In January, the London-based, pan-continental, female instrumental four-piece Los Bitchos, (by the power of Greyskull, that is their name) dug in the crates to muster up a screeching knockabout mix for Clash magazine in anticipation of their debut reckoning. Weaving track choices from Jazzanova to Azymuth, they went in, reflecting the groove-based revelry this commanding outfit excels at performing live and in the studio. It’s a crossed-up novel design; picture a wilding out Van Halen girl gang, high off Mezcal, spaghetti westerns and Tarantino flicks. The band grinds up ‘70s Anatolian rock with instrumental retro-futuristic blends of Peruvian chicha, Argentine cumbia, Turkish psych and surf guitars; It’s a Venn-diagram fanbase that can’t be algorithmically constructed nor trolled. Los Bitchos, authentic as a mug, puts a little bit of mischievousness delight right back into the world.
Let The Festivities Begin!, is an eleven-song romp, filled with good-to-great party mood swings, that propels unconventional, eccentric groove bombs to the center of the dance floor. Through trippy heartbeat cumbia such as “Pista (Fresh Start)” and the biting 4/4 “Las Panteras,” with its disco rhythms that roar by using those vocal guitar lines and spacey background ephemera, Los Bitchos dare you to have a good time in their outernational psyche-bender.
Band members Serra Petale (guitar), Agustina Ruiz (keytar), Josefine Jonsson (bass), and Nic Crawshaw (drums) who come from Turkey, Western Australia, Uruguay, and Sweden—but all love Latin-American music—met via nocturnal gatherings, essentially house parties, and/or through friends residing in London. “Coming from all these different places,” Serra says in the press release, “it means we’re not stuck in one genre and we can rip up the rulebook a bit.” Their collective bag as a unit remains a choosy quirkiness, which slaps indeed.
Without relying on a centrally based Western rock tradition, a Los Bitchos banger moves through different tempos, making scavenged-up percussive contraband ideas that hit differently. These mod readings, bold visions—specifically a lead guitar moving with the rhythm, not waxing metal-fingered poppycock on top, brings their sound in. Produced by Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand, who used a lot of his vintage gear including some cosmic synths to give the project extra sass, the band’s debut was recorded back in London’s Gallery Studios—the recording space owned by Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music. So yeah, call it an overall ‘magic mushroom’ get-down, but playing this good, and weird, is not for the novice.
Label: City Slang
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to Treble since 2018. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in The Wire, 48 Hills, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK and Drowned In Sound.