Brian Lopez
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Brian Lopez

Tucson, Arizona, United States | INDIE

Tucson, Arizona, United States | INDIE
Band Alternative Avant-garde

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"Meet Brian Lopez: Mostly Bears, with a side of Mambo and Melancholy"

Brian Lopez. You may not be familiar with the name yet, but you will be sooner rather than later. The Tucson, Arizona, native plays guitar and sings for three very different but very intriguing musical projects that should be on your radar if you're a fan of indie rock or Latin music.

It started with his three-piece indie band Mostly Bears, whose off-kilter psychedelic post-punk songs earned the band a recording session with the indie tastemaker website Daytrotter and recognition as one of the best live bands of 2008 by the Las Vegas Weekly.

Then in 2009, Tucson-based Latin musician Sergio Mendoza brought together a group of like-minded players to pioneer what they called "indie mambo." They took the classic Cuban dance style and blended it with psychedelic guitars and cumbia rhythms, doing for mambo what Austin's Grupo Fantasma did for salsa: bringing it to the 21st century while retaining its roots and culture. This Latin big band is called Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, and Lopez as lead guitarist has earned the moniker of "Latin Jimi Hendrix" within the group.

For his haunting and melancholy solo work—backed by cello, violin and keys—Lopez is more of a Latin Jeff Buckley. His warble is as serene and emotive as a young Buckley's was. Being in just one of these groups would've been enough for a writeup, but that he is in all three makes Lopez a uniquely talented individual and someone to keep an eye on. For now, meet Brian Lopez.... Just don't ask him to play in your reggae band. - austinvida.com


"The Rockpile with Jonas and the Mullet"

This week the only "buzz" about the show is its guest and content. The audio has been repaired and we're all excited to have Brian Lopez from Tucson's "Mostly Bears" in the studio to talk about his new solo project, what's next for "Mostly Bears", and why they've been voted the best live band by a popular Las Vegas publication. Brian plays live and will debut a song that's so fresh that it's never been recorded...until this show. This one's a keeper folks! - radioexiles.com


"Scene Report: Pachanga Latino Music Festival"

When Pachanga Latino Music Festival MVP Brian Lopez —at least the guitarist for Y La Orkestra, also performing at the festival, ought to be in contention for the title for pulling double duty in two wildly different acts — took a break from his solo set of classically inspired folk pop, he had one question for the audience.

“Why is everybody so far away? I know we’re from Arizona, but you can get closer,” quipped the Tucson musician. “We won’t bite.”

The answer, of course, had nothing to do with Lopez’s politically controversial home state and everything to do with the scorching early afternoon heat. Roasting temperatures punctuated by infrequent cloud cover meant a toasty start to Pachanga’s third year, keeping crowds thin for the first portion of the day. Lopez thoughtfully serenaded the criminally small early audience with a band that included Y La Orkestra leader Sergio Mendoza and a guest appearance from that band’s vocalist, Calexico collaborator Salvador Duran, whose contribution of whistling would put Andrew Bird to shame. Lopez sounded appropriately vulnerable and melancholic during his solo set, backed by a virtuoso band as he nailed “Praying for Rain” and a cover of “Leda Atomica” on the patio, by far Pachanga’s best-sounding stage. As with preceding act Pinata Protest — too few punk bands feature accordions — it was a shame more people weren’t there to see it. - Austin360.com


"Brian Lopez's "Maslow’s Hierarchy” an Improbable Gem"

“With a distinctive warble that he carries up and down his range, Tucson, Arizona native Brian Lopez delivers it live on guitar and vocals, backed by a thoughtful and tight combo. Romantic, mystical, and entirely unique.”
— superfan2010.com on “Maslow’s Hierarchy” - Superfan2010.com


Discography

1) "El Rojo" EP - January, 2010 (Funzalo Records).
2)"El Blanco" EP - March 2010 (Funzalo Records)
3)"ULTRA" LP - December 2011 (FUNZALO RECORDS)

Photos

Bio

Pick a night to go see Brian Lopez. Any night. Depending on the venue, on his schedule, or on your mood, you could find the guitar menace alongside a cello and upright bass. Or a horn section and farfisa. Or a chanteuse, singing in French. Or a gravelly-voiced flamenco singer warbling in Spanish. Or maybe you¹ll catch Lopez's three-piece band, the buzzed-about and award-winning Mostly Bears, rocking a roomful of fans, his voice rising above his killer guitar and his bandmates’ pounding bass and thumping drums.
The Tucson-born Lopez stretches his talents from rock to mambo to cumbia and back again. But to praise Lopez as simply eclectic, as some sort of musical utilityman, couldn't be more misguided.

Lopez is one of the most respected musicians in his state, if not the West. He studied classical guitar — with a double minor, tellingly, in Spanish andbusiness — as a student at the University of Arizona. A six-month trip to Barcelona changed the way he looked at music, encouraging him to further embrace his hometown¹s reputation as a melting pot of cultures. Lopez has spent the past four years crisscrossing the country with Mostly Bears, praised by Las Vegas Weekly as one of the top five concerts of 2008. They played at CMJ in New York City and wowed SXSW in Austin, Texas. When not playing with the trio, Lopez can be found providing a psychedelic edge to Sergio Mendoza Y La Orkesta, a who's-who of Arizona musicians who have opened for Southwest legends Calexico. Lopez has played with Calexico, too, whom he calls "probably the most diverse, respected and successful musicians" from his hometown. He recently toured Europe with chanteuse Marianne Dissard, and accompanied her down the East Coast in August.

For all his success teaming with the best musicians in a 100-mile radius, Lopez wants more. He has spent the past year exploring a solo project that presents an event deeper departure from his myriad performances. Teaming with a violin, cello, upright bass, lap-steel and even his friend Sergio Mendoza, Lopez has traveled Europe and the United States playing his brand of soaring, goosebump-inducing music. If you're looking for a breezy way to categorize Lopez¹s sound, stop now. From a border town to Spain and back again, in English and French and Spanish, alongside almost every instrument imaginable, Lopez defines distinction. Take a listen, and find out for yourself.