Amoeblog

Meridian Brothers-Desesperanza

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 15, 2012 07:38am | Post a Comment
Almost 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.





In a lot of ways (and without intention) The Meridian Brothers comes of like a genre-bender like Tom Waits. All of it sounds so familiar but the sound is all its own. You hear the minimalist experimentation, you hear the out-sounds from the likes of Sun Ra. You hear the nods to the great Colombian group Afrosound, who were the first to mix African, Colombian and spacey keyboard sounds all in one. Still, the sound is all Álvarez, which is a feat that is all too rare these days.

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For April & May 2011

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 5, 2011 10:12pm | Post a Comment

1. Mana-Drama Y Luz (CD & CD/DVD)
2.V/A- Bossa Nova And The Rise of Brazilian Music in the 1960s (CD/LP)
3.V/A- Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard, Psychedelic, Progressive Rock and Funk 1970-1978. (CD/LP)
4. Zoe-MTV Unplugged (CD/DVD)
5. V/A- Bossa Nova And The Story Of Elenco Records (CD/LP)
6.V/A- Cartegena! (CD/LP)
7. V/A-Nigeria 70 Vol.3 (CD/LP)
8. Ceci Bastida- Veo La Marea (CD Only)
9.V/A-Fania Records 1964-82(CD/LP)
10. V/A- Cult Cargo Salsa Boricua De Chicago (CD/LP)

Mana was Amoeba Hollywood’s bestseller for the last two months thanks to their massive in-store autograph session on April 12th. It was pretty nuts, even for someone like myself who anticipated that the in-store would be huge. There were plenty of people leaving the autograph line either shaking or crying after they met the band. To those in L.A. who do not understand how big Mana is, they will be playing four nights at The Staple Center in June…that’s between 70-80 thousand tickets!

Alt-Latin darling Ceci Bastida landed in the eighth spot after a well-received in-store performance. Speaking of Alt-Latin darlings, Zoe’s MTV Unplugged CD & DVD put them at the number four positions. The rest of the slots when to various world compilations from Brazil, African and Latin America, all 1960 to 1980 retro collections.

Summer is a great time for African music. Out now in our African section is the reissue of Orchestre Poly-Rythmo De Cotonou  First Album and Funky Rob Way by Rob, both on the Analog Africa Label. The domestic release of Youssou N’Dour’s Dakar-Kingston will be out June 7th and more Touareg rock from Terakaft, entitled Aratan N Azawad will be out on June 14th. Seun Kuti will be releasing his latest, From Africa With Fury: Rise on June 21st. We currently have the vinyl version of Seun Kuti’s latest on LP.






On the Latin side we have Joaquin Claussell’s Hammock House: Africa Caribe, which are reinterpretations of classic Fania tracks by the legendary House Music producer. From Soundway Records we have the LP & CD version of Michi Sarmiento and Y Su Bravos, Aqui Los Bravos. A must get is the Peruvian compilation, El Sonido De Tupac Amaru, an LP only release with a scorcher of a 7” single included. Fans of the Roots Of Chicha compilations will love this LP, which is limited to a numbered 500 copies. This is some massive heat coming from the Mass Tropicas label. Speaking of LP releases, the Secret Stash label will have a few new releases, The Rhythms of Black Peru, which features plenty of traditional Afro-Peruvian gems.

Another interesting release to check out is Los Tigres Del Norte’s MTV Unplugged, which has the band performing many of their hits with Latin America’s most known Pop & Rock artists, including Paulina Rubio, Juanes, Residente of Calle 13, Andrés Calamaro, Diego Torres and Zack de la Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. There are two versions, CD only and the CD/DVD combo.


