Tellez: We didn’t cross the borders…

My great-great grandmother and father, Flora Tellez Martinez and Zacarias Tellez Sr.

The idea of legacy has been on my mind for awhile now. I sometimes joke my ancestors survived plagues and genocide in order to keep their lineage going, so I better do something useful with my life. That brings me to this photo, it’s the oldest known photo I have of my antecedents. It’s of my maternal great-great grandfather and mother. They were freighters and miners in New Mexico and Arizona and lived a hard life, I’m sure. They survived the annexation of Mexico by the US and the death of their son, my great-grandfather, to miners lung. They are both buried in Tucson, Arizona. Thanks to them, I’m here now.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before

Jorge Ben – Taj Mahal

Two Men Sound – Disco Samba

Rod Stewart-Da Ya Think I’m Sexy

From IMDB:

Rod Stewart was successfully sued by Brazilian singer Jorge Ben who claimed the tune to Rod’s “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” was too similar to his song “Taj Mahal”. Ben won the lawsuit and asked Rod to donate all his profits from the song to UNICEF.

An awesome album with Gilberto Gil includes an improvised version of Taj Mahal.

Favorite Song of the Day: Wut

Girl Unit-Wut

I’ve been driving my housemate crazy with repeated listenings of this one. Actually, it’s probably my neighbor who is more annoyed – that deep, bouncing bass gets into the walls and rattles the wood of my 1917 duplex. And it’s meant too, it’s the kinda bass for cars with loud stereos, where you can feel the air being compressed around you as the car gets closer and you began to wonder if some kinda assault is about to begin. Yes, this song is an aural assault on your ears.

Here’s more on Girl Unit from the site Bookmat:

Solid gold anthem business from Girl Unit on the follow-up to the killer ‘I.R.L’ 12″ for Night Slugs. It would appear from his form this year that Girl Unit specialises only in BIG tunes, which is no bad thing when you’ve got a rave to rub up the right way. At the pinnacle of this particular monolith is ‘Wut’, his scorching fusion of Araab Muzik-style martial 808’s and purest R&B synthline saturation that’s become a staple in the sets of Jackmaster, Ikonika and Oneman since the summer. There’s no avoiding it’s lazered brilliance, beaming rapturous organ and that earworming vocal snippet like the light of the second coming. OK, maybe that’s a bit strong, but we’ve definitely seen nerds prostrating at the speakers when this is dropped.

Porch Life

Please click for larger view

My grandmother, sisters, brother, mother, neighbors and her soon-to-be-husband, my grandfather Atanasio. In front of their original home on North La Fayette Park Place. The house is no longer there, torn down to make way for a parking lot many decades ago.

By the way, they were the first Mexicans on the block. There were racial covenants at the time but I suppose they were allowed to move there because they could pass as ‘white’ and maybe because they were all young, attractive females.

Old School DJ New Wave Set

The Los Angeles “Disco” scene of the 80s/early 90s was notable for it’s backyard party scene organized DIY style by primarily Chicanos from the Eastside and the San Gabriel Valley. Most of the DJs grew out of the early hip-hop and break-dancing crews and for the most part, their DJ sets were chockful of freestyle, electro, hip-hop and the more Latin-ized disco songs out of New York i.e. Mandolay. However, due to the popularity of local radio stations like the new wave friendly KROQ, fast, danceable new wave songs began to creep their way into some of the “Disco” DJ’s sets. Eventually, these new wave sets became standard and part of the Old School classic DJ repertoire.

Here’s a few examples. Any others?

Berlin – The Metro

You can still go to parties, quinces and weddings and watch forty-year old plus women jump on the dancefloor when the first few seconds of Berlin’s The Metro are recognized.

OMD – Electricity

B-MOVIE – Nowhere Girl

Spandau Ballet-To Cut A Long Story Short

Haircut 100 – Favourite Shirts (Boy Meets Girl)

Blue Monday by New Order

Yaz – Situation

C-Bank with Jenny Burton – One More Shot

One More Shot was strange because it was a freestyle song that was played on KROQ which firmly stayed away from any other songs of this genre.

