The Echocentrics

Echo Hotel

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Adrian Quesada, the Austin-based producer at the heart of the Echocentrics, returns for a second round of retro Latin funk and pastoral psych-rock. Quesada's history as a member of big Latin funk ensembles like the Grammy-winning Grupo Fantasma and the Black Sabbath-covering Brownout certainly informs this solo venture, but the two records he's released under the Echocentrics moniker are far more cinematic and textural in nature. Like 2011's Sunshadows, Echo Hotel combines groovy instrumental vignettes with tracks featuring various guest vocalists. While his debut played out like a soulful love letter to late-'60s tropicalia with South American collaborators Natalia Clavier and Tita Lima handling the vocals, Echo Hotel is more of a local affair with a surrealist Southwestern feel. Clavier and Lima do make appearances here, the former on a pair of dreamy and darkly grooved cuts and the latter on a beguiling slice of midtempo funk called "O Sol." It's Quesada's new crew of accomplices, however, that gives the album its distinctive desert head-trip flavor. Snaky organs and shimmering slide and tremolo guitars give more of a West Coast psych vibe to "Canyon" and "Death of a Rockstar," both of which feature Black Angels frontman Alex Maas on vocals. The same goes for the trippy electric sitar-laden lead single "Staring at the Ceiling," over which White Denim/Bop English honcho James Petralli delivers one of the album's strongest vocal turns. Bill Callahan even lends his baritone drawl to the laid-back space trip "Gettin' Away with Your Gal." As for Quesada's instrumental cuts, there's plenty to enjoy in his lovingly assembled tone trips, which feel like vivid micro-soundtracks plucked out of the ether of another era. Sonically detailed but heavy on groove and feel, the Echocentrics deliver another solid outing.

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