“Things are ok here but this year there wasn’t a Christmas truce. In fact the city woke up on Dec 31 with the news of a dead topless woman hanging from a bridge in one of the main avenues...”
Thus begins one of the dozens of emails from Monterrey, Mexico’s Los Llamarada to S.S. Records during the recording of their third and final album, Gone Gone Cold. Since their first album on S.S., The Exploding Now!, Llamarada has made some of the most striking psychedelic punk of the last decade. In the spirit of Red Crayola and 13th Floor Elevators, Llamarada approach to psych is devoid of rules, trends, or convention. Like Mars, they feel their way through sound, finding songs in the playing. However, while The Exploding Now! and their second album, Take the Sky, reflect the band’s (then) excitement with their future and possibility, Gone Gone Cold looks at present day Mexico and its never-end Drug War.
On Gone Gone Cold, fans of Los Llamarada will hear their oft-noted claustrophobic no-fi sound, but the songs a less settled than before. Confusion trumps structure, until a riff or pulse builds in intensity and the song enters into panic. Or a song starts at a panicked pace and unravels into a single phrase. There still is the subverted surf-guitar and male/female chant/vocals, but the drums are stronger and keyboards more insistent – sounds desperate for a way out.
“They hanged some rival gang members from pedestrian bridges, some dead, some alive (those were shot). Other was hanged and burned. Those kind of things happened on broad daylight, and were seen by friends on their way home from work. The police usually keep a respectful distance and do nothing…The chief of security of one of the last remaining rock bars was also killed, a guy who we all knew and who had helped us in one way or another. He was shot along with two other guys, and the bodies were stolen. The bar closed after that and it has stayed that way. The owner fled to the USA, as some other people has done. So now there are almost no places to play.”
Some song titles: “He Was Killed,” “There is No Ending,” “All Gods Collapse,” “Inside the Fire.” The lyrics are just as much poetry as they are song lyrics – frustrated, enraged, and depressed, but also defiant. As much as Gone Gone Cold is Los Llamarada’s mirror of Mexico and their besieged hometown of Monterrey, it is also an assertion of noise over death and of art over war. Packaged in Stoughton “old style” tip-on sleeves, Los Llamarada’s Gone Gone Cold is the best psychedelic reaction to war since Red Crayola’s “War Sucks.”
“The latest news! The army is now searching houses at random. They ask for permission first; I don’t think anybody has said no. They don’t break or steal things... they just look around and ask questions. They haven’t been here yet, but I’ve already cleaned the house!”
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Los Llamarada - Heaven of Glass by S. S./ Sol Re Sol Records