Cousins Gilberto and Karin Rodriguez have been steadily synthesizing a unique type of musical and cultural fusion together as Almas Fronterizas. Blending their lived experiences in Mexico City, Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area with a musical lineage paying homage to their Indigenous roots, they’ve created a representative musical offering, a modern day psychedelic sonic painting of analog blues, rock, and brown-eyed soul.
The group’s first several releases, via their own imprint Discos Pistolas y Saguaros, solidified their space in a wide encompassing and constant changing West Coast music scene, yet stood out with an experimental freedom and independent hustle that found kindred spirits in New York City record label Names You Can Trust.
Now, after a suitable time marinating together with NYCT, a natural continuation of the group’s ethos is presented in the form of two new songs on 7-inch vinyl. Featuring a third cousin in Carlos Rodriguez on trumpet, plus percussive powerhouse Ahkeel Mestayer on timbales, conga and maracas, Brian Tuley on flute, Devin Hollister on bass and horn arrangements by La Doña’s Cecilia Peña-Govea, the tracks were recorded in Berkeley by Mike Walti and mixed down in Brooklyn for a true coast to coast collaboration. Out in the front, Gilberto’s vocals drive drop-top down, wide open and honest in melancholic blue notes, whether he’s motoring down the highway over northern soul-with-a-hook A-side, “Cruel Desperation,” or cruising on the avenue in the slow-motion B-side ballad burner, “Linda Morenita,” it’s another showcase of the tremendous range of style and engaging expression that this group can hit.
released May 14, 2021
Written & Arranged by Gilberto Daniel Rodriguez & Almas Fronterizas
Published by Just Chuckle Music, ASCAP
Recorded at Wildwood Studios, Berkeley, California
Mixed by Eric Banta in Brooklyn, NY
Mastered by Frank Merritt at The Carvery, London
Photography by Fernando Rodriguez
Almas Fronterizas Type by Juan Solis
Cover Design by Little Dynasty
supported by 24 fans who also own “Cruel Desperation”
Like so many others, this came like a bolt out of the blue and, even though it's well before payday, I had to have this astonishing album on vinyl to prove it exists. The feel of the tunes makes me feel like the Impressions do, Curtis Mayfield, the big spaces and instinctive horns and stuff drifting in and out. Great grooves and I can see lots of ghosts nodding along to this with big smiles on their faces. At last! Anthony Cottrell