Amoeblog

Violence Girl By Alice Bag

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 21, 2012 07:23am | Post a Comment
Violence Girl is what Alice Bag calls a "Chicana Punk Story" For those of you who are unfamiliar with Alice Bag (Alicia Armandariz) she is a singer/musician that in her teens was part of the early punk scene in Los Angeles. She along with Patricia Morrison formed The Bags, who are not only a seminal L.A. punk band but in my opinion paved the way for many people who would have never thought of becoming musicians themselves.
 
Violence Girl covers her years growing up in East Los Angeles, a daughter of Mexican immigrants. It is in her youth that she starts to become aware of the disparagement of growing up poor and Mexican, from having to live in sub-quality housing to being ridiculed for not speaking English by unsympathetic schoolteachers. Alice grew up in a house full of love and was told by her father that she could become anything she wanted to be. Yet all the positive energy was for not as she had to witness years of abusive of her mother by the hand of her father.

In her teens, Alice love of music and education carries her through tough times. She discovers Glam Rock and starts venturing into Hollywood, where she would meet other like-minded youth. They would eventually not just become the pioneers of the L.A. punk scene, but of punk music in general. For a punk historian and a L.A. honk like myself, Alice’s stories of punk’s inception in Los Angeles are a real treat. Alice shows that it was misfit kids like her that created the origins of L.A. punk. It was a community that despite the differences in class, race, gender or sexuality that found a bond with each other. To me, that is what makes L.A. punk so influential worldwide. If you look at the origins of punk in other U.S. cities such as Chicago or D.C., you’ll see very little diversity.

The Bags were started as Alice and her friend Patricia wanted to start an all-girl band in the mists of all the male dominated bands. Although The Bags had male band mates, Alice’s songs and presence on stage influenced many women to start their own groups. The Bags as pushed punk in a faster, more chaotic style that was later adopted by the next wave of hardcore bands. The Bags, in the relatively brief history, manage to record a few singles and made an appearance in Penelope Spheeris iconic documentary, The Decline Of Western Civilization. For the movie, the band name was changed to The Alice Bag Band, as Patricia threaten Spheeris with a lawsuit if they used the name “The Bags” once she quit the band.

Alice concludes her book with stories from her post-Bags days. She continues to play music, graduates college and becomes a teacher. She also resolves issues with her father, who had become ill. She travels to Nicaragua post-revolution and works with youth there, getting an eye-opening perspective on how the rest of the world exists. So much more could have been written about Alice’s life, but perhaps that can be left for another book.

What is amazing about Alice is that not only that she paved the way for the rest that followed her in the punk scene and manage to get through college. She manage to accomplish all this in her teens and early twenties. Today, I witness youth today struggle with identity issues of not knowing what they want to be, thus living in suspended growth. More and more younger people live at home until they are in their late twenties with little ambition to leave. Certainly in Alice’s days it was cheaper to live in Los Angeles but like most of us at the time, we lived in places with less than satisfactory conditions and with multiple roommates to keep the rent low. But in the end, the standard of living that was compromised was a necessity to be a part of the adventure, which I feel today’s generation is missing out on.

On Tuesday, May 22nd at 8pm PST, I will be conducting an interview with Alice Bag on my radio show, Discos Inmigrantes. We will discuss her successful memoir, Violence Girl, which has her traveling across the world speaking to old fans and new fans alike and inspiring a whole new generation of artists. We will discuss her past, the whirlwind year since the release of her book and what it means to be a Chicana Feminist in 2012. Hear it live on radiosombra.org 8-10 PM PST

You can pick up a copy of Violence Girl At Amoeba Hollywood

Three New Cumbia LP Releases, Via Colombia, Peru & England

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, May 7, 2012 12:30am | Post a Comment
Three very interesting Cumbia vinyl releases are now available at Amoeba. Each one with it different takes on the Latin Music genre that only seems to get stronger as others start to fade into obscurity.



From Peru, we have Los Jharis, Los Creadors Del Sonido De La Carretera Central, out on Masstropica Records. These gems by Los Jharis reflect a period in the eighties when Cumbia had the time to travel outside of South America and returned as Sonidero, with its Sound System shout-outs and echo effects that reminds me of the great Jamaican Sound Systems. With this newer element, Los Jharis sound is straight from outer space, with all the Cumbia rhythms and surf twang that one expects from a good Chicha release.

