"It's Loco Time" and the (not-quite) mystery of Loco Domingo

"It's Loco Time" and the (not-quite) mystery of Loco Domingo

Ooh, this is a fun blog today. A blog straight from the mailbag. Recently, a song was emailed to me with the subject line "Funky dance song by Loco Domingo called It's Loco Time." I was immediately intrigued and pressed play on the .wav attachment posthaste.

I'll let you judge for yourself, but I find this song deeply compelling. It has a robot voice, disco guitar, occasional peals of slap bass, and bizarre but fascinating rapped verses ("You're 42 years old and you never call your father / On a journey of discovery with Vasco da Gama") and a sung chorus that burrowed into my brain over the course of the day: "Loco Domingo / Not your normal Sunday / Loco Domingo / Kiss me if you can / It's loco day."

Here's the thing: I think I know what a Loco Domingo is. A regular Sunday suggests a day of rest: chilling, eating a lazy breakfast, maybe getting your house in some semblance of order. But sometimes that Sunday goes off the rails. Someone might throw a party, or host a gathering, or suggest some random plan that steers you into uncharted waters. And then your regular Sunday becomes a Loco Domingo. It happened to me recently, where a calm Sunday somehow became a day where I saw 6 hours of movies (in the form of the Taylor Swift concert doc + the original Hunger Games) bisected by a visit to the Cheesecake Factory for a surprisingly delicious espresso martini, and finalized with karaoke at the dive bar. I came home that night looking and feeling like I had gone through a washing machine.

I was very curious about the band Loco Domingo — in the email, Loco Domingo's vocalist Pablo Rocky described himself as "the artist formerly known as 
Dlux," and linked a website which billed Loco Domingo as the new incarnation of previous group Thrift Bakery, which had been around since the mid-1980s. The length of time Loco Domingo has been together had already made a huge impression on me, considering a lot of bands I talk to have existed since, like, 2021. And "It's Loco Time" was such a bop. So I emailed and asked about the transition from Thrift Bakery to Loco Domingo, and Pablo Rocky kindly obliged. Here's what he sent back:

"The friendship among the four of us dates back 40 years. 
Marius Callus, Margaret Lane and Enrico Casio were in a band in Winston-Salem, NC, called Swinging Verves. I tagged along and ran the soundboard at one show. This was around 1983-84.
Winston-Salem was jangle-pop central. Mitch Easter was recording REM down the street. The dbs were from there. And of course Mitch's band, Let's Active.
Marius moved to Paris and we started a new band with me running drum machine and rapping. That group was Thrift Bakery. We were a fish out of water in Winston-Salem. We moved to Washington, DC. We mostly went as a threesome from 1985 to 1990, with some other players.
We went dormant for more than 20 years, starting up again in 2011. Marius was back and Enrico said let's bring him into TB. We have three albums on the streaming services. See https://www.thriftbakery.com/
In 2022 I just decided unilaterally that we should change our name to Loco Domingo, inspired by veteran (or dead) opera stars. The others went along. No one wanted the name Jessie Normal. Renee Fleming is still alive.
We rarely see each other and talk only sometimes. We live in four different cities and swap digital files. A lot of the lyrics I write, the band decides to put on the shelf. I am ok with that. There are always more. 
Enrico said "Let's focus on dance music." So here we go, two songs out and another being finished (for now)."

COOL. A multi-decade musical project that exists entirely remotely? Thrilling. Did you listen to "It's Loco Time" yet? Here is another opportunity.

I then asked Pablo Rocky over email: "What do you think makes a perfect dance tune? Do you have a favorite dance song?" And got this response (YouTube embeds by moi, for musical exploration purposes):

The perfect dance tune provokes a gut level response in the listener to immediately throw away their troubles and associate with both the beat and melody. The harmonies in the tune will hold the listener until the end. You might even sing along! 
Let me give you some of my favorite examples (that will show you how old I am)
Cisco Kid - War
Low Rider - War
Flashlight - Parliament
Tragedy - Bee Gees
Brick House - Commodores
Some deep tracks by the B-52s: 
Is That You Mo-Dean?
More recently:
Get the Party Started - Pink
Daft Punk is Playing at My House - LCD Soundsystem

Pablo Rocky also polled other Loco Domingo members on what they thought makes a perfect dance song:

Enrico Casio: "An irresistible beat married to an earworm melody"

Jessye Normal: "It's all about the guitars being as busy and as loud as they can possibly be, and everything else including the vocals being subservient and lower than the loud extremely busy and noisy guitar parts."

Welp that's it. I am officially a Loco Domingo fan. And I look forward to digging into the archives of Thrift Bakery as well! Truly, this is what music blogging is all about: discovery and play and weirdness and joy. It's loco time.

Check out the Thrift Bakery-turned-Loco Domingo website here.