BASTIDAS!’s Upcoming Burger Records Release ‘Galaxias’ Reviewed
Los Angeles has a buoyant Latino scene but you don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to understand what’s going on. Bastidas! is a band who has shaken up L.A.’s busy underground scene since 2007 with a turbulent imagery, distorted guitars and a rhythmic dissonance which earned them to share the stage with punk legends such as Mike Watt, No Age, Mika Miko, and Shonen Knife.
The trio, Truz (Henry Lopez) and Sonia Fierce (Sonia Hernandez), who alternate between guitar and bass, and El Basico (Kenny Lopez) on drums and percussion, plays a noisy experimental brand of psychedelic rock, which blends plenty of Latino flavors with aggressive punk tempos, sinister bass lines and post-punk production. The band’s moniker itself tells a lot about their revolutionary inspiration: Micaela Bastidas was a martyr for Peruvian independence, who fought and died against Spanish colonialism alongside her husband Tupac Amaru.
‘Galaxias’, Bastidas!’s upcoming release on Burger Records, has a mysterious and ferocious tone with layered sonic textures, which oscillate between the alternative Tropicalia of ‘Acid Rain’, the psychedelic fiesta of ‘Vida’ or even the incantations to the darkness of ‘Dimension 8’.
The diversity of the songs brings you on a disorienting acid trip of sonic discoveries. The drum-looping assaults propel ‘Element’ into psychedelic fumes with melancholic vocals and a fast tempo which may have borrowed something to ‘80s New Wave. ‘Invasion’ creeps out your mental state like an alien disease, while unleashing one of the punkiest moment of the album, along with a dissonance spiced up by savage screaming. ‘Dimension 8’ sounds like the ghoulish soundtrack of a grungy horror thriller while ‘Ahi Te Veo’is starting with a Black Flag-esque creepy bass line, before launching the song into a Samba-like dance watching the parade of a strange circus.
A post-punk/new-wavy ambiance takes over their genre-bending sonic universe during the gloomy synth dancefloor of ‘Fracasó’ and its reverb vocals booming into darkness, while dissonance and experimentation dominate the scene during the well-named ‘Chaos and Disorder’, whose somber bass line fuels an angry energy. Curiously, this is barely contrasting with the Café Tacuba vibe of ‘Vida’, which builds a cathartic melody over Brazilian Samba loops.
During the nine songs of their upcoming ‘Galaxias’ (available for pre-order via Burger Records), Bastidas! is blending a noisy carnival atmosphere with ferocious punk assaults bathing into post-punk textures. It is a colorful mix, and this amalgam shines during the closing track, the choir-haunted ‘Parade’ and its festive bombast blooming over triumphant drum loops.
It is a sound borrowing equally from psychedelia, punk, and rock in Espanol, a steamy experiment for a surrealist scene haunted by Frida Kahlo’s ghost floating in cosmic reverb.
1. Acid Rain
2. Ahí Te Veo
5. Dimension 8
7. Chaos and Disorder
You can preview the album below on Bandcamp