“Lupon,” the 2010 debut from Portland, Ore., band Y La Bamba, was an excellent albums that didn’t get nearly enough attention, and the song “Juniper” is still in frequent rotation at Listen, Dammit, World Headquarters. Maybe Y La Bamba will earn a little more notice for the follow-up, due in February.
“Court the Storm” builds on the chamber-folk sound of its predecessor, and singer Luzelena Mendoza has “embraced her heritage and personal experiences,” according to the press notes, singing four songs in Spanish on the album, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. “Squawk,” the free song, is not one of them, but that’s not to say it’s not compelling. It is, thanks to a speedy guitar part weaving its way through lush vocal harmonies and dry, resonant thumps on a bass drum.
The album, due Feb. 28, is the first pay-what-you-want digital release on Tender Loving Empire. Don’t be stingy, people: Y La Bamba’s music is worth a bundle.
Photo by Ingrid Renan