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Los Nuevos Rebeldes

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”

¡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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