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Spanspek's Favorite Music of 2016: Erica Najera

Good morning folks! It's been a while but we're glad to be back talking 'bout our favorite music of the year! It's gonna go down like this y'all: we'll be posting some guest blogs from friends of ours early in the week, followed by our own local music lists at the end of the week.  That's it! 

Oh, and if you would be so kind as to indulge us, we're also gonna take this time to ask that if you support Spanspek and all the things we do, please consider donating to "La Causa Spanspek" by going to the TULARE COUNTY ARTS CONSORTIUM WEBSITE. and clicking on the link at the bottom of the page.  All funds go to our scholarship fund and the continuation of the Spanspek Music and Arts Festival! Thank you!


Ok, lets get to it! Our first guest is Light Thieves bassist and La NiƱa bandleader ERICA NAJERA!
Hi! I'm Erica Najera aka Rica. 30 year old musician, avid dreamer, seeker of truth, and hopeless adult. I'm told I play a mean bass guitar, but my bank account says otherwise. We're about to explore the albums released in 2016 that have impressed me uniquely in various manners. Local and International. In alpha order because I do what I want.
Beastmaker (Fresno, CA)
Lusus Naturae (Rise Above Records)
Fresno grown; global traveled. Beastmaker is everything Fresno wished it was and that is... talented and intelligent. This album has it all; good artwork, good music, and cool as fuck branding. The first track, "Clouds In The Sky", is definitely my favorite overall. Jagged progressions mixed with melodic verses, it's catchy. I'm no connoisseur of the sort but can doom be catchy? Who gives a fuck. It's solid. You ever go on a long trip and need some road inspiration? Pedal to the metal type shit? Put this album on and drive, my friend. Drive straight to hell. I'll save you a spot and a cup of tea.

Cockamamie Jaime (Fresno, CA)
Orca
Fuck the police. Get on this. Vintage rap with lyrical swiftness to make your math teacher's head spin. Does this guy run marathons or something to have that kind of stamina? Intelligent and articulated. Makes me wanna go dedicated on some medicated gummy bears get annihilated. Whoa, what just happened, I feel instantly elevated.

Dirty Limbs (Fresno, CA)
Dirty Limbs​/​Evelyn 7" Split (Manor House Recordings)
This release may only have two tracks, but hot potato they're gold. "Proto Punk" might just be my favorite song by the band, ever. Classic hooks while each member creates a solid dynamic which results in sonic depth. "Sweet Vicious" is a punk romance. It's sassy and references elements of the nerves you get when thinking about that special crush.  Dirty Limbs hits their grit on the money. Need more, in fact, toss that heat on the speakers, I need to get ready for a hot date.

Eliot Sumner
Information (Island)
Have you ever wanted to shed your skin and become someone entirely new? Have you ever wanted to truly follow your heart and be who you wanted to be, and not some"thing" everyone around you wishes? Cue: Eliot Sumner; leading the pack in doing just that. Eliot tossed aside her stage name, I Blame CoCo; a pretty girl playing cute pop music. Who has Eliot become now? A fierce androgynous artist. No make up, no cute dresses. A forward-thinking, fearless mind, wearing and playing what ever the fuck she wants. Being the daughter of STING doesn't hurt either. Her voice hauntingly takes after her father and hearing such powerful low end come from a female is somewhat interesting to comprehend in itself. But it works, for her, it totally works. Eliot's style and stage antics inspired me to think about how I represent my own self. Information leads a genre of simplistic dark wave pop. It's beyond efficient and pulls at my inner high school angst of trying to "fit in" and find my place. Replayability is 10/10. Catchy as fuck with a heavy scoop of respect.

Head Wound City
A New Wave Of Violence (Vice Records)
Saw these guys at Treefort Fest 2016, just as this album was being released. 10/10 would endure a neck muscle spasm front of stage again. I'm also pretty sure I discovered God during their live set. Didn't hurt that Justin Pearson is just so darn dreamy, too. Sorry, back to the album! .... Which brings in much satisfaction! Given this album is anything but mainstream I feel it was highly overlooked by a lot of people. It's abrasive, yes, yet the hooks are remarkably well arranged. The sharp hits mixed with dark grooves are really fucking mature for a thrashcore band. Anyway you want to put it... hardcore, post punk, goth, whatever; this shit is lit and heavy. The screams are mint and at times, oddly, beautiful. Allowing the mind to re-think what beautiful potentially embodies. A New Wave Of Violence is everything my 17 year old self worships. Wild; the truth.

Radiohead
A Moon Shaped Pool
To be quite honest I've never been a huge Radiohead fan. I loved Hail To The Thief and gave In Rainbows a few spins. I am lucky enough to be surrounded by Radiohead fans, however, and was in a car with Light Thieves on our way to Seattle when this album debuted. My friend, Joel, popped in the AUX cord just before sunset as we were passing through the rolling green mountains of Oregon. I packed a bowl of fine California flower and was ready for the glorious soundscapes that bloomed within A Moon Shaped Pool. I specifically recall the moment the album ended and we all looked at each other in the car, unanimously agreeing to play the whole thing over again immediately. This album isn't something that can be truly appreciated in one listen. Hell, I don't believe I can accurately describe how transcending and galactic this album made me feel. A brilliant achievement for a band that I thought had already done it all. Their story continues to spread eons.

Sagey (Fresno, CA)
s/t
Ladies and Germs.... Sagey is here. First off, let us please take a knee for the production quality on this release. It's not often you find a rap album from your local scene that slaps proper. Sometimes I just wanna cruise down Blackstone with my hood rich blood magic squad, AKA my cat, and that's when I pull up and pop in the Sagey. If this album came out when I was 20 years old, living on my own for the first time, I'd probably have a 10 year old kid right about now. I mean... anyways, this album makes me wanna get wild. You know?

Savages
Adore Life (Matador)
Oh, Savages... Massively feminine lyrical content with the force of masculine riffage. Holy shit these ladies have raised the bar for femme punk outfits. Incredibly sticky hooks, insanely simple composition that manages to fool you into thinking it's changing... but it's not.... sometimes they play the same fucking riff for an entire song but you don't even notice because Jehnny Beth is just killing it on vocals. Now that's pure magic. Jehnny delivers the truth on a straight arrow to the heart. Poetic and chaotic, beauty and darkness; a word smith virtuoso. This album is the future. This album challenges what the world finds women capable of on an aggressive level. Aspiring.

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