FIDLAR's third album, Almost Free , which will be released on January 25, 2019, bears a raw vitality that FIDLAR partly attributes to a certain lightning-in-a-bottle element in its construction. While the album was recorded in several different locations—including the iconic Sunset Sound and Sonic Ranch, a studio in the Texas border town of Tornillo—much of the material came straight from homemade demos. “On the last record we took the demos and re-recorded everything in the studio, but this process was more like how we worked in the beginning,” says Elvis. “I feel like it got us back to that original feeling we had when we first started making music together, instead of just pushing everything out on a deadline.”
FIDLAR’s origins trace back to 2009, when Elvis (whose dad played in the legendary punk band T.S.O.L., and who joined his own first punk band at age 13) landed an internship at a recording studio where Zac worked as an engineer, and the two started jamming in the off-hours. “I remember one day we went out to get a Little Caesar’s pizza and Elvis put on Songs for the Deaf by Queens of the Stone Age and I was like, ‘I love this record,’” Zac recalls. “That was the moment when it just connected for me: ‘We’re gonna be in a band together.’” With Brandon (formerly of Rooney) and Elvis’s kid brother and lifelong bandmate Max brought into the fold, the four musicians felt an immediate chemistry but had no real direction. “There wasn’t any kind of plan to become a working band,” says Elvis. “We just all really wanted to make loud rock & roll music.”
Throughout Almost Free, FIDLAR match their stronger sense of purpose with the ineffable magic that’s always driven them—most notably, that pure and palpable love of playing together. “We were so young when this started, we were just partying and being kids, and FIDLAR took on a life of its own,” says Zac. “I really thought I was going to be working on other people’s music for the rest of my life, and that would be it. In my wildest imagination I never would’ve thought that this all would’ve worked out the way it did—but that’s how life happens in general. That’s the classic story.”
Since banding together in 2012, psychedelic cumbia-punk trio Thee Commons have made waves in and around their hometown of East LA. Featuring los hermanos Pacheco and one of several lively session bassists, these romp ‘n’ rollers have managed not only to marry two unlikely genres -- world’s apart -- in perfect pastiche harmony but have also compiled a prolific catalogue of music to which they toured through the United States in an extensive 32 days, 35 shows tour in the Summer of 2016. Named #15 on LA Weekly’s “LA’s 20 Best Live Shows of 2016” outranking the likes of ELO, Bruce Springsteen and The Who, Thee Commons have created a buzz with their vivacious performances. Chris Ziegler founder of LA Record wrote about Thee Commons, “Live, they’re fearless, confident and ready to go off-script at a moment’s inspiration. It’s wild stuff, just as it absolutely should be.” To which Chris Kissel of LA Weekly further comments, “If Thee Commons aren’t the best live band in Los Angeles, they’re damn near the top.”
Altogether, Thee Commons have played well over a hundred shows, gaining in the process hundreds more in fans -- those eager for something new to call their own. They have performed at several of Southern California’s prestigious venues and festivals, including Echo Park Rising, Desert Daze, Viva Pomona, The Echoplex of Echo Park, The Regent Theatre of Downtown Los Angeles, the Glasshouse of Pomona, the Roxy of West Hollywood and the Observatory of Santa Ana; have been hosted for a residency by pocho wine bar Eastside Luv of Boyle Heights -- which consisted of a weekly burlesque-dancer-entangled-affair dubbed the “Cumbia Psicodelica Cabaret”; and have opened up for such acts as Chicano Batman, Bomba Estereo, Thee Midniters and even unofficially -- by way of an impromptu guerilla-style street show -- for The Pixies.
Discographically, Thee Commons’ “DIT” (do it together) hard work ethic has yielded them a debut 7inch vinyl EP paradoxically titled Sunburn at Midnight -- self-released spring 2013 -- and a fragmented compilation entitled Rock is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors, which is to say an 8-volume limited edition EP series, the volumes of which they released successively throughout 2014. As of 2015, however, Rock is Dead is available, as a full-feature 20-song CD, and as a specialty, limited edition cassette and 10-inch -- 10-song -- vinyl originally co-released by the independent O.C. label Burger Records. 2016 brought about their sophomore album “Loteria Tribal” co-released with Burger Records on CD, Cassette and limited edition Flexi Vinyl. The same year also brought about two new 7-inch vinyl’s that include their refreshing cover of Los Saico’s “Demolicion,” on Denver, Colorado’s Heavy Dose Records, and a single of “La Fiesta” an obscure swinging Mexican cover b/w a grungy cover of Selena’s “La Carcancha” on Steady Beat Records out of San Pedro, CA..