Fav Video of the Week: Joy Division

Joy Division – She’s Lost Control

“While other bands went on stage with an attitude that screamed ‘fuck you’, Joy Division went on stage with an attitude that said ‘We’re fucked.’ ”

There is something so raw about Ian Curtis’ performance, it almost feels like you need to look away. It is much too private.

Favorite Song of the Day: Stars

Visti & Meyland – Stars

Sometimes, most of the time, others are better at articulating what I wish I could.

From the site, Big Stereo:

Visti & Meyland made some waves with their Yes Maam release which featured some huge remixes by Trentemoller and Kasper Bjorke. Now they are back with their latest “Stars.” Its quite unique and could be easily mistaken as instrumental because the vocal comes in late at around the 5 and half minute mark. The release is through Bear Funk and includes remixes by The Time and Space Machine, and Rodion & Mammeralla which is my favourite. Another winner from Visti & Meyland.

From the site, Space Dust:

In fact – you could say that if fellow Dane Trentemoeller is the Dark Prince of Denmark – Visti & Meyland – are the Speedo-equipped, sandal-wearing Balearic Disco opposite bringing in the light, the fun, the Disco and the Funk on the arms of a coked-up Grace Jones!

Arabella, Dance Queen of the Mahala

Arabella, denim-clad dance sensation of the mahala is mocked by her family and neighbors for her modern “disco” Romani style of dance. While her father entertains with hoots and jeers, the mahala laughs but also watches. Perhaps in a few years, the children circling her now will dance as she does, learning, much the way she did: village gatherings, impromptu parties, adults twirling, swaying and shimmying around them. Little gestures caught by the eyes and heart. Arabella is the descendant of master interpreters; her legacy, to create new languages of movement. A lineage stretching from Rajasthan to Romania made up of bits and pieces of everywhere.

Traditional Romanes mixes with the bumps, grinds and pops of the video vixens Arabella watches on satellite TV. The result is a fusion of old and new, rooted, looking back and moving forward and infused with the swing of her ancestors. Called forth by two polyrhythmic violins and a syncopated bass doubling as a drum, Arabella’s hips offer tiny kisses to the wind. Around her, the Rajasthani/Romanian sands rise and warm her body, preparing it for the long night of revelry.

Beyonce and Shakira have nothing on her.

Favorite Things: Household Oil

It really does everything listed on the label and is one of my favorite domestic helpers. The small tin receptacle inspires wistful recollections of a time when people fixed things instead of replacing them. Unfortunately the old design but has been discontinued. The new packaging is a generic plastic thing, indistinguishable from other items on the store shelves.

Household oil tip: use the oil to lubricate older style wooden drawers. Place a few drops on the bottom of the drawer, where it rubs against the cabinet, for smooth sliding.

Favorite Song of the Day: The Rhinohead

Von Südenfed – The Rhinohead

It’s uncommon for me to come across really good pop music. I often try and listen to the latest buzz bands and I find them lacking. Usually I’m like, really? I don’t get it. This song I get. Mark Smith of The Fall is part of this collaboration, no wonder. Von Sudenfed have been around for awhile and there are rumors of their dis-collaboration – hope this isn’t true.

More from their website:

But Von Sudenfed does more than take a spin, via Düsseldorf and Salford, through the terrain of London pirates. It combines the genre-smashing attack of early-millennia club music with Mark E. Smith’s free-associating visionary wordplay. To adapt the Situationists, under the dancefloor, the beach. Or in the case of a track like “Flooded,” over the dancefloor, a sea – Mark’s lyric retells a dream of Jan’s in which he booked a club to DJ at, only for an interloping DJ to turn up and commandeer the decks. The Von Sudenfed response? Carnivalesque anarchist sabotage: flood the club. This is unmistakably club music, but it’s club music that’s liable to spark off outbreaks of lucid dreaming, mid-move.

The music cuts out at the end, probably some weird record company thing.