Posts from July 2022

Jul 22

Omargeddon #30: Zapopan

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Friends, so far 2022 has been exactly as lousy as it is brilliant, both on a personal and a global scale. And while I do feel somewhat obligated to keep well-informed about current events, they’re far too packed with the constant rollback of basic human rights, mass murders and abuses of power so flagrant they’d be shit-canned from the grimmest of dystopian plots for stretching suspension of disbelief way beyond all reasonable limitations. I end up reading the news in a really half-assed way, usually by scanning the first sentence of an article and then almost immediately closing it while thinking NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE time to check the weather forecast I already know is predicted to be clement. Sometimes, just reading the headlines alone brings enough horror, and I end up unwillingly filling in the blanks myself. It’s a bit like I’m trapped in that old Kids in the Hall sketch that had no beginning or end, just a middle. Although I had to specify ‘old’ because there is a new season of KITH, and it’s actually quite good, so things aren’t entirely terrible, right? 

If I’m really honest, for me this year’s saving grace has been “Blacklight Shine” and “Graveyard Love’‘, the first new Mars Volta songs in a decade. Hooray for me! There is a current tour (yay) but only in the US (boo), however rest assured I am already making Cunning Plans should there eventually be a UK tour (fingers crossed forever yay!) soon enough (that’s not soon enough!) Both singles are very short, with longer videos gorgeously shot in black and white that hint at a larger concept yet to be revealed.

Naturally, I’ve listened to both dozens of times in the last few weeks, which led me to return to Zapopan and my years-long obsession with this particular roster of frequently re-recorded Omar Rodríguez-López songs. As most of the tracks feature first on the vexingly mixed Unicorn Skeleton Mask, Zapopan is very nearly the remake I crave. Except it isn’t entirely – in addition to USM do-overs, it also remakes material from Saber, Querer, Osar y Callar (and by extension The Ramrod Tapes). In all honesty, I would prefer a total re-recording, as with Nom de Guerre Cabal’s take on ¿Sólo Extraño?; however, as frequently as ORL giveth, he also withholdeth.