Looking forward, 2017 Thee Commons plan to release the ambitious 18 song junior follow up album “Paleta Sonora” out later this year. Teamed up with Cosmica Artists Management group and Monterey Int. Booking Agency, the future looks auspicious for these young and determined “chunsters” who doggedly strive to perfect their hypnotic yet invigorating act -- which includes an intertextual take on Nirvana's “Love Buzz” and a punk cover of Selena’s “Baila Esta Cumbia”-- and disseminate the perfect pastiche that is psychedelic cumbia punk.
L.A. Weekly L.A.’s Thee Commons are a nonstop kind of band; their last release, Rock Is Dead: Long Live Paper and Scissors, was a collection of a long run of self-released and creatively robust EPs, chronicling a band in enthusiastic conversation with a galaxy of influences. And now they’re back not much more than a year later with Loteria Tribal, a ferocious new album of cumbia-garage-punk that matches the energy of Los Saicos — whose unhinged vocals and spaced-out guitar live on in Thee Commons — to plenty of vigorous, “Interstellar Overdrive”–style psychedelic instrumentals. They’ve added in some versatile saxophone work and even a few rapped verses on “En el Sol,” too. Live, they’re fearless, confident and ready to go off-script at a moment’s inspiration. It’s wild stuff, just as it absolutely should be. –Chris Ziggler
Thee Commons has the rhythm that makes you want to move: part cumbia, part psych, part surf and all about keeping you up and keeping on your feet. They come from East Los Angeles with a sound that’s raw and full of energy. (Which explains how they pull off all their guerilla-style generator shows.) The pots and pans they used as drums when they were kids in their parents’ garage are as much of who they as politics and literature, and they don’t worry about fitting into any genre—they just want to express themselves honestly.
-Written by Desi Ambrozak
Thee Commons are living proof that the creative musical soil of East Los Angeles is still richly fertile. Bands have emerged from its epicenter for decades reshaping the sounds of each coming generation. Brothers David and Rene Pacheco are making sure that new groups can still catch a buzz by offering up an energetic blend of cumbia, pysch and rock. Inspired by a tireless work ethic, Thee Commons are making their mark on the scene in the short time they've been together.
-Written by Gabriel San Roman
KCRW "Pan Caliente"
".... Dressed in white button-up shirts, skinny jeans and messy hair alike, Thee Commons, whom I’d remotely heard about through word-of-mouth, blew me away that exact day. Not because they are the greatest of all time or most musically polished, but because their presence as a band on stage had what a lot of others lack: they were having fun up there, and it translated to a public who had no idea who they were."
-Written by Jose Galvan
"Thee Commons is one more bit of evidence of Latino L.A.’s further dominance in the independent music scene. Sure, you can reminisce all you want about the days of Mika Miko and Moving Units (they were definitely fun!) but, that was then and this is now. Besides, L.A.’s Latino scene has a couple of Grammy winners to boast of if you‘re into keeping track of that type of silverware.
What separates Thee Commons from their local brethren (Quetzal, Las Cafeteras, La Chamba, etc.) is their focus on that old-school rock & roll sound a la Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. There are flashes of cumbia chicha here and there reminiscent of Los Mirlos and Los Orientales De Paramonga as well.
“Rabbit And Rattles” is one of the tracks off their upcoming Sunburn at Midnight vinyl EP. The band’s style sounds like it belongs on vinyl. It’s super retro and I was surprised that a fight between sailors and greasers didn’t break out after I listened to it."
-Written by Afroxander
"Thee Commons son una banda californiana que se autodefine como “Garage Cumbia Punk” y en marzo de este año lanzaron su EP Sunburn at Midnight (Independiente, 2013), un compilado de cuatro temas de rock que a pesar de tener un romance con el pasado no teme en mezclar sus raíces latinas con el Garage para hacernos pasar un rato agradable.
Ya sea que nos remita a una pista de baile escolar cincuentero o a un paseo en un automóvil clásico, la música de este trío de Los Ángeles tiene una clara influencia del rock bailable de mediados del siglo pasado que progresa a otras dimensiones con la sabrosura de los ritmos latinos cumbiancheros.
Como parte de la presentación de su EP, la banda ofrece el video que aparece arriba con una actitud ligera y tocando por el puro gusto de tocar acompañado de “Sunburn at Midnight”, un tema de alto potencial para explotar."
-Written by Rodrigo Jardon