music, charts, opinions


Grupo H-100

¡Nuevo! (T3R Elemento, La Original Banda, Grupo Corrupta, y más)

t3r elemento

Lo siento, faithful readers. NorteñoBlog has been out of it for the past few months, mired in the wilds of bro-country, Christian rock, King’s X, Pulitzer Prizes, Selena (um, watch this space), and rap songs about cheap-ass wine. Not to mention general garden maintenance. The blog heartily recommends Sugar Rush Peach peppers, which produced like motherfuckers all season long. Use them to liven up your big salads and gangland torture scenarios.


To get caught up, we turn to the Spotify playlist Novedades Regional Mexicano. Let’s rate these puppies until we stop!

Grupo Equis ft. Grupo H-100 – “Mas Sabe el Diablo” (Alianza single)
Grupo Equis is a quartet of leather-clad youngsters with a couple singles to their credit; Grupo H-100 is a somewhat more prolific quintet whose gruff, affectless lead singer sounds like a sociopath. (H-100’s album of narco tributes Trankis Morris came out earlier this year on Alianza, and would require a morning of Hasty Cartel Googling to plumb its lyrical depths.) Put ’em together and you have this high-spirited workout for battling clusters of 16th notes, with cymbals spattering across the sonic canvas like gunfire. This year the blog has been digging Vomitor’s death-thrash-WRAWWWR album Pestilent Death, and these guys seem just as diabolical. Pick to Click!

the green tripT3R Elemento – “Ojitos de Conejo” (from the DEL album The Green Trip)
Young Kristopher Nava, the McLovin’ of the corridos verdes movement, considers the opthalmological effects of excessive weed consumption on “Ojitos de Conejo,” a decent accordion-laced waltz from the boys’ DEL Records debut, out today. DEL honcho Ángel del Villar never met a trend he couldn’t exploit, so signing T3R Elemento — a young, bilingual group of stoners — seems like a natural. Cursory listening suggests The Green Trip might be better than last year’s Underground, even if distinguishing one midtempo weed anthem from another isn’t the easiest task in the world. The tuba’s spiky, the sierreño guitar leads are interesting enough, and the boys attempt to market the catchphrase “El Verde es Vida” — it even pops up in this bunny eyes song. Really, though, the song to check out is previous single “En Menos de un Minuto,” with its soaring melody and creepy computer animated video featuring, like, clocks and space aliens and shit. VALE LA PENA

Continue reading “¡Nuevo! (T3R Elemento, La Original Banda, Grupo Corrupta, y más)”

Los Jóvenes Sónicos (Desfile de Éxitos 3/25/17)

el fantasma

The unlikeliest song on this week’s hit parade is “Mi 45,” by man-myth-legend and all around mysterious dude El Fantasma. In the year since NorteñoBlog first dug this ghostly apparition’s indie debut album, Equipo Armado (AfinArte), we have learned a couple things about him. First, that his real name is Alexander García. Second, that he’s known as “El Rey Del Underground,” if only to his madre. Third, that he’s playing my neck of the woods this weekend, so if you’re near Chicago and you wanna hear some ace corridos, check out his Facebook page. Fourth… actually, that’s it. El Fantasma keeps everything close to the vest.

mi 45Including, it turns out, his 45. This hit corrido, #35 on the big chart and #20 on the radio, has inspired a round of Hasty Cartel Googling that hasn’t yielded much, except that El Fantasma’s narrator is somehow involved in the Sinaloa Cartel. He’s still firm with El Chapo’s sons Ivan and Alfredito, whose Instagram personas out-smarm the Trump brothers’. He may be hiding out in the wilderness with his 45, biding his time or doomsday prepping. NorteñoBlog also can’t tell why the song’s hitting now — hometown pride? riding the Sierreño wave? — or even which version is the hit — the fiery guitar/tuba original, or the just-wild-enough banda remake? El Fantasma: still an international man of mystery!

A belated Pick to Click:

Continue reading “Los Jóvenes Sónicos (Desfile de Éxitos 3/25/17)”

¡Nuevo! (starring El Komander, Grupo H-100, y más)


el komanderAlfredo Ríos El Komander (I guess that’s what we’re calling him now?) continues to fire off charming singles that sound like he wrote them on a napkin and recorded them in the back of the bar. His latest, “Fuga Pa’ Maza” (Twiins) makes the theme explicit. It’s a drinking song whose background crowd noises exist as much for their musical energy as their verisimilitude — note how the crowd abruptly shuts up mid-whoop at the end of the song, rather than fading into a jumble of congratulatory high-fives. “Mi vida es pura pura pura borrachera,” Ríos brags, his tuba and requinto (I think) players capering around the bar, spilling everyone’s drinks. Youtube commenters seem disappointed this isn’t a corrido, but it wins NorteñoBlog’s coveted VALE LA PENA/CLICK TO PICK double shot. Now go corrupt some youth!

chuy vegaYou’ll remember la semana pasada NorteñoBlog noted two new Hyphy releases by corridistas Chuy Vega and Los Originales de San Juan. They’re both back this week, having released other albums of apparently new music for different indie labels. Not that I’m complaining — jazz players like Wadada Leo Smith and Rob Mazurek busily compile equally confusing discographies, and putting the pieces together is part of the fun. This week, Vega’s Puras Norteñitas (jesus jose vega cuamea) and Los Originales’ Celebrando 39 (Long Play) both sound (on cursory listen) like solid country collections, with a slight edge to Vega, but if you don’t have Spotify or Rhapsody you might just have to take my word for it because Youtube’s not yielding much.

grupo h-100Not to overlook Hyphy, their young bass quintet Grupo H-100 has a debut album out called Nada Que Hacer. Its cover hearkens back to the golden age of hyphy norteño, with bullet-holes, skull jackets, and a shiny urban metal-and-leather aesthetic. But these guys have nothing to do with hyphy norteño. (Thinkpiece forthcoming.) Lead singer Jasiel Felix has kind of a Noel Torres thing going on, where he seems to be perpetually holding your shoulder and looking you in the eye without expression. I really find this style of singing appealing. What this says about my cauterized emotional receptors I’m not sure, but they’re worth a listen. Biggest hit so far is the corrido “Chuy Verduras,” and the band also has a rewarding new series of videos where they play live in a garage.

los nuevos rebeldesH-100’s sometime labelmates and duet partners Los Nuevos Rebeldes have a new live album with Banda La Conquista, (En Vivo), that has one of the busiest covers I’ve ever seen. The cover matches the sound, where the crowd is barely audible but every instrument is dry and upfront. Given the Conquista trumpeters’ haphazard approach to tuning, this strategy has its drawbacks. I’m not finding Youtube excerpts, but here’s one of those garage concerts with all the same players and then some.

The sextet-or-septet Puro Domador (aka Domador de la Sierra) play a fusion of grupero and Tierra Caliente, which in the case of single “Tu Profesor” means happy norteño pop with a sax, tambora, and a keyboard that I think is playing some very convincing tuba lines — but miraculously without any cheesy basement-psycho synth leads. The fusion has NorteñoBlog’s approval.

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