Saturday, May 26, 2012

Old Album Reviews for WTUL

I wanted to share with y'all some quick album reviews that I did last year for WTUL.  

Here, hope you like! 

Artist: Empresarios

Title: Sabor Tropical

Label: Fort Knox Recordings
Reviewed by: DJ Xfilósofo (CM)
Date: 10/18/2011

Empresarios has the lounge-friendly sound similar to that of electronic groups such as Bajofondo, Gotan project and Sidestepper.  Probably not as “chill out” as the Gotan’s, the Bajofondo´s, the Federico Aubele’s, but not as party friendly as Sidestepper.  They have an eclectic sound mixing many “tropical sounds” such as boogaloo, cumbia, salsa, reggaeton, and son cubano with electronic music.  This band is from Washington, DC, and it does not surprise me, because their sound seems inspired by the 18th Street Lounge giants – Thievery Corporation.  They have dark, heavy, beat-dominated electronic music mixed with “world sounds” just like Thievery.  In the case of Empresarios, those “world sounds” are a plethora of different genres coming from Latin America.  Their album is aptly named Sabor Tropical – “Tropical Taste” – as that´s what it is.  A bit of electronica with a tropical taste.  RIYL: Bajofondo, Gotan Project, Sidestepper, Federico Aubele.  Try: 3, 6, 8, 14

Artist: Vicente García
Title: Melodrama
Label: Capitol Latin
Reviewed by: DJ Xfilósofo (CM)
Date: 10/18/2011

Vicente García is the former frontman for Calor Urbano, a Dominican band formed in 2002 that mixed Soul, Funk, Disco, Hip Hop, Neo Soul and Nu-Jazz.  After 2010, Vicente García decided to start a solo career and this is his first album.  Melodrama is a mix of Soul, Blues, Salsa, Bachata, Boogaloo American Folk and Latin Alternative all wrapped up together with the pop sensibility of García.  There has been a new wave of very successful singer songwriters in Latin American pop such as Juanes, Ximena Sariñana, Julieta Venegas, Javiera Mena, Federico Aubele, and most recently, Diego García.  He wants to locate himself within this particular “latin indie” phenomenon.  However, I think Vicente García (no relation to Diego García – former frontman of NYC´s band Elefant) is, musically, a direct descendant of the Latin music giant Juan Luis Guerra.  In fact, Juan Luis Guerra gave his support for García and his album.   Although García puts forth a good effort, something in the album sounds a bit too “mainstream” and I find it a bit lacking in creativity.  Yet, his songs are catchy as hell!  Try: 2!, 4, 5, 7, 11

Artist: Jose Conde

Title: Jose Conde

Label: Pipiki Records
Reviewed by: DJ Xfilósofo
Date: 10/18/2011

Jose Conde is a son of Cuban immigrants.  He was born in Chicago and grew up in Miami.  After graduating from Berklee, he moved to Brooklyn where he has been based ever since.  He was the front man of Ola Fresca, an Afro-Cuban music band based out of NYC.  This is his first solo album, and in here, one can see the influence of Son Cubano, Afro-Cuban music and other latin sounds.  Conde is definitely well-versed in Latin music and this album transverses a great number of genres pulled together quite nicely with a hint of experimentation and jazz.  Some of the album reminds me of Robi Draco Rosa´s loungy, easy-listening type album Mad Love – probably the worst Draco Rosa album – and maybe even some Bacilos.  Arguably, Jose Conde is at his worst when he sounds like this.  When Conde tries to tackle, however, more autochthonous genres and make something new out of them is when he really sounds brilliant and powerful.   Try: 1, 5, 7, 10, 12

Artist: Fakuta
Title: Al Vuelo
Label: Michita Rex
Reviewed by: DJ Xfilósofo
Date: 10/18/2011

Fakuta is the moniker of Pamela Sepúlveda Ariza, one of the members of the burgeoning indie scene in Santiago de Chile.  She has been a member of many different groups and musical collectives, and also has been working as a soloist under this name.  Her songs have circulated numerous blogs for a while now, and after four years she finally released this highly anticipated debut album.  This is considered by many of the followers of indie music in Latin America the best album of 2011.  She works under a genre that some call “mathematical pop”, and I can describe it as a glitch-like electronic genre with an arresting twee-pop sensibility.   Her voice is sweet and enchanting, and glides through the captivating melodies of her songs.  Her lyrics are beautifully written – philosophical odes to love, relationships, nostalgia, urban landscapes and non-places and the passage of time. RIYL: Au Revoir Simone, Radiohead, Wye Oak, Beach House, Björk, Dënver (Chilean Band), Holly Miranda, Class Actress
Try: All.  1!, 2!, 3!, 4!, 5!, 7!, 10!

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