Also included with the LP is a bonus seven-inch of Sensacion Shipibo, playing what they called Masha music, a Peruvian style of Cumbia from Pucallpa, where the Shipibo-Conibo people are located. They are the indigenous people that lived along the Ucayali River in the Amazon rainforest. The two tracks on the seven-inch are in Spanish but usually the group sang in the Shipibo language. Whether intentional or not, listening to this, I can see the connection between early Chicha and the likes of people like Ecuador’s Delfín Quishpe are doing today.

When I play tracks from last years Quantic Y Los Miticos Del Ritmo, Hip-Hop En Cumbia during my DJ sets, it still blows some club goers minds. To hear Dr. Dre or Missy Elliot in an authentic traditional Cumbia style is a mini- mindfuck. Some people have asked if perhaps those Hip-Hop artists borrowed those licks from old Cumbia songs! That is a testament on how well England's own Will Holland (Quantic) pulled it off.  Here is another collection of traditional Cumbia from Los Miticos Del Ritmo, this time along with covers of Queen, Michael Jackson and The Abyssinians are some original songs that sound like they could have been made in the Discos Fuentes studios back in the day. The combination of great Colombian musicianship and Holland's vision makes for another club classic. (Not to mention that Holland is becoming a mean accordeon player himself) This is not another mash-up or remixes of classic Cumbia tracks. Los Miticos Del Ritmo will do for retro-Cumbia what Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings and Hepcat did to revive Soul and Rocksteady.


Speaking of traditional Cumbia, Domino Sounds released a second volume of Cumbia gem entitled, Remolino De Oro. This is a follow-up to the excellent (and now out-of-print) A Orillas Del Magdalena, released a few years back. It’s a collection of the Discos Fuentes Records pre-orchestra Cumbia with plenty of accordion and percussion from legendary Cumbia icons such as Andres Landero, Alejo Duran and Los Corraleros De Majaual. New school Cumbia DJ’s; this is a must for your collection and a way to catch up on the rest of the crate-diggers who long fished out the water. Old-School Cumbia DJs; it’s a great collection that would save some of the wear and tear on your valuable seven-inches and LPS. For everyone else, it’s a great collection of classic Cumbia from another golden era of Discos Fuentes.


Upcoming Gomez Comes Alive Shows For April 2012

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 15, 2012 11:43pm | Post a Comment


Thursday April 19th

Tumbe' 2 Year Anniversary at The Virgil (formerly Little Temple)

I will be joining my friends and resident DJs Mando Fever & Jose Marquez to celebrate their 2 year anniversary of their monthly party called Tumbe'. Also joining us will be the awesome Cumbia / Merengue / Punta group, Buyepongo. Lots of hot Afro-Caribbean action for a Thursday!

Tumbe' happens every 3rd Thursday at The Virgil
4519 Santa Monica Blvd L.A. 90029
9pm-2am/21 & Over
&5 before 10/$7 afterwards



Thanks to all who listened to my radio show, Discos Inmigrantes last week as we explored the Chicano influence around the world. On April 24th, Discos Inmigrantes returns for another edition as we continue explore the Chicano influence on the rest of the world with a special guest from Japan. Shin Miyata is the owner of Barrio Gold Records in Japan and is responsible for bringing Chicano cultura to Japanese people. He will play some great Chicano gems from his vast collection of 7" singles

You can hear Discos Inmigrantes live on April 24th from 8pm-10pm PST on radiosombra.org




Speaking of Radio Sombra, we will have an open house at our studio and YOU can be part of our radio history. On Sunday, April 29th, we invite you to join us and play three of your favorite songs live on air. It doesn't matter if it's on LP, CD or from your phone. Play what you are feeling at the moment or play your all-time favs. You are the DJ, you are what you play.

This event starts at 1pm at The the Centro De
Communicación Comunitaria in Boyle Heights

1214 East 1st Street-Los Angeles (Boyle Heights) 90033



I don't know if drinking alcohol and dancing Cumbia on a boat is a such a good idea, but if that is your idea of fun, by all means join us! I will be joined by DJ Tony Tigah & Cumbia sensations, Very Be Careful

Rock The Boat Presents: Cumbia Cruise w/ Very Be Careful
Friday April 27th
Boarding begins at 10pm
Boat departs at 11pm
Returns at 2am

Grand Romance River Boat 200
Aquarium Way Dock 4, Long Beach Ca. 90803
Get tickets at www.rocktheboatLA.com

Finally, May 5th, (Cinco De Mayo) I will be at Funky Sole playing deep funk from all over Latin America! More on that coming up!


