In the age of on demand streaming and massive festivals, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of new music available to us. Not only is it scary to wander through the vast catalog of songs and albums that seem to flood the internet every week, but these numbers make the options available seem inherently strange and frightening.
The good people at Lunario del Auditorio Nacional are aware of the awesome music being produced by young and hungry artists. To help fans find Mexican musicians they might not be familiar with, they started the Tierra Adentro concert series. They have invited 16 bands hailing from 12 cities from across the country, presenting alternatives to what you can usually find in Mexico City or other major metropolises (though that’s represented here too).
Tierra Adentro is almost a passing of the torch, marking the arrival of a new generation of bands to take over Mexican rock and introducing fans to fresh-faced artists they might not be familiar with. In practice, the selection of acts is more of a sample of what’s currently going on in the underground in different cities and genres throughout the country. Maybe with time, these new artists will rise to the level of Caifanes and Café Tacvba, but their present influence is important as well.
We picked five can’t-miss acts playing Tierra Adentro and we also got one of the bands, Pumcayó, curate a playlist to enjoy before the show.
Festival Lunario Tierra Adentro will take place on July 22-23 and July 29-30, 2016 at 9 p.m. For the full lineup, click here or check out the flyer below:
Gastón Espinoza is a child of punk rock. In the early 00s, he witnessed touring punk acts and befriended them when they would hit Cancún, only to find his voice in rap and hip-hop. His lyrics, detailing a frank, direct, and witty slacker attitude that many Mexican kids identify with, has made him one of the most beloved figures in the country’s underground, but that’s only half the story.
Although his songs and hilarious music videos have won him tons of followers, he is probably the hardest touring act in the indie circuit, playing festivals and small clubs alike without a sponsor or even major transportation (he recently traveled to Chicago’s Ruido Fest by bus from Mexico City). His latest release, Les Juro Que Sí Llego, has given him the most exposure to date, and there’s no sign of him slowing down.
A few years ago, Israel Ramírez wrote some songs and asked some friends to help him flesh them out. As time went on, he assembled a stable band of misfits – musicians whose backgrounds range from noise music to straight up blues – who play with the intensity of the most hardcore punk band and the joy of a gypsy circus. The result? An amazing LP named Gazapo. The music Ramírez creates as Belafonte Sensacional is based on the Mexican folk rock strain known as rupestre and rock urbano (fringe blues-based rock), yet it’s elevated by performances and his heartfelt, sharply humorous lyrics and tales of friends and lovers. The band is about to put out a new EP, but they keep playing regular shows, which leave audiences on their feet screaming for more.
Guadalajara has a long history of music, Pumcayó being one of the most recent Tapatío bands to stand out from the pack. The band plays a melodic style of music that integrates acoustic instruments with synths, creating a pleasantly intricate electronic sound. Pumcayó has been touring and gigging non-stop, gathering praise for their integration of traditional music from Mexico and other international musical languages without resorting to appropriation.
It’s tricky to mix up folk genres, especially when they’re centuries old. Kevin García and Zindu Cano manage to make heartfelt original music by combining son, huayno, canción campesina, pre-Hispanic, and colonial instruments as well as electronics. They have created music from poems by writers such as Nezahualcoyotl, Orlando Guillén, and Leonel Rugama, and have recorded for dance and film as well. Since the release of their last album Autoreverse, they have toured in Europe and Mexico, even releasing a live album of their adventures.
Pop flourishes, strummy folk rock, the arrangements and instrumentation of post rock, and winks to classic psych rock – these are the elements that define the Expedición Humboldt sound. Hailing from the town of Paracho, Michoacán, Expedición have deep ties to the No Futuro Records label/collective based in Morelia, centered around songwriters from the city putting together shows where poetic and personal music is played by acts such as Axel Catalán, Negrø, and Fracaso Hippie. Their beautiful, Beatles-inspired Musicalario EP is one of the scene’s best kept secrets, but it won’t stay long, as the band made great impressions on Festival Marvin attendees and wowed spectators on pretty much every stage they grace.