Search

NorteñoBlog

music, charts, opinions

Tag

Luciano Luna

A Sixteen-Musician Pileup from Chicago (also starring Voz de Mando)

escuela

voz-de-mandoNorteñoBlog has long neglected the Sinaloan quartet-con-tuba Voz de Mando, despite their having one of the more charming Navidad songs on the radio for the past four years. (It’s actually a cover of Los Bukis, whom the blog will continue to neglect for now.) Their new single “Pa’ Que No Me Anden Contando” (AfinArte/Sony) is useful in several ways. It’s a minor-key stomper encouraging you to grab life by the horns with your teeth and whatnot (I paraphrase) — so that, when you’re on your deathbed, you won’t have to rely upon secondhand reports to know what it’s like to have horns caught in your teeth. (See also Los Recoditos’ “Mi Último Deseo” and other YOLO worthies.) It’ll help you fill out your Joss Favela/Luciano Luna bingo card, in case you hadn’t yet accounted for a “minor-key YOLO stomper” from their collective pen. Aaaaand it’s a useful Spanish idiom for all my fellow language learners out there. “So I Don’t Hear It Secondhand” is how the Sony PR team translates the title, which literally-to-inglés has something to do with careful accounting, I think. The message is clear: Voz de Mando, Favela, and Luna are against careful accounting. NorteñoBlog is fastidious in its accounting, so I don’t recommend songs too too easily, but some fiery accordion rips this tune into VALE LA PENA territory. Plus, the dude who shouts out “VOZ DE MANDO” in all their songs sounds like he’s inviting you to a monster truck rally.

Somewhat better is a Sierreño-con-tuba ode to the Triduum, Continue reading “A Sixteen-Musician Pileup from Chicago (also starring Voz de Mando)”

Advertisements

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 11/17/16

gerardo-ortiz-regresa-hermosa-snap-b

Welcome back to Songwriters’ Showcase, an apparently semiannual feature in which NorteñoBlog checks out the new love songs on Mexico’s radio chart, discovers that the world is a void wherein everything tastes like ashes, and attempts to salvage the post by researching the professional tunespinners who spun the tunes. The winners, as always, are you the readers.

Except they’re not all love songs this week! We start with not one but two big dumb cumbias. At #18, Claudio Alcaraz has written his own exercise in banda-fied minimalism, “El Pú,” about a friend of his who likes to get drunk and insult people. Great swaths of humanity get insulted here. Truckers, cops, Michoacanos, saints, etc. — you name ’em, they’re pú, aka “puro mandilón.” (“DEmasculated,” as my grandpappy and/or Urban Dictionary used to translate it.) In the video, Sr. Alcaraz’s friend appears as a lecherous clown who lights up the party by starting a conga line. Even so, the guy should stop insulting entire classes of people or he’ll never be elected to public office.

The other BDC, at #11, is way more bitchin’: “Que Perrón” by La Séptima Banda. Written by Joel Suarez and Luciano Luna, who is normally not this much fun, it’s an ode to the modern world’s sexually assertive mujeres. As you might expect, such mujeres make La Séptima Banda very happy, especially the dude in the middle of the song who sheepishly admits, “I’m ugly.” Whoever’s singing lead — I think it’s Efrain, but votes for Chino will also be tabulated — plays his wiggly cadence off the tuba/batería lines with a cheerful insouciance that makes me think I’ve been underrating the Séptima album all year. I’ll get back to you on that. In the meantime, a very ornate Pick to Click. (This live video lets you savor some of those internal brass rhythms.)

Also charting this week: Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 11/17/16”

Joss Favela en la Jukebox

joss-favela-guitar
“That score saddens me.”

Donde algunas escuchan “banda,” quizás porque el trovador contrató un tubador para tocar, NorteñoBlog escucha una canción muy olvidable, y el combinación de la guitarra, el acordión, y la batería no ayuda. Pero me sigue gustando Joss Favela, porque el compositor de “Te Hubieras Ido Antes” sabe como escribir una melodia. Debería haber escrito una aquí.

