- Terrícolas Imbéciles
Our country is a melting pot—but isn't it more a stew of cultures than races? Every Halloween, more Americans go crazy for sugar skulls, the main symbol of the Mexican Día de los Muertos, honoring the dead. Since its earliest pre-Columbian incarnations millennia ago, the holiday has spread to nearly every continent. It's neither invasion nor appropriation; it's just a fact of history. As we ventured out and discovered new lands, we left ideas and traditions with the people we visited, who reciprocated.
Granted, it isn't peaceful and it often led to tragedy in the form of war and the eradication of some cultures—and entire races of people. But as we strive to banish ignorance and crush hate, let's learn from one another by embracing and sharing our cultural colors. In that spirit, this year's Spooky Juke playlist is dedicated to Mexico.
De Nalgas: "Vulgar Dulce Hogar" and "Vergaviota" from Vulgar Dulce Hogar (Terrícolas Imbéciles, 2016). These two political punk anthems confront real-life monsters—the politicians who crush our dreams with their greed and lies. "Vulgar Dulce Hogar" plays on "home sweet home" lamenting, in its irresistible chorus, how one's country is no longer recognizable. "Vergaviota" is a portmanteau of the Spanish words for "dick" and "seagull," and complains in another sing-along chorus, "¡Yo no voté por ese güey!/ ¡Yo no voté por un idiota!/ ¡Yo no voté por ese güey!/ ¿Mi presidente?/ ¡Mis pelotas!" That means, "I didn't vote for that dude!/ I didn't vote for an idiot!/ My president? My balls!"
Los Frankys: "Vacaciones del Terror" from El Terror (Intolerancia Musica S. de R.L. de C.V., 2016). A classic garage rocker, the organ and guitar have you doing the monkey (¡el mono!) before the first lyric is uttered. In the tune, the "Pedrito" secretly watches a family arrive at a haunted inn, hoping for a glimpse of the life he knew before they, like him, discover they can check out any time they like, but never leave.
Los Esquizitos: "¡Pum-Pum, Bang-Bang!" from Escuchese Bien Fuerte (AMFM Records/Opcion Sonica USA, 2014). From the first measure of talky vox, rumbling bass and reverby guitar in this surf-punk jam, this 15-year-old band outs themselves as Mexico's version of San Diego's Deadbolt, the self-proclaimed "scariest band in the world." The lyrics, however, are more serious—a first-person account of a hitman who's depressed by his work. Duty bound, he pulls the trigger, then drowns his pain in booze.
Eddie y los Grasosos: "Lobo Hambriento" from Oh! Mi Nena (Eddie y los Grasosos, 2010). This chooglin' rockabilly ditty is about a hungry werewolf, who might, in fact, be hungry in the abstract. That is, these fangs might be phallic, and our hairy hero could be lookin' for a piece, a meal or a little of both. Oooooow-ooooooo!
Yucatán a Go-Go: "Abuela Zombie" from Canciones Basura (Fonarte Latino, S.A. de C.V., 2004). This power-pop/psych band presents a frightening concept: What could be scarier than idea of a granny who ceases to ensure you're well fed and decides to feed on you? Well, she could be a go-go zombie, undulating in a way that'd be disturbing even if her limbs weren't flying off.
Las Ultrasónicas: "Monstruo Verde" from Yo Fui una Adolescente Terrosatánica (Munster Records, 1999). This surf rock band reimagines the Creature from the Black Lagoon as a hallucination, rising from the murk to dance until dawn while singer Jessy Bulbo and bandmates cheer him on: "Baila monstruo/ baila monstruo/ baila monstruo!"
Telekrimen: "Extraños Hipnóticos" from Resurrection of the Blood Zombies from Beyond! (Grabaxiones Alicia/Industrias WIO, 2008). Hey, how about an all-instrumental jam about "Hypnotic Strangers," where the wailing organ turns your eyes into monochromatic spirals and your mind to Silly Putty?
Café Tacuba: "Maria" from Café Tacuba (Warner Music Mexico, 1992). This spooky lounge number by Mexico's beloved alt-rockers is based on the Mexican folktale of La Llorona (The Crying Woman). Urban legend has it that she lost her children in a river and can be seen looking for them at night—woe to any witnesses.
La Calavera: "No Quiero Ser Olvido" from Anecdotas (reverbnation.com/lacalavera801, 2016). These local locos deliver a brooding loud-quiet-loud number about the afterlife, and not wanting to be forgotten. Frontguy Antonio Garcia says, "It's about when you die and your soul leaves your body and begins the journey to get to whatever it is after life and all the thoughts you may have on the way there."
Los Desenchufados: "Del Infierno" from Zombies (Intolerancia, 2014). Kneeling at the altar of The Cramps, this band nails their creepy garage punk/psychobilly stomp—and almost the aesthetic, with a foxy redhead out front—only she plays bass instead of guitar. The song's about starring in a snuff film.
Brujería: "Matando Güeros" from Matando Güeros (Roadrunner, 1993). This Cookie Monster death metal tune is probably the scariest song of the bunch, from an ostensible group of masked drug lords. The band name means "witchcraft," the song is about "Killing White People" and the cover art is a photo of a real severed head of a cartel victim dangling from someone's hand. Plot twist: At least half of Brujería's 22 current and former members are güeros using pseudonyms—including, in the early days, Dead Kennedys vocalist Jello Biafra (as Pito Wilson). ¡Jaaaaaaa-jajajajaja!