NorteñoBlog has long neglected the Sinaloan quartet-con-tuba Voz de Mando, despite their having one of the more charming Navidad songs on the radio for the past four years. (It’s actually a cover of Los Bukis, whom the blog will continue to neglect for now.) Their new single “Pa’ Que No Me Anden Contando” (AfinArte/Sony) is useful in several ways. It’s a minor-key stomper encouraging you to grab life by the horns with your teeth and whatnot (I paraphrase) — so that, when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t have to rely upon secondhand reports to know what it’s like to have horns caught in your teeth. (See also Los Recoditos’ “Mi Último Deseo” and other YOLO worthies.) It’ll help you fill out your Joss Favela/Luciano Luna bingo card, in case you hadn’t yet accounted for a “minor-key YOLO stomper” from their collective pen. Aaaaand it’s a useful Spanish idiom for all my fellow language learners out there. “So I Don’t Hear It Secondhand” is how the Sony PR team translates the title, which literally-to-inglés has something to do with careful accounting, I think. The message is clear: Voz de Mando, Favela, and Luna are against careful accounting. NorteñoBlog is fastidious in its accounting, so I don’t recommend songs too too easily, but some fiery accordion rips this tune into VALE LA PENA territory. Plus, the dude who shouts out “VOZ DE MANDO” in all their songs sounds like he’s inviting you to a monster truck rally.
Somewhat better is a Sierreño-con-tuba ode to the Triduum, “3 Días”, by the fresh-faced and hard-to-Google Julio Garcia. Whoever’s playing requinto for him jolts the song to life in a most Triduic way. VALE LA PENA
But you know what sounds really good with a hot requinto player? A whole bunch of other instruments! (Of course I’d say that.) To that end we have “Traigo Ganas de Pistiar” (E.D.R.), a rip-snorting mashup of the five-piece-con-tuba Escuela de Rancho, who hail from sweet home Chicago; the three-piece guitar band Los Orejones de la Sierra, which includes the aforementioned hot requinto player; and another Chicago band I’m about to become totally obsessed with, La Bandeña. They’re an eight-piece that seems to combine instruments from every regional style you can think of: a requinto, a tuba, an accordion, a tambora from Duranguense, and most intriguingly, two saxors, or alto tubas. (NorteñoBlog played euphonium back in college, so your excitement may vary.) It scarcely matters what the song “Traigo Ganas” is about. I mean, I know it’s about getting drunk — the song opens with the sound of cans being cracked open, and anyway, I’m sure you’ve met low brass players — but what matters is the stupendous way this makeshift octo-quin-trio makes you feel all giddy and swivelly by simply jumping from one part of the song to the next. VALE LA PENA, further research forthcoming, and a hearty Pick to Click.