What’s A Superclásico? Football Rivalries In Latin America

I’ve been working on a monthly column for Remezcla titled Your Guide to Clásicos De Fútbol Rivalries. Since February, I’ve been writing about the rivalry between a pair of teams in Latin America (with one exception for the FC Barcelona/Real Madrid F.C. rivalry in Spain) and delve into their history, crazy fans and more.

The archive of stories can be found HERE and so far include:

  1. FC Barcelona vs. Real Madrid F.C. (Spain)
  2. Atlético Independiente vs. Racing Club De Avellaneda (Argentina)
  3. Chivas vs. América (Mexico)
  4. Flamengo vs. Fluminense a.k.a. Fla-Flu (Brazil)
  5. Nacional vs. Peñarol (Uruguay)
  6. Boca Juniors vs. River Plate (Argentina)

I still have PLENTY of more rivalries to write about. My next column will focus on a rivalry from Costa Rica in anticipation of this month’s CONCACAF Champions League match between LA Galaxy and C.S. Cartaginés in L.A.

Spanish Post-Punk & New Wave

The past few weeks of work for Remezcla have yielded a wonderful surprise: a revival of post-punk music at the hands of Spanish musicians.

Bands such as Antiguo Régimen are bringing back tracks with thick, metallic bass lines:

That’s a bass line that could’ve come from a long-forgotten Joy Division song! These groups also mix a few elements of New Wave and Goth. For example, there’s El Último Vecino whose debut album is as 80s as you can get without the buckets of hair spray.

Then there’s Triángulo De Amor Bizarro whose name is a Spanish translation of Bizarre Love Triangle. The band’s music varies from one song to the next switching from post-punk to HEALTH-style noise-rock. They tend to keep it slightly old-school with a mix of post-punk and shoegaze.

The latest addition to this group is Despotismo Ilustrado who have yet to release any official recordings other than a few demos recorded during their rehearsals.

For old times sake, here’s Capitán, who I wrote about last year:

Ondatrópica : Colombian Supergroup Spans Generations Of Cumbia

Ondatrópica is a supergroup from Colombia that represents the face of cumbia, the traditional music of Colombia, today. The group is led by Mario Galeano of Frente Cumbiero and Will “Quantic” Holland who gathered more than 40 musicians, veterans and fresh-faces alike, in Disco Fuentes‘ recording studios for a weeks-long recording session that resulted in an amazing self-titled debut that covers the spectrum of cumbia (traditional, modern, international, etc.) from its golden age to the present day.

I had the privilege of interviewing Galeano and Quantic by e-mail for Remezcla and the absolute pleasure of watching Ondatrópica live at The Mayan Theater in L.A. with opening acts Very Be Careful, Buyepongo and Chicano Batman.

An excerpt from Q&A: Ondatrópica, Conquering the World with Cumbia:

Who came up with the idea of covering Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man?”

Q: Covering “Iron Man” was something that came out of thinking about doing versions of English songs. Naturally, we started thinking about Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. Out of Black Sabbath, we thought it’d be really cool to do a metal song, like a heavy rock song, especially because Colombia is so into Sabbath. There was “Paranoid” and a few other options, but “Iron Man” just seemed like the most useable for a banda. We always imagined a brass band playing that, and I think it came out to be more elegant than we imagined. We thought it was going to be quite drunk and the rum/ron wordplay just came out of being in the studio. I remember we had a bottle of rum at the time and it was just like a quick moment: “Hang on. I. Ron. Man.”

M: Yeah, it was just something very fresh that came out in the studio, as a lot of other things. We were not following a script or something that was prepared 100%. We were laughing, making jokes, playing around, and chilling out. These types of things happen in creative environments, like here in Discos Fuentes studio. I’m pretty sure “I. Ron. Man.” is one song Ozzy Osbourne didn’t imagine having it covered this way. We definitely have to show it to him, and have him drink some Colombian rum.

A few photos from their concert at The Mayan that I took for LA Weekly:

Keeping Up With The Frodashian

The past few weeks have been pretty busy for me. I have a number of things I’m working on as well as a number of things that were recently published in LA Weekly and in Remezcla. Check ’em out below!

Subsuelo Celebrates One Year of Global Bass Boogie

“With Subsuelo, we wanted to do something different than just a regular dance club,” he says. “We wanted to incorporate elements of live performance, of theatricality that was a little bit different than just playing at a big club. We also really wanted to keep the feeling of a house party, which is how I ended up in Boyle Heights in the first place.”

Don’t Call Them Hooligans: Meet Ultras, L.A.’s Major League Soccer Superfans

L.A. is currently the only city in the country hosting two MLS teams — the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA, who share the Home Depot Center stadium in Carson and play each other this Saturday. The former was established in 1995 and is one of the league’s first teams, while the latter was founded in 2004 and is the sister team to Mexico’s Club Deportivo Guadalajara, aka Chivas de Guadalajara.

