By Jacob Katel
By Laurie Charles
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
These Frequencies (self-released)
This "Vic Kingsley" seems to be a Mr. Vic Garcia, backed by Messrs. Luke Moellman, Jon Draper, and Ethan Carlson on various capacities, organic and otherwise. This 11-tracker is another solid calling card for the boys over at Dungeon Studios, and is, for all intents and purposes, slightly danceable hipster alt-rock. There are keyboards and guitars as well as a rhythm section that knows how to fluctuate. "B for Breaking My Heart" was the only blatant throwaway here; c'mon, sweethearts, you're too young! These guys look old enough to ask my baby brother to buy them beer outside a gas station. Wait until your fiancée fucks your best friend; then you'll have a song. Other than that, I dug this disc.
Good Luck with Twisted Space (self-released)
This guy is clearly in love with himself, I think, as I glance at the cover, featuring photos of him in various outfits. Wow, I'm thinking, this shit better kick some fucking ass. And it kinda does. Jorge Rubiera eschews a traditional band for a bit of help from Down Home Southernaires personnel on some tracks, and comes up with a slightly all-over-the-map version of lo-fi garage rock with a heavy glam, Seventies-arena carnival feel. Imagine the Fucking Champs, Scissor Sisters, Mr. Bungle, and Hombres G sniffing some coke with ? and the Mysterians — but with a little "Latino" in it. Maybe Rubiera doesn't gel well with others — surprise, surprise — but this works well for me.
De Corazón a Corazón (Union Records/Mojito Records)
Here's a no-brainer: Get a producer who plays trumpet and sings, and match him up with a unique band featuring special guests, who all together explore different styles of Latin music. Okay. Luis "Papo" Márquez has gotten himself a veritable who's who of local talent as well as some international stars. Here's the breakdown: rock, funk, son, gaita, rumba, and so on, as performed by Papo and his pals Arturo Sandoval, Giovanni Hidalgo, Ed Calle, Rayito, Gonzalo Rubalcaba, et al. Some songs are for shaking your ass; some are for Grammy to enjoy. Of the 12 tracks, "Santo Remedio," "Pa' Bravo Yo," and the title track are the coolest. There's a slight world music streak too, if that's your thing.