Grupo Fantasma has long been known as a band you have to hear live to fully appreciate. So it’s fitting that the 11-piece Austin ensemble named its new live disc, Grupo Fantasma Comes Alive, after the 1976 double album that transformed Peter Frampton from a pleasant journeyman into an arena-rock god.
Recorded at Antones last March, Comes Alive finds the perennial Austin Music Awards winner stretching out on dance-floor magnets such as “Mentiras,” “Chocolate,” and “Oye Mi Cumbia.” For a full hour the groove never lets up, which is one of the wonders of any Grupo Fantasma gig. They’re certainly not the only contemporary band mining salsa, cumbia, classic soul and Woodstock-era Santana for inspiration, but it’s hard to think of anyone who can beat them at their game on a good night.
The band has already received multiple raves for the live album, and they’ll celebrate its release with a gig at the Revolution Room (8123 Broadway) on Saturday, October 28. Call 320-4567 for more info.
Local punk duo The Spark didn’t record its self-titled CD at a gig, but the album’s live-in-the-studio feel captures the raucous energy and sonic unconventionality of a band that incorporates samples and loops into its raw, thrash assault. Recorded at Rhapsody Street Studios, the 15-song album is a long-awaited debut release from the band, which formed eight years ago. The Spark will celebrate the release with a November 11 show at Limelight. Look for more info on that show in coming weeks.