Monte Carlo 76 – Marisela

MariselaSometimes life gets in the way of art, which is why it has taken Monte Carlo 76 five years to release their second album, Marisela. Interweaving the band’s personal struggles with love and heartbreak, death and relocations, Marisela is an ode to East L.A. and the people who live there.

Monte Carlo 76 was born in 2003 from the remains of keyboardist Gomez Comes Alive and guitarist Jeremy Keller’s former group Slowrider. Rooted in Chicano soul but inspired by the mellow electronica of Air and Stereolab, their debut album, The Monte Carlo Fantasy (TMCF), was critically acclaimed and garnered them an L.A. Weekly Music Awards nomination as Best Latin Alternative Band.

Much of the material for TMCF came from stories of people and experiences in Gardena, CA. Likewise, Marisela was influenced in part by the time the band spent rehearsing in an East L.A. neighborhood called City Terrace – a barrio so full of characters that stories just wafted in through the alleyway beyond the open doors of their studio. With the combined talents of co-producer Martha Gonzalez and luminous vocalist Marisa Ronstadt (second cousin of Linda), Marisela has a definitive feminine perspective, providing a subtle yet distinct departure from the previous album.

Marisa is a South Phoenix native trained as a mariachi singer with a love for R&B, while Martha is a veteran of the East Los scene as a founding member of seminal band Quetzal. The addition of seasoned producer Quetzal Flores, also of Quetzal, lends the new album a fresh sound. Harmonica player Tex Nakamura (formerly of funk band, WAR) further solidifies the slow and low sound of Monte Carlo 76 without typecasting the band into the oldie but goodie set.

The musical arrangements recall classic songs such as The Velvet Underground’s melodic “Sweet Jane,” Carole King’s groovy “I Feel The Earth Move” and John Lennon’s ruminations on “God.” Ranging from love songs (Leave The Weight Of The World Behind, Intoxicating, Mesmerized) and bouts with addiction (Yodix, Sun Will Rise) to stories about the hood (Kools, Avalos) and the ongoing gentrification of the barrios (The O.

G’s In The Park, Love! The Night & Gentrification), Marisela represents the changes life presents through gentle erosion or sudden plunges.

The album’s title is a plea to Marisela Norte, the infamous East L.A. writer, for guidance through troubled times. Considering all the obstacles they went through to make the album, the title of the album was an obvious choice.

With the release of Marisela, Monte Carlo 76 hopes to venture into new musical territories while looking into their past and not forgetting how they arrived to the present.

Release Date: January 5, 2008
Label: East LA After Dark

Track Listing:

  1. Mesmerize
  2. In My Garage
  3. Marisela
  4. Yodix
  5. Intoxicating
  6. Visitation Rights (Leave the Weight of the World Behind)
  7. Alley In City Terrace
  8. Avalos
  9. Sun Will Rise
  10. OG’s In The Park
  11. Love, the Night, and Gentrification feat. Los Poets Del Norte
  12. Kools