 

Amoeba Hollywood World Music Best Sellers For March 2011

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 4, 2011 12:41am | Post a Comment

1. V/A-Cartagena! (LP & CD)
2. V/A- Brazil Bossa Beat! — Bossa Nova And The Story Of Elenco Records, Brazil (LP & CD)
3. V/A- Bossa Nova and the Rise of Brazilian Music In The 1960s (LP & CD)
4. V/A- Those Shocking Shaking Days: Indonesian Hard Psyche (LP & CD)
5. Cristian Castro -Viva El Principe (CD Only)
6. Zoe- Musica De Fondo / MTV Unplugged (CD & DVD)
7. Gloria Trevi-Gloria (CD Only)
8. Celso Piña-Sin Fecha De Caducid (CD Only)
9. Gustavo Galindo-Entre La Ciudad Y El Mar (CD Only)
10. V/A-Pomegranates (LP & CD)

 In the battle of World Music compilations, Soundway Records’ latest Discos Fuentes collection, Cartagena!, just outsold Soul Jazz Records' two Brazilian collections and Now-Again Records' Indonesian Psyche comp Those Shocking Shaking Days.  All four compilations are available on CD and LP formats, with the vinyl matching CD sales or, in some cases, surpassing them. The later part of the top ten featured a diaspora of Latin Rock & Pop artist. For the 16-24 Latin Alternative demographic we have Zoe’s MTV Unplugged. For the 55 years and older ladies we have Cristian Castro’s tribute to singer Jose Jose, Viva El Principe. For the gay set we had the latest from Gloria Trevi, Gloria. For the Cumbia set we had Celso Piña and newcomer Gustavo Galindo seem to appeal to well, his extended family, who all came at different times to buy copies of Entre La Ciudad Y El Mar.  Way to support your family, Galindos!

April will bring many new releases from the likes of former Heroes Del Silencio singer Enrique Bunbury, Persian fusion artist, Azam Ali, son of Fela, Femi Kuti, the legendary Cachao and Mexican rockeros Maná, who will also be signing copies of their latest release, Drama Y Luz, here at Amoeba Hollywood on April 12th. For more info, check out the Amoeba website.

Here’s a list of some of the new releases coming in April:

April 5th

Machito-A Man and His Music
Jose Alberto-Original
Cheo Feliciano-Cheo (reissue)
Johnny Pacheco & Pete "El Conde" Rodriguez-Tres De Cafe Y Dos De Azucar (reissue)
Sonora Poncena-Fuego En El 23 (reissue)
Hector Lavoe-Comedia (reissue)


April 12th

Maná-Drama Y Luz
Azam Ali- From Night to the Edge of Day
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo- Cotonou Club
Femi Kuti-Africa for Africa 
Ebo Taylor-Life Stories

April 19th

Enrique Bunbury-Gran Rex
Celia Cruz & Johnny Pacheco-Tremendo Cache (reissue)
Cheo Feliciano-Estampa (reissue)
Orchestra Harlow-Live In Quad (reissue)
Bombino- Agadez

April 26th

Olga Tañón- Ni Una Lagrima Mas
Roberto Carlos: Millon De Amigos Y Doce Mas (Roberto Carlos Tribute)
Cachao-The Last Mambo

Amoeba Hollywood's World Music Top Ten For July 2010

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, August 2, 2010 09:54am | Post a Comment

1. Enrique Iglesias-Euphoria
2. V/A-Let’s A Go-Go
3. Seu Jorge- Seu Jorge & Almaz
4. V/A-Pomegranates
5. V/A-Afrosound Of Colombia Vol.1
6. Sloepoke-Fiesta Tropical
7. V/A-Saigon Rock & Soul
8. V/A-World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia in 1970s Nigeria
9. Yuri-Inusual
10. Marc Anthony-Iconos

July’s top ten includes five retro world compilations, three releases by iconic Latin Pop stars, a release by one of the coolest Brazilian to ever walk on this earth and a local deejay who's got a Cumbia collection like no other.

Enrique Iglesias topped the chart this month, a slight surprise considering his last few releases didn’t do much in the store in the past. Two other iconic Latin Pop singers, Marc Anthony and Yuri, sold well enough to take the ninth and tenth spots.

