The Town and the City

Los Lobos. Hollywood/Mammoth.


How does a great band keep evolving after more than three decades? For Los Lobos, it means ignoring the commercial gods, who don’t care about them anyway, and making the music wider and stranger, without forgetting their roots. The group’s first collection of all-new material since 2002 provides everything a fan would expect, including traditional styles (“Chuco’s Cumbia”), David Hidalgo’s tender ballads (“Little Things”), and bluesy, two-fisted rave-ups (“Two Dogs and a Bone”). Yet nothing seems to go exactly to plan, because the songs have a muddy undercurrent, as if stray weird noises have seeped into the textures, adding a sense of unknown forces at work. That’s no small achievement in this tidy digital age. The East L.A. quintet has long been defined by a strong sense of place—a previous album was titled The Neighborhood—and this terrific set has the warm vibe of home, even though Los Lobos keep rearranging the furniture.

 

WE DON'T KNOW

What's going to happen next as the headlines grow crazier and more disconcerting by the day. But we do know the job of an independent, unrelenting press is more important than ever—and the ongoing commitment of MoJo readers to fight for a democracy where facts matter and all can participate is absolutely vital.

If you feel the urgency deep in your bones like we do, please consider signing up as a monthly donor during our fall pledge drive to support Mother Jones' fair and fearless reporting for the long haul (or make a one-time gift if that works better for you). The headlines may fade, but the need to investigate the powerful never will.

  • Jon Young is a contributing writer for Mother Jones. For more of his stories, click here.