This is the first time that New Yorker Lane Steinberg returns to Miami in more than twenty years. It was here where he met with Venezuelan Luis Accorsi who eventually formed a band Cracked Latin. Its origins, languages, and musical influences are totally different, and that is precisely what makes this duo work.
Luis and Lane met as students in art class at the University of Miami. They kept in touch and came together again years later in New York, where they now live. At first they had no intention of engaging in music, it was just a good hobby, Lane says "the music was what brought us together, many times it was when friends wanted to go to a bar, a ball game, but for us it was 'make a record!.' "
Their sound is a mix of rock from the 60s with the old sauce, it noted that although the rhythms are different, both genders have very similar energy and decided to explore that path. The duo has successfully managed to make music 'old' to the modern ear. Luis explains that his age (around 50) is what helps them shape their project, "if we had 20 years could not do this music, because for years we have been musicologists and we get referrals from other eras."
In 2009 they released their first album "The World Is Cracked Latin. Their second album is "In Situ Live At Iridium" and was recorded live at the famous jazz club in Times Square. At the moment they are working on a track entitled "My Miami" they hope will be an anthem for the city. This song and went on their first CD but then was called "Your Miami" and soon plan to re-launch with new arrangements and a special video. According to the breakthrough that can give us, this clip is a visual version of those classic Miami Beach Post. Luis and Lane got some of the oldest visual archives of the city and had about fifty costume changes, each funnier than the other.
"As Jay Z and Alicia Keys made a song for New York, we're doing one for Miami," says Luis, confessing that after hearing the rapper many times, now prefers to listen to the song by Frank Sinatra. Will Smith Although he had already sung the Sun City, Cracked Latin has decided to give another simple approach, "is classic, old, yet modern and beautiful."
Visibly excited about the topic concluded: "There is a place like this city, is an iconic site [...] long European immigrants came to New York to see it as the land of opportunity, now that is the case in Miami."
On his return to South Florida after all this time, Lane says, "back to this city to do this interview for me is incredible, much more than it was when I left, is a vibrant place that grows ever more . At these words, I felt that while he was describing what is happening with Cracked Latin , it is a band full of energy that is attracting more people.
Conceived by Lane Steinberg and Luis Accorsi, the appropriately christened Cracked Latin is a barrel of fun. Reshaping sexy Latin flavored beats and rhythms over, under, sideways, down, these art-damaged geniuses have crafted an album that defies description. Nonetheless, a consistently excellent quality permeates the songs, which are ridiculously infectious. Swinging to and fro with herky-jerky tempos, “Your Miami,” the dopey, lysergic luster of “My Hallucination” and the needling nuances of “In Memory Of A Departed Therapist” are just a few of the stand out tracks on the disc. Resonating with animation, the vocals are clearly tongue-in cheek, but they’re effective and certainly get the message across. Tooting horns and tribal drumming cement the sessions, giving the material a real floor shaking feel. Imagine a loose as a goose jam session between Ricky Ricardo, Os Mutantes, XTC, a lounge lizard exotica band and T. Swift and The Electric Bag, and that sort of sums up what to expect from “The World Is Cracked Latin.” Playful, inventive and wickedly warped, here’s an album that takes Latin music to an entirely new and different level.
Singer-guitarist Lane Steinberg has a pretty impeccable record among pop fans who've been lucky enough to follow his career, so it’s a kind of a jolt to see him taking a left turn with a late in 2009 CD release from Cracked Latin, his new band with long time cohort, Venezuelan singer Luis Accorsi. Described in the press as a mix of Latin rock, American pop and soul music amplified with a heavy dose of late ‘60s psychedelia, Cracked Latin’s CD, entitled The World Is Cracked Latin is an el grande kaleidoscopic epic of Spanglish-ed rock and roll that is the aural equivalent of a wild romp through Miami Beach after midnight. A musical prodigy and ace guitarist hailing from Queens in NYC, Lane’s catalog with his early bands The Wind, Noel Coward’s Ghost and Tan Sleeve harks back to the mid ‘80s. For a good example of Steinberg’s solo work, give a listen to his early 2009 CD Passion And Faith, released on the Transparency Records imprint. With Lane handling all the instruments and vocals, save for a rare string quartet on a collaboration of a Zolton Kodaly composition, the 13 track Passion & Faith CD runs the range of quirky pop sung in English, Portuguese, and Spanish including a sizable rock cover, sung in English, of the Jobim classic “How Insensitive” (must be heard to be believed), a 21 minute cover of the Grateful Dead classic “Dark Star” (Lane's true to form one man full band sounding cover, Jerry Garcia psychedelic guitar sound and all!) even topped by a way cool, bouncy and bubbly pop collaboration with New Jersey’s own R.Stevie Moore. Lane has over the years been viewed by local area neighbors here in the borough of beautiful Northern Queens as Forest Hills' version of Paul McCartney. After all of the above, Lane now enters the era of Cracked Latin, finding a unique match with Luis Accorsi’s wild lyrics and vocals, mostly sung in English (with a few Spanglish textured add-ons) that borders on Latin avant garde, and that flashes back to Accorsi’s work with the Latin rockers Jainz Kapella. Backed up by the drums of Tony ‘Fats’ Musante and a full horn section, Lane’s multi-instrumentalized studio guitar sound really stretches out in Cracked Latin’s global rock mix. With so many musical twists and turns and lyrics that would make Captain Beefheart blush, Cracked Latin is the kind of wild, world beat rock groove that Frank Zappa could tune into. Recorded in NYC and Caracas, Cracked Latin reaches across continents in search of its awesome, experimental sound and in doing so, zigzags skyward with its neo Tito Puente-produced-by-Zappa type sound. And that wild and crazy CD cover art should be nominated for a grammy or something.
