Really liking Las Robertas, a band straight outta Costa Rica. Yeah, that Costa Rica. The Central American country. Unsure exactly how the band crossed over to the States, avoiding not only the sometimes limiting and reductive rock and español label, but landing straight onto the pages of uber hip indie music blogs (Gorilla vs. Bear entry here), and ultra hip alt labels (go here).
But I'll save that inquiry for another day. All I know is I so wanna make a music video for them.
For now, enjoy the warm and fuzzy stylings of Las Robertas at their MySpace page. Their new LP comes out October 12 on Art Fag Recordings -- CD, vinyl, and, not surprisingly, in trendy "limited edition cassette." Hipster culture, it seems, knows no borders. Ni modo. Las Robertas are pretty badass. Facebook page here. And for an inside baseball, navel-gazing analysis of what the band means in contemporary hipsterdom go here.
According to Guanabee.com, the source for contemporary Cuban-American pop culture news, the New Jersey School board has canceled an upcoming concert at the Union City High School by someone named CuCu Diamantes, who I'm guessing is a singer of some importance since she has a website, performed for the Obama inauguration (albeit in the de facto second-tier "Latino Inaugural Gala"), and, finally, was nominated for a Latin Grammy.
But come to think of it, who hasn't been nominated for a Latin Grammy? But that's a whole other blog post. You get the picture: homegirl is famous in certain circles.
Apparently so much so that angry Cuban-Americans don't want the singer to appear in front of their children. CuCu, it seems, sang in Cuba last week...in public...(cue Crickets SFX)...and, well, yeah, I don't get it either. But who am I to talk? Back in my home state of Texas the lunatic fringe over there was leading the national fight to stop Obama from telling kids to study hard and stay in school.
So in these politically complicated times let us turn to a simpler and more rocking Union City. From Blondie, circa 1979, the year the Sandanistas overthrew Somoza and Fidel was there cheering them on, issues with more weight than, say, pop stars lip-synching in the school quad, I leave you with one badass music video (I am sooo jealous of that opening helicopter shot), "Union City Blue"...
Blue Means Go is a new fave band of mine. And not just because they are straight outta San Antonio.
Girl in a Coma fans will recognize singer Carly Garza from back in the day when she used to sing a duet with GIAC impersonating a French/German/or Polish foreign exchange student with appropriate fake accent.
Carly's always had an amazing voice but when the band's drummer recently quit and Garza stepped in to provide the beat AND keep up with the lead vocals, Blue Means Go became something special and way interesting.
Jim Caroll died. Here's a post I wrote on the very badass rocker last year:
Driving around L.A. listening to Indie 103.1, a local treasure if
there ever was one, and stumbled across a fave song I haven't heard to
in a long time, Jim Carroll's People Who Died, from his 1980 album
Catholic Boy. Carroll was the writer/punk rocker who wrote the
Basketball Diaries, an autobiography about growing up in New York in
the 60s and 70s as a High School basketball star and heroin addict. It
was later made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. As you can
guess, I recommend the book and not the film. From a Jim Carroll website:
Lynn Hirschberg, describing a Jim Carroll Band concert in 1980, before the release of Catholic Boy, reported overhearing a Oui
photographer remark,"You're watching the Dylan of the 80s, you know. .
. . Seeing Jim Carroll now . . . is like witnessing history.
Indeed, Jim Carroll expressed the Bomb-fear anticipation, the optimistic
nihilism and glittering darkness of the 1980s that we who were there
felt even if we couldn't communicate it ourselves. When JohnLennon was assassinated in front of the Dakota in December 1980, "People Who Died" was one of the most-requested songs on FM radio, just after Lennon's own "Imagine." Steven Spielberg chose "People Who Died" to play during the opening scene of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. "People Who Died" tapped a mainline. It was a hit even before it was released, and, as Newsweek's
Barbara Graustark noted, it "propelled [Carroll] from underground
status . . . to national attention as a contender for the title of
rock's new poet laureate."
I don't know about the "Dylan of the 80s" line, but the rest is
pretty accurate. To see the band play it live go here. Enjoy.
Been not blogging now for months; very busy with work on the TV show. Thankfully, the season's just about over, so expect some regular contributions in the days to come...
During the hiatus, I missed many opportunities for pontifications on significant things Latino and pop: badass events like Sonia Sotomayor becoming a Supreme Court justice, Mark Sanchez starting for the New York Jets, fellow Tejano Esteban Jordan ("The Jimi Hendrix of the Accordion") featured on NPR (listen here), LA David getting a Facebook page, a Chicano astronaut in space, and some not so badass events such as the broadcast of the entire season of the most racist show on cable TV, better known as Showtime's Weeds, no Latinos on Project Runway, and the Obama administration's decision to push comprehensive immigration reform to next year. But more on all that later. Promise.
I did, however, manage to knock out a couple of music videos for Girl in a Coma. Both were shot entirely within the happy confines of Loop 410, San Antonio -- of course -- and both are off the band's new CD, Trio B.C. I leave you with the vids, and keep coming back to the KenBurns for more posts on all things Latino and pop...
So this band from Canada gets on a United plane to make their gig. As they wait for takeoff they look out the window, and, to their horror, witness bag handlers tossing around their guitar cases.
Of course the instruments are broken. The band wants money for the damages. And thus begins a one year struggle to get the airline to pay for the broken guitar. No one takes responsibility. Calls are put on hold or unreturned. The classic runaround.
Cut to now, and the frustrated band records a song narrating their plight and United's callous indifference. The group's YouTube video goes viral. CNN replays the story. David is beating Goliath. United calls, hat in hand, eager to work something out.
Great story. Crooks and Liars has it here. Not a bad song. But why did the band have to go the offensive stereotype route and portray themselves in large Mexican sombreros and big, black bigotes? WFT? It makes no sense in the context of the video's narrative. And, as one comment put it, "sure the song's nice, and congrats for it and the attention, but
could this whitebread musician be any more tone-deaf if not racist? Sure, the sombreros and mustaches are cute - if you live in the 1950s or earlier and are NOT Mexican or Hispanic...it seems someone aggrieved of being treated poorly, like this
musician, might think twice before dumping on another race to get cheap
Doh! I just realized I never posted my latest music video. It's for Girl in a Coma, the song is called Their Cell, I shot it in Gonzales, Texas, population 7,202, proud hometown of my mom, and the jail location is the exact same jail famed Tejano bandit hero Gregorio Cortez was held in 1901. Blackheart Records released Their Cell right before Christmas. I mention all this because the video is currently playing on the Logo Channel -- among other networks across the country -- and you can go to Logo's Click List and vote for the Hecho en Tejas music vid. Go. Vote. If for no other reason than to beat Hillary Duff.