Now comes the part in the playlist’s “Latino week” where it gets the toughest.  I know there are or have been Latino progressive rock bands out there — just from Spain alone, there are bands like Atila, Haizea, Itoiz, Mezquita, and Triana — that, like so many other progressive groups regardless of nationality, have found problems crossing borders to a larger audience.

The Mars Volta on stage at the Vegoose Festival.
The Mars Volta on stage at the Vegoose Festival. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then there’s The Mars Volta.  They’re from America — specifically from El Paso, Texas — but there’s a definite Latin American connection there.  You’ll know it when you hear lead singer/lyricist Cedric Bixler-Zavala belt out a tune in Spanish, as in “L’Via L’Viaquez.”  Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez was born in Puerto Rico and grew up in Texas, as with his younger brother, keyboardist Marcel.

They have definitely made a name for themselves.  Rolling Stone magazine named The Mars Volta best prog rock band in 2008, and they took home a Grammy Award in 2009 for best hard rock performance for the song “Wax Simulacra.”

There is everything here that makes a rock group “progressive,” right down to a kind of “math rock” flavoring — time signatures galore, experimentation, songs that go on seemingly forever (over 32 minutes in the odd case), a bit of psychedelia and jazz.

It’s all there, brought to you in a way that slaps you across the face a few times and says, “WAKE UP!!!”

Smooth, easy listening it is not.  Complex, in-your-face … definitely.


2 thoughts on “My music playlist for today (July 18, 2012 edition)

  1. Fantastic band and great clips! I absolutely love the Tetragammaton live video. For any of your readers who don’t know The Mars Volta, check them out. Serious chops, energy, talent and just all around great music.

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