A welcome change is the increase of retro releases from Southeast Asia. Saigon Rock & Soul is a vinyl only release from the Sublime Frequencies label that will soon be sold out, even before this blog is up. The funky psychedelic Vietnamese rock certainly has people willing to pay the almost thirty bucks for this double LP, but I’m sure there are not many complainers in the end. Don’t have a record player and/or don’t want to spend 30 bones? Another option is to go with the Let’s A-Go-Go compilation, which is from 1964-1969 and includes bands from Singapore as well as all over Southeast Asia.

Can’t get enough World Psyche? Well, there is The World Ends: Afro Rock & Psychedelia In 1970s Nigeria, put out by none other than Soundway Records. In the seventies, African music went through its own metamorphosis much like pop music did in the rest of the world. The guitars got fuzzed out, the organs overdriven and the vocals were shouted rather than sung. But at the core, these collections of songs are clearly African in style, with Highlife and Afrobeat dominating the selections. If you are a fan of seventies Afro Rock bands such as Blo, Witch and Ofege, this comp will more than fill your need for digging more African treasures.

Seriously, who is cooler than Seu Jorge? Singer/musician and actor (City Of God, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The Escapist)'s first two solo albums, Carolina and Cru, were classic throwbacks to the days of Jorge Ben and Gilberto Gil. He followed that up album of David Bowie covers done acoustic and sung in Portuguese. (The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions) and returned to his funky roots with América Brasil O Disco. On this latest release, Jorge has teamed up with former Nação Zumbi members Lucio Maia and Pupillo along with film composer and bassist Antonio Pinto to form Almaz. Seu Jorge & Almaz was released last week on Now Again/Stones Throw. It's an album consisting of “cooler than you” cover songs by the likes of Kraftwerk, Roy Ayers, Michael Jackson, Jorge Ben, Tim Maia and Martinho Da Vila, done by this unique ensemble of artists. While Jorge takes on every song with his classic laid back vocal style, it's Pullillo, Maia and Pinto that shine on this release, with every interpretation going through a deep layer of echo drenched guitar and reggae dub influenced drums and bass. A surprise is Jorge singing in English. It’s his ESL moment and even though he might struggle on some of these cuts, the soul in his voice still comes through, ready to charm the pants off of any unsuspecting listener.

Lately, many of the Cumbia compilations that have been coming out have been a bit academic for my tastes. A few great tracks here and there, but absolutely no flow to them. DJ Sloepoke, an L.A. based deejay, has flow, has been playing Cumbia for years and knows what’s up. So when I heard that he had a Cumbia mix CD, I had to hear it. Fiesta Tropical may look a little ‘chunti,” as some may say, like a pirated Cumbia CD you get at the swap meet, but on the disc is pure heat! Rare Cumbia tracks from South America, Central America and Mexico. Good luck trying to find out who these tracks are from, as this mix was created all from vinyl. The best part about Fiesta Tropical is that someone who understands the dance floor made it. No skipping tracks to keep your dance party going -- just let it roll and have a good time.

Hot New Compilation 2 - Colombia! The Golden Age Of Discos Fuentes 1960-1976

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, April 26, 2007 01:02pm | Post a Comment

Soundways Records
out of England does it again! Their Panama and Afro-Beat releases are excellent, but this release is their best by far. Discos Fuentes are to Colombian music what Stax & Motown are to soul, Trojan to Reggae, Blue Note to Jazz and what Sun Records is to rock music. They've released thousands of records since 1934 and still do to this day. The compilation covers the classic years of Discos Fuentes (1960-1976) and is mostly Cumbia and Salsa music with Champeta and some modernized versions of traditional South American music.

Much of what is on this comp hasn’t been released in quite some time and has only been available through out of print records. Included are rare tracks from well known Colombian artists Fruko Y Su Tesos, The Latin Brothers and Afrosound, plus classic tracks from Los Corraleros De Majagual, Pedro Laza y Su Pelayeros and Lucho Bermudez. This is straight up dance floor madness! Even those who can't dance will have a tough time resisting the rhythms produced by this release. Great liner notes with many pictures of the original album covers will make the record collector in you salivate.