By Francisco H. Ciriza
Go Betty Go
Nothing Is More
Side One Dummy
L.A.’s Go Betty Go is 2005’s Latina answer to 80’s all-female pop/rock outfits, the Go-Go’s and the Bangles. This all-female Latina quartet of takes immediate command by pounding out break-neck speed tempos and accompanying thumping bass lines tightly wound with thrashing guitar. Cute, witty, and even intelligent the lyrics sometimes sung in Spanish are an asset to the group’s music. Accessible punk-like anthems like the potential classic, “I’m From L.A.” are partly the result, but unlike their 80’s counterparts, these women are also packing eclecticism and a mature sound to go along with their cheeky sweetie-pie approach. “Ticking Bombs” sounds wreaks of sixties anti-establishment sing-along a la Love and Buffalo Springfield while “The Pirate Song” sounds like a cross between The Pogues and Los Lobos.
KCRW: Sounds Electrico
Collected from the archives of Los Angeles alternative radio station KCRW’s morning show, Sounds Electrico offers a heady collection of smooth semi-unplugged numbers that seamlessly weave the genre’s smoother, less edgy side together in a warm colorful batch. Among the better-known names such as Julieta Venegas, Aterciopelados, Café Tacuba, and Kinky are Juana Molina, Omara Port-uondo, and recent sensation, Jorge Drexler each showcasing impressive abilities through the discs stripped-down but still full sound. Surprises include Los Lobos flexing muscles on the traditional corridor, “Carabina 30-30” and the iconic Manu Chau with his signature tune, “Clandestino.”
Achados E Perdidos
Like Café Tacuba and Maldita Vecindad did with Mexico City before him, Curumin (Luciano Nakata Albuquerque) has captured the heart and soul of Sao Paulo, Brazil, his hometown. With solid rhythms built-up into ultra-cool beats through organic layers and egg shakers and ukuleles and more, this disc has the gait of seventies funk, the finesse of jazz, and the edge of hip hop and rap. The opening track, “Guerriero” exemplifies this precisely with an anticipation building intro, a groove a mile long chock full of crunchy rhythm, licks a plenty, and a monster of a fuzzy bass. This disc is further proof that music is indeed the international language.