Brooklyn-based Xenia Rubinos is one of the most exciting and original up-and-coming artists I’ve heard in a while. Rubinos was part of last year’s Latin Alternative Music Conference lineup and attendees were blown away by her frenetic, soulful performance. Today Rubinos has released her debut album, Magic Trix, via Ba Da Bing Records. Here she gets to explore her Cuban, Puerto Rican, and North American roots in hybrid fashion. Guitars are non-existent in this album. Instead, drummer and sound extraordinaire, Marco Buccelli, creates a rock-heavy sound by using an “analogic distorted snare,” which means, for the all us non-jargon inclined, he circuits the drum through reverb and distortion pedals and channels it through the amp. The result is incredibly satisfying and forward feeling, serving as a great foundation for Rubinos’ spastic rhythms and vocals. But it’s Rubinos’ voice that’s at the helm of this sonic voyage, mixing rhythm and languages in unexpected ways.
The opening layered vocals on Rubinos’ first single “Última” bring to mind tUnE-yArDs and Zap Mama, her honeyed voice over the loops massaging your ears. The song uses English and Spanish and was inspired by a trip Rubinos recently took to Cuba where she was confused about how lines worked at banks and bus stops. People would huddle in groups but there was an implicit order to it all. When new people would show up to join the line they’d ask, “¿última?” It wasn’t until everyone stared at her that someone finally said, “¡esa muchacha es la última!” and she finally understood how it worked.
You can download her first single “Última” below. And make sure to look for her full finished product, Magic Trix, out today.
Photo by Shervin Lainez