August 18, 2006

CD Reviews

By Francisco Ciriza

Joselo
Lejos
Universal

Considering the sounds on this, his second solo effort, perhaps Café Tacvba guitarist Joselo Rangel has been listening to sixties garage rock. Sounding more like a Los Angeles alt-pop freak than a member of Rock en Español’s elite old guard, Joselo takes listeners on a ride from the inevitable and obvious Lennon and McCartney references of the title track (backwards guitar leads a la ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ ) to a more refined, albeit quirky perspective, as on “Religión.” At times very reminiscent of Tacvba’s trademark playful romantic balladry and affable goofy approach , Lejos offers plenty of Joselo’s alluring, though humble vocals and low-fi edge. A punchy bass sound, lots of jangling guitars, and dreamy oddball melodies add up to a Summer of Love feel.

  

Dhira
Dhira
Universal

This super-cool Spanish-based collaborative is all about eclecticism and offers all-night Euro-style party music. Dhira bends electronica’s penchant for drawn-out, far-fetched, edgy danceable concoctions into listener friendly mixes of rap, reggae, hip-hop, for a trippy yet insightful cocktail of late-night decadence. Matching the pop ease of Big Mountain’s Chicano reggae as well as Mexican-American rappers Delinquent Habits’ street cred, Dahira utilizes a heavy layer of Indian influences ranging from hypnotic sitar to a Hindu-based philosophy. Songs like “De Calcuta a Madrid” and “La Noche” bring European beats and Indian ambiance together perfectly illustrating Dhira’s righteously skewed approach. 

Los Lonely Boys
Sacred
Epic

While not a complete departure from the Tex-Mex bar band sounds of the Boys’ 2003 debut, Sacred carries the energy and sounds of a full-fledged Texican revival. Delivering the same sweeping, lick-heavy, often complex guitar strokes of Henry Garza, the rolling, untamed thunder of Jo Jo Garza’s bass and Ringo Garza ’s smart snare slaps and fills, this release is more accessible, even commercial, in all of its roots-rock glory. But the harmony-rich vocals, spicy accordion work, throwback organ, Motown-inspired horns, and guest vocal spots by famed country singer Willie Nelson and the boys’ father Enrique Garza give Sacred a heavy dose of down-home feel.

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