We have been enjoying, in a trashy way, the Narcos TV series in Netflix. Although it is definitely not high culture, it is very entertaining, a bit like an adaptation of a Don Winslow book with an extra serving of flares and wicked moustaches (we could spend hours climbing up and down Pedro Pascal’s craggy profile, as illustrated above.)
Its use of news footage is also smart, bringing home the fact that a lot of what is depicted in the show actually happened, which is kind of insane: yes, Pablo Escobar, nefarious and grumpy like Wilson Fisk, ran for the Colombian congress. He imported hippopotamus for his massive ranch. He blew up planes and started a war against the government. People in the Comunas (slums) worshipped him as if he was a saint.
We also love the show’s music. It has become a bit of a ritual for us to scour the web for it as soon as the show finishes with some Latin-American psychedelic banger. Here you have a couple of examples.
Los Dug Dug’s Smog (1973) is an overwhelming barrage of fierce funk-rock rhythms, Zenta chaos , flutey delirium and political messaging. Smog, the ode against smoking that kicks off the album pounds like the Flower Travellin’ Band, its drum/flute riff should have informed a whole squadron of Madlib jeep-beat bangers.
Get the rest here.
Elia and Elizabeth were a teen pop sensation in Colombia in the early 1970s. Their music is a hazy, warm mixture of Jeanette and Burt Bacharach, with mundanely oddball lyrics about the weather, teeth and healing that reminds us of the Shaggs.
Todo en La Vida, the track featured in Narcos, is an ode to patience propelled by a yearning riff that wouldn’t have been out of place in a Gainsbourg perv-jam.
Los Yetis were one of the most important Colombian bands of the 1960s. They made beat music and pushed the “Nadaist” agenda, an avant garde movement against traditional institutions echoing surrealism and dada .
We have become sort of obsessed by Mi Primer Juguete, a song whose obsessive bass-line makes us think of the Red Krayola’s Hurricane Fighter Plane – one of the best songs ever, by the way. The lyrics are about throwing a nuclear bomb, which combined with the catchy singalong gives the song a strange, mixed sense of awfulness and comedy akin to Dr Strangelove. It’s awesome.
Munster records also released a compilation of Yetis music, Nadaismo a Go Go, some time ago.