Escribí:

Having survived the teen talent show Código F.A.M.A. and worked with electrocumbia dudes 3Ball MTY, the man born José Alberto Inzunza Favela has been busy chiseling his way onto a norteño-pop songwriters’ Mt. Rushmore whose other inhabitants include Espinoza Paz, Horacio Palencia, and Favela’s frequent collaborator Luciano Luna. Like most prolific songwriters, Favela’s virtue lies in his fecundity: if you like at least one of his songs, that just means he wrote 10 others you forgot as soon as you finished making out to them. “Cuando Fuimos Nada” falls into that heap: decent tune, a life lesson out of a novela, and further proof that a small norteño group can’t rescue a pop nonentity the way a banda can.

NO VALE LA PENA

Desfile de Éxitos 7/23/16

chicken

This being summer in the northern hemisphere, and summer being the perfect time for weddings, and weddings being the ultimate nexus of comedy, pain, and terror (apart from this week’s Republican convention), it’s no surprise that two of this week’s debut videos feature newlywed hijinx. At #47 Hot Latin, the Los Angeles DJ Deorro has recruited Nuyorican merengue singer Elvis Crespo to sing the festive electrosalsa tune “Bailar.” Angling for the drop-heavy wedding reception market, Deorro has yoked the song to a video featuring an angry padre de la novia who keeps trying to sabotage his new son-in-law. A chicken suit makes a prominent appearance. The video will make you yearn for the trenchant realism of the Steve Martin movies, while the song itself might make you yearn for a couple more chord changes and a wall to bang your head against.

Equaling Deorro for NRG are Ojinaga’s sax stalwarts Los Rieleros del Norte, at #18 on the Regional Mexican airplay chart. Lead singer Daniel Esquivel narrates the song with a heart full of rue and a bloodstream full of liquor, “una botella en cada mano,” because his mujer has left him all alone. In the video, Esquivel’s tears are precipitated by the wedding of his daughter, who drives off with her young jagoff of a husband, leaving lonely Dad to his tequila distillery. “I’m still alive,” he sings, reassured by the undying riffage of chipper staccato sax and accordion. The video has a happy ending, but the song leaves room for doubt.

But the best new tune this week comes from La Séptima Banda, Continue reading “Desfile de Éxitos 7/23/16”

Estimado Noel Torres…

noel torres

NOEL.

Noelnoelnoelnoelnoelnoelnoel.

We need to talk.

You may be the most gifted corridero of your generation. You play accordion better than almost anyone, certainly better than Gerardo Ortiz, and I even prefer you to Remmy Valenzuela because I can tell it’s you playing, the way you slide around the main notes of the melody on little flurries of fast notes. It’s a performing tic, but it’s a good and versatile performing tic and you don’t lean on it too hard. If this whole singer-songwriter thing dries up, you could become a session pro — just build yourself a studio and punch your genius into the music of people willing to pay for it. Your fingers could even make Luis Coronel albums worth hearing.

Your playing sounds even better in the middle of a band just as good, if not better, than you are. Not only do you hire the best players, but you get them to play as a band, unequaled in power and sheer density of radness per second. Your corridos are like The Avengers: Fight for Culiacán — only filmed in super widescreen, so we can dispense with all those quick cuts and just observe everyone’s awesome deeds at once. You can be Iron Man or whoever, I don’t care. El Pulpo‘s like the Hulk, bashing away on some narco’s private jets inside the booming expanse of a hangar. Whoever plays bass — you should really start crediting them — can be Captain Norteamérica, holding the team together. Is George Ramos OK with being Scarlet Witch, but reborn as a bajo sexto player? His chords mess with everyone’s minds and alter reality and whatnot. Doesn’t matter. The point is, your small norteño bands are overwhelming and absorbing, up there with some of human civilization’s greatest work. We’re talking Guernica, or Ornette Coleman’s album with Pat Metheny.

