When I was sent an email with Mascarada‘s first single, Contéstame, several weeks ago, I was unable to pass up the promise of its subject line: New retro Latin psych rock. The genre blend seemed so simple, obvious even – and yet like nothing I had quite heard before.
I quickly dove into the music, satisfying my curiosity in the deep grooves of Mascarada’s melodies – which did not disappoint.
The next week, I went to see the band’s first live performance at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood, where they packed a six man band complete with violin, two guitars, and keys, onto the tiny stage. Shawn Grindle and Leana Courtney are the core duo behind Mascarada, and their strong chemistry is a key ingredient in the music’s magnetism and passion.
Their unique blend of retro guitar riffs, Latin grooves, rich instrumentation, and, of course, Leana’s powerful voice, is tough to listen to while sitting still. Within minutes they had the whole room going, swaying and hanging on every word. And I, too, was hooked.
Today, we’re proud to premiere Mascarada’s second single, Bate Bate, from their forthcoming self titled debut. Leana says of the songs beginnings,
“I remember Shawn had created the music for Bate and had showed it to me but I never got too attached to it until one day. I was sitting at home inspired to write some music so I asked him to send me the track again and within minutes I had the melody and lyrics. I was really influenced by the style of the Alabama Shakes for this one. I remember thinking, ‘get weird, it’ll be cool.’
The song literally means, ‘stir the chocolate’ and it’s inspired by a traditional Mexican song of the same name from my childhood. After I recorded a sample and sent it to Shawn he was out with friends but he listened to it as soon as he could and called me after 30 seconds of the song and told me he loved it. That was it, we didn’t change a thing. We went into the studio and recorded it exactly like the demo. It’s the only song that’s was written fifty-fifty, Shawn writing the music and me writing the lyrics.”
It’s a strong and sensual song, evocative of liquidity and heat. Leana’s voice is sometimes the chocolate and sometimes the stirring stick, continually moving the song in new dynamic directions.
Mascarada’s full LP is set to be released in July. If you’re around LA, you’ll be able to catch their record release show around that time, too – a treat that’s not to be missed. Keep up to date with the band on their Facebook page.
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