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Lo Mejor De 2014

Fiesta de Aniversario: THE PICKS TO CLICK

gerardo birthday

NorteñoBlog doesn’t always Pick to Click, but when I do… sometimes I get it wrong and type “Click to Pick.” This made searching for the previous year’s worth of Picks INTERESANTE.

The Pick to Click began as a shameless ripoff from Charles Pierce’s must-read liberal politics blog at Esquire, as did a couple other, possibly subtler NorteñoBlog tics. (Spot them all! Both! Whatever!) It’s a useful way to highlight the song I enjoy the most in a particular post, so that you the loyal reader don’t have to wade through a pool of Banda MS’s tears to reach the good stuff. Of course, if you enjoy the delectable bouquet wafting from Banda MS’s tears, you can always Click what I don’t Pick, though you’ll run the risk of turning Banda MS happy and then they might run out of Art. Besides current singles, the following list includes some older singles and current album tracks.

Most Picked at three apiece: NorteñoBlog’s probable artists of the year Alfredo Ríos “El Komander” and Marco Flores y #1 Banda Jerez. Banda Cuisillos, Noel Torres, and Chuy Lizárraga each scored two Picks. So did Los Gfez, Pancho Uresti, and Ariel Camacho, though one Pick from each of those three was in a “featured” role. Besides norteño and banda, the list includes cumbias and puro sax stomps, reggaeton and ABBA-schlager, Jenny and the Mexicats and Pitbull, and covers of Johnny Cash and — first up — Shania Twain. Happy Clicking!
Continue reading “Fiesta de Aniversario: THE PICKS TO CLICK”

La Nueva Rebelión on the Jukebox

rebelion

We wrote about La Nueva Rebelión’s “Me Hicieron Mas Fuerte” at The Singles Jukebox, awarding it an entirely respectable collective score of 7/10. My take, pulled apart:

1) La Nueva Rebelión rocks harder than most rock bands. I apologize for writing that. I intended to broaden the canon and poke a stick into rockist eyes, but instead I ended up using “rock” as a verb.

2) Why do we still do that? Is rock music still central to anything? Why doesn’t anyone say rockers “out-norteño most norteño bands” when they sing about vengeance and hardscrabble origins and that that don’t kill them making them stronger? For that matter, why don’t we say it of Kanye or Kelly? (“Norteño isn’t a verb!” shouts my Mom, but you know what I mean.) The usual suspects — “rockism,” privilege, most music writers not knowing Spanish — can’t explain why my “out-norteño” formulation feels so unlikely. Turning to norteño to make sense of other pop music? Unimaginable!

3) Look, certain segments of the critical population really want Arcade Fire to be a disco band, and I can well imagine some careless strawman critic saying they “out-disco most disco bands.” I can even imagine (I don’t have to imagine!) someone explaining an English-language song as “more K-pop than K-pop.” Disco and K-pop have both “rocked harder than most rock music” on occasion, but they’ve also opened themselves to pillage by other genres.

4) So if rock’s no longer central, if all these different genres are out there grabbing at one another, my question becomes: Why is norteño still so peripheral to the music crit corpus? The answer may be self-sustainability: musically and commercially, norteño bands are doing just fine, thanks, and they don’t need to make concessions to a mystified potential audience.

5) Yet here we have La Nueva Rebelión playing rock music, clearly and without ambiguity. Sure the song’s a waltz. Sure the lead instrument’s an accordion instead of a guitar, but listen to the sloppy virtuosity, the way accordion and bajo sexto don’t quite line up but still keep perfect time; or to those six-bar vocal glissandos over one pounded chord; or, for that matter, to the chord changes, which abandon norteño’s variations on I-IV-V polka patterns in favor of leaning on a flat 7 chord. The newest Rock Hall inductees use flat 7 a bunch.

