chuy zuniga

Forever seeking new ways to ring in the new year, NorteñoBlog first tried watching Chi-Town Rising, Chicago’s inaugural attempt to steal some of New York City’s televised thunder by running a glowing electronic star up the side of the Hyatt Regency. Unfortunately, NBC’s TV coverage was marred by the presence of congenial twit Mario Lopez and new Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Chicago (the horn-rock band) trying to rouse the crowd from their drunken stupor with a poorly mixed performance of “Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?” (Considering Chi-Town Rising was 30 seconds late with their countdown, I’m gonna say “no.”) Thoroughly depressed, I switched to ABC, only to discover it had been commandeered by hometown scourge The Vampire Strangler:


pisteaderaBut in the depths of my despair, a Buchanan’s-soaked hand reached down and encased mine in its sticky grip. Turns out El Komander understands the doldrums afforded by the flipping of the Gregorian calendar, so he released the stopgap album Pisteadera, Vol. 1 (Twiins) on December 30, right when his fans most needed to get pisteando. Pisteadera is not the proper studio album we’re waiting for. It doesn’t include his fine, as yet uncompiled singles “Hoy Toca” and “El Tacoma.” It’s half live and its highlights, “Malditas Ganas” and “Leyenda M1,” appear on Komander’s 2015 and 2014 albums, respectively. But it does open with the new sadsack drinking single “Tragos De Alcohol,” where Komander’s rhythm section waltzes a slow circle around him while his accordionist flutters in sympathy. The opening line captures the unique pathos of the Noche Vieja channel flipper:

Otra más y este dolor no sede
entre más tomo, más me pierdo entre sus redes

Or paraphrased,

One more drink but I can’t get no sedation
It’s too loud and I’m lost between stations

Thanks for your sympathy, Sr. Ríos. Here’s to a better 2016. (The album’s VALE LA PENA, though not necessarily necessary.)

hay queThis week’s Pick to Click comes from a more cheerful Buchanan’s drinker, though he barely looks old enough to buy a bottle. “Hay Que Festejar” (Sony) is the major label debut single from Chuy Zuñiga, and it depicts a party awash in rippling guitars and punctuated by tuba bass pokes. So far information on young Zuñiga is in short supply. His Facebook page identifies him as “100% Huasteco,” so I think he hails from one of Mexico’s eastern coastal states. It also doesn’t say he played a vampire in the Twilight movies, so I’ll assume he didn’t, but I would have cast him in a second. His use of social media emoticons is varied and impressive. Suddenly NorteñoBlog has a most anticipated album of 2016 (aside from the hypothetical Komander album that will include “Hoy Toca” and “El Tacoma”).

el bennyIf you’re not subscribed to promoter Beto Sierra on YouTube, I highly recommend him — he posts a metric shit ton of cool videos, including the above by our inebriated friend Zuñiga. Another Beto find is “El Benny” (Anakin) by the band Fuerza de Tijuana — no points for guessing where they come from. This is a corrido, played as a waltz by a norteño quartet, but with the minor chord progression and feel of a straight-up rock song. The narrator grows up on the mean streets of San Diego, a short hike from Tijuana, and this dude Benny leads him into a life of crime and hard-earned respect — the streets teach him more than he ever learned at school, blah blah blah. The song sounds pretty good, though, and as you know from my exploration of the hyphy norteño subgenre, I’m fascinated when these hustler tales take place inside the U.S., with little reference to Mexico. VALE LA PENA