Welcome to the "Nothing Not New," a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.
Album: Está Bueno!
Release Date: March 2, 2010
Label: Bismeaux Records
Straight-up, no-frills, good-natured Tex-Mex songs by a band that used to feature Texas legends Doug Sahm and Freddy Fender. This is good-time music that is definitely begging to be witnessed live, with cold beer in hand. On disc, it loses some of its charm. And here's a warning: You'd better love accordion because it is the most prominent instrument on Está Bueno!
On the surface, the Texas Tornados music sounds a lot like the norteño
music you hear in just about any of the Valley's many taquerías
(not that that's a bad thing), but there's a lot of American roots music here, too.
I do like the band's sense of humor and the way they seamlessly mixes English- and Spanish-language lyrics, though some of said lyrics are simply ridiculous. On the title track, a song about eating jalapeños, they sing: "The second time I ate 'em / I laid 'em /All in row, my jalapeño / One by one, they soon disappeared / They were so good, but they burned in the rear." On opening track "Velma from Selma": "Your father, he told me, he never wants to see me hanging around anymore / He said if he found me, he'd take me up and ground me / and make enchiladas out of me." And, in "In Heaven, There's No Beer": "In heaven, there is no beer / That's why we drink it here." Makes perfect sense to me.
Best song: "Who's to Blame, Señorita"
Rotation: Not really my cup of tea (so much accordion!), but a fairly effortless listen. Medium rotation.
I'd rather listen to: The Blasters