6) The members of La Nueva Rebelión love to rock so they wrote their own rock song, and if they know how rock works they might also see that it’s a mouldering corpse. But here they are, making the rockist corpse — my corpse — dance with as much unpredictable lightning as I’ve heard this year. They’ve shoved a stick through my eye. It’s making me twitch with pleasure.

Lo Mejor De 2014

julion_alvarez_video-movil

At PopMatters you can read my list of the year’s best music — or if reverse-order lists make you feel uneasy, you can just read it here! For the PopMatters list, Matt Cibula, who’s been writing about norteño music longer than I have, added Regulo Caro’s metal-biting Senzu-Rah.

Beware: what follows may contain tubas. Also accordions, clarinets, canned gunfire, protest songs, dance songs, songs about roosters, songs about drug cartels, songs using drug cartels as metaphors to make the singers seem intimidating and/or awesome and/or “authentic,” songs using roosters the same way, and amor. Lots and lots of amor. Any kind of amor you can think of, unless it’s completely unremarkable and pedestrian. That’s not how these singers do amor.

In 2014, norteño quartets and big brass bandas continued to dominate the Mexican music charts, awkwardly named “Regional Mexican” in the U.S. and, somewhat less awkwardly, “Popular” in the motherland. (That’s “Popular” as opposed to “Pop” or “General,” both of which include Ricky Martin. We’re not talking about Ricky Martin.) Nominally these are “country” styles, but they’re a country music that borrows imagery from rap and 100-year-old folk songs, and chord changes from Tin Pan Alley and hard rock. In those regards, this music’s not too different from modern city-slicker pop country. But comparisons will only get you so far, because ultimately norteño and banda are pure pop for their audiences: Mexicans, Latino Americans, and anyone else (hi!) lucky enough to have radio stations (95.5 “El Patrón”!) that allow us to listen along. Not everything below is radio fare, but it’s all grabby like the best pop music. And while understanding Spanish can make listening more fun, particularly when cusswords are involved, it’s certainly not required.

ALBUMS

popmatters album1 alvarezJulión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda – Soy Lo Que Quiero… Indispensable – Fonovisa
Indispensable is a shiny pop album in caballero drag. That’s true of most major label banda albums anymore, but this one has an advantage: the best singer on the continent. A young man blessed with a voice dusty as the Sierra, Álvarez sings 12 short songs with a mix of high melodrama and lived-in naturalism. Lead single “Te Hubieras Ido Antes” is a good example — listen to the way his voice tugs against the stately waltz laid down by the banda, falling behind the beat almost immediately. For a delicious moment it’s unclear whether he’ll make it out of the chorus. Eventually he does, big surprise, and goes on to some very happy flirtations with cumbia, corrido, and a woman with “Ojos Verdes” who inspires a gorgeous midtempo love song. “Hoy mi pena ya no duele,” sings Álvarez — “Today my pain doesn’t hurt.” I feel the same way whenever Indispensable is playing.

popmatters album2 rebelionLa Nueva Rebelión – Me Hicieron Mas Fuerte – LR
They’re 26 hours drunk, their songs are full of second hand hoods, and they have very defensive notions of justice and vengeance. Is La Nueva Rebelión the only rock ‘n’ roll band that matters? I don’t wanna overstate my case for the aesthetic achievements of their corrido lyrics, partly because I don’t understand the nuances of Spanish, partly because “aesthetic achievement” only matters if it brings the songs to life. That’s where Rebelión excel. They populate their songs with as lively an assortment of characters and life lessons as Springsteen or Jay-Z or whoever your favorite world creator is. That energy spills over into their music, with the singers harmonizing at crooked intervals, the accordion and bajo sexto filling every bit of sonic space, and the drummer, g-d bless him, flailing like Tommy Lee tearing up a hotel room.

