Totimoshi

Milagrosa

Ditch the tinny, lo-fi computer speakers, people. Totimoshi’s fifth LP, Milagrosa, out July 8, requires the biggest, burliest stack in the house. Just a few seconds of the lumbering, Mastodon-like riffage in “Little Bee” or the skittish prog breaks in “El Emplazado” makes volume knobs creep higher and higher.

The record — Spanish for “miraculous” — miraculously manifested itself rather quickly after the band finished a seven-month tour through 2007, sponsored by its new label Volcom. Alameda guitarist/vocalist Antonio Aguilar and bassist Meg Castellanos tried out five new drummers and tapped Kansas transplant Chris Fugitt. The new team slammed out a dozen songs over eight weeks, and recorded the eleven-track CD at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland in just nine days in January 2008; a testament to members’ advanced skill and rehearsal ethic. Helmet guitarist Page Hamilton again helmed production alongside Melvins tech Toshi Kasai, an engineer and mixer to whom compression is a four-letter word. Cutting tracks by day, Aguilar and Kasai drew inspiration from Queen, Bowie, and Pink Floyd by night, aiming for a hi-fi, literate, and loud sound. Aguilar’s switch from Gibsons to Fender Stratocasters gives his huge, central riffs new clarity, while Castellanos’ Rickenbacker bass is beefier than ever. Fugitt is a tight, loud, creative fit.

The inclusion of melodic vocal counterpoint, multiple acoustic songs, and Hamilton’s guitar-scapes on “Dear” dispel any lingering notions that Totimoshi is strictly a metal band. Like friends the Melvins, the road-tested vets remain simply untouchable in a decade-old space now all their own. (Volcom)

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