Spanish Gold is a trio comprised of seasoned musicians in the indie music scene: Patrick Hallahan (My Morning Jacket), Adrian Quesada (Brown Out, Ocote Soul Sounds, and formerly of Groupo Fantasma) and Dante Schwebel (City and Color and formerly of Hacienda), who brought the three together. Schwebel and Quesada go way back to their days in Laredo where they both occupied the same high school; and Hallahan and Schwebel worked together as Dan Auerbach’s backing band known as the Fast Five during Auerbach’s solo tour for Keep it Hid.
Spanish Gold’s debut South of Nowhere not only brings together the various musical backgrounds from each of the members, but it also reworks familiar sounds ranging from Latin boogaloo, funk, soul, psychedelia, and the early heyday of MTV. From beginning to end, South of Nowhere grooves with a thumping rhythmic pulse.
The opener “One Track Mind” is a great introduction of Spanish Gold with its cascading guitar rhythms, a bumpin’ bass line, and pounding drums. There’s also a seductive yet creepy element added with the keyboards and lyrics, as Schwebel croons in the chorus, “the shadows is where you’ll find me .” The cd title track “South of Nowhere” melds together nicely the elements of garage rock and boogaloo which together with flamenco claps and twangy guitars, sounds like the soundtrack to a Latin-infused spaghetti-western.
My favorite song on the album is the lead single “Out on the Streets.” Set to a beat reminiscent of Rockwell’s 1984 Motown release “Somebody’s Watching Me,” the song recalls those lost days of the early MTV generation when they would actually play music videos all day. It’s positively a hot and sexy track that beckons you to be out on the streets having fun this summer. You can also check out the video here.
South of Nowhere rounds out at the end with a luscious farewell serenade, “Stay with Me” that lures you to listen to the whole album again. There are various instances where Dan Auerbach’s influence is evident on the musical style of Spanish Gold. For instance, “Movin On” sounds like it could be a Black Keys song, which is not too surprising considering the history between the two groups. Regardless, Spanish Gold should not be taken lightly as they embark on their musical conquest with South of Nowhere (released on May 27th on Del Mar Records).