popmatters album3 komanderEl Komander – Cazador – Twiins
With his aviator shades, fealty to country living, and endorsement of la mota, Alfredo Ríos could almost be Eric Church, if Church had Brantley Gilbert’s vocal range and described gangland killings in gory detail. For Cazador, Ríos has dialed down the gore but not the substance abuse. His band plays wonderfully loose and shaggy norteño, augmented by demented horns that jump out of nowhere and sound like they’re two hits away from falling down. Lead song “Toquezones de Cannabis” sets the tone; its abrupt tempo shifts will either make you laugh uncontrollably or start freaking out. Despite having about eight notes at its disposal, Ríos’s voice has charisma to burn. He only fools himself into trying to sing pretty once, on the mariachi ballad “Descansa Mi Amor,” where his ideal of love is a whispering frog.

popmatters album4 torresNoel Torres – La Balanza – Gerencia 360/Sony Latin
Torres’s whirling dervish accordion and propulsive band were musical highlights a year ago. This year’s La Balanza is an unwelcome step toward respectability — it’s a touch less surprising and it flags near the end. But Jesse “El Pulpo” Esquivel is still pounding the skins in a way that makes music writers write things like “pounding the skins,” and Torres stages a couple coups. Coup #1 is hitting the charts with “Amanecí Con Ganas”, a funny scenario involving a spoiled rich girl, her gun-toting father, and an alarmed Torres in the role of profane farm boy Westley. Coup #2, “El Cambio”, pays tribute to Mexico’s autodefensas, the local self-defense militias standing up to cartels and Mexico’s corrupt government. In the U.S., with our overheated 2nd Amendment rhetoric and open carry wingnuts, a song like this might make you cringe. But its anthemic melody is undeniable, and it shows Torres experimenting like few other norteño songwriters.

popmatters album5 guzmanNena Guzman – La Iniciativa – Del/Sony Latin
A forthright singer who lets her brass players take care of the sentimental stuff, Guzman doesn’t do melodrama, or even vibrato. Sometimes she veers close to telenovela territory — playing the other woman in “Yo Soy La Amante”, she cattily reveals her identity to the first woman, then offers to be her assistant — but even then she sounds cheerful and warm. Corralling her small band is a different story. Though tuba, accordion, and bajo sexto are all technically playing the same songs, they’re locked in a battle to see who can improvise the most notes. Using her syllables to keep time, Guzman strides with authority through a solid batch of corridos, love songs, hate songs, and the requisite cumbia.

popmatters album7 recoditosBanda Los Recoditos – Sueño XXX – Disa
You may have seen the advertisements for this album? Like, they were on condom wrappers? Recoditos is one of the most consistent bands around, both in terms of their quality and their sticking to themes. They never release a bad album. They never release a mind-blowing fantastic album. They tend to sing about sex, XXX-rated dreams, drinking, partying, forgetting what happened during drunken parties, and things of that nature. (Also “love,” blah blah blah.) The musicians play their gleaming arrangements with spectacular dexterity. The singers’ personalities jump off the radio. Basically they are Electric 6. Doesn’t it seem like Electric 6 should advertise on condom wrappers?

popmatters album8 castilloMartin Castillo – Mundo de Ilusiones – Gerencia 360/Sony Latin
On the better of his two 2014 albums, Martin Castillo sings, drums, writes corridos, and leads his band with the same aim: attaining the norteño sublime. (Apologies to the late hip-hop scholar Adam Krims.) The first half of Mundo de Ilusiones (Castillo sees deeply) features a banda, and it’s pretty good, peaking early with the minor hit “Así Será”. But Castillo hits his stride on the last six songs when, joined by his quartet, he tosses off one corrido after another. Each song features one instantly memorable melody that Castillo sings over and over, meditating on the nature of illicit power, while around him the band weaves polyphonic tales of its own. This is the sierra of Castillo’s imagination: a complicated tangle of associations bespeaking a force best left implicit.

popmatters album9 favelaAdriel Favela – Mujeres de Tu Tipo – Gerencia 360/Sony Latin
Young Favela has the most soothing voice this side of Glenn Medeiros. In fact, you might have to go back to ‘70s AM radio to find soothingness of this magnitude. The overconfident title song suggests Favela would benefit from spending time with Miranda Lambert’s “Girls”, but his voice is so comforting it’s impossible to dislike him. How do you hate a warm bath? For a while Favela’s second album edges toward classic MOR, with the horns in “Cómo Olvidarla” attempting Tower of Power riffs, and “Murió El Amor” threatening to become “Every Rose Has Its Thorn”. But the back half delivers a string of corridos, played by an exceptional band and sung with a warmth not often associated with drug cartel honchos.

