Monday, October 22, 2007

Brownout!

"Homenaje," Spanish for homage, is the latest release from Austin Latin-funk outfit Brownout. The instrumental Grupo Fantasma side-project is more than a mere nod to late '70s Latin-funk acts like Joe Bataan and Santana, though. "Homenaje" is an amalgam of funky sounds ranging from the Fela Kuti style Afro-beat evident on "Con El Brownout" and "Chema's Contraband," to the smoldering neo-soul of "You Already Are," a track that would be at home on D'Angelo's "Voodoo."

The nearly all-instrumental album avoids stagnation by switching gears rapidly between tracks. "Homenaje" vacillates between the languid groove of songs such as "They Should Know," which sounds like a forgotten track from the Beastie Boys' "Check Your Head," and powerful crowd-movers like the CD's title track. Built upon a familiar piano montuno and the deft percussion of drummer Johnny Lopez and conga player Sweet Lou, "Homenaje" is a funky cumbia laced with powerful horns tailor-made to pack the dance floor.
Named one of Austin, Texas' 'Best Live Acts' by the Austin Chronicle, Brownout! performs the nastiest latin funk music out today. This band of "party rocking legends" was resurrected from the same tequila soaked border town explosion that originated the highly acclaimed latin powerhouse Grupo Fantasma. Fresh off the worldwide release of their first 7" single on the UK's prestigious Freestyle Records, the band has made waves internationally amongst DJ's, tastemakers and good music fans alike.

Brownout! is an 8 piece ensemble complete with 2 guitars, bass, no nonsense latin percussion, and the "Best Horn Section" 2 years in a row at the Austin Music Awards. Throwback but not copycat retro, their music is timeless and honest, keeping the spirit of 70s afro-latin and funk music alive while honoring their South Texas roots.

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