept much in the last 48 hours and it was starting to catch up with me. Eventually, we went to Shin’s apartment in a town called Chofu, located in the western end of Tokyo. Chofu could be compared to suburb of Los Angeles but it definitely had its own flavor. There were very little traffic or cars and most of the people, young and very old, got by on bicycles. Lucky for us Shin had several bikes so that we could ride whether we needed to get around in Chofu. It was one of my favorite things to do while I was there.

My first gig was the following evening. It was an after-hours gig in Shibuya. Most gigs either start very early (starting at 5pm) or they are after-hour gigs. Since most of the city takes public transportation and the train stops from midnight to 5 a.m., you either have to shut it down early or keep going until the trains run again. The night, called Pachamama, started at 11 p.m. at a place called
The Sundaland Café, a venue not much bigger than a one-bedroom apartment. My host was a DJ that called himself El Parrandero, which roughly translated from Spanish, is “a partier” Sundaland was definitely a party. I played with most of Tokyo’s finest Latin DJ’s, including El Caminante Okamoto, DJ Suda, El Shuffle, DJ Matsumoto, Amemiya from the Caribbean Dandy crew, DJ Papa-Q and El Parrandero himself. All the Japanese DJs had deep playlist and I enjoyed them immensely. They really got me amped to do my best.

Here, they don't hang the DJ, they hang the MC!


As a whole, the night was pretty crazy. We rode our bikes to get some food and to catch the train to the gig. You have to pay for overnight bike parking in Japan much like you would a car in the U.S. It costs roughly five U.S. dollars each to park our bikes. By the time we got to Sundaland, it was crowded and most people were already lit. I spoke to some very nice people and some very drunk people who offered me drink after drink. I passed them off to my girlfriend and our friend Miho, who was our guide that night. Miho works with Shin at Music Camp and although she works for him, that company is just as much as hers as it is his. The dedication she has to her work puts the hardest worker in America to shame.I can’t believe how much their small two-person operation does! Anyhow, the drinks kept coming. There was an MC doing shout outs while the other DJ’s were on. It sounded like he kept saying, “Yeah, yeahyeahyeahyeeeeyah” every other sentence. I don’t speak Japanese, but I’m pretty sure he was saying, yeah, yeahyeahyeahyeeeeyah, followed by the DJ’s names. Then some people in the crowd decided to take the MC’s shirt off, then his pants and soon his boxers. It started to look like a gay beer bash on a Sunday afternoon in West Hollywood or The Castro.

Man down!!!!

 
That should have been an indication that the crowd was real drunk.” One guy kept messing with me most of the night. I don’t know if he didn’t like me or if he wanted to mess with me cause I was an outsider, but it started to get to me, especially during my set when he started to put his hands on the mixer and grabbing my hands as I was try to mix. Just when I was getting to my boiling point, El Parrandero, (The Party Guy) took him aside and I never saw him again. I don’t know what happened to him, I don’t care what happened to him, but he was gone. Now it was time to get busy with my set. I decided to play only vinyl on this trip. I’m not a vinyl purest and I have Serato, but I figured I could play deeper cuts on wax that the other deejays wouldn’t have. I cursed the vinyl every time I had to carry it on the plane and trains, but when it was time to play, I was glad I brought my records. The people at Sunaland seemed to dig my Cumbia records especially.

Bad ass conga player from Orquesta Copa Salvo

After my set, a band came up. They were called Orquesta Copa Salvo. They were very talented and loads of fun. It was Japanese band that played deep Latin Funk, Salsa, Boogaloo and Bolero covers, sung in Spanish. Most of the people in the club spoke Spanish. Since I don’t speak Japanese I found it easier to communicate with people in Spanish rather than English. Many of the people at the club grew up in places like Peru, Ecuador and Colombia, where there are many Japanese living there. Some had jobs in Mexico and Puerto Rico. Some had traveled to Cuba and hung out in the barrios in the U.S. Whatever their story was, they developed a great love for Latin American culture, its people, music, language and food. The night was a reminder of what they experienced and what they missed now that they were back in Japan. I hope I was able to remind them of what they love about Latin American culture.

At five in the morning, it was time to go back to Chofu. I gave a few shout outs on the mic in English & Spanish and we were off. At the train station, we saw all the party zombies waiting for the train to get home. Some were club kids, some looked very wasted. Some of the couples looked like they hooked up for the first time. Most people were still in their business suits from the previous day. I bet all were happy it was now Saturday. We still had to ride our bikes back to Shin's and it was starting to rain. The ride was pleasant though. A cool misty rain while the sun was rising. Miho took off at record speed and we did our best to keep up. Neither Joanna and I have ridden a bike in a while. Twenty minutes later, we were back at Shin's and ready to call it a night.

Goodnight!!!








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