Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds La Arana Es La Vida & Show # 623

Kid Congo Powers first began his career as a musician being a guitarist in bands such as The Gun Club (who he helped form), The Cramps and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. That resume is enough to make people turn heads, but after playing with numerous bands as a guitarist, he ventured out on his own, forming his own band in 2005 with his first release being the album Solo Cholo. In 2009, Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds released Dracula Boots, a critically acclaimed album that stomped with the sounds of garage rock, 50’s rock n’ roll, soul and Chicano rock. Released on In The Red Records, La Arana Es La Vida is the fourth album by Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds.

Congo and crew create a deep groove, blending the primal sounds of rock n’ roll along with other related sub-genres and Chicano rock once again. This effort is equally as strong and features the addition of guitarist Mark Cisneros, who brings a fresh perspective to the Pink Monkey Birds sound. The sounds on this album definitely lend themselves to the garage and surf genres, but the album at times sounds soulful as if Andre Williams and Billy Childish are playing on the same track. The album has much more depth than that especially when you look closer into the title, which is a reference to Mexican folklore. La Arana is the Great Spider Goddess of Teotihuacan. Kid Congo Powers had this to say about the connection to this folk tale in an interview done with New Noise Magazine:

“She sprouts hallucinogenic morning glories and protects the underworld. I thought that is very much like our duty as a band, to have the most open mind to vivid psychedelic dreams to create and protect the world of underground music, the music of the soul. Protect it from unimaginative, unfeeling commercial music. No magic there. Plus, I like the associations The Kiss Of The Spiderwoman, Spider Baby, ‘the tangled webs we weave.”

It’s no surprise that this primitive folk tale lends itself to the sounds brought forth on La Arana Es La Vida. “Psychic Future” opens the album with its fuzzy garage blues grooves and slides. “Coyote Conundrum” drips with psychedelic and surf influences in both the music and lyrics, while “Nine Blubber Mile”, one of a few instrumental tracks found on this album, treads along with its rumbly bassline and staticy guitar lines. “Karate Monkey” jumps and kicks with its Elvis Presley and ? And The Mysterians-like licks, while “La Arana” blends Chicano rock with elements of garage and soul. As Powers sings in an Andre Williams drawl, he tells a story about a spider that crawls all over the characters in the song at a party. This is portrayed in the lyrics and musically throughout the guitar and basslines. On “Anything To Say”, Powers sings a love song comparing fallen, broken dishes to spilling guts, as the guitars weave the words together with their sharp-shard-like riffs.

“Chicano Studies” is a surf instrumental track. The track features mischievous speaking , on top of the music, but the ending track sets itself apart from the rest of the songs found on La Arana Es La Vida. “Five Points/Howards End/Nasty Hat” begins with two segments conjuring up 50s rock n roll influences and ambient country/blues slides before “Nasty Hat” takes the listener into one more intense groove. Recorded at the Harveyville High School Gym in Kansas, La Arana Es La Vida contains a rambunctious youthful atmosphere. La Arana Es La Vida oozes with a primal rock n’ roll aesthetic, as lyrically it creeps and crawls with reverb laden lyrics drawing on tales of Mexican folklore.

Saturday Night Playlist:

1. Mission Of Burma - Tremelo
2. Sonic Youth - Wolf
3. Vallens - Karen
4. Hot Hot Heat - Sad Sad Situation
5. Heaven For Real - Kill Your Memory
6. Suicide - Ghost Rider
7. Suicide - Mr. Ray
8. Allen Vega - Kung Foo Cowboy
10. Suicide -Jukebox Baby 96
11. Allen Vega - Ghost Rider
12. Nickel Eye - Hey That’s No Way To Say Goodbye
13. Beck - Suzanne
14. Nick Cave - I’m Your Man
15. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Avalanche
16. Leonard Cohen - Jazz Police
17. Leonard Cohen - Bird On A Wire
18. Weird Lines - There Are Never Too Many Matches
19. The Replacements - 20th Century Boy
20. Luau Or Die - Mojave Chaser
21. Atomic 7 - That Leftover Savior Faire
22. The Black Lips - Leroy Faster
23. The Cramps - Don't Eat Stuff Off The Sidewalk
24. The Gun Club - Eternity Is Here
25. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - Chicano Studies
26. Kid Congo Powers & The Pink Monkey Birds - La Arana

To download this weeks program, visit CJAM's schedule page for Revolution Rock and download the file for July 23.

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