East L.A.’s Los Lobos
By Carrie Lombardi
The Grammy-winning East L.A. band celebrates the release of Tin Can Trust with a very special performance at New York City’s Bowery Ballroom on August 3. WFUV Public Radio will be on site in NYC to record the show and stream back in its entirety at a later date. In the meantime, get a sneak listen of the band’s new material: download a free track from the album at http://www.LosLobosTinCanTrust.com
With Tin Can Trust – Los Lobos’ first release for Shout! Factory and first collection of new original material in four years – the venerable quintet once again redefines itself and expands its scope, while never losing sight of where they come from. And, like so much of Los Lobos’ previous work, Tin Can Trust is an album that speaks to the time and place in which it was conceived; the album’s title can be traced back more than a century, but for the band, it’s apt for the rickety state in which so many of us find ourselves – and our world – today.
The 11 tracks on Tin Can Trust offer the perfect balance of Los Lobos’ parts: the band’s lineup has remained uninterrupted since 1984, when saxophonist/keyboardist Steve Berlin joined original members Louie Pérez (guitar, drums, vocals), David Hidalgo (guitar, violin, accordion, percussion, vocals), Cesar Rosas (guitar, vocals) and Conrad Lozano (bass, vocals), each of whom had been there since the beginning in 1973.
Seven songs on the album are distinguished and genius Hidalgo-Pérez collaborations, including the opening track “I’ll Burn It Down,” which features a guest vocal harmony from blues-rocker Susan Tedeschi. Three others were written in whole or in part by Rosas – including the album’s two Spanish-language numbers: the cumbia “Yo Canto” and the norteño “Mujer Ingrata” – and display Los Lobos’ signature seamless infusion of Mexican folk songs into rock music. Also included in Tin Can Trust – a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “West L.A. Fadeaway” – offering a nod to the bands’ shared history that extends back into the 1980s when the Angelenos befriended and opened shows for their northern peers.
As with every new recording Los Lobos makes, Tin Can Trust moves Los Lobos into yet another new dimension while simultaneously sounding like no one else in the world but Los Lobos. Los Lobos’ unified vision and strong work ethic are evident throughout the self-produced album, but so is something even greater: “an intuitiveness,” says Los Lobos songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Louie Pérez, “that happens only from being in a band for so long.” As Rolling Stone once wrote, “This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for 30 years to see how far it can take them.”
Early reviews of Los Lobos’ forthcoming studio release are in, and critics are already hailing Tin Can Trust as one of the band’s very best.
“Five Stars. A masterful album from a great American band, at the peak of its considerable powers.” – Uncut UK
“A return to the straightforward, rootsy sound of their earliest albums.” – SoundSpike
Visit http://www.loslobos.org for up-to-minute information.
This article was also published in Alternatives NewsMagazine, July 29, 2010.