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Tag: The Division Men

The Division Men (and friends) turn up the romance and mystery on Niños Del Sol

Photo by Casey Chumbley

Photo by Casey Chumbley

Our favorite desert noir duo, The Division Men is on the cusp of an exciting new album, their third full-length release. Titled Niños Del Sol, it’s a deliciously romantic stew of acoustic and electric guitars, sensuous saxophone, delicately played piano and touches of percussion that lace in and out while J. Spencer Portillo and wife Caroline Rippy Portillo spin their vocal magic. The result is breathtaking. The music strongly conjures heady, exotic desert evenings along the Southern border. Each song moves seamlessly into the next like a lush and inviting soundtrack, but particular standouts include “Heaven Knows Why”, “Fall,” “Marionette” and the title track “Niños Del Sol,” which is spectacularly beautiful.

At ‘Musings,’ we first discovered Austin-based The Division Men in January 2015. As a quick reminder, they first came together in Berlin in 2008, and are strongly influenced by their El Paso and San Antonio roots. Words used to describe their music include “romantic,” “haunting,” “dark” and “ethereal.” I’ll add intoxicating to the mix.

Niños Del Sol, two and a half years in the making, was a collaborative effort, created with the musical contributions of several close friends, who also happen to be distinguished artists. Guest musicians include Rafael Gayol (Leonard Cohen), Jake Garcia (The Black Angels), Steven Hufsteter (Del Shannon, Tito and Tarantula), Jay Reynolds (Asleep at the Wheel) and Javier Escovedo (The Zeros). Half of the tracks are re-imagined songs from Live at Clap of Thunder, their first live album.

This new album will be released April 20th, and hopefully will soon be followed by some live dates!

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The Division Men Release Tranquilo Trail, a Live DVD

We first introduced you to The Division Men back in January. As we’re coming into the dark half of the year and a few short weeks before Samhain, what better time to revisit this darkly romantic Americana duo and enjoy their latest video, “Marionette,” taken from their live DVD Tranquilo Trail, just released on October 9. It’s both sensuous and ominous, taking its influence from their Texan roots with a delicious Gothic vibe.


The duo will be touring this autumn in Europe from mid-November through mid-December. They’ll be visiting Germany, Czechoslovakia, Austria, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Belgium. Ahead of all that, there are a pair of Texas shows this month. See their web site for details.

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Introducing… The Division Men

Back from our foray into the dance clubs, it’s time to curl up on the couch with a cup of tea and the hushed and forboding dark plaintive Americana of The Division Men. This quiet, shimmering beauty is created by vocalist and guitarist J. Spencer Portillo and vocalist/bassist Caroline Rippy Portillo. Caroline’s vocals come in like delicate old lace laid softly over J. Spencer’s dusty and windswept desert regrets, with wistful piano tinkling mixed sprinkled in here and there. “Whiskey piano blues,” indeed.

This Austin-based husband and wife acoustic duo originally formed in Berlin, Germany in 2008. Caroline, hailing from San Antonio, played bass in bands such as Tito and Tarantula. Her husband is a California native raised in El Paso, an influence that exerts itself strongly in both the music and lyrical content of these darkly romantic songs. They released their Under The Gun album, recorded in their home studio, in May of last year.

The Division Men have shows coming up this month in Texas, California, Nevada, Wyoming and Colorado. They’ll be touring with The Black Market II.

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