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Los Chacales de Pepe Tovar

¡Nuevo! (starring Javier Rosas y más)

JAVIER ROSAS Y SU ARTILLERIA PESADA

[Updated to correct some discographical confusion.]

javier rosasSometimes it’s nice to hear pretty songs, or a variety of songs. But sometimes you just want an album to knock you flat for a half hour, and this seems to be Fonovisa’s goal with their new and unrelenting compilation reissue of Javier Rosas y Su Artillería Pesada‘s early-career highlight, Otro Golpe, featuring a flashier cover photo and a couple additional songs. Rosas and his rocking bass + tuba quintet released three (I think) albums on independent labels before their breakthrough hit “La China” led to a 2014 major label debut. (Because it wouldn’t be norteño music without confusing discographies, one of those indie albums was also titled Otro Golpe.) The singer-songwriter looks a little like Jonathan Rhys Meyers with his penetrating gaze, and he sings with blunt exuberance, as though spewing truths nobody else allows themselves. He enjoys spoken asides, too, which furthers the impression that he’s singing the collective unfiltered id. (Today’s gringo country comparison: Toby Keith.) Otro Golpe cherrypicks features some excellent math-oriented corridos like Pick to Click “Por Clave Llevo El 13,” “Soy El 4,” and “El 3-1.” I need to listen on better speakers, but I’ll go out on a limb and give this comp NEWLY REISSUED 2013 ALBUM a big VALE LA PENA.

invasionRosas also appears on Fonovisa’s new compilation Invasión del Corrido 2015: Sold Out, the third comp (at least) to feature Calibre 50’s “Javier El De Los Llanos.” Fonovisa repackages their songs as brazenly as Cook’s Illustrated recycles their recipes — not that I’m ready to abandon either friendly corporation.

los originales albumThe Hyphy label is also friendly — I know because I’ve talked with the owner (thinkpiece forthcoming!) — and it has two recent albums out: Chuy Vega’s Mas Underground y Mas Maldito: Puros Corridos and Los Originales’ Corridos de Poca M… (Ellipsis theirs.) Without running them through the translator, I’m gonna say both albums feature corridos, those traditional Mexican story-songs that often fixate on heroic tales of the drug trade. Listening while cleaning, Chuy Vega sounded slow and Los Originales sounded fast; do with that what you will. I will caution that neither album has anything to do with hyphy rap or hyphy norteño. (See thinkpiece, forthcoming.)

los chacalesAs we’ve discussed, the Goma label loves spreading the joy of puro Zacatecas saxophone to the world. Real “Up With People” types. To that end, they’ve released the latest dance album from Los Chacales de Pepe Tovar, Llego el Chacal, from Zacatecas by way of Wichita, Kansas. Lead song “Entre Fuegos Cruzados” is a spritely frolic.

los grandesLos Grandes Del Desierto are shrouded in sandy mystery, but they also have a sax and a new album, Reflexión (JB). Based on their album cover, the desierto in question belongs to Titan, the sandworm-infested (and poorly Photoshopped) Saturnine moon from Beetlejuice.

tierra caliRemember back in 2006-07, when tierra caliente music briefly became a thing? Like duranguense, tierra caliente had synths playing banda parts, only with less frenetic tambora NRG. The band Tierra Cali, hailed by Billboard‘s Leila Cobo as standing “at the helm of this new wave,” recently released the very twee Enamorado de Ti (Los Creadores del Sacadito)(Ciudad). As you see from the album’s subtitle, at some point in their career Tierra Cali created a dance step, the Sacadito. I haven’t figured out the dance yet, but this live video, featuring the band looking and sounding markedly less twee, might help.

nancyhernandezladamabravIn singles, Nancy Hernandez, “La Dama Brava,” has a likable/annoying little song called “Mi Nuevo Cellular” (Starss). Basically it’s a single melodic phrase repeated over — and over — two chords and a ringing phone, but tuba and accordion are busy and Hernandez has the beginnings of a musical personality.

luis vegaMore accomplished but also more generic are Banda Pequeños Vendaval’s “Quiero Que Te Largues!” (Mayra) and Luis Vega’s “La Chica Nice” (Pegasus), two cheerful banda tunes. Vega’s better and faster, so if your clicks are limited click on his.

¡Nuevo! (starring Proyecto X, Los Yes Yes, y más)

llueve en mi cama

proyecto xProyecto X is a jaunty if not very memorable quintet, this week releasing their second album Con Más Pawer (Fonovisa). It’s the sequel to their 2013 debut, entitled — no points for guessing — Con Pawer. Of their ballads, “My Baby” is bilingual and “Eres Tú” is the hit. Their fiendishly short “Gallo de 5 Segundos” is worth hearing, but really, these guys don’t come anywhere close to wildin’.

fernando coronaNeither does Va Por Ti finalist Fernando Corona, this week releasing his self-titled debut album on Warner Latina, but at least he’s got a distinctive voice. Elegant and barely country, he looks and sounds like a cowboy Glenn Medeiros who’d sweep you off your feet in the nightclub — or possibly in one of the Southern Wal-Marts where he’s currently making personal appearances. Even with tuba basslines, Corona’s about as exciting as his namesake beer. Lead single is the watery “Llueve En Mi Cama,” which Corona says “tiene un poco de doble sentido.” You laugh, but at least he’s subtler than Chris Brown doing “Wet the Bed.” (You know who else was subtler than Chris Brown doing “Wet the Bed”? HITLER.)

As we saw last week, the Goma label is inundated with chipper saxophone bands. Flooded with ’em. Much like the Petri dish of Fernando Corona’s cama, which can pretty much spawn new life on its own at this point, Goma is so awash in sax bands they can call it a movement — el “Movimiento SAX” — and Los Chacales de Pepe Tovar are making it rain with “Todo Paso.” Since it’s a slow week, “Todo Paso” could be the Pick to Click, but only if you have a high tolerance for chipper sax bands.

bxsBXS (Bryndis X Siempre) is a Dallas Tejano band, apparently unrelated to California’s long-running Grupo Bryndis, though both are family acts. BXS releases Todo Cambia on the indie label Azteca, and its lead single “Amar, Sabiendo Perdonar” isn’t unlistenable.

los yes yesAnd finally, we come to Tus Favoritos de Los Yes Yes (Loud68music), a retrospective of easy listening cumbias from the co-ed combo Los Yes Yes. “El Verde De Tus Ojos” is the first of tus favoritos, but it’s not even my favorite song about ojos verdes — that’d be Julión Álvarez’s. Los Yes Yes has several Facebook pages, one of which is very special, pero no seguro para trabajar. Let’s just say, Los Yes Yes appears to know a thing or two about llueve en tu cama.

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