Listen to the song "Cuatro Crazy"
Y La Bamba has been many things, but at the heart of it is singer-songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza’s inquisitive sense of self. Their fifth record, Mujeres, carries on the Portland-based band’s affinity for spiritual contemplation, but goes a step further in telling a story with a full emotional spectrum. Coming off Ojos Del Sol, one of NPR’s Top 50 Albums of 2016, Mujeres exhibits the scope of Mendoza’s artistic voice like never before. “Soy como soy,” Mendoza says, and that declaration is the bold— even political— statement that positions Mujeres to be Y La Bamba’s most unbridled offering yet.
The record exists in the post-2016 landscape of a national identity crisis, and Mendoza explores what it means to be a Mexican American woman by leading us through places we are afraid to go. Mujeres ventures in to the discomfort of the stories we tell ourselves. Those of our past, our futures. We all have these stories somewhere inside of us, but with Y La Bamba, Mendoza forges new narratives from old stories of heritage and family, tracing history while forging modern chicana feminism.
“Music is an extension of everything I have inside. It’s how I emote,” Mendoza says. The raw honesty of Mujeres is in fact the raw honesty of Mendoza. Armed with the emotionality of traditional música mexicana and the storytelling of American folk, Y La Bamba’s artistry is not just their musical ability but Mendoza’s search for unadulterated truth. It is in an ancestral, spiritual journey in which Mendoza comes to terms with the influence and limitations of her upbringing. Mendoza’s experience of childhood summers in the San Joaquin Valley listening to mariachi, of being raised strict Catholic by immigrant parents, of being a woman having to prove herself to the boys, paints strokes of both melancholy and healing on the tracks. “From the way that my family struggles, to the way they shoot the shit… it’s so different from whiteness,” Mendoza says. “It’s a different dimension.”
Y La Bamba exists in the dimension of the Mexican American imagination: somewhere cynical and optimistic at the same time. While there is a celebration of the Mexican creativity that has informed Mendoza’s life, there is a darker side to reconcile with. Where do mujeres fit in to the American story? What are the sins for which we are all guilty? How do different generations interact with the world? How can a culture become visible without tokenization? It is no surprise that in Mujeres, Y La Bamba’s first record with Mendoza at the helm of production, Mendoza contemplates these questions to tell her story. But it is not just Mendoza’s story. Challenging a narrative and dealing with the emotionality of that effort— that is everyone’s story.
Mujeres was recorded by Luz Elena Mendoza and Ryan Oxford at Color Therapy Studios and Besitos Fritos Studios in Portland, Oregon. Mixed by Jeff Bond, with Grace Bugbee on bass, John Niekrasz on drums, Margaret Wher Gibson on keys, and Ed Rodriguez and Ryan Oxford on electric guitar.
Bio written by Eliza Cossio
- 1. My Death
2. Real Talk
3. Cuatro Crazy
5. Lightning Storms
7. Boca Llena
10. Una Letra
11. Santa Sal
12. Bruja de Brujas
13. Follow Your Feet
14. De Lejos (Digital only bonus track)
- Formed in 2008, Y La Bamba is the project of songwriter Luz Elena Mendoza. Upon listening to Mendoza’s music it’s clear that she draws from a myriad of influences--from Mexican 30’s tunes to Devendra Banhart. Mendoza’s distinctive voice, poetic and honest lyrics, and melding of disparate genres has earned the project fans across the country and has perked the ears of journalists at the likes of NPR, Vice, and Rolling Stone. Always open to exploration and hungry for further musical development, Y La Bamba is an exciting band to watch grow and consistently keeps fans wondering and anxious to see what they will put out next.
Listen to the song "Gloria"
For The Shivas, the show has always been the thing. That thing being a bombastic, explosive and thoroughly communal live rock and roll experience where barriers between the performers and their audience seem to dissolve into the sweat and sound. It’s the stage—or the basement, or the living room—that’s the Portland band’s true element. It’s their raison d’etre. It’s their religion..
The album is a defining sonic achievement for the band, which began booking their own tours in high school. The group blasted their way through Portland’s storied and unsanctioned mid-aughts house show scene. Since then they have played over 1,000 shows spread over 25 countries, meeting new fans and friends from Belgrade to Mexico City. But The Shivas—guitarist/singer Jared Molyneux, bassist Eric Shanafelt and drummer/singer Kristin Leonard have all been with the band since its earliest days; guitarist Jeff Boyardee joined in 2017—still speak about their project with a DIY humility that sounds like their native Pacific Northwest. They talk up their own favorite bands, play all-ages shows whenever possible, and they bring a sort of blue-collar humanism to the live performances they relish so much. “We just want to make people feel good,” guitarist/ singer Jared Molyneux says. “We want them to forget they have to work tomorrow.”
Dark Thoughts is the sound of a tight-knit band whose members have learned not just how to trust each other, but how to grow together. “Being adults now,” Leonard says. “We’re starting to talk a lot more philosophically about why we do what we do. Some of my favorite music came from people needing to find a space. Music is just such a visceral place to find a release.”
That’s what The Shivas are here for: to help people get free, if even just for an hour.
If they drop a few great albums along the way, so be it.
- 1. Gloria
2. Turn Me On
3. Playing On The Radio
4. If You See Me
5. Start A Fire
6. IDC Lucky #13
7. Sometimes II
8. Can't Relax
9. I Want You
10. Feels Surreal
11. Over & Over
12. It's All In Your Head
13. Can You Feel It Too?
- The Shivas are a rock and roll band from Portland, Oregon formed in 2006. In the 10 years since forming they have brought their raucous dance party to almost all 50 states, and over 25 countries worldwide, meanwhile releasing five full-length albums and three EP. The bands fifth studio album is due out fall of 2019.
