Loyal readers know that NorteñoBlog is in the tank for unapologetic Zacatecan vaquero and spurting tank of Terpsichore Marco Flores y La Jerez — aka Marco A. Flores y su Banda Jerez. Flores seems cheerfully indifferent to the U.S., partly because if he moved here he’d have to buy a car, and he prefers to travel by horse. He records an updated version of the centuries-old banda style tamborazo zacatecano, which is faster than its Sinaloan counterpart and, if possible, even less pretentious. Flores’s songs are full of smutty jokes and traditional dances, and though they rarely aim to cross over into banda pop, he seems to record a video for each of them, maintaining an intimate knowledge of his YouTube counts. Flores’s aesthetic appeal boils down to this: He is a prolific hoot.
His latest album is Zapateado Endemoniado, released on his own MF label. It contains only three fewer songs than the latest Migos album, but — since nearly every song clocks in between 2:22 and 3:31 — it’s 45 minutes shorter. True, that’s still an hour-long brass band assault with no standouts as genius as “Stir Fry,” but Flores wisely livens up his tempos and rhythms throughout. And song for song, La Jerez’s beats are even stickier than team Migos’.
Take “Colas,” at 4:07 the longest song on Zapateado; it may or may not be an answer record to Migos’ “All Ass.” “Colas” is a big dumb cumbia punctuated by four bar solos that bounce from section to section, with unpredictable low brass lines hellbent on tripping up your dance moves. Starting at 3:40, there’s a groovy duet for clarinet and tuba that deserves to be sampled far and wide. Pick to Click!
But really, the Blog could Pick just about any song here. (In fact, I’ve already endorsed the title track, the best dressage video of our young year.) “El Torito” is a rollercoaster ride through a traditional jarabe, a 6/8 dance that flits between duple and triple feels. On “De Está Sierra a La Otra Sierra,” Flores covers a wistful immigration classic like he was just elected mayor of San José. “Mi Niña Bonita” is not a cover of Vicente Fernandez or Marco Antonio Solis; it’s even bouncier and prettier. And if you watch any of the videos for these songs, you’ll see the flailing limbs of a man more comfortable in his own skin than most of us have dreamt of being. He’s pretty pleased with the sound of his crowing voice, too. ¡VALE LA PENA!
If norteño is more your thing, the fresh-faced septet Soñadores de Sinaloa have just released their I-dunno-sixth? album Lo Improvisado (Mayra/Three Sound). Continue reading “¡Indies a Go Go! (starring Corazón Serrano, Soñadores, y Marco Flores)”