“Empujen”, The First Music Video By El Gallinero

El Gallinero is a Uruguayan funk band that's just released its first album after 10 years of touring and gigging

“Empujen” [Push] is the first music video by El Gallinero [The Henhouse], a Uruguayan funk band that has actually been around for ten years. It currently comprises Nacho Cejas, Andrés Arnicho, Gerardo Alonso, Pedro Alemany, Leo Méndez, Juan Olivera, Gerónimo De León and Claudio Martínez.

The clip has been shot at the Centro Cultural Florencio Sánchez (named after one of Uruguay’s most celebrated playwrights), and it features Rubén Rada, one of the seminal figures in the development of Uruguayan music in the 20th Century. Along with Eduardo Mateo, Rada was at the forefront of the “Candombe Beat” movement – a movement that married candombe and murga with rock & roll music.

It’s well-known that one day Paul McCartney wanted to know more about South American music, and he asked his assistants to gather as many albums and singles as they could. And out of all the singers and performers they presented him with, Rada was the one that marveled the former Beatle more.

And as if that wasn’t impressive enough, “Empujen” also features a cameo by… Max Headroom! Gotta love it…

Visit El Gallinero’s MySpace profile to know more about the band. In Uruguay, their debut album has been published by Sondor.


La Medio Siglo (Uruguayan Independent Artist)

"Altos Con Rulos" By La Medio Siglo

It’s official: humankind is ending on the 15th of March, 2012, and the world will be left spinning like a loony balloon. Well, Facebook is going to bite the dust right there and then. Which for quite a handful of people is roughly the same thing. They won’t be able to spy on their exes, they won’t be able to insult others indirectly, they won’t be able to tag people in insalubrious pictures… they will have to learn to do without all that. Like my reclusive namesake in robes of white once wrote, “How dreary—Marbles—After playing Crown”.

Me? Since I’m a very balanced sort of fellow, and as calm as a fruit stand in New York, I won’t miss any of the things listed above. I will, however, miss befriending young bands there. My, the number of “musical” friends I’ve got easily offsets my “real life” friends. And my “real life friends” count seems to be dwindling, too. Last week, my two BFF (that’s “Best Friends Forever”, in case you don’t listen to Taylor Swift) said they were going to buy pizza, and they never came back! Sigh…

Well, I guess I’ll have to soldier on. And hold onto the remnants of the day, celebrating all these truly motivated bands I’m still getting to know through the Winklevoss twins’ main claim to fame. The most recent one is La Medio Siglo [The Half-Century], a Uruguayan unit that plays a very energetic mixture of rock and funk.

The band is made up of the communal mystique of Paul Higgs (guitar, vocals), Thomas Bate (guitar), Pablo Deferrari (bass) and Manuel Souto (drums), and its first EP has just been issued. It’s titled “Altos Con Rulos” [Tall And Curly], and it’s available for free on La Medio Siglo’s official website.

Leaving aside the title track (which is just a spirited way to start proceedings),
the EP has got four songs where teenage staples are articulated over music that is muscular and very well-written, with exciting dynamics and histrionics. I recall that the first time I chatted with Paul Higgs (the band’s guitarist and singer) my first remark upon listening to one of the cuts on the EP (which they were recording and mixing back then) was “Shit, you guys have got quite a swing!”. I actually said that aloud as I was typing the words down, and I swear I sounded as earnest as Samuel L. Jackson when he went “Snakes in the motherfuckin’ plane!”. Continue reading

Sandinista! (The Clash) – Album Review

Sandinista! (1980) Set The Scene For The World Music Genre That Was To Become Common Currency In The 80s

Sandinista! (1980) Set The Scene For The World Music Genre That Was To Become Common Currency In That Decade

Do you measure how good an album is by looking at how much filler it has, or by looking at the actual number of cuts that are extraordinary? That is the key question many ask themselves when they have to analyze this triple album, issued by The Clash in 1980. The previous release (London Calling, 1979) already had found them pushing boundaries by being a two-record set that included far, far more than the punk offerings that many had already associated with them.

Strummer & Co. were always the kind to stick to the “nothing ventured, nothing gained” ethos, and it was only natural they would continue taking steps forward. This particular step forward is what John Alroy calls an “anything goes” mentality. I think it is best to term it an “anything that speaks to us goes” mentality. Just listen to the single “Hitsville UK”, about a band that does not necessarily succeed but makes people happy for doing what it does (IE, playing music), and the terms of the gamble The Clash had taken this time around become all the more understandable.

The range of styles across the 6 sides of Sandinista! is as encompassing as you can imagine. Note that there are few rock songs around, and the ones available do not necessarily deliver. The one exception is their cover of Eddie Grant’s “Police On My Back”. I do like “Up In Heaven (Not Only Here)” if only because it showcases the band’s ability to tackle important issues (in this case, the tower blocks that blighted England and the living conditions therein), and I can say the same about “Somebody Got Murdered”. But the latter song highlights how far gone Topper was on heroin. He was to take a permanent leave after the next album – in hindsight, the other members of The Clash have equaled his departure with the beginning of the end for them all. Continue reading