Los Psychosis are living their own rock and roll dream
The Latinx psychobilly group based in Memphis, Tennessee recently released its debut album, Rock and Roll Dreams.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based Latinx band Los Psychosis create psychobilly music.
It’s a genre that blends elements from rockabilly and punk rock and is described as louder, more rapid rockabilly.
Los Psychosis describe themselves as a band “heavily educated in the traditions of primordial” rock and roll, and a prominent part of the Memphis rock and roll scene since 2011.
The psychobilly group — directed by longtime member, lead guitarist and vocalist, Javi Arcega — recently released its debut album, Rock and Roll Dreams. It can be purchased digitally or on vinyl for a little higher price.
The album opens with the powerful “Glittered Eyes,” a fast-moving, beat-driven opener with winding lap steel guitar.
The song is followed by “Hoppin and Jumpin” and ‘Neptune 120,’ two tracks featuring characteristic performances from Arcega, ranging from unhinged to loving and sincere.
Despite Los Psychosis making moves and playing around Memphis for a decade, Rock and Roll Dreams is their first professional recording, and it features a host of musicians and producers to achieve its specific sound and polished production.
The album’s recording lineup was primary songwriter Javi Arcega on vocals and guitar; Chapis Arcega on backup vocals, lap steel guitar, drums, maracas, and electric organ; Robert Cantu & Richard James both on electric guitar; Andrew Geraci and Corbin Linebarier both on electric base; Ra’id Kursheed on drums, and Chris Hart on accordion.
WEVL radio host Lee Grant, also funded additional studio time for the band to complete the project.
The album was co-produced by Crockett Hall and Toby Vest, and was recorded at American Studio and Sun Studio, both of Memphis.
On Rock and Roll Dreams, Los Psychosis mixes their psychobilly influence with a punk flavor that shines on tracks such as “Astral Dreams” and “Paranoid Life.”
Arcega cites late-70s recordings from New York punk band The Cramps as a major base for their psychobilly undertakings. Roots music and Memphis’ “Sun Records-style” rockabilly are also significant influences.
Horrorbilly (rockabilly with horror influence) may have also been channeled for “Dionysus Wave.”
This song brings out sensations of light scares thanks to the mysterious lead guitar and the prominence of the organ, ringing as if a mischievous creature is tapping the keys, unseen.
The group has influences across a wide spectrum outside punk and rockabilly. In a way, Los Psychosis customize the psychobilly genre to their liking, adding uncommon elements to their recordings like accordion, electric organ, and the lap steel guitar.
The inclusion of these instrumental liberties in-part pays homage to Arcega’s heritage. Arcega has revealed that the inclusion of these instruments was a decision made with his Mexican background in mind.
The group defines themselves as a Latinx psychobilly band, and they are a bilingual one, too.
Many songs on the 10-track debut feature Spanish lyrics such as in “El Vacio” and “Mala Luna.”
The album’s title too, was influenced by Arcega’s heritage.
“The title relates to me being a first-generation immigrant. Like most people, my family came to this country in search of a better life, and to me, that means pursuing my rock-and-roll dream,” Arcega told Daily Memphian.
The band closes their debut with “El Ultimo Lago De China.”
The finisher track is a confident punk epic that once again showcases Arcega’s Spanish songwriting, this time framing his lyrics around the titular “last lake of China.”
Precise drumming and impassioned vocal repetition closes out the airtight debut.
Los Psychosis’ debut Rock and Roll Dreams can be downloaded digitally or purchased on vinyl. The album is released through Black and Wyatt Records.