 

Céu - Caravana Sereia Bloom

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 2, 2012 07:30am | Post a Comment
Céu has been the darling of the farmers' market-shopping, Starbuck-drinking, Tom Schnabel-listening set since 2007. Despite that, I always liked her work. Céu’s music has been a guilty pleasure of mine. Her latest release, Caravana Sereia Bloom,  is her best work to date. In just over forty-minutes (the ideal length of an album, in my opinion), Céu pulls all her influences together into a cohesive, short-but-sweet collection of songs. Bits of nostalgia bring to mind some of the great Brazilian artists over the years, such as Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jorge Ben, and Os Mutantes. Yet what I like about Caravana Sereia Bloom is that Céu also recalls her lesser-known Brazilian contemporaries such as Nação Zumbi and DJ Dolores who, much like her, use their Jamaican influences as a base. The result is that the Tropicalia- influenced “Falta De Ar” and 70’s groovy Samba “Contravento” feel right at home with the Jaimaican Rocksteady of “You Won’t Regret It” and “Asfalto E Sal.”

I’m not sure to what extent producer Gui Amabis influences Céu’s music, but he seems to give her room for her imagination to run. The instrumentation is organic and there is less of that laid-back, Electro-Brazilian fusion that people living in Los Angeles have dubbed “The KCRW sound” (although there are a few moments). Caravana Sereia Bloom has exposed everything that I loved about Céu’s voice and music, and guilt-free.

La Santa Cecilia's El Valor & Selena's Enamorada De Ti

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, March 26, 2012 07:51am | Post a Comment
If you couldn’t make it to La Santa Cecilia’s record release party at the La Fonda over the weekend (especially those under 21) you have another chance. La Santa Cecilia will be doing an in-store performance at Amoeba Records Hollywood on Monday, March 26th at 7pm in celebration of their latest release, El Valor.

El Valor finds the band interpreting songs by such artists as Caifanes, U2, Lhasa De Sela, and Soft Cell. Each song is given the La Santa Cecilia treatment: part Cumbia, Mariachi, Bolero, Ranchera, and Latin Pop. Much like one of my favorite cover albums, Café Tacuba’s classic Avalancha De Exitos, El Valor is sincere without the trappings of being ironic. Each song is an attempt not only at reinterpretation, but a challenge to top the original.

La Santa Cecilia musicianship is sublime, without a doubt. Still, it would be hard not to single out their lead singer, La Marisol. She is often quoted as being the soul of the group. Her sound is unique in that one can hear generations of influences yet she manages not to sound derivative. When I hear her voice, I feel like a cook trying to guess the ingredients of a great dish only to come to the conclusion that the food is great.

On Tuesday, April 3rd, a new collection of reinvented Selena will be released to commemorate what would have been her 40th birthday. The songs that make the Enamorada De Ti album are some of her biggest hits redone with modern pop artists, including Samo from the group Camila, Don Omar, and Selena Gomez. According to the producer, Selena’s brother and main songwriter A.B. Quintanilla III, it was a way to imagine what Selena would be doing musically if she were alive.

I had a conversation with Lady Imix, host of Heartbreak Radio on Radiosombra.org. We agreed that the best thing about Selena, like other iconic pop stars that died young, is that she never had time to tarnish her career. She died before she lost her innocence, never having to cave under the pressure of mainstream success. I can only see Selena as the down to earth Regional Mexican superstar on the verge of becoming a mainstream superstar. She never had to change her musical style or image. She was never forced to change her body type to meet the mainstream standards that we have for pop artists today. There were no drugs or bitter divorce drama. She died before she could sing a hook on a rap song or sing duets with mainstream pop artists. She died before TMZ and American Idol.

Much like we didn’t have to hear a Jimi Hendrix fusion album or Bob Marley post-Dancehall, or even a sober Kurt Cobain, I don’t feel the need to hear an imagined Selena album without her input. Sure, perhaps her true potential was never met but the best thing about Selena’s premature death is that her career got off scot-free. I understand the desire to introduce Selena to a new generation but the legend is already there without Enamorada De Ti.

I feel her songs will continue to be blasted from radios, clubs, and quinceneras around the world with this release or without it.
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