Also worthwhile:

Los Tigres Del Norte – Realidades – Fonovisa
Diana Reyes – Mis Mejores Duranguenses – DR
Los Rieleros del Norte – En Tus Manos – Goldfink/Sony
La Adictiva Banda San José de Mesillas – Disfruté Engañarte – Sony Latin

SINGLES

La Nueva Rebelión – “Me Hicieron Mas Fuerte” – LR Music
Lately, certain corrido bands have rocked harder and wilder than most rockers claiming the title. (Like, for instance, Good Time Rockin’ Jack White — his latest is OK, in the way reading someone’s dissertation is OK.) It’s still rare, though, to catch the norteño guys playing songs that would, in any other context, be considered rock music, which makes the title single from La Nueva Rebelión’s latest such a blast. Literally — the video’s body count is high. This manifesto of vengeful resolve opens with a trio texture straight from the Minutemen, and then the accordion kicks in — you always thought the Minutemen needed an accordion, right? The band launches into a power waltz, built on a chord change I think Black Flag once used, with both singers’ voices straaaaaaaaining into the chorus, shouting threats at their haters until the instruments have no choice but to collapse. It’s the most exciting four minutes of music this year. Trigger warning: things don’t end well for the horse.

Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda – “Y Así Fue” – Fonovisa
Julión Álvarez sings his love songs with a smoky warble that makes him sound twice his age. Makes sense, since on paper this hit — rubbing shoulders with Romeo and Enrique on the Hot Latin chart — could be an ace pre-Beatles pop song, complete with those magic changes and a tune that’s unforgettable because it simply follows those chords around. But in the world of banda, those pop chords, along with the band’s relentless syncopated rhythms and the recording’s knifelike sheen, make this song sound utterly contemporary. Think “In the Still of the Night,” only faster, hornier, and hornier — Álvarez and his ladyfriend give it up on the first date, and so they go from there.

El Komander – “Soy De Rancho” – Twiins
Back in April at the EMP Pop Conference in Seattle (home to FM 99.3 “La Gran D”), Professor Josh Kun described how people’s mobility — across borders, or from country to city and back again — is central to the mezcla of genres known as “Regional Mexican.” Alfredo Ríos, “El Komander”, agrees. “Sí, Señor, yo soy de rancho,” he tells a U.S. border official, right before Ríos’s tuba player farts in the guy’s face. Over furious accordion and a ramshackle acoustic waltz, Ríos goes on to describe a ranchera paradise full of singing cocks and weed-covered hills, but also admits his fondness for citified flashy brands and fast cars that may or may not have been afforded by those weed-covered hills. A man for all people! The people agreed, making this his first top 10 hit in the U.S.

Alacranes Musical – “Zapateado Encabronado #3” – A.M.
10 reasons you shouldn’t listen to this song: 1) The video endorses cockfighting. 2) The two drummers, while not explicitly endorsing cockfighting, sure make a lot of scritchy scratchy sounds that may or may not imitate agitated cocks scampering around mid-fight. 3) The song’s repetitive accordion+sax+synth riffs could drive you to drink. 4) I, for instance, am cracking open a bottle of Buchanan’s. Come over! 5) If you get drunk and start messing with cocks, Alacranes Musical will not help clean up your mess. 6) There’s no bass or even tuba in this song, so Alacranes Musical are clearly ripping off “When Doves Cry”, which also had no bass or even tuba. 7) “When Cocks Cry”. This song made me type that. 8) The third installment in a saga is always the weakest. 9) Oh wait, Toy Story. 10) OMG, are you remembering a cockfighting sequence in one of the Toy Story movies? It was like in a flashback, Sarah McLachlan was singing about sad cocks… WHAT ON EARTH AM I THINKING OF???

