Los Bitchos- Let The Festivities Begin!

by | Feb 4, 2022 | Reviews

Los Bitchos Let The Festivities Begin!


Los Bitchos is a band that knows how to party. This is obvious in every aspect of their presentation—their album art, their videos, their performances, and most certainly in their music. In addition to bringing the party, they bring some serious musical chops along with them to said celebration, and have just released their long awaited debut album, Let The Festivities Begin!, showcasing plenty of Cumbia infused sun (and tequila) soaked vibes.


I first discovered Los Bitchos during the dark and boring days of the 2020 lockdowns and they certainly brought a vibrant ray of light into my life at that time on the strength of their stellar KEXP performance. Ever since then I’ve watched that video many times and have been anxiously awaiting more music from them as well as finally having a full album to dig into. I’ve also been really wanting to see them live which was very much up in the air for a long time due to  **gestures around to the latest Covid setbacks**  but much to my delight, they just announced US tour dates, which will be making a stop in Brooklyn at Music Hall of Williamsburg on June 20th. Still a few months away yes, but something that will be worth the wait.


Anchored by the air tight rhythm section of drummer Nic Crawshaw (who also plays in one of my favorite UK punk bands, Dead Arms) and bassist Josefine Jonnson, with synth flavor from Agustina Ruiz and plenty of auxiliary percussion accents sprinkled throughout, the spitfire shredding of guitarist Serra Petale takes on a lot of the central focus of the music of the instrumental quartet. And while Cumbia is the most obvious glue that binds the songs together, their overall sound is much more nuanced and has many influences running throughout. Everything from surf riffs that would give Dick Dale pause, to psych to rock and bouncy pop basslines can be found among the 11 songs on the album. The foursome may be based in London, but with the members coming from many corners of the globe (Uruguay, England, Sweden, and Australia) and having their own family, cultural and life experiences informing them as well, they have coalesced to create a blend of sound that is all of these elements at once yet something very uniquely Los Bitchos.


The album was produced by Alex Kapranos (of Franz Ferdinand) and starts off with a favorite track from the KEXP session “The Link Is About to Die,” a sun in your face, wind in your hair groove, which has a killer bongo break courtesy of Petale (who is also a skilled drummer; she has played in several bands behind the kit including Kid Wave). This is quickly followed by the Anatolian psych inspired bop “I Enjoy It” for a strong one-two punch setting the tone of the album right away. A few reworked/retitled songs from the KEXP session also find their way to the album including the ominous “Try The Circle!” originally titled “5 Years, 2 Years, 1 Year”  that also features some of Crawshaw’s most exciting drumming during the crescendo, and “Change of Heart” which is a revamping of “Bugs Bunny.” The standouts for me are “Pista (Fresh Start)” which was the last of the singles released prior to the full album and has one of the catchiest lead riffs I’ve heard in quite some time and “FFS,” another wonderful psychy surprise showing off the Turkish/Anatolian elements of their sound.


To make sure there was no mistaking their penchant for cheek and good times, the band starred in three narratively intertwined videos ahead of the album for the lead off singles “Las Panteras,” “Good To Go!” and “Pista (Fresh Start)” which sees the band go from synchronized dance moves to standing trial in prison jumpsuits to witness protection and more in their hunt for the mysterious Las Panteras. But no more spoilers, watch the hilarious videos below:




I’ve always been a really big fan of instrumental music, regardless of genre, and that is initially what attracted me to them. What I love most about it is that you get to create your own narrative based not on lyrics and an idea a vocalist is presenting to you, but based solely on the sonic vibe and emotion of the music. A lot of the instrumental stuff I usually listen to does tend to be more serious or morose, and certainly much heavier sonically (think Russian Circles or Pelican). Los Bitchos with their fun in the sun “I want to drink margaritas at the beach” air may seem a little out of left field compared to those other artists (since I also don’t drink or even like the beach) but really, that’s no bother to me at all. I find so much fun and joy in all of their songs and think of the things I love in life when I hear them, of all the ways I bring my own party. And isn’t that the point of a band who is centered around having fun? I definitely think so, and see in them the magic of instrumental music—you get to feel however you want to feel and bring a piece of yourself to it too. And just to put it officially on record, I’d drink a (virgin) margarita with Los Bitchos any day.


Let The Festivities Begin! is one of the most exciting debut albums I’ve heard in recent memory and while the wait was long, it was well worth it. This foursome has created a fresh and distinct body of work that stands apart, with a shot of tequila raised high in triumph. The festivities have indeed begun.


Let The Festivities Begin! is out now via City Slang and available on all major streaming platforms.








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