Album: Cracked Latin: The World Is Cracked Latin. Holland’s Mother (EP) was my favorite release of the year – and Ike Reilly’s Junkie Faithful my favorite in my eternal play of catch-up – but Cracked Latin’s debut LP, The World Is Cracked Latin, was the most surprising and pleasing album of the year.
It is the LP I ask others about, the myriad of styles and influences the band displays – and the fun being had – certain (I’m so sure!) to impress any sort of listener. ‘Caracas Shakedown’ is the catchiest thing I’ll never dance to, ‘Wicked She’s Wicked’ is lovely and creepy, ‘Your Miami’ ends the LP continuing the work’s endless come-ons: ‘Your Miami /Is my Miami / Let’s have some fun / In our Miami.’ Everything is shaking in a Latin-have-to-dance percussive attitude, but influenced by so much rock n roll (et al) that it’s the one I’m talking about when I need something to say, and the one I’m listening to when I need something else.
My hope was that Luis Accorsi, Cracked Latin’s charismatic lead-singer, would not descend from the stage and twirl me ’round. Fortunately he found a much lovelier specimen than myself for that honor. But all of us partaking of the band’s show at Kenny’s Castaways November 6 knew he would be dancing with someone. That is the sound and spirit this band exudes. Their debut LP, The World Is Cracked Latin, begins with two piano notes before the enormous band begins grooving in an otherworldly haze. To say that it is Latin is obvious, but not enough. On a song like ‘Wicked She’s Wicked,’ the percussion alone is so dense it sounds like its own ensemble, from various continents. Masters of any form they choose, Accorsi and Lane Steinberg, the writers and arrangers for the group, stop a song and change its direction at will, without hiccups.
At Kenny’s Castaways this directional ability was a marvel. Packing ten musicians onto the stage (oddly flanked by the restrooms) was achievement enough; the performance topped even that. Opening with ‘Diggin’ Bonez,’ the sound was instantly Latin, until the next instant when the rock ‘n roll guitars clanged and the percussion — tribal and arena — left the body with limpness as an impossibility.
Cracked Latin followed ‘Bonez’ with ‘The Expatriate,’ which begins in anytown Espanola, but then adds a pop melody; and a harpsichord? A distorted electric guitar picking notes, winding around the song’s perimeter. The creepy, alluring harmonies singing the melody. Cracked Latin serve the hook. I suppose the band’s theme song must be ‘We Are Cracked Latin,’ a song that changes form so often it puts Odelay to bed, on the way pausing to steal a second or so from ‘A Day In the Life.’ Elsewhere on the LP, ‘Xuffa’ aches out a mouth organ from some ancient Celtic myth and also turns into a foxtrot, briefly. The variety of influences on display is astounding, collage-making new.
Playing as part of the International Pop Overthrow series, the band’s set was necessarily short. Nearing the end they played what must be their best song, ‘Caracas Shakedown,’ a song so hooky “Welcome home, we’ll break your bones” sounds brotherly. Accorsi, a showman, bounded and leapt, danced and hollered, the band cruising behind him like it could keep that tempo any old day. “The Caracas shakedown / The Caracas breakdown / They hit you back, it’s a sneak attack.”
Capturing this sound on a recording is a different achievement entirely. So many sounds mixed, defined and precise, but also one together. I am reminded of the intricacy of the mess of Spiritualized’s Ladies and gentlemen…. Again and again, the LP surprises. ‘In Memory of a Departed Therapist’ goes from harpsichord to a J Mascis solo without estrangement. It’s psychedelic even in its kaleidoscope of sound, of genre. Listening to the LP on headphones, it sometimes feels as though several different albums are being played simultaneously in the same room, but it sounds good, coherent. The effect is often mesmerizing. “You sit on the corner with your big fat ass / Out of my way with your big fat ass / Sit in the corner with your big fat ass.” This swanky street corner jibe is followed by heavenly harmonies, bass like a strong arm keeping this song intimidatingly dangerous, even as the guitar wants to float away in distorted reverie from Lou Reed’s basement. Closing the Kenny’s Castaways set with ‘My Hallucination,’ the band hammered alternative rock riffs amidst tribal beats and horns. “We welcome you with open arms / ‘Cause that’s all we’ve got.” Cracked Latin, live and on record, are the atypical sort of band that make a sound so new you have to keep listening to even catch up. And, like those blessed seers, the sound is one of the party — in the club or on the couch. It is the party, it says, I am the party, it is the best party, no one gonna stop the party, don’t stop. Welcome home, we’ll break your bones.