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Los Mocosos: American Us

Javier AQ Ortiz By

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Los Mocosos: American Us San Francisco's Los Mocosos is one of the West Coast's Hispanic hybrid musical groups liable to mix an assortment of musical styles into its formula. Unlike, say, Steve Coleman's attempts at mingling Afro-Cuban music with jazz—which yielded superimposed musical elements, rather than a unified whole—this group can and does mix seemingly disparate musical genres and styles, thus creating its own musical character in the process. American Us is its third release and by far the mellowest and most radio-friendly. Of necessity, however, that ought not to frighten actual or potential listeners away.

Los Mocosos' musical lure encompasses combinations such as doo-wop-skassified-reggae-rap—as on "Hey Mama. "Volvieron is a simple, steady, tasty, and youthful self-promoting cha featuring sax, keyboards, and timbales soli with a keyboard figure at the end that sounds inspired by Ray Barretto's "Cocinando from his landmark salsa album ¡Qué viva la música! Miami Beach's gay club scene could very well serve as backdrop for a video clip of "Amigos y Amantes because of its vocal theme—a paean to forbidden love—and its "freely-shake-your-firm-'n-round-ass beat and effects. The corny merengue opener, however, is a throwaway cut.

Party-fun 'n' games ain't all Los Mocosos are about. They have always expressed their particular opinions on social and political matters such as immigration, the North American political landscape, and racism. This time, "Genius and "Señor Presidente are cases in point. The former is a contagious, steady-beat, funky, cumbia-esque, mid-tempo exhortation to use one's reasoning capacities—it's laden with very good intentions, but the arguments offer little substance. For example, they preserve the false notions that we only use a portion of our brain—akin to the infamously groundless 10% brain use figure—and that materially successful people aren't necessarily smart, while chipping in the clichéd Latin American anti-intellectualism. On the other hand, however, they urge: "let's not use that excuse ... The latter comes across as a predictably Marxist so-called class struggle anti-Bush call to the stereotypical "Brown people revolution against those in power, also couched in a cumbia-rhythmic backbeat.

Funky, rockish, and percussive, with characteristically youthful, attractive horn riffs: this is Los Mocosos ...

Visit Los Mocosos on the web.

Track Listing: 1. Bandolera Era (J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Ramos) 2. Hey Mama (J.M. Mart?-nez, S. Carter & U. Castro) 3. Vete/El Largo Adis (J.M. Mart?-nez, G. Ramos, G. Sandino & S. Carter) 4. I'm Your Puppet (L. Oldham & Don Pennington) 5. Amigos y Amantes (J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Ramos) 6. Genius (J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Sandino) 7. Seor Presidente (J.M. Mart?-nez) 8. In the House (J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Ramos) 9. Volvieron (S. Carter & J.M. Mart?-nez) 10. The Beast (S. Carter, J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Ramos) 11. Bacalao (J.M. Mart?-nez & G. Ramos) 12. Blind Faith (G. Sandino, J.M. Mart?-nez, G. Ramos & S. Carter

Personnel: Ayla Dvila. Congas: Enrique Padilla. Drums: Fabin Paredes. Guitar: Gabriel Sandino. Keyboards: Steve Carter. Sax & vocals: Gordon Shorty Ramos. Timbales. Mio Flores. Trombone & vocals: V?-ctor Castro. Vocals & timbales: Jos Manuel Manny Mart?-nez. Additional musicians: Percussion: Jess D?-az. Bass: Camilo Landau (4). DJ/Turntablist: Miguel Mister E Escovedo. Drum programming: One Drop Scott. Baritone sax: Ricky Aiken. Trumpet: Bill Ortiz.

Year Released: 2004 | Style: Latin/World


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