Entre Los Dos
Listen to the song "Rios Sueltos"
How far does our sentimental strength go? When do we turn to the other without any resistance? What is the breaking point? By showing emotional connections we become vulnerable. Existing together, we can not conceive without the other. "I am another you" is a Mayan thought that blurs the limits of personal bonds, extending individuality to any being that we choose to look in the eyes, allowing us to find something shared in each others stare.
Entre Los Dos is the follow up to critically acclaimed Mujeres (NPR, Pitchfork, Billboard), Y La Bamba's most recently released full length album (February 2019). This EP comes as a collection of portraits, affinities, and new visions birthed during Mendoza's frequent stays in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. These are songs and powerful prayers, created with their purpose being to protect the land and its people, recognize the ancestry that burns in our hearts, and treasure wisdom weaving healthy bonds that reflect self-love with dignity.
Through the veins of front person Luz Elena Mendoza, runs Purepecha blood. Adapting to new environments over and over again, she has become someone who constantly questions and empowers through music: her great teacher and tireless companion.
The creative flow of Entre Los Dos moves without stopping, without resisting its own form. It adapts, migrates, and fuses with its environment and receptors. The adrenaline of a new beginning moves us, but also leaves a fragile space where the fear of being cornered and devoured may exist. When you float in foreign waters, you can not do more than surrender to doubt and become one with the death. The world is dangerous, and even more so when it comes to surrendering blindly to love.
- 1. Gabriel
2. Entre Los Dos
3. Rios Sueltos
6. Las Platicas
7. Los Gritos
- Entre Los Dos is the follow up to critically acclaimed Mujeres (NPR, Pitchfork, Billboard), Y La Bamba's most recently released full length album (February 2019). This EP comes as a collection of portraits, affinities, and new visions birthed during Mendoza's frequent stays in the city of Guadalajara, Mexico. These are songs and powerful prayers, created with their purpose being to protect the land and its people, recognize the ancestry that burns in our hearts, and treasure wisdom weaving healthy bonds that reflect self-love with dignity.
Friends and Friends of Friends Vol 12
Friends & Friends of Friends is an annual 2-disc compilation of music curated by Tender Loving Empire. We collect submissions from our friends and (as the compilation title might suggest) from their friends. We request specific songs that we love and include our favorite jams from bands on our own record label. This year it's time for number 12, and we've put together 40 songs that reflect the best of what we're into now.
1. Vita and the Woolf - Sun Drop
2. Bells Atlas - First Gen Pisces
3. Ural thomas & the Pain - Smoldering Fire
4. Arthur & The Antics - Jennifer Said
5. The California Honeydrops - Live Learn
6. Aftercare - Still Love
7. Slow Corpse - Lonely 3000
8. Blossom -Moi å Moi
9. Ripley Snell - Manifinessea (ft. Old Grape God)
10. SISTERS - Y Do U Take So Long ft. Sol (Budo Remix)
11. Brijean - Show And Tell
12. PALMCO - Don't Let Me Down
13. Small Skies - Faces
14. Pure Bathing Culture - Moonrise
15. New Body Electric - Peaceful War
16. Human Ottoman - Maraca Who
17. Martha Stax - Rock and Roll
18. Jeff Bond - We Are Getting Closer
19. Little Wins - Let Me Into Your Heart
1. Y La Bamba - Boca Llena
2. Neptuna - Las Margaritas
3. The Shivas - Turn Me On
4. Elly Swope - Habits
5. Balto - Black Snake, Mojave Blues
6. The Rare Forms - Under The sheets
7. Help - Skeletons
8. Mega Pacific - Weed Police
9. Laundry - Junkyard Robot
10. Patrician - Your Friend
11. Sama Dams - Mounted On The Wall
12. Rum River Cult - Strangers Now
13. Melt - Snow
14. Shadowgraphs - Sun Is Rising
15. Mo Troper - Never Dream Of Dying
16. Perhapsy - 34th & West
17. Souvenir Driver - Admire
18. The Jerry Cans - Makiliqta
19. John Craigie - Virgin Guitar
20. Kelly McFarling - Pacific
21. Perlo - Masters
- The players: Vita and the Woolf, Bells Atlas, Ural thomas & The Pain, Arthur & The Antics, The California Honeydrops, Aftercare, Slow Corpse, Blossom, Ripley Snell, SISTERS, Brijean, PALMCO, Small Skies, Pure Bathing Culture, New Body Electric, Human Ottoman, Martha Stax, Jeff Bond, Little Wins, Y La Bamba, Neptuna, The Shivas, Elly Swope, Balto, The Rare Forms, Help, Mega Pacific, Laundry, Patrician, Sama Dams, Rum River Cult, Melt, Shadowgraphs, Mo Troper, Perhapsy, Souvenir Driver, The Jerry Cans, John Craigie, Kelly McFarling, Perlo
We Can Get Together
Listen to the song "Y Do U Take So Long feat. Sol (Budo Remix)"SISTERS continues their world takeover dance revolution with their second album, Wait Don't Wait. Building on their reputation for creating instantly crowd-pleasing dance anthems, Wait Don't Wait is replete with catchy, quirky corkers overflowing with joy. Emily Westman's bouncing beats make it impossible to remain seated—even while writing this!—while Andrew Vait's soaring vocals and keys create an ethereal, optimistic announcement that good times are ours for the taking, even in these unstable times.
All LP and CD purchases include the full digital file for immediate download on release day.
- 1. We Can Get Together feat. Tilson XOXO
2. Queer Life
3. Y Do U Take so Long feat. Sol (Budo Remix)
4. Sleepy Eyes (The Seshen Remix)
5. Heart Beats (Remix)
- Sisters is Emily Westman and Andrew Vait. They play music, dance, and spread joy from their secret headquarters in Seattle, WA.