California Sounds: Death Valley Girls, lovefingers remixes LCD Soundsystem, Mariachi Reyna
Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles, “El Pitayero” video (Smithsonian Folkways). The first video for the group’s Smithsonian Folkways debut album, which came out last week, sees the dozen members showcasing their work at Mariachi Plaza, using the downtown Los Angeles skyline as a backdrop while offering a musical portrait of a pitaya merchant.
The band’s new relationship with Folkways puts them in impressive company. Over the years, the imprint has showcased some of America’s most vital voices — Leadbelly, Woody Guthrie, Lucinda Williams and many more — emphasizing the tapestry of non-mainstream sounds, with a focus on folk music in the broadest sense of the term.
Perhaps more important is the nonprofit label’s dedication to Latin music, stretching from early Mexican sones, Colombian cumbia, border-jumping Tex-Mex and more.
Mariachi Reyna isn’t a stranger to the spotlight, though. Nominated for a Grammy award in the regional Mexican category for its 2008 album “Campanero,” the all-female group has been performing since it was formed in South El Monte in 1994. Described on one of their albums as “America’s first all-female mariachi,” the group has performed for Michelle and Barack Obama at the 2009 White House’s Cinco de Mayo celebration.
“Mariachi Reyna de Los Angeles” is the group’s fifth album, and moves through lovelorn ballads such as “My Oblivion Will Find You” and uptempo dance numbers including “Son of the Moon.” At nearly seven minutes, “Joan Sebastian Medley” gracefully maneuvers through works by the late Mexican songwriter Sebastian, who before his 2015 death wrote popular hits for Vincente Fernandez and Pepe Aguilar. Combined, the album further confirms Mariachi Reynas’ import. .
LCD Soundsystem, “Oh Baby (lovefingers dub)” (DFA Records). For a new batch of remixes in support of last year’s “American Dream,” LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy tapped the Los Angeles producer, taste-maker and label head Andrew Hogge, a.k.a. lovefingers, to upend “Oh Baby.”
Hogge has a cool resume that includes a stint as a member of Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (the two attended Cal-Arts together), promoting his Black Disco warehouse parties, spinning wildly eclectic mixes as a DJ with A Club Called Rhonda and exploring his curatorial vision as head of the ESP Institute imprint.
Lovefingers works one “American Dream” track in two different ways, a la a 1980’s-era 12-inch single: through an official remix and another version called the “lovefingers dub.” The main remix injects rhythmic drama into Murphy’s original track, working in a noir-ish melody and exploring tidbits of voice.
As is often the case, the dub version is weirder and way more stoned. At just under eight minutes, it’s propelled by a house-tempo stomp, trippy headphone effects and, at the six-minute mark, a glorious break that focuses on Murphy’s wail.
Death Valley Girls, “Disaster (Is What We’re After)” (Suicide Squeeze). After a week of political turmoil and perpetual news breakers, perhaps you should take three minutes to watch Iggy Pop eat a fast food hamburger.
Watch the punk icon as he listens to the opening riffs of L.A. garage punk band Death Valley Girls’ new song, “Disaster (Is What We’re After),” unwrapping the burger, lifting the bun to note the fixings, his head bouncing as singer and multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Bloomgarden lays out the deal.
The video is directed by Kansas Bowling and is a kind of cover: She modeled the idea after Andy Warhol’s similarly hamburgerian document. But Warhol, for all his talents, never rocked and certainly didn’t do a little Iggy dance during his version. The Death Valley Girls’ forthcoming album, “Darkness Rains,” comes out Oct. 5. Those in the Long Beach area can check them out on Sunday at Happy Sundays LBC, a little rock fest that also features Audacity, Los Hurricanes and dozens more.
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