TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Los Hacheros, Bambulaye

As our own Joseph Neff wrote mere weeks back, “Those wishing to soak up vibrant Latin roots in a contemporary context have a prime opportunity right in their midst, for the second LP from Brooklyn’s Los Hacheros is complete and on the cusp of release. A five-piece band deeply informed by tradition yet infused with verve only possible by routinely ruling bandstands in the here and now, Los Hacheros transfer this knowledge and experience into the grooves of Bambulaye with uncommon success. It’s a record of astounding assurance and power out February 26 on the Chulo label as distributed by the discerning ears in charge at Daptone.

Bambulaye is simultaneously a trove of Latin musical history and a vessel of sweat-inducing grooves; beyond slapping the record onto a turntable, perhaps the easiest way to relate Los Hacheros’ duality of insight and energy is to report on gigs spanning from the Museum of Modern Art and the Lincoln Center to performances at quincañeras (birthday parties for Latin American girls turning fifteen years old) and Bronx strip clubs.

The assortment of venues says much about Los Hacheros’ sheer utility, while the breadth of their approach underscores their music’s importance without making any fuss over legitimacy; son montuno, guaracha, and salsa, all described in Bambulaye’s promo notes as “folkloric” styles, get combined with Bomba, a highly intense rhythm harkening back to the mountains of Puerto Rico…

Indeed, this album stands up extremely well to home listening, and while Plasse’s production is a crucial factor in this equation, Bambulaye also flows better than Pilon. Furthermore, “Bomba de Loisa” brandishes exquisite dialogue between trombone and flute that’s mirrored by the interplay of Jimenez and his fellow vocalists.

Giving every aspect of the group numerous turns in an adeptly rotating spotlight, “Timbalaye” is a late highpoint; there are enticing tres patterns (including a remarkable solo spot), soulful clarity of voice, raw waves of ‘bone, layered percussion, disciplined (i.e. non-show-off) fluting, agile and weighty bass, and a diversity a melodic angles from the violin. The band emits a relaxed air never faltering into softness, and near the close they adroitly redirect into an exchange of drums and vocal as a splendid capper.

They tend toward lengthier workouts, but “Las Nieves de Brooklyn” is a succinct bit of violin and flute-driven attractiveness leading into “Descarga para Abe.” Having showcased sharpened talent on this outstanding LP, Los Hacheros get a little loose in its closing moments, opening on an expansive discussion between flute and ‘bone, tightening into spirited Latin propulsion and then ending it all almost casually, as if insinuating Bambulaye as just another step in their development and that the best is yet to come.”

Enter to win Los Hacheros’ Bambulaye on vinyl by citing in the comments below an album of any genre that for you “stands up extremely well to home listening.”

We’ll choose one hip homebody with a North American mailing address for the LP one week from today, March 22, 2016.

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  • Tom Pape

    Alan Parsons Project -I Robot

  • Christopher Pepe

    Los Hacheros – Pilon. Been a fan for a while now and that album sounds great on my turntable!

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