Sorry I've been gone. The real world has a way of destroying well intentioned regularly scheduled blogging.
That said, It's time to get some Cinco De Mayo on!
This week, some of the best of what I've heard from the genre of Rock En Espanol - a genre in which I am woefully undereducated as it's tough to find english language writing on the subject. Thus, any help in tracking down more bands would be MUCH appreciated.
Todays selections come from grammy nominated Mexican superstars El Gran Silencio - hailing from Monterey, El Gran Silencio serve up an addictive fusion of traditional mexican rhythyms, pounding punk rock energy, hip hop flavored ska and reggar, and a healthy dose of the dance.
All of todays selections come off of 2003's ¡Super Riddim Internacional! vol. 1
Sound System Municipal - This is a scalding, propulsive, wildly energetic piece of Cumbia Rap. Bouncing between multiple vocalists, flying stylistically around the map, with a speed, energy, and flow that I'm sure would be the envy of many US MC's were they ever exposed to material this energetic. The verbal energy here is tangible, and it's held together by some incredibly tight steel drums and a very nicely done chorus.
Buenos Dias - for an album that opens with a triple threat of powerful rap rock, this song abruptly shows that El Gran Silencio are not a one note band. Indeed, I would go so far to compare the albums freewheeling tone to that of a London Calling. This song slows things down substantially from the likes of "Sound System," with a beautiful guitar, reggae beat, and a substantially more 'pop' sound. It works.
Sueño - Here we see the band trying on a Mariachi tinged ballad. I wish I hadn't dropped Spanish in High School, as I can only make out about 1/4th of this song lyrically, but what I can comprehend is beautiful. Even without it, this is what a ballad should be. A beautiful, haunted, longing symphony to someone. There's something about that howl of "SUEEEEÑOOOO" that gets me every time.
Songbomb - Cumbia meets Ska meets Hip Hop. The horns in this song are all over the place, the Ska rhythym is tight, and textbook, the Cumbia flow oozes through the whole thing and again, that verbal energy that defines El Gran Silencio at their best oozes through the song.
It's fitting in many ways that I discovered these guys through the late Joe Strummer. Just before he died, he did a pilot of a world music video show for MTV2 - in the months following his death, M2 aired it from time to time to fill some schedule holes, and I happened to catch it one day. Among the many other fantastic tracks he played, was one off of El Gran Silencio's last album Chuntaros Radios Poder. I was hooked instantly. But, if Chuntaros was EGS's coming out, the definition of their sound, Ala Give them Enough Rope for the Clash, then this is absolutely EGS's London Calling. An album so adventurous and skilled, it should be a wake up call to the rest of the world - try something different. It's the only way you'll ever manage to get better.
In other news,
1) Sidebar update is coming. I've been Busy.
2) More Mod material is coming as well. Same w/ More Ska. Eventually. This week, belongs to Español.
3)HOLY FUCKING SHIT.
4) Is there anybody out there willing to host between 5 and 15 megs of MP3's, for a period of a week, on a server that will be HAMMMERED, and with some risk of a C&D?
I know my current host isn't up for anything too high profile, and I have something that I am considering posting early next week, which will likely draw a fair bit of attention. And may draw a C&D. If you'd like to volunteer to help out, drop me a line via e-mail.
And have a margarita or 7 for me tomorrow.