I understand why you’d wanna sing romantic banda tunes. Continue reading “Estimado Noel Torres…”

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15

adictiva singers

Welcome to the Songwriters’ Showcase! In this exciting feature, NorteñoBlog attempts to bring interest to the boring love songs on the Mexican radio chart by pointing out who wrote the boring love songs! Eventually I lose interest in that too! (Please note: some non-boring songs also lie ahead.)

At number 10, Diego Herrera adds lush guitar to a banda ballad, or maybe vice versa, and pledges his fidelity and jealousy to a mujer he claims is a good kisser. The song’s by Joss Favela and Luciano Luna, the (collective?) Diane Warren of norteño music, and if you’ve heard one of their love songs you’ve heard “Si Te Enamoras De Mi,” but the guitar makes some difference.

Case in point: Banda El Recodo’s at number 6 with another Favela/Luna love song, “Si No Es Contigo.” (Watch for my forthcoming pamphlet on the role of fate and potential realities in the Favela/Luna songbook.) Even though Recodo’s tune is skippier than Herrera’s, you can easily imagine them slowing it down and turning it into a waltz. While we’re talking about Recodo, NorteñoBlog would like to congratulate them on their Grammy nomination in the category Best Regional Mexican Music Album (Including Tejano). Alternate parenthetical: (Stop Complaining, Noisy Tejano Voting Bloc). Continue reading “Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 12/18/15”

Who Plays on the New Gerardo Ortiz Album?

The mystery is solved! Allmusic appears to have acquired a physical copy of Hoy Mas Fuerte the same time NorteñoBlog did, and we’ve learned that Ortiz drew his small band from the usual stable of Del Records session pros: Pablo Molina on tuba, Aaron Gonzalez on bass, Lorenzo Fraire Reyes on bajo sexto, and Luis Navarro on drums. But Allmusic did omit some crucial players, notably the guy who most owns the sound of Fuerte: accordionist Marito Aguilar. Fuerte isn’t necessarily VALE LA PENA, but it’s worth hearing at least once for Aguilar, whose fingers are all over the place and constantly coming up with new ideas. He’s played with Ortiz on previous albums; he’s played on good albums by Regulo Caro and Adriel Favela; and he’s been one of the few reasons to pay any attention to Luis Coronel.

If you get excited by fly-on-the-recording-studio-wall videos and scenes of professional musicians overdubbing and “punching in,” you are to be pitied above all others you should totally watch this video of a session for Ortiz’s 2012 album, El Primer Ministro.

NorteñoBlog’s other discovery: “¿Por Qué Terminamos?”, the only Fuerte song I walk around humming, the one that sounds like a Luciano Luna ballad, IS IN FACT a Luciano Luna ballad. (Luciano Luna and Joss Favela, to be exact.)

Who’s On the Mexican Radio? 5/15/15

recodo vicio

Not one but three feisty banda tunes enter the Mexican radio chart this week. NorteñoBlog has already mentioned Recodo’s “Mi Vicio Mas Grande,” which jumps from 9 to 4 and is also charting in El Norte — it bears more than a passing resemblance to Recoditos’ “Mi Último Deseo,” though the writers are different. (“Mi Vicio” boasts the unlikely fingerprints of Luciano Luna, the Diane Warren of the Sierra, apparently feeling his oats.) Chuy Lizarraga’s “Tu Mami” sounds similar, a minor-key raver.

That leaves the third, a major-key raver by former La Voz Mexico contestant and stubbly denim vision Jovanko Ibarra. His “No Le Hagamos Al Cuento” is today’s Pick to Click because it’s a decent song, sung reedily, and if you watch the video you get to look at Jovanko Ibarra. On a motorcycle!

