When scream-queen actress Jenna Ortega got on the dance floor as Wednesday Addams in that midnight black tulle, Lolita-esque dress, we died. It was reminiscent of that viral TikTok of a little retro Wednesday dancing to one of the hottest Goth bands of the moment, Molchat Doma. No doubt, Wednesday Addams is one of the original queens of Goth.
Not ironically, Ortega, who is of Mexican and Puerto Rican ancestry, recently credited Lisa Loring, the actress who played the original Wednesday Addams in the 1960’s sitcom, for informing the choreography of that scene. She also credited a handful of others, including musicians Siouxsie Sioux of British new wave band Siouxsie and the Banshees and Lene Lovich.
Jenna Ortega isn’t the first Latina exploring her Goth side. In fact, Latines have been preaching the dark side since the inception of punk and its offshoot genres like new wave and post-punk. Unlike the Goth music from the ‘80s, which primarily came from England and produced icons like Joy Division, New Order, and The Cure, some of today’s best post-punk comes from Latin America. The genre itself has a particularly huge following among Latine communities thanks to their thriving Gothic, emo, and punk scenes (often referring to themselves as “darks”).
And while the post-punk classics from the ‘80s had a lasting influence on the genre, Latine artists are keeping the genre alive and fresh, albeit sentimental and dark. Here are eight Goth bands and musicians that would have been awesome to hear in the Latina-led Netflix show Wednesday.
Mexico City is a Gothic city in its own undeniable right. From some of its cathedral architecture built during the Spanish conquest that shouts Goth aesthetic to its modern-day El Chopo, a world-famous market for all things darks, punks, and Goths. The city is home to a thriving Goth scene, so it makes sense one of the first Latine punk bands surfaced in CDMX in 1979. Size was dropping music right alongside (or in the shadow of) more widely known artists like Gary Numan and the Talking Heads. Heavily influenced by new wave and punk, Size are pioneers of not only punk in Mexico and Latin America, but rock in general. Leading man of los Caifanes Saul Hernandez has noted them as having a huge influence on his own artistic direction and music.
Size is best known for their single “El Diablo en el Cuerpo,” a fast-paced song that starts with the howl of a wolf and the opening words, “Monstruos verdes me visitan de noche,” which leads into a keyboard riff that may possess someone to throw down some of Wednesday Addams retro moves.
Causa de Muerte
Formed in 2016, the Chilean band Causa de Muerte released their first and last album, Esfinge, in 2019. The album relies heavily on synths, an upbeat bass, distorted guitar sounds, and even some saxophone. Their sounds call back to ‘80s glam punk and new wave. Songs like “Ecos de Fuego” and “Primavera Gris” show the band’s range from ethereal and wispy to more progressive and punk.
It’s also great to see a band with powerful women bringing the energy up a notch. Alongside their ominous bass riffs, leading lady Silke Furious provides powerful vocals, and keyboardist Daphne Charmaine delivers punchy keyboards. The band isn’t afraid to show they’re Goths through and through, donning all-black and choppy haircuts with dark eye shadows that make their skin look as pale as vampires.
Despite coming from the underground scene of Santiago, Chile, the band quickly booked shows shortly after the release of their first album. Causa de Muerte went on a European tour in 2019 but then broke up in November of that year to pursue other projects.
Tijuana-based La Texana will always be known for making post-punk traditional. Created by 19-year-old Josue Ramirez, La Texana started releasing music in 2021. Ramirez’s music has been called “post-punk norteño” by some in Mexico for his use of traditional Mexican sounds with the likes of synths and new wave guitar riffs. His use of the accordion in songs like “Más daño me harás,” “¿Quién?,” and “No me quites tu calor” make the instrument seem like it was made for post-punk.
La Texana leans heavily on bass riffs and poppy synths, but it’s Ramirez’s lyrics — which explore the tragedy of romance and heartbreak — that bring to mind the essential elements of genres associated with Goth culture. Like The Cure’s sappy love songs, La Texana’s lyrics will make any hopeless romantic clutch their heart. In the song “Siempre me cuesta regresar,” Ramirez sings, “Dame tu última mirada antes de que me borres,” later adding the final blow: “Dame tu último suspiro pa’ ahuyentar mis temores.”
La Texana, although new, has quickly risen to the ranks of the contemporary post-punk scene, opening for Depresión Sonora in Mexico City last year.
