Rich and famous bands into their 10th year and sixth album demonstrate a worldview tempered by easy women and shysters. Hard-working bands with a growing cult following, like the Bay Area trio Totimoshi, demonstrate a worldview tempered by . . . actual observation! Singer and guitarist Antonio Aguilar describes the band's new album, Milagrosa, as "an imaginary fight between love/compassion and hate/violence. I wanted to relay the stories as one choice versus the other, both in the lyrics and melody." Such artistic breadth may seem overreaching these days, but Totimoshi nails it every time with the right amount of muscle and heart. "Sound the Horns" is the kind of opener every stoner-rock album should have, announcing itself with authority, becoming progressively more melodic and trippy in the middle, and signing off with a repetitive, dervish raga guitar line that seems to spiral upwards. Aguilar's guitar solos, like half of the tracks on The Melvins' The Maggot album, seem to start in the middle and build. Comparisons to early Melvins and Helmet are frequently cited (Totimoshi's toured with both, and Helmet's Page Hamilton has produced their last two albums). But Milagrosa recalls mid-period Zeppelin because of the way Totimoshi continually transports you to another place, be it in the acoustic "Forever in Bone (Los Dos)," the lumbering "Little Bee," or the scattershot violent "Gnat." Check out the video for the latter, directed by bassist Meg Castellanos and starring the band and Eugene S. Robinson (singer of the San Fran noise band Oxbow, and author of Fight: Or, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Ass-Kicking but Were Afraid You'd Get Your Ass Kicked for Asking). What was the last music video you saw in which the band kicked ass and someone got his ass handed to him in a street fight?
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