Gerardo Ortiz – “Eres Una Niña” – Del/Sony Latin
Like Adriel Favela, Ortiz could stand to sit down with Miranda Lambert’s “Girls”, but we’ll cut him some slack since he released his own 16-song masterpiece a year ago. Its third single, a chivalrous offer to kiss the extremities of a young woman until she screams the word “Gerardo”, innovates by sticking bachata guitar into the Sinaloan banda mix. Its melody is long and winding like Ortiz’s gilded tongue. Even though the current face of regional Mexican music isn’t really directing his song at me, it still sets my heart aflutter.

La Trakalosa De Monterrey – “Mi Padrino El Diablo” – Remex
You know the old story. Kid runs away from his abusive dad, falls asleep in a drainage ditch, wakes up to a Companion of Black touching his forehead, and joins a new family: the Devil’s family! What could possibly go wrong? From Faust to Coraline, Robert Johnson to Tom Hagen, the myth finds its way to “Mi Padrino” and its 40-odd-million Youtube views. La Trakalosa mix a small band texture with brass fanfares, an exciting gimmick that became al corriente this year — see also Los Buitres de Culiacán’s best songs.

Calibre 50 ft. El Komander – “Qué Tiene De Malo” – Disa
It’s not often a protest song hits #1 on any chart. But when two of Sinaloan corrido music’s leading flamethrowers teamed up for this ode to free speech, they topped the radio charts in Mexico. Granted, it’s sort of a self-serving protest. Both Calibre and Komander have been fined or banned in various Mexican localities, for the crime of “inciting violence” with their music, when really all they’ve ever tried to incite was the purchase of Calibre and Komander records. So they wrote this song on behalf of all hard-working citizens who enjoy listening to songs about drug murders. They wrote it for YOU! It’s sort of like when Anthrax did “Startin’ Up a Posse”, only much better — the whole thing swings like some fearsome pendular tuba.

Los Horóscopos de Durango – “Las Chicas Malas” – Universal Latin
Having jettisoned duranguense three albums ago, the Terrazas sisters throw themselves into Jenni Rivera mode, putting their banda musicians’ fingers to work as they embark on a wild night of drinking and, if the video can be believed, destructive pillow fights. Sometimes after the song has ended, I can still hear the screaming.

Also worthwhile:

Marco Flores Y La Número 1 Banda Jerez – “Soy El Bueno” – Remex

Banda MS – “Hermosa Experiencia” – Discos Sabinas

Regulo Caro – “Soltero Disponible” – Del/Sony Latin

Los Buitres de Culiacán – “Mejor Soltero” – Sony Latin

We pause to honor Julión Álvarez…

julion-alvarez-trophy

It’s the end of the year and people are publishing lists of the best singles. You know what that means: indie rock songs heard by several! If the list belongs to PopMatters, it also means soul throwbacks, top 40 hits, and other sundries (like Ambrose Akinmusire! one of my least favorite songs from his album, but still). Also… what’s this?… reputed Best Singer on the Continent Julión Álvarez, in at #48, with “Y Así Fue”, a bounding high five of a song. I may have had something to do with this.

Lo Mejor De 2014: Banda Los Recoditos

recoditos

I reviewed Recoditos’ most recent album of heavy petting and even heavier drinking, Sueño XXX, at PopMatters:

Today They Smell Dawn.