Leonora Post Punk
The genre is in this band’s very name. Formed at the end of 2019, Leonora Post Punk stays closer to some of the original influences of the genre. Their use of a heavier guitar sound and deeper bass riffs brings to mind dark wave, a genre that hangs out with all the other offshoot subgenres that fall under the Goth umbrella. Their sound could be compared to post-punk heavy-hitter Molchat Doma.
The Mexican trio’s 2020 debut EP Eternos includes the song “Insomnio,” whose guitar bounces between playful and dark, suggesting mischievous undertones. Their solid industrial yet ethereal sound remained strong in their 2021 release Polvo. The four-song EP kicks off with “Luna,” with distinctly mysterious and almost mythological lyrics that call back to Mexico’s own history of ritualistic adoration for the god-like power of the heavens: “Somos tu rebaño, luna, somos tu rebaño, te pedimos, que nunca nos faltes.”
It’s likely Wednesday Addams would love the group of Latine darks scaring people for money who are front and center of HBO’s show Los Espookys. If you’ve watched Los Espookys, you’ve heard HOFFEN. The Mexico City band’s song “Calisto” was featured on the show, which was sadly canceled earlier this month, only a few months after the release of their second season.
Although HOFFEN has been around since 2015, their new album, The Unbearable Lightness, shows the band is still relevant within the scene. The band’s album includes a unique cover of Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.” Contrary to Tom Delonge’s nasally, SoCal accent, HOFFENS monotone version with a Mexican accent gives the song a more Goth vibe. And as if to pay homage to one of Mexico’s legendary rock bands, HOFFEN’s new album also includes a darker, punkier cover of the song “Ayer Me Dijo Una Ave,” the Caifanes classic from their early post-punk days.
The band went on tour with Leonora Post Punk last year.
Darkø is one of those perfect projects that make you feel lucky to have accidentally stumbled upon on the internet. Call it kismet. This one-man project, with its offshoot Imagenes Retros, has all the qualities of lo-fi post-punk with its muted drum machine and faded synths. The Tijuana-based project has released a flurry of singles on Spotify, all with a film-inspired aesthetic.
He definitely takes inspiration from his contemporaries — whether it’s the slashed “o” in the name or the cover art for the demo Я иду в OXXO. The former is a Latin letter that denotes emptiness but also looks like a Russian character; meanwhile, the demo is a visual reference to Molchat Doma’s cover that features the layered architecture of Hotel Panorama in Slovakia. Moreover, Darkø takes an OXXO building, the ubiquitous corporate corner stores in Mexico, and layers it unto itself. “Я иду в OXXO” talks of being tired of everything and just wanting to head to OXXO for some cigarettes and a lighter. The droll lyrics don’t stop the song from eschewing vibes that make any darks want to dance and weep.
This Chicago-based trio, made up of brother duo Brian and Jesse Flores and bandmate Jose Vega, started captivating their local scene in 2019 and quickly rose the ranks. That same year, the self-described indie coldwave band played their local Ruido Fest, which was headlined by Latine legends like Los Tigres del Norte, Enanitos Verdes, El Tri, and Helado Negro.
Their nostalgic sound includes lo-fi vocals full of yearning and sadness alongside snappy drum kicks and space-like synth and guitar that build slowly. You can hear this on tracks like “SONIDERA” off their ONYX EP or “PAPI” from their 1995 EP, both released earlier this year. The band has stayed busy and has released at least two singles and three EPs since 2021. So far, they’ve released two full-length albums, including the self-titled French Police in 2019 and Haunted Castles in 2020.
No list of Latine Goth music that should have been on the Wednesday series is complete without some perreo. In the past couple of years, post-punk covers of reggaeton hits have broken the internet, and it all starts with FrioLento. Their own music includes their 2020 freshman album Disco Invierno, that’s more on the lighter side but full of ‘80s influences from its use of synth to its slow ballads. The band is now set to perform at Argentina’s Lollapalooza in 2023.
The Chilean band first popped off for perreo covers in 2021 with their discotheque-worthy cover of Karol G’s “Bichota.” They then joined forces with Saul de los Santos for another post-punk cover of Bad Bunny’s “La Santa.” Since then, other song covers in the darker genres include “No Me Conoce,” “Dákiti,” and more recently, “Me Porto Bonito.” The compatibility of the post-punk sound with the reggaeton sound could be chalked up to the tempo and melodic vocals, not to mention both genres are great for dancing in the dark.