Also new from two weeks ago are El Komander’s uninteresting “Me Interesa” and, in the top 10, La Original’s “Sal De Mi Vida.”

These are the Top 20 “Popular” songs in Mexico, as measured by monitorLATINO. Don’t confuse “Popular” with the “General” list, which contains many of the same songs but also “Uptown Funk!”, “Sugar,” “Love Me Like You Do,” and an Aleks Syntek ballad about getting So Close. Syntek gets closer than Hall & Oates did, at least.

1. “Después de Ti ¿Quién?” – La Adictiva Banda San Jose
2. “Contigo” – Calibre 50
3. “El Amor de Su Vida” – Julión Álvarez
4. “Mi Vicio Mas Grande” – Banda El Recodo
5. “Confesion” – La Arrolladora Banda El Limón
6. “A Lo Mejor” – Banda MS
7. “Me Toco Perder” – Banda Los Recoditos
8. “Tranquilito” – El Chapo de Sinaloa
9. “Perdi La Pose” – Espinoza Paz
10. “Sal De Mi Vida” – La Original Banda El Limón

11. “Tu Mami” – Chuy Lizarraga
12. “Me Interesa” – Alfredo Ríos El Komander
13. “Y Esa Soy Yo” – Luz Maria
14. “No Fue Necesario” – El Bebeto
15. “Indeleble” – Banda Los Sebastianes
16. “Dudo” – Marco A. Flores y No.1 Banda Jerez
17. “Padre Ejemplar” – Los Titanes de Durango ft. Jaziel Avilez
18. “No Le Hagamos Al Cuento” – Jovanko Ibarra
19. “La Reina” – La Iniciativa
20. “Que te Quede Claro” – Saul El Jaguar

¡Adios!
“Escuchame” – Fidel Rueda
“Un Ranchero En La Ciudad” – Leandro Rios ft. Pancho Uresti
“Ponte Las Pilas” – America Sierra
“Si Tuviera Que Decirlo” – Pedro Fernandez
“Que Tal Si Eres Tu” – Los Tigres Del Norte

El Karma Karma Karma Comes Back To You Hard

ariel camacho

Ariel Camacho y Los Plebes Del Rancho – El Karma (Del/Sony Latin 2014)
This hypnotic trio album wants to trick you into thinking it’s traditional corrido music, when in fact it’s very modern. The 14 drumless songs follow a formula: Camacho and his guitarist, César Iván Sánchez, sing simple tunes in close harmony while tuba player Israel Meza plays basslines that double as leads. With the tuba hurling interjections around his vocal throughlines, Camacho calmly sets his requinto rippling. The results sound like dusty folklore, not at all like the shiny banda pop or driving corridos that currently occupy the regional Mexican zeitgeist. But is the combination of tuba with the higher-pitched requinto at all “traditional”? In Mexican bolero trios, requintos generally take on the virtuoso role, accompanied by two guitars, no bass instrument in sight. And as for norteño tubas — well, Gustavo Arellano doesn’t like em:

Time was when the accordion player was the papi chulo of the Mexican regional-music world, but tuba players have usurped the position in the past couple of years for banda music and that horrible-sounding banda-conjunto norteño pendejada.

[Emphasis mine.]

This isn’t that. But I mean, I like ’em both. Given the choice of a tuba or a bass, I’ll take the tuba 9 times out of 10. (As always, the 10th slot belongs to Noel Torres.) Though Camacho’s 14 songs are samey, their sound and melodies are indelible. And at a glance the songs all look new, mostly attributed to DEL Publishing. Written by a shadowy figure named El Diez, “El Karma” is an unlikely radio hit; though both Torres and Revolver Cannabis covered the song last year, Camacho’s stripped-down version sounds the most sinister. He and his Plebes also play the requisite Luna/Inzunza ballad — it’s pretty and not at all sinister, unless in Luciano Luna’s ubiquity you find a sign of the pending apocalypse.
VALE LA PENA

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