Austin-based Grupo Fantasma is no stranger to the music scene and has been around for nineteen years. They are currently promoting their seventh album, American Music, Vol. VII (Blue Corn Music) after not being in the studio together in five years. "The very record takes issue with these definitions of identity, border, who is illegal or "other.""
If you are listening to them for the first time, you won't regret it. The great news is that they are making their way to the Sun City to play at The District Pub in central El Paso. Great way to spend an evening if one does not have any major plans going on May 5th and want to check out the Cinco District de Mayo-A 5 Points Fest.
I recently caught up with Beto Martinez of the band to talk about the new album and their stop in El Paso. I started off by asking him about Cinco de Mayo and how he felt about it to which he replied, "I'm from Laredo, Texas and it wasn't a big holiday. Cinco de Mayo is a "holiday" that has turned into a farce like St. Patrick's day. The reason for it is lost and it's an excuse to drink. On the positive side, there is music and people get together." I know for many people Cinco de Mayo has turned into "Drink-o de Mayo" and I wanted got know Beto's take on it since the band is no stranger to their Latinx roots. Beto also mentioned that they are excited to come to El Paso. "The food is great and feels like home."
As for the new album and the process of making it, "the seventh album came out on March 29th. Previous to the five-six years, we were playing in other bands and our focus shifted, but we re-grouped to focus on this album for the band (Grupo Fantasma)." I asked about how the process of this album differed from the others and Beto said that one of the things that is different is that it was recorded at Sonic Ranch in Tornillo, Texas, which has a "mythical status". The process of making an album for Grupo varies. Beto said, "I don't write lyrics, I write music. I'll work on something and take it to another member." They all contribute to each song in a different way, after all, they are a large band.
As a last question, I asked Beto how he would describe Grupo Fantasma to a new fan. He said, "we are a large band. Out sound is diverse and rooted in music Latina. It's not pigeon-holed in any particular style and we do that deliberately. Cumbia is our heart and soul, but we have expanded."
Zenith is a band from the border city of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua. Their sound is best described as "pop bailable" and the band is currently comprised of four members: Eddy Flores (vocals and guitar), Adrián Cobos (bass), Julián Ibarra (drums), and Carlos Ibarra (synths and keyboard).
This band who has drawn comparison to acts like Odisseo, Wet Baes, and Lawall, has resurfaced with their latest single, "Estelas". Immediately, one will notice the difference between Zenith's older more "rock" sound and this new sound as reflected on their new single.
I recently caught up with Julián and he told me that this transition in the band's sound felt natural for them. "It's the same Zenith just more pop. Less serious and more color" and that comment made sense when Julián mentioned recent influences like Toro and Moi, Wet Baes, and Clubz. He mentioned that, "this single was planned a while ago, but we felt like it was right to release it now. "Estelas" is a conceptual song." After listening to the song, it left me with a nice feeling of wanting to chill and dance to the song while reflecting on my day. It's truly a must listen.
Julián also hinted that Zenith might release more material throughout the year, but for now they are excited to open for the Mexican band, Clubz. It's great to see local bands opening up for other groovy acts and not only that, but also receive support from the community.
Before ending the interview, I asked Julian what Zenith's top bands of the moment were and this was his response:
"Zenith's Top 5 artists of the moment"
1. Men I Trust
2. Black Marble
3. Midnight Generation
4. Jean Loup
May 3, 2019 w/ Clubz - Anexo Centenario, Ciudad Juárez
August 31, 2019 - Festival Sin Fronteras, Ciudad Juárez
Links for more information on Zenith:
As a follow up and reminder of the last post, Spanish singer, songwriter, and composer, Leiva, recently released his newest album, "Nuclear". For those that are not familiar with Leiva, he has been playing since the nineties with a previous band, but decided to embarked on a solo journey in 2012 and ever since, has received several recognitions ever since including the Rolling Stone Award (Spain) for best album of the year.
The new twelve track album includes songs like "Nuclear", "No Te Preocupes for Mi", "Lobos" and "Godzilla" featuring Bunbury and Ximena Sariñana. This album is very deep and the songs have an interesting dynamic between them. If you are looking for a nice dance track, this might not be the album for you, but if you are like me and love to feel the melody of the song and deep-dive into the lyrics and meanings, then this might be the album for you.
As mentioned in the previous article, "Nuclear" is a melancholic Beatle-esque song that describes a somewhat "nuclear" love. "Godzilla", my favorite song on the album, featuring Bunbury and Ximena Sariñana is a fantastic slow song with such lyrics like, "Puedo convertirme en Godzilla y luchar contra el mal. Pero nunca, nunca te llego a olvidar," which translates to: "I could turn into Godzilla and fight against evil, but I would never forget you." A lot of us have experienced a kind of love that one is willing to fight for, but it does not work out and no matter what, one will never forget that person. That is exactly what this song is about, which makes it so great. Ximena's and Bunbury's vocals just add to the mood of this song in the best way possible. In addition, the video (below) of the song ,"No te Preocupes Por Mi" is marvelous. It depicts a different and almost forbidden type of love. A young love that is just a ticking time bomb.
