The band's vocalist, Karlos "Solrak" Paez, flips verse in both English and Spanish, backed by a solid Afro-Cuban percussion section. Solrak pulls double duty as resident poet and dance-floor inciter. But with the bristling instrumental chops that the other members of the band bring to the table, he's playing second fiddle half the time -- funk-laden horn riffs coalesce over a loping bass line, jazz-inflected piano trades time with wah-wah guitar. Elements of ska, soul, hip hop, and funk creep in among hip-stirring salsa beats.
Last year's stellar sophomore album Culture of Resistance put the B-Sides on the map -- that is, if living out of a van up and down the West Coast didn't. After earning attention and stage space from heavyweights like James Brown, Will Harper, and Sly & Robbie, the B-Sides' days of playing intimate small-venue shows are numbered. Smoke 'em while you got 'em.