They say its going to feel like 109° today in Cambridge, MA.
And – as I have a pile of CDs waiting for me now that I’m back from the lovely West Coast – the ridiculous weather is pushing me straight towards the Brian Lopez albums that arrived from a baking Tucson, AZ (115° today).
I requested these albums from the gentlemen at Funzalo Records for a few reasons:
1) I have a known affinity for bands named for Bears (see: The 2 Bears, Bear In Heaven, Message to Bears, The Ultimate Bearhug, Bears, and, of course, Go Bears!), Lopez was a member of Tuscon Weekly’s Best New Band of 2007, Mostly Bears.
2) Lopez has worked with Tucson great Howe Gelb (of Giant Sand and Arizona Amp & Alternator fame) and will be touring with them in the fall.
And 3) Lopez is damn good!
Ultra is a stripped down, and at times sizzling, Robert Rodriguez style gunslinging-mariachi fight, framed by soulfully vocalized lyrics – a Tucson beat poet presenting absolutely masterful compositions. I can’t help but notice the influence of Radiohead on songs like The Killing Moon & Where the Cold Wind Blows – magnificent symphonic opera – while other songs conjure Jason Molina or Mason Jennings with a greater vocal range. A few of these songs have reached near perfection: El Pajaro Y El Ciervo is too wonderful to even describe, and I Pray for Rain roasts like that last desperately hot day before monsoon season pours cool relief down from the skies.
And now you know.