LAMC Wrap Up: Diana Fuentes

So much went down over a frenzied 3 days at LAMC that I’m going to pop in with small write-ups of artists, showcases, etc that left an impression on yours truly.

Diana Fuentes @ SOBs
Diana Fuentes @ SOBs

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Vivian Garcia : Cold Bed

A young Cuban-American influenced by Delta blues, cultivated in Chicago with a dash of Latin rhythms, all brought together and honed in Madrid – that is the lovely Vivian Garcia. Ms. Garcia’s debut album, Cold Bed, is a collection of intimate blues songs I’ve had in heavy rotation since it’s mid-December release. Ms. Garcia has the command and power of a flamenco singer with an honest and vulnerable charm that can take lines like, “If love is everything / then what am I to do / when everyday I walk these streets alone / and I come home to a cold bed too” and deliver them matter-of-factly without a trace of bitterness.  Currently in Chicago for the holidays, the CD release party is this Thursday at Barra Ñ. Below is the video for Cold Bed.

Cold Bed from FirstWorldCinema on Vimeo.

Julie Meckler : Manhattan

This video landed in my inbox a couple days ago and I was surprised to learn that this was friend o’ the blog Julie Meckler‘s first music video – it is a hell of a video debut! “Manhattan” is the first single off Meckler’s forthcoming currently untitled album due later this year.  The video for “Manhattan” is a collaborative effort between Polish filmmaker Victoria Szymanska, French dancer Mariam Faquir and Meckler using 8mm film projections over Faquir’s moves that is absolutely stunning to watch and match perfectly with the quiet, vulnerable tone of the song.  Watch it!

 

2011 In Review : Photos

Sneaking cameras (plural) into a venue has become sport for me at this point. I don’t get photo passes to the majority of shows I attend, the exception being North Coast Music Festival, which is a lot of fun to shoot. These aren’t necessarily the best photos I’ve ever taken but they’re sure as hell my favorites.

Gogol Bordello @ NCMF - favorite picture of 2011

5 With…Anthony Macias – FMEL Ed.

Anthony Macias

Friend o’ the site (and drummer for [.DESCARGA.]) Anthony Macias will be one of several performers at this year’s FMEL (Latin Electronic Music Festival). We caught up Anthony to talk about the band and Friday’s performance at Abbey Pub (9pm, 21+, $10).

 You’ve been with the band for a few months now and seem to have settled in. How’s it going? Are you having fun?

 I am having a lot of fun and really am enjoying my time with the band. We have a great practice spot and have been keeping busy with practice and shows.

Tell me a little about the MN show with Zoe

 I have to say I had a great time hanging with my guys.

 How did the upcoming collaboration with Kampion happen? Did you two know each other prior to FMEL?

 I have never meet Kampion and still haven’t met him in person but we have exchanged emails and tracks so I think this is going to be fun. I have not really played in a setting like this before so I am excited. He seems like a really cool guy.

 As a DJ yourself, are you approaching this collaboration from the viewpoint of a DJ, a drummer or a little of both?

 I am coming at this from both sides. I always consider myself a Drummer who enjoys the art of DJ’ing. As a DJ I tend to play for myself and focus on the blend and [I] like to remix on the fly; but as a drummer I like to open up and experiment in the context of each song. Lets see were this night takes us.

What can we expect to see/hear on Friday at Abbey Pub when you take the stage?

 I will be playing my acoustic drums and am going to…find my spots to add my signature. I just want to hit the stage, close my eyes and explode. I really need to release so [I] don’t plan on holding back.

For a complete list of all FMEL events click HERE.

[.DESCARGA.] – The Things We Do EP

DESCARGA.

Holy shit.

That is all I kept thinking when listening to [.DESCARGA.]‘s new EP The Things We Do (due August 9, 2011).  From the perspective of an outsider, it seemed as if the band spent the last year or so in a state of transition.  There were a couple of line up changes with the most notable being the addition of drummer Anthony Macias.  He has been the game changer for these veterans of the latin alternative community.  The Things We Do kicks off with The Funeral with Hex sounding like Eddie Vedder before he sold his soul for a ukulele.  The driving force of this song is Evil’s piercing guitar but for me it’s the pulsating floor toms and give the song a sobering weight.  Keeping true to form, the album is exactly half in English and half in Spanish with the song Tu Eres Yo (You Are Me) beginning that smooth transition between languages.  Esperando (Waiting) effectively uses a fuzzy guitar sound to give the song a sense of urgency and Nube Negra (Black Cloud) is the second song sung in Spanish that hits fast and hard.

[.DESCARGA.] is a band that has always paid tribute to those artists who have influenced them and this is never more clearly expressed than in the song Party Girl which invokes the ghost of Ian Curtis with haunting vocals repeating “Wake up party girl ’cause it’s time to go”.  If a drummer is the backbone of a band then the bass player is the stuff in between filling in the sound and keeping steady – this is best on display during Party Girl – big ups to J. Calvo.  The third and final Spanish song to appear on the EP is Dejame Saber (Let Me Know) with its grungy guitar and stinging lyrics, “yo no lo voy hacer pero lo intento / yo nunca lo voy hacer pero quisiera saber / como ser humano como tu” (google that ish) keeps the bat out of hell energy of this EP up.  Closing things out is the previously wormed Chemtrails, a rattlesnake of a song.

[.DESCARGA.] is currently boasting its most solid line up to date with Evil’s confident and powerful guitar to Calvo’s bass, so steady and strong.  Hex has never sounded more inspired lyrically and bringing it all together is Macias behind the drum kit.  They’ve got a confidence that comes from being comfortable around each other on and off stage; this is band that is firing on all cylinders.

You can preview the tracks Funeral and Dejame Saber below.

On a personal note, this post has been a work in progress since late last year not long after the release of the single, Chemtrails.  My plan had been to start writing and then fill in the blanks once new music was released.  I even spent some time with the boys at their rehearsal space where the conversation took some interesting turns.  (All I can say is life on the road with a van full of boys is never dull.)  The band had just added Macias at drums and not long after our meeting the band lost a member.  There was a strong sense of wanting to move forward, to start the dirty work that is writing, rehearsing and recording.  This EP is very much the product of a band that in a sense had to start over, had to rededicate themselves to their craft and had to work and give these songs time to “cook”.  To all four members of [.DESCARGA.] I say: you fuckers were worth the wait.  Now don’t make me wait another 8-9 months for the next one.