Amoeba Hollywood Latin Rock & Pop Top 10 For August 2009

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 18, 2009 01:07am | Post a Comment
Amoeba Hollywood Latin Rock & Pop Top 10 For August 2009 (So Far)

1. Bebe-Y.
2. Chico Sonido- S/T
3. Zoe- Reptilectric
4. Eydie Gorme Y Los Panchos- Cantan En Español
5. Manu Chao- Clandestino
6. Los Amigos Invisibles- Commercial
7. Juan Son- Mermaid Sashimi
8. Fangoria- Absolutamente
9. Hombres G - Los Singles 1985-2005
10. Several artists tied at number 10.

Every week, I look into new release books supplied by the four Latin majors for new releases. Some, like Juan Son and the new Natalia LaFourcade, are currently out in Latin America only. Instead of seeing those aforementioned artists in the new release books, I usually see the same type of releases. It’s either a set of repackaged titles by the same artists, or worse, a cheap two artists on one CD with only ten songs on it. Turn the pages and you see a slew of unknown pop singers who are either the son or daughter of a famous singer, the child of a record industry head or the mistress of a record industry head. I’m telling you, I have smacked my hand against my head in disgust so many times I think I have a permanent palm mark on my forehead.

So, how do I get the new Juan Son to Amoeba Music Hollywood? I had to get someone to smuggle some across the border! Mermaid Sashimi debuts at number seven and in getting the small amount of imports that I got, word is spreading fast. Much like Zoe’s Reptilectric before it was released in the states, Mermaid Sashimi is selling by Internet buzz and plain old word of mouth.

For those who don’t know, this is Juan Son’s first solo outing since his departure with the band, Porter, who were looking like they would become the next big thing out of Mexico before the band ended abruptly. Separated from the restraints of being in a band, Juan Son's debut is a symphonic collage of songs in both English and Spanish. The first thing you’ll notice about Juan Son is his voice. It’s high and shrill like a dolphin or male Bjork, but it also has much character and is quite unique. Musically, the arrangements are sophisticated; capturing the same imagination the likes of Brian Wilson, XTC and Café Tacvba had in the past. To be honest, Mermaid Sashimi leaves me with a bit of a headache, but I also can’t stop listening to it. Mermaid Sashimi is not an album to put in the background. It is, simply put, "art." It commands you to listen in an era where music is either disposable or merely background music.

Also, we have the new release from ZocaloZüe, entitled Mundo Jarocho. Main songwriter Cesar Castro once played with Son Jarocho legends Mono Blanco, before moving to L.A. and joining the band Quetzal. Cesar soon left Quetzal after the release of their classic Die Cowboy Die album to start ZocaloZüe with bassist Juan Perez, (Quetzal, Son De Madera), Requitero Alex Hernandez and percussionist Ramon Vslas. I thought Betto Arcos from 90.7 FM KPFK Global Village put it the best when describing the band a few weeks back on his radio show:

The music of ZocaloZüe could only be created in a city such as Los Angeles. This is music with a foundation in Afro-Caribbean sounds, with strong references to Vera Cruz and Cuba, a confluence of tradition and innovation.

Other releases of interest:

Malacates Trebol Shop- ¿De Qué Sirve Querer?
Guatemala’s biggest Skacore group first album in several years.

New music project by Jairo Zavala of Spain, produced by Joey Burns of Calexico. Review to follow.

Helado Negro-Awe Owe
This is the debut solo release by producer Roberto Carlos Lange from Ecuador via Miami. Musically, it’s somewhere between Prefuse 73 and El Guincho. It’s a very interesting release to say the least. A full review will come shortly.

Music Latin Music Majors Don't Want You To Hear

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, December 14, 2008 08:41pm | Post a Comment
Every day there is another release by a Latin Rock artist that will not be released domestically. The Latin major labels, after a few great years of experimentation, have returned to their practice of repackaging greatest hits by their established artists or releasing god-awful pop artists. The public yearns for and deserves better. As I mentioned in past blogs, I feel that Amoeba is the great equalizer. This is the store where imports from groups as Zoë or Porter will outsell rejects from La Academia Nuevo Generacion, even with all their stadium tours and television time. The following are imports that Amoeba Hollywood carries that I feel that the majors should release domestically...That is, if they didn’t have their collective heads up their asses.

Austin TV-Fontana Bella

This instrumental band from Mexico D.F. are more akin to groups such as Slint, Joan of Arc and Sigur Ros than anything currently on Univision. This five piece rocked all over the U.S. this year, including an appearance at Coachella that had many people asking, “Who are these guys?” If Juana Molina can be successful on a label like Domino, there is no reason why a strong indie can’t do well with Austin TV. The fact that they are from Mexico is irrelevant for marketing this group. Would one market Can or Kraftwerk as German Pop? Didn't think so.

Enrique Bunbury-Hellville En Deluxe

This is Enrique Bunbury's first solo album since 2004 and first release since a successful reunion tour with his former group, Heroes Del Silencio. H.D.S.’ Tour 2007 CD and separate DVD were Amoeba’s Latin Rock best sellers from late 2007 through 2008. The reviews for Hellville have been great, stating that this is Enrique’s best work in quite some time. Naturally, it makes perfect sense not to release this album in the U.S. where Bunbury has thousands of loyal fans! I can see delaying the release a month build a buzz but at this point if they release the album next year it will almost be too late.

Juan Son-Mermaid Sashimi

Atemahawke came out in 2007 but it seems like most people are just getting to know who the band is. Porter spent much of 2007 and 2008 on tour with Café Tacvba and singer Juan Son's duet with Julieta Venegas ("De Mis Pasos") was the standout on her very successful MTV Unplugged release. Porter’s thematic music and angelic vocals have made them popular with the Emo set. However, in January, Juan Son goes solo with Mermaid Sashimi, which sounds like a mixture of OS Mutantes, Smile-era Beach Boys, and Café Tacvba with a male Bjork singing. It is unclear to me if Porter is done and even if they are, Juan Son is on his way to be the next big thing out of Mexico.

Maria Daniela Y Su Sonido Lasser- Juventud en Éxtasis

There was much anticipation for Maria Daniela Y Sun Sonido Lasser's second release. The hype behind their debut album, along with touring in Europe and the U.S,. made them the darlings of the Latin Alternative press. Their adolescent electro-pop resonates with fresas from both sides of the border, as well as fans of Spanish Electro-Pop all over the world. The band's label, Nuevo Ricos, also have great releases by such artists as long time Mexican electronica geniuses, Titan, the electro rock and roll wild man they call Silverio, the surf rock of Faca and the garagey Jessy Bulbo.

Zoe-281187 & Reptiletric

After three indie releases, Sony U.S. finally released a Zoë CD domestically. Memorex Commander flew off the shelves and the band's popularity continued to grow. Their 80’s influenced electro rock was the perfect soundtrack for niños buen who missed the 80’s completely. Since Memorex, Zoë has released three CD’s: a remix version of Memorex, 2008’s 281187 & their latest, Reptiletric, which was released this month.

Juan Son's Mermaid Sashimi & Zoe's Replietric are not currently in stock at Amoeba Hollywood, but we are trying hard to get them in the store. Stay tuned!