The Los Sundowns is a breezy record of Psychedelic Soul conceptualized by Beto Martinez (Grammy-winning Guitarist/Producer-Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Money Chicha) and Daniel Villarreal (Drummer and DJ, Dos Santos). Written, Recorded and Produced by Martinez at his studio, Lechehouse Music, and featuring a host of friends across the 6 tracks, the reverb-laden platter conjures the sound of Latin American balladeers and crooners of the 60s, updating the vibe and transporting the listener to a beachside hang from sunup to sundown. The duo have just released their new video “Los Angeles,” encapsulating the vibe of the record and the spirit behind it. It features the haunting background vocals of Fermin Sanchez of CDMX based band The Guadaloops, and transports the listener to a quiet beach at sunset with equal parts blissful relaxation and introspective melancholy.
The Los Sundowns began as a concept between longtime collaborators Beto Martinez & Daniel Villarreal. Beto explains, “We discussed this idea and concept for about a year, before I finally found myself with some significant time off at the end of 2019 after heavy summer touring. I had set in motion a general plan to initiate multiple collaborations with musicians I knew and make 2020 a year of releases for me outside of my main bands. I began to demo some songs and send the ideas to Daniel and we set a date in January for him to fly down from Chicago and begin tracking these songs.” Luckily the duo was able to get the foundation laid through their initial January session in Buda, TX at Beto’s Lechehouse Music studio, before COVID-19 changed the course of the year. These sessions evolved with overdubs and final arrangements before they tapped into their talented pool of friends.
Alex Chavez, lead singer of Dos Santos contributes to the first single “Al Final de La Tarde.” “Al Final de La Tarde” is a classic, yearning ballad, awash in reverb and sorrowful lament. It suggests the range of emotion that can be teased up while watching a beautiful sunset, from content satisfaction giving way to a lover’s remorse of what is and what could be. “Al Final de La Tarde” was written by Chilean Crooner Buddy Richard and interpreted by Los Angeles Negros, whose version The Los Sundowns adapted. Alex Chavez lends lead vocals and perfectly captures the emotion of the song.
“Darksides” was the second song written for the record. It implies a more sinister turn from the rest of the record. Driving guitars and heavy drums drive an emotional change and tides shift to more aggressive attitudes as slightly darker vibes emerge from the shadows. “Quiereme” is a classic, soulful low-rider ballad. Vocalist and drummer Alex Marrero (Brownout) sings of yearning to be loved and to have his lover by his side alongside bass from Greg Gonzalez (Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, Money Chicha). The style and instrumentation suggest an uncomplicated nostalgia, old-school Chicano Soul. The band closes the record with “Se Cae El Sol.” The final track is built on a driving and emotive bass line. The Farfisa Organ, played by Peter Stopschinski (Brownout), lends an almost classical flair to the cinematic and reverb-drenched guitar, which climbs from a haunting melody to a climactic staccato solo.
For 20 years Beto Martinez has written and released music in the context of bands Grupo Fantasma, Brownout, and Money Chicha. Each have their unique voice and his songwriting has filtered through those collectives. Martinez concludes, “With this release, I hope to reveal another side, to showcase my myriad influences and also present a more concise depiction of my songwriting as direct from the source, unadulterated and without the inevitable filter of the larger band dynamic, or the considerations of the live environment. The project was developed conceptually with Daniel Villarreal, who initially suggested exploring the vibes and sounds of the Latin Psychedelic Soul we both have a strong affinity for. His initial suggestions led me to write these songs and ultimately, his drumming tied the record together.”
The self-titled debut EP is Out Now on vinyl and on all digital platforms, via Martinez’s new record label, Lechehouse Music, in partnership with Fat Beats Distribution.