Barrio Tiger Ave Maria
Listen and Buy
“No frills, no bullshit, just a solid example of what a rock record is supposed to sound like. From the writing and playing down to the production, this is aces all around.”
-Doug Walker, Varla Magazine.
-Doug Walker, Varla Magazine.
Barrio Tiger is a self-described “Punk/Garage” band. A lot of their press likens them to the Detroit sound, or the New York sound…but the press misses one important factor. Barrio Tiger is unmistakably Californian in their sound. While the facets of rock, garage, and early punk are all present, there’s the unmistakable influence of Orange County and Los Angeles punk. There’s something inherently dirty about the Detroit and New York sounds. This isn’t quite like that. This is top-down on the 5, sun setting into the Pacific ocean, cruising rock and roll.
On vocals and guitar, Calixto Hernandez lands somewhere in between Nicke Andersson from The Hellacopters and Mike Ness, as much as I hate to compare anything to Social Distortion. The delivery has a punch and clarity to it with just a hint of gravel around the the edges of his voice. There’s a confidence behind the presentation of the lyrics and the notes. The rock and roll swagger is oh-so important to this style of music. He’s telling you a story and keeping all the hooks in the song sharp at the same time.
On the guitars, Calixto Hernandez and Jimmy James use a very natural overdriven tone. I enjoyed the combination of bar chords and open chords to give the songs a different feel. Many times rock and roll bands will go all out in one direction or the other with the type of chords they use. The coolest records mix it up, and these guys do a solid job of it. Mr. James’ lead work is very solid and very tasteful. Maybe not the flashiest display you’ll hear, but sometimes it’s not the flash…it’s the ‘tude, and his solos are full of attitude. Now, there are 2 schools of thought when it comes to dual guitar bands. I’m personally of the mind that 2 guitars should play different parts to make one larger part. The other side of the coin is using 2 guitars playing the same thing to make it sound absolutely huge. That’s the road they go down with this record and it works really, really well. You can listen to this record and imagine how they sound live. Due to the parts being similar, you don’t hear much layering happening on the guitar tracks. That gives it a very natural organic sound, and their tones are pretty much perfect.
The rhythm section is held down by Pete Lyman on bass and Mark Benquechea on drums. The bass is present throughout the record while not being overpowering. It’s subtle but it’s crucial to the sound of the record. The tone of the bass is incredibly warm. There’s a good presence of the low mid range of the EQ spectrum, making it push through underneath the guitars quite nicely. The playing is incredibly solid. Pete is deep in the pocket with Mark as they build the skeleton of each song. Mark’s drumming is probably my favorite part of the record. One of the biggest pitfalls of this type of 4 on the floor rock is figuring out how to keep the drums dynamic and interesting. Mark is playing the riffs on drums. All the accents are there. Every last one of them. It makes the riffs hit that much harder as you’re listening. His choice of fills is pretty killer. I like to be a hyper critical dick and listen through to count the amount of fills, the variety of them, and the number of repeats. What’s so great about the drumming on this record is the sheer variety of fills. There’s a great, tasteful feel to all of it. Any up and coming drummers looking for a great example of straight rock and roll drumming should check this record out and take notes.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing these guys live. I had pretty high expectations when I got the record. I wasn’t let down in the slightest. No frills, no bullshit, just a solid example of what a rock record is supposed to sound like. From the writing and playing down to the production, this is aces all around.
#musicmonday #barriotiger #avemaria #varlamagazine #varla #varlaentertainent