Each team recognizes three groups per team as official supporters: the Galaxians, Angel City Brigade and the L.A. Riot Squad on the Galaxy side; and Legion 1908, Union Ultras and Black Army 1850 for Chivas USA.

Sick Jacken and Cynic Talk Terror Tapes Vol. 2

Jacken, your brother Big Duke’s still playing a huge part in Psycho Realm despite being paralyzed from the neck down.

J: He does a lot of stuff behind the scenes. He helps out with the merchandising and still helps out with the concepts. He actually got into production now. He produced a track called “Metal Rain” on Stray Bullets. He’s working on two or three records that he’s producing entirely.

When you’re paralyzed, that’s a condition that’s rare for anybody to come back from. For now, he’s using technology to get around it. That guy’s Superman. I’m glad that technology is where it’s at and it helps him let out his creativity. He’s working on beats, running websites, and designing merchandise. I tell him he does more work now than he used to do when he was walking.

Q&A: Chicha Libre’s Olivier Conan, A Musical Cannibal

You were quoted in another interview two years ago as saying that chicha music leads to “late-night drunken violence and suicide attempts.”

I don’t think I said that! [laughs] Say that again [quote is re-read]. Oh, OK, they probably paraphrased something I said but it’s kind of true. A chicha concert in Lima is not necessarily a happy thing. The ritual is that you bring a case of beer [and] put it on the floor. It’s kind of a family thing at the beginning. You’ve got the kids, you’ve got the wife, and you’re all around the crate of beer…and you drink and you drink and you drink! There’s a lot of drinking going on. By the end of the night, it gets a little bit of hardcore. Sometimes there are fights like on Saturday nights in tougher neighborhoods all around the world; people work all week and they’re a little harder edged. Chicha is ghetto music originally. The cliché in Peru is that the really hardcore chichador slits his wrist at the end of the night. I don’t know how often that happens. It’s one of those mythic things.

Q&A: Outernational, Ready for the Revolution

How does that tie in with the album, Todos Somos Ilegales? Why or how are we all illegal?

That’s the heart of the album. It’s a concept record about the border, but that’s just the focal point of these contradictions. The border signifies so much. It signifies the economic situation where businesses can move freely across the border and suck the blood and life out of people, but people can’t. People gotta be policed and hunted down and shot down by KKK-style vigilantes and it focuses on so much of that. Undocumented people in this country are kept in the shadows and kept in fear. They’re invisible. The idea about We Are All Illegals is solidarity. If you’re gonna call them illegal then you better call me illegal too, motherfucker!We’re all illegal. The foundation of this country is genocide, slavery and stolen land.

Mark Ocegueda Q&A ~ Mexicans Played Baseball Too

One of the great stories in this book is of a team from Riverside from the Casa Blanca barrio. This team was comprised of various World War II veterans. All of them may not have been World War II veterans but there were definitely some that [were] and when they would play teams that were mostly Anglo, they would wear their military belts on the field to display to their opponents that they were deserving of equal rights, that they were deserving of full civic membership. They would show these belts while they were playing to show that we served in the military and we gave our blood overseas so we deserve full citizenship back home. These discriminatory polices and segregation that we live through on a daily basis is something that should not be tolerated. Baseball provided this venue for a lot of Mexicans, Mexican-Americans in particular, to display political messages and social messages.

Highlights of the Week: Big Sir, JotDog, Gustavo Galindo

Three of my stories went up this week:

Big Sir Had Serious Health Scares. So They Made an Album About Life and Death.

Right around the time they were finishing their last album Und Die Scheiße Ändert Sich Immer, they both fell ill and were diagnosed with serious diseases. Alderete discovered he had polycythemia vera, a rare bone marrow disease where the body produces too many blood cells, while Papineau was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. “The bottom fell out,” says Papineau. “In the midst of this juncture, Juan dreamed a song, woke up, recorded it and emailed it to me in Paris. He said, ‘I know it may be corny to say this, but from now on everything we do really has to make a difference … even if only to us … there’s no point any more to do less.'”

Q&A: Jotdog, From Rock en Español to Sci Fi Über Pop

With Jotdog, we’re doing this for the right reasons. The right reasons to be in a group, for us, aren’t money or fame. The right reasons to be in a group, mainly, are to have a good time. Every time you write a song, you need to enjoy yourself. Every time you go on tour, you need to enjoy yourself. When you write a song with the mentality of writing a hit to make millions, you’ve lost the purpose of songwriting.

Gustavo Galindo Says Fuck You to the Latin Grammys

“Once the Latin Grammys happened,” he continues, “I thought ‘well, that’s it for this record cycle. Let’s go focus on Mexico and launch the album down there.'” He cut those plans short in December when, while sitting in traffic, he received a ton of tweets congratulating him. He had no idea what for; when he found out he was nominated alongside huge acts like Mana and Calle 13, he thought there must have been a mistake.