All songs relate to some type of love whether it is obvious or not. "Nuclear" is truly a representation of Leiva throughout the years and his abilities as an artist now. Simply mature and wonderful. I really recommend it.
Not only are the the songs magnificent, but the physical album as well. The physical album, and only the physical album has, "thirteen pages; each of them a concrete layer of the heart of the artist from Madrid, corresponding to the cover and each of the 12 songs on "Nuclear". Additionally, Leiva wanted to reward those "romantic record buyers" with a deluxe edition in which he included the "Voice Notes" from his phone." It is truly worth the purchase.
For more information and Leiva and the album visit his website:
About a week ago, Spanish singer, songwriter, and composer, Leiva, released his latest single "Nuclear" off of his new album, "Nuclear". Although he has been playing since the nineties, Leiva embarked on a solo journey in 2012 and has received several recognitions ever since including the Rolling Stone Award (Spain) for best album of the year. Now 2019, "Nuclear" just demonstrates the powerhouse that Leiva continues to be.
"Nuclear", a single revolving around a "nuclear" kind of love, whose metaphor continues throughout the song with circus visuals. The great thing about that juxtaposition is that it gives the songs two perspectives, whether done on purpose or not. From the beginning, the song starts on a strong note and it slowly progresses until it reached the full body of the song almost peaking in a Beatle-esque sound. Along side the great melody, are great lyrics.
"Dame un instant para pensar
Lo que soñamos ahora da igual
Abandonaste como las águilas
La zona nuclear"
Translated that says:
"Give me a moment to think
what we used to dream of is now whatever
leaving like eagles,
the nuclear zone"
It really is a song that can be interpreted in ways of a bittersweet kind of love. Leiva always delivers when it comes to sounds and topics like this. I urge everyone to check out the single below!
Album out now!
One night in the mystical Helinski, Finald, this duo met at a bar and they quickly realized that they were a musical pairing meant to be. Lone Deer Laredo is made up of Paola Suhonen and Olli Happopen. Paola has her own line of Finnish fashion line, Ivana Helsinki, and Olli has another band called "New Silver Girl", and yet life brought these two together to make this wonderful new project known as "Vol. 1/7". This wonderful album was recorded in Nashville, Tenessee at Alex the Great Studios with the help of a very talented team consisting of Brad Jones, Jim Hoke, and Chris Carmichael who have worked with artists like Dolly Parton and Paul McCartney amongst others.
I recently got to ask the band a few questions and this is what they had to say:
Desert of My Eye (pao): First of all, how has 2019 been so far? Looking forward to the summer?
Lone Deer Laredo: It has been very good to us, thank you! We’re very much looking forward to summer since we’re heading for a roadtrip to compose new music.
D.O.M.E: I read that you guys met at a bar in Helinski and automatically clicked. How was that initial moment and at what exact moment did you guys realize this project HAD to take place?
L.D.L: It actually happened immediately during the afterparty when Paola was singing to Olli the song called Why Do I Need the Winds (it is on the debut also)... Lone Deer Laredo was born.
D.O.M.E: Do you think that being from Helinksi reflects on your work?
L.D.L: Yeah, I guess it brings in some Finnish and Slavic melancholy. Helsinki is a place where West meets East in harmony, so it is a kind of mixture of dark, odd and endless summer light.
D.O.M.E: How was recording the album in Nashville? Why did you guys decide to record there specifically? That must have been fun.
LD.L: We heard about the great Brad Jones the producer via a friend and we immediately thought he could be the right producer for us. And it turned out to be a magical time at his studio in Nashville. Such a fantastic person!
D.O.M.E: What inspired Vol. 1/7? Why do you think "dark magic forests" are so appealing? I see it was one of the ideas/inspirations behind the album.
L.D.L: We love old trees and the whole mystery behind them. They are endless inspiration for the stories in the songs too since they’ve seen it all: first kisses, love affairs, nightless nights, love and death, everything... all the fundamental elements for Lone Deer Laredo.
D.O.M.E: I loved the video for "Golden Harvest". Simple, yet nostalgic
L.D.L: Thank you so much!
D.O.M.E: How does the video reflect the song? Is it based on an idea or a sentiment?
L.D.L: It is more about sentiment definitely. We rarely prefer strict storytelling in the videos, since it might kill all the poetry from the video.
D.O.M.E: Anything else you would like to add?
Lone Deer Laredo's new album track list
( Vol. 1/7):
2. Why Do I Need The Winds
3. Queen Of Revenge
4. True Light Of Mine
5. Mad Marie
6. Stars Stars Lights And Paradise
7. Silver World
8. Make The Sea Freeze In June
9. Summer Of Silk
For more information check out the link below:
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Interviews and playlists of local bands and international artists.