Finding your way through the catalog of Banda Los Recoditos feels like entering some overstuffed shop full of toys and tchotchkes, every item beckoning brighter and harder than the last. Everything’s shiny and a tad overpriced. This is one of those stores where, to reach the back, you have to keep pushing aside dangling strands of stuff — probably little liquor bottles and sex toys, given Recoditos’ preoccupations. Yes, I am saying Banda Los Recoditos is basically the Spencer’s of the banda pop mall. And yes, that’s a good thing. Up to a point. You know how, after an hour spent enduring smutty jokes and stories about some dude’s wet dreams, you sometimes just need to go outside? Look at the least phallic thing available? And the first thing you see is like a fire hydrant spraying its obscene contents all over the place? The attendees of September’s Values Voter Summit understood: our society is soaked in sex and debauchery, a fact Recoditos also recognizes and exploits on their latest album, Sueño XXX.

Not since O-Town’s “Liquid Dreams” has a pinup band described so brazenly the plotline of a sex dream, especially to actual participants in the dream itself. “Que bien te veías sin ropa te confieso,” sings Luis Ángel “El Flaco” Franco in the forthright title waltz — “I confess you looked good without clothes on.” From there El Flaco’s dream grows more erotic thanks to its authors, the prolific and apparently lascivious Luciano Luna and Omar Tarazón. The songwriters-for-hire know their clients. After years on indie labels, Recoditos went major in 2010 and carved out a niche as regional Mexican radio’s feel-good bad boys, scoring the number one hits “Ando Bien Pedo” (“I’m Very Drunk”) and “Mi Último Deseo” (“My Last Wish”). (Flaco’s last wish is for everyone at his funeral to party.) In real life, the band has advertised Sueño XXX on condom packages. Besides its nocturnal admission, this new album finds the band contemplating whether or not to cheat (“es un dilema…”) and the ravages of alcohol on memory (“tres shots, cuatro shots, y no me acuerdo de nada”). They want cool chicks to poison their bodies with sex, bottles, and cigarettes (“Morras De Accion”). Did I mention they are drunk (“La Peda”)? Or possibly not (“No Hay Pedo”)? Because really it’s all you and your crazy mother’s fault? And maybe Banda Los Recoditos is just sick of your face, you ever think of that?

In the video for lead single “Hasta Que Salga El Sol”, El Flaco and second lead singer Samuel Sarmiento blatantly re-enact The Hangover with their bandmates and some pretty mujeres, though without any tigers or pathos—everyone just wakes up in a heap on the beach, flashes back to the previous night’s revelry, and decides to do it all over again. The song barrels nonstop for two and a half minutes, with Flaco running out of breath at the ends of his phrases and brass lines tangling together like sweaty bodies. The song’s author Rubén Esli got his big break on last year’s Recoditos album with the aforementioned “Mi Último Deseo”, and in a sense Recoditos albums function as a State of the Scene for norteño songwriters. Much like its older brother Banda El Recodo, Recoditos has the power and the chops to put new songwriters on the map, even while commanding songs from proven hitmakers.

Fortunately the band has good taste. Only occasionally does Recoditos slip into the saccharine crap Luciano Luna sells to other bandas — on Sueño, that’d be Luna’s “Me Sobrabas Tu”, a modestly pretty number that nonetheless feels long at three minutes. (The longest running time here is 3:19.) More often the band, led by musical director, trombonist, and sometime songwriter Marco Figueroa, encourages outside writers to give free rein to their untrammelled ids. Take the veteran writer Martín Castro. “Sin Respiración”, his signature ballad for Banda El Recodo, is a smooth talk anthem about amor leading to breathlessness. (It’s actually really good.) Last year romantic heartthrobs La Arrolladora Banda el Limón recorded Castro’s maudlin “Por Confiar En Ti”; like most of Arrolladora’s catalog, listening to it felt like mainlining a slow drip of mush. For Recoditos on the other hand, Castro cowrote “Vida Maniaca”, two kickass minutes of kaleidoscopic brass accents and drunk sex in hot tubs. Come on. You know which Castro you wanna hear.

