Back in September, NorteñoBlog gave short shrift to the eighth (I think) album by La Maquinaria Norteña, Ya Dime Adiós (Azteca/Fonovisa). I thought they were energetic but generic, low on hooks, just one damn sax-and-accordion polka after another. How short was my shrift? My shrift was short enough that it could have been any random Maquinaria song, which tend to run out of steam after about two and a half minutes — with the notable exception of “No Sé Cómo Hacerlo,” which beefs its running time to three and a half minutes by throwing in a snippet of Super Mario Brothers music at the end.
And right there, amid Koji Kondo’s well-known arpeggios, lies everything I got wrong about Maquinaria in the first place. These guys know their subgenre — the puro sax music of Zacatecas and Chihuahua — is a little ridiculous. They know that when a sax and an accordion harmonize over polka beats, the results sound like skippy video game music. To counter this, they wink at their Super Mario-loving audience but, more importantly, they never let up. Maquinaria might not be the hardest working band in the puro sax game, but they sure sound like they are. They’re wilder and grittier than most of their peers. The lead instruments tug against the beat more and leave fewer empty spaces, and at the end of those 150 seconds of pleasure, everyone sounds spent.
Maquinaria Norteña: Su saxo está breve, pero es VALE LA PENA.
Back in April, NorteñoBlog fell in love with the song “Sigo Enamorada” by Laura Denisse, who acts and sings and seems fairly optimistic in general. (She works out.) Her major label debut album but seventh overall, Sigo Enamorada (Con Banda) (Fonovisa), is half traditional banda in the Jenni Rivera vein, and half countrypolitan with horns. Along with the full-throated backbeat country of the title song and “Amigos,” both written by the prolific Aníbal Pastor, I really like the swinging song Denisse wrote on her own, “Eres Muy Poca Mujer.” Denisse sings it with spunk and twinkling eyes, sounding very Loretta Lynn with her fists on her hips.
VALE LA PENA and Pick to Click: