Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Catchy Latin rock from Ozomatli

I’ve been a fan of Ozomatli for many years, since I first saw them opening for Ben Harper at the Nautica Stage in Cleveland. They are from L.A. and blend rock, hip-hop, and Latin music with remarkable facility and impressive talent at every position. “Fire Away” is their 5th studio album and it finds them moving away from hip-hop and closer to Latin rock and pop.

A little less Jurassic 5, a little more Los Lobos on this album.

I loved the sound Ozomatli played when they had Cut Chemist on the turntable and Chali 2na rapping. My first time through “Fire Away,” I was expecting that hip-hop feel behind the songs, or perhaps the cosmopolitan blend of world music influences they incorporated into “Street Signs.” Most of that is gone from this album. Still, they have 7 remarkably talented guys laying it down. The songs are full of catchy melodies and the sound is still as big and tight as Steven Segal’s gi.

I ripped 7 of the CD’s 11 songs to my iPod and I think they’re all staying. Check these out:

  • Are You Ready? – The percussion comes in like a carnival and the song maintains this feel through it’s various twists and turns. This is a high-energy, party song.
  • 45 – If you played this bright pop melody for me, I would not have guessed this is Ozomatli. Of course, when you have 7 guys singing and playing a brace of instruments, even a simple melody can be decorated like a Christmas tree. Oh, and watch out for the funky break at the 2 minute mark.
  • It’s Only Paper – Money doesn’t change people’s character, it reveals it. Jack Johnson helps them deliver this somber message at a slower tempo with a simple arrangement.
  • Gay Vatos in Love – Ozomatli comes out in support of gay rights with the best gay love song I’ve ever heard. It sounds a little like early Los Lobos with the harmony vocals throughout the verses and baritone sax in the background. “Vato” is slang for a Hispanic youth. “If the world can’t understand, stand by your man.”
  • Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah – The first time I heard this, I thought maybe they were trying too hard but it is growing on me with repeated listens. Ozomatli is going to be at Bonnaroo this year and I can’t wait for them to bust this out. It’ll be great live.
  • Nadas for Free – He spends a lot of time getting kicked in the balls in this horn-laden song about how hard it is to get respect without money.
  • Love Comes Down – After all that energy, bluster, and blare, they come in with a beautiful ballad. Delicate glockenspiel, plucked guitar, and sweet harmony vocals make this a successful effort.

http://ozomatli.com/

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May 19, 2010 - Posted by | Alternative, Popular, Rock

3 Comments »

  1. Man, you hit it. I downloaded Fire Away from I-Tunes and you get 3 bonus trscks, all of which are as good as any on this outstanding new venture from Ozo, arguably the best live band in the world.

    Comment by Dave | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  2. Ozomatli is such a good performance with Chali 2na that shit goes off like a forest fire in Cali!

    Comment by danksquad | May 19, 2010 | Reply

  3. They are outstanding live. I can’t wait to see them in June. Thanks for commenting, both of you.

    Comment by missedmusic | May 19, 2010 | Reply


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