Dive Into Bodega Island’s Merenpunk World With ‘The Bodega Island Invasion: Phase 1’

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Bodega Island is quickly becoming one of our favorite labels this year by boasting an impressive roster of inventive, funny, and downright crazy fusion artists, as well as curating shows like the one last Friday at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn. Now you can experience the madness from the comfort of your own couch.

Here’s an eclectic sampling of the artists associated with Bodega Island. They’ll have you going crazy, jumping around, and doing a demented version of “El Baile Del Perrito.” Labelhead Lael Llaverías has done something really special to showcase the collective’s many faces.

The collection opens with the label’s most infamous artist, El Gallo Lester. This time he focuses on merengue rather than the punk/metal side of his style, exchanging guitar shredding and riffing for flamenco-like nylon runs that vaguely sound like bachata. Elsewhere, Dinais samples “El Baile Del Beeper” by Oro Sólido, featuring high-speed piano playing and beats with fake saxophones from turn-of-the-millennium merengue exponents.

What unites most of these acts is the way they use cheap digital instrumentation to create something exciting and fun. But what’s most notable about this compilation is that every artist brings a particular flavor to the project. BoomBoxRepairKit is eclectic and rocking, while Hecho En Brooklyn bring punk guitars to the forefront. But the guitars are processed so much the track ends up sounding like “The Final Countdown” or “Owner of a Lonely Heart.” Bandabarata bring old school hip-hop to the compilation, while Mula bring a welcome change of pace to the songs with their seductive dark dembow track “Rosa.”

The album closes with two songs that prove that just when you thought you had a label figured out, they can throw curveballs when you least expect it. Karibik Underwater contributes an ever-morphing track that goes from chillwave to dance to industrial in a flash. Finally, Ricky Brugal closes things out with a gabber-meets-chiptune-meets-dembow track that’s pure fire, a cascade of distortion and manic beats that resembles a video game soundtrack.

Things are only starting for Bodega Island, but the collective’s brand of strange but fun as hell tracks seems promising.