Like Riding Shotgun Through the Streets of East L.A.

Monte Carlo 76 releases new album "Marisela": Sweet sounds of West Coast soul with vivid stories

Published on LatinoLA: February 18, 2009

Like Riding Shotgun Through the Streets of East L.A.

After five years Monte Carlo 76 releases its highly anticipated album, Marisela. Merging the sweet sounds of West Coast soul with the vivid stories ranging from love to gentrification, weaving together the harsh and beautiful tales that form the experience of living in the barrio.

Sometimes life gets in the way of art, which is why it has taken Monte Carlo 76 five years to release their second album, Marisela. Interweaving the band's personal struggles with love and heartbreak, death and relocations, this album is an ode to East L.A. and the people who live in it.

The album's title is a plea to Marisela Norte, the infamous East L.A. writer, for guidance through troubled times. It was a given that the band would name the album after this song, considering all the obstacles they went through to make this album.

Much of the material for The Monte Carlo Fantasy came from the East L.A. neighborhood, rehearsing in City Terrace ‘«Ű a barrio so full of characters that stories just wafted in through the alley way beyond the open doors of their studio.

Marisela continues these narrations but with a different approach. With the combined talents of co-producer Martha Gonzalez and luminous vocalist Marisa Ronstadt (cousin of Linda Ronstadt), Marisela has a definitive feminine perspective, providing a subtle but distinct departure from the previous album.

Marisa is a South Phoenix native trained as a mariachi singer with a love for R&B, while Martha is a veteran of the East Los Angeles scene as a founding member of seminal band Quetzal. The addition of harmonica player Tex Nakamura (formerly of WAR) further solidifies the slow and low sound of Monte Carlo 76 without typecasting the band into the oldie but goodie set.

Marisela represents the changes of life occurring through gentle erosion or sudden plunges.
Ranging from love songs: "Leave The Weight Of The World Behind", "Intoxicating", "Mesmerized", to bouts with addiction: "Yodix", "Sun Will Rise" and stories about the hood: "Kools", "Avalos" to the ongoing gentrification of the barrios: "The O.G's In The Park", "Love‘«™ The Night & Gentrification".

Song highlights of "Marisela":

"Intoxicating": Martha Gonzalez and Marisa created a story of a woman who is trying to explain to the man she ultimately wants, that she is the real deal. There is nothing fake about her. She is beautiful, loving, kind and very comfortable in her own skin. She knows her worth and if he doesn't take advantage of this opportunity, it's going to pass him by.

"Visitation Rights (Leave the weight of the world behind)": Marisa‘«™During my first rehearsals with MC 76, I was listening to Visitation Rights as an instrumental and asked Jeremy and Gomez if I could write something for it. I pictured myself and my husband cruising these LA freeways with no one else on the road but us; a sunset painted sky, wind in my hair and not care in the world. Though I am not from East LA, I do know that the Southside Phoenix barrio I come from shares the same hardships and struggles as those from East LA and many other barrios across the U.S. We all imagine one of these good days. And this is how I envisioned mine. Just for one day, we hadn't a fear or trouble; we left the weight of our world behind.

"Marisela": A song about heartbreak and also a tribute to the East L.A. writer and novelist, Marisela Norte. She is the kind of writer who will write anywhere, at work, at a bus stop, at a K-Mart coffee shop, simply because she needs to get what's inside her out at that very moment. To say she is inspiration is an understatement. Without her example, most of these songs probably would have never been completed.

"Yodix" : Gomez‘«™I went to Japan where the crows are so big that they look like they could carry people away. I felt at the time that my vices were carrying me away the minute I would step outside my front door, almost as if I had no choice. It's also about the comfort of hanging out in bars, where misery has plenty of company.

"The OGs In The Park": Gomez‘«™This song is about my time living in Echo Park. I lived there for almost ten years. I watched the neighborhood change from a working class neighborhood to a hipster's playground. The song is about the often unheard resentment that longtime residents of the barrio have with the new residents who will soon displace them.

Monte Carlo 76 was born in 2003 from the remains of keyboardist Gomez Comes Alive! (GCA) and guitarist Jeremy Keller's former group Slowrider. Rooted in Chicano soul but inspired by the mellow electronic of Air and Stereolab, their debut album, The Monte Carlo Fantasy, was critically acclaimed and garnered them an L.A. Weekly Music Awards nomination as Best Latin Alternative Band and also was released in Japan.

With the release of Marisela, Monte Carlo 76 hopes to venture into new musical territories while looking into their past and not forgetting it.

"Marisela" Available Now:
CDBaby.com, ITunes, Amazon, Amoeba Music, UrbanXic and Download Cards available at shows.

Monte Carlo 76 Events:

Monte Carlo 76 listening party/spoken word performance {will do a few 'unplugged' versions of their songs} scheduled for February 21, 2009 @ Teocintli 2717 e. 4th. St, Boyle Heights, California, 90033 US from 7:00 p.m. -11:00 p.m. (323) 266-2117. Featuring special guests Rafa Cardenas, Happy Frejo, Ruben Funkahuatl Guevara, Los Poets del Norte, Olmeca, Raul Pacheco, Quese Imc.

Monte Carlo 76 LIVE in-studio performance on Saturday March 21, 2009 at KPFK Travel Tips For Aztlan 90.7 in Los Angeles 98.7 in Santa Barbara or online kpfk.org FM so tune in.

Monte Carlo 76 official release party is scheduled for March 25, 2009, @ Mama Juana's 3707 Cahuenga Blvd, Studio City CA 91604 (818) 505-8636


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