Love is a bitch. That’s the name of the movie Amores Perros. One of my favorites (it’s a bit violent and grueling at times. You have been warned.). The acting is so good it seems real. All shot in Mexico, it stars Gael Garcia Bernal (the sexiest man alive) and its stories have an almost Beckett-like quality… calling into question life, love and the purpose of existence. It is gritty, beautiful, heart-wrenching. A modern classic.
Rewind back to the summer of 2001. I was singing in a trip-hop band and working late night shift at KEXP. Doing three late shifts (1-6am) a week left me pretty much useless the rest of the time. I’d pick up work where I could to support my radio habit. KEXP (then called KCMU) kept me addicted to finding new artists, genres and ways of listening. So it was worth every minute of sleep deprivation, near poverty and scary temp jobs.
At the time I had just started getting into electronic music (thus starting the trip-hop band after years of playing rock music in guitar groups) and had started to delve into the international sounds of India, Brazil and Cuba. (Almost a decade later, these are still my favorite three types of world music.)
We practiced in a basement in Ballard at an old brick house we jokingly called “The Spa.” During breaks, we would share our favorite new records. Sean was the first to tell us about Zero 7. I was really into Halou. And Shelley put this record on one hot summer night. It combined Latin music with electronica and other styles and was a current take on the finest new Mexican artists.
The most striking song on the Amores Perros soundtrack is this one from Mexican hip-hop group Control Machete.
There are also acoustic tracks that feel up close… like this one from Nacha Pop.
… and at one point it hits into a song that I remember from my dad’s 8-track player in the 70’s. Great song by the Hollies.
This album will always mean summer to me…
Join DJ Michele Myers Fridays at 9pm for Nite Life on KEXP. Every week she does this album spotlight, telling a story and playing 3 songs from one of the world’s finest records. Michele also produces KEXP Documentaries and hosts Wake Up Thursdays from 6-9am for KEXP in NYC on Radio New York 91.5FM.