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Lorelle Meets The Obsolete

The Mexican group Lorelle Meets the Obsolete draw inspiration from almost every strain of psychedelic music of the '60s -- from jangling folk-rock to scuffed-up biker rock -- while adding elements of '90s noise rock and, later in their career, avant-garde electronics. Initially while working as a duo, they crafted murky, swirling sounds on albums like 2013's Corruptible Faces that reflected the claustrophobic life they were leading in the big cities of Guadalajara and Mexico City. After they moved to the more relaxed environs of Baja, their sound became less traditionally psychedelic and more experimental; on 2019's De Facto they added more synthesizers and 2023's Datura delved into sparse dub and industrial-influenced noise rock. They formed when Alberto González and Lorena Quintanilla's psych rock band Soho Riots dissolved in the early 2010s. Continuing as a duo with Quintanilla handling the guitar and vocals and González doing everything else, including some guitar, the Guadalajara, Mexico-based musicians released their first album, On Welfare, in May of 2011 for Captcha Records. The next year they released a single, "Ghost Archives," mastered by Bitchin Bajas' keyboardist Cooper Crain and marking the start of a long working relationship. By then the duo had relocated to Mexico City and their home-recorded, Crain-mastered second album, Corruptible Faces, was released by Captcha in early 2013. The duo toured widely throughout the year, with bassist Francisco Lozano and drummer Carlos González rounding out the line-up. Their live sound at this time was documented on the "Live in Mexico City" 12" issued in mid-2013. Meanwhile, they already had another album ready to go, having headed into the studio (Chicago's MINBAL) with a team of Cooper Crain, Mikale de Graff, and Alex Narinskiy at the controls. The resulting Chambers was their most accomplished album to date, made even more special by having one of their heroes, Spacemen 3's Sonic Boom, in charge of the mastering. It was released in early 2014 by Captcha and the U.K. label Sonic Cathedral. Around this time the duo relocated to the less hectic town of Ensenada, Baja California to work on their music full-time and establish a better base for touring the U.S., which they did throughout 2014. One of the highlights was playing the Austin Psych Fest; another was a sold-out show in London that was preserved on vinyl and released in 2014 as Live in London by Sonic Cathedral. Their backing band at the time included drummer Dario Lucchesi and bassist Fernando Nuti of the Italian group the New Candys. González and Quintanilla returned home from the road and began working on their next album. Instead of the two days in the studio they had to record Chambers, they took their time with the effort, going so far as to record two versions of each song, one by each of them. They would then select the version that sounded better or fit the mood they were trying to capture overall. Balance was mixed by Cooper Crain and mastered by the very prolific Australian producer Mikey Young. It was released by the team of Captcha and Sonic Cathedral in September 2016. After touring behind the album with a band that included Nuti, drummer Andrea Davi, and José Orozco on keyboards, the duo began constructing a home-recording space with the help of Orozco. As they were working on that project, Quintanilla recorded the solo album Silente using the name J. Zunz and released it in late 2017. Soon after, the group reconvened to begin recording another Lorelle album. Two major changes to their way of making records were the inclusion of Nuti and Davi from the live band and recording most of the songs live with all the musicians in the same room. As part of the new approach, they built many of the songs out of jam sessions and experimentation, often not adding any guitars until later in the process. The resulting album, 2019's De Facto, was the most challenging music they'd made to date, pulling back on the layered guitar noise in favor of a more angular sound often bolstered by keyboards. Re-Facto, a companion EP including two non-album tracks and remixes by Pye Corner Audio and Crain, was released in early 2020 as the band were touring the United States. They ended up being stuck in upstate New York when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and had to rely on crowdfunding to raise the money they needed to get home. Once there, they put the band on pause. Quintanilla released another J. Zunz album (Hibiscus) later in the year, and the group started back up in 2021. Their first move was to revisit the past by recording videos of themselves updating songs from earlier in their career. This exercise in nostalgia inspired them to write and record, and soon they were working in their home studio with Nuti and Davì again. The group laid down an urgent, minimal set of songs inspired by no wave, industrial hip-hop, and avant-garde electronic music that were mostly overdub-free and synth-heavy. At the same time Quintanilla was working on the third J. Zunz album (Del Aire) and some of the experimental electronic sounds she was delving into seeped into the band's sound as well. The completed album, titled Datura, was mixed by Jace Lasek of the band the Besnard Lakes and released in June of 2023 by their longtime label Sonic Cathedral.
© Tim Sendra /TiVo


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