É ARENAS: MAR IGUANA EP

February 2nd, 2018 | Album reviews

É ARENAS
“Mar Iguana” EP
self-released

January 2018 is a month Angelenos have been looking forward to for a while. Weed—such a part of California culture that the bear on the state flag might as well be smoking—is finally legal for responsible adults. It’s only fitting that Chicano Batman bassist É Arenas, purveyor of smoky folk & samba on his own time, would mark this new era with a couple of bangers dedicated to his favorite herbal remedies, part of a 2-track EP fittingly titled Mar Iguana. The title track is full of electronic squelches, sizzling Casio melodies, and an un-subtle cough or two in the back—it’s the kind of playful, polymorphic tune that could work wonderfully in a downtown warehouse DJ set or at an Echo Park house party. (Either way, you’re dancing.) Companion track “El Nopalito” is an ode to the beloved prickly pear, as tasty as it is healthy—like its namesake, the song is sharp and smooth at the same time, with an insistent rhythm (courtesy CB drummer Gabriel Villa) offset by creamy vocal harmonies and an effortless guitar breakdown. It’s a short-and-sweet concept that could’ve worked just as well as a full LP, although Arenas seems to have his hands full with Chicano Batman. 2017 saw them headline their own US tour, and this year they’ll be hitting the festival circuit. Still, his ability to write, produce, engineer, and mix a couple of tracks this fantastic in the midst of their ascent makes one hope that a follow-up to 2016’s Nariz is in the works.

—Zach Bilson

É ARENAS RECORD RELEASE SHOW FOR “MAR IGUANA” WITH BIG F.U.N. AND CHOLA ORANGE ON FRI., FEB. 2, AT THE MOROCCAN LOUNGE, 501 E. 1ST ST., DOWNTOWN. 8 PM / $10 / 21+. GET TICKETS HERE! É ARENAS’ “MAR IGUANA” EP IS AVAILABLE NOW FROM É ARENAS. VISIT É ARENAS AT EARENAS.BANDCAMP.COM.