By Johnny Ray Huston
Coconot, Cosa Astral (Bcoredisc)
One of the things I like most about Pablo Díaz Reixa is his mode of singing. There’s something really endearing and adorable about it – some of his choruses sound like chants at an athletic event, but not all macho, just enthusiastic.
Coconot is the band he plays with when isn’t being El Guincho. To be honest, I kind of like Cosa Astral even more than El Guincho’s Alegranza, because Diaz-Reixa leaves more space in the overall sound, and things aren’t so exhaustively manic. (Though the manic tendencies can also be endearing.) Amongst the nine tracks, I’m already entranced by at least three: “Te tenía en cinta,” which is like a carnival winding down; the joyous and loose Afrobeat shimmer of “Tao”; and “Miles de ojos,” a Surrealist-influenced sonic vision with a chorus that is impossible to stop singing once you’ve heard it.
Nite Jewel, My CD (Human Ear) and Good Evening (Gloriette)
One shorthand interpretation of Ramona Gonzalez’s recording project Nite Jewel is that it’s a bit like Glass Candy or Chromatics on Quaaludes. I don’t know if I like Nite Jewel quite as much as Glass Candy’s underrated B/E/A/T/B/O/X (c’mon, they made “Computer Love” melancholic, what’s not to love?) – or if I like it more.
Gonzalez’s singing is both high-pitched and kinda dazed. On “Weak 4 Me,” she reminds me of Mr. Bill, which can never be a bad thing. “What Did He Say” might be the best Nite Jewel song so far – it sounds like a radio playing “I Can’t Wait” by Nu Shooz slowly sinking to the bottom of a pool. I’d like to see Nite Jewel live. SF isn’t that far from LA.