Monday, March 11, 2013

Noel Torres, José Feliciano, y Otros are Worth It!

From my latest Sheep & Goats, over at Burnside Writers Collective:

You don’t look to the Managing Editor of Entertainment Weekly for music tips, but it was still jaw-dropping to read this in his post-Grammy editorial: “Mumford & Sons’ victory established folk rock as the most exciting and artful movement in music right now.” Do people really think that? Apparently so — EW ran a cover story on the “movement” the following week, and worship music has started biting the Mumfords’ style like they’re a new U2. Nothing against the Mumfords, who basically resemble what you’d get if Coldplay replaced ZZ Top in Back to the Future III, but surely folk rock is only the most exciting and artful music played by acoustic instruments, covered byEntertainment Weekly (a Time Warner company), and directed at English-speaking brains — if that. (I’d still take jazz, fwiw.)
Where I live, in the northern suburbs of Chicago, the winner of Most Exciting And Artful Musical Movement is currently banda from the state of Sinaloa, Mexico. Like English folk music, banda’s been around for a long time and is enjoying one of its periodic resurgences. If you’re seeking acoustic radio hits, the big swinging horn sections of Roberto Tapia, La Arrolladora Banda El Limón, and Banda El Recodo get as much radio play as the Mumfords, the Lumineers, and their ilk. One of our seven (!) Spanish-language FM stations recently changed its slogan from “Más Y Más Música” to “Banda Y Más,” which seems significant, though several other Latino genres are hot on banda’s heels. This is the cultural bounty of demographic shift, of course; the suburbs where I live and work are both younger and more Hispanic than the country at large. But if the last presidential election taught us anything, it’s that diversificación is sweeping the nation, so with any luck your radio waves and public library will soon carry some of the following, if they don’t already. (Or you can click on most of the titles below to stream them.)
(... and then you get reviews of the astounding Torres, the suave Felicianos, the dreamy Veronica Falls who don't really fit, the Dovells-like Los Caporales de Chihuahua, and more...)

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