Lest I paint Recoditos as one-note oversexed buffoons — I’m specifically thinking of the oversexed buffoons in Los Vaquetones Del Hyphy, who’ve been known to dress up as condoms — you should know that this banda employs stellar musicians who in fact have many notes. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of all the notes. Besides being drunk and insane, “La Peda” and “No Hay Pedo” display mindblowing virtuosity with clarinets shrieking in every direction. “Shot” and “El Mecánico” are the token rocking cumbias — there’s at least one every album — and “Entre Amor Y Tentacion” is gorgeous midtempo pop. The album has a few too many slow songs, but the singers do their best to keep things lively, dragging words behind the beat and belting their highly charged emotions to “la luna, el cielo, y LAAAAAAS ESTREEEEEEELLAS!” Sueño XXX is a cheerful and varied album that ends with three of its wildest songs. Say this for the band with its name on the condoms: It knows what makes a good package.

VALE LA PENA

Lo Mejor De 2014: Gerardo Ortiz

gerardo ortiz singing

Gerardo Ortiz released his excellent album Archivos de Mi Vida just over a year ago, and it’s fair to say he’s now the popular face of norteño and banda — i.e., of regional Mexican music in general. He occupies the center of radio station billboards, and award shows feature his performances as surely as they do Jenni Rivera tributes. This album didn’t do it alone; Ortiz was already a big deal a year ago when the album debuted at #1.

The editorial hands at Allmusic still haven’t taken down their Thom Jurek review calling this album a “hits collection” — maybe they’re just biding time. Ortiz’s third Archival hit is the pretty “Eres Una Niña,” which we just covered at The Singles Jukebox, giving him his third good score there. I said:

My Thanksgiving resolution is to ignore the patronizing opening line. (For further research: does “Niña” populate banda ballads as thoroughly as “Girl” does bro-country? It seems like “Mujer” shows up more often.) I will also ignore any possible ickiness involving Ortiz kissing JustAGirl’s extremities until she screams his name. (“HAY no más,” Gerardo soothed soothingly.) Starting… now! Because really this song is very romantic, and there’s little precedent for Sinaloan banda incorporating Dominican-via-Bronxian bachata guitar. Plus, Ortiz’s long-lined melody is beautiful, a way better tune than Rod Stewart’s “Tonight’s the Night,” speaking of songs about children letting their inhibitions run wild. Resolution starting NOW.
VALE LA PENA

Lo Mejor De 2014

nueva rebelion

Part 1 of ?

La Nueva Rebelión – “Me Hicieron Mas Fuerte” – LR Music
Lately, certain corrido bands have rocked harder and wilder than most bands claiming the title. (Like Rockin’ Jack White — his latest is OK, in the way reading someone’s dissertation is OK.) It’s still rare, though, to catch the norteño guys playing songs that would, in any other context, be considered rock music, which makes the title single from La Nueva Rebelión’s latest such a blast. Literally — the video’s body count is high. This manifesto of vengeful resolve opens with a trio texture straight from the Minutemen, and then the accordion kicks in — you always thought the Minutemen needed an accordion, right? The band launches into a power waltz, built on a chord change I think Black Flag once used, with both singer’s voices straaaaaaaaining into the chorus, shouting threats at their haters until the instruments have no choice but to collapse. It’s the most exciting four minutes of music this year. Trigger alert: things don’t end well for the horse.

Julión Álvarez y Su Norteño Banda – “Y Así Fue” – Fonovisa
Julión Álvarez sings his love songs with a scratchy warble that makes him sound twice his age. Makes sense, since this hit — rubbing shoulders with Romeo Santos and Enrique on the Hot Latin chart — could be an ace pre-Beatles pop song, complete with those magic changes and a tune that’s unforgettable because it simply follows those chords around. Think “In the Still of the Night,” only faster, hornier, and hornier — Álvarez and his ladyfriend give it up on the first date, and so they go from there.

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