This time last year we were jamming out to albums like Hello Seahorse!’s Bestia, Juan Son’s Mermaid Sashimi, and Bomba Estereo’s Blow Up, a great mix to soundtrack the “put away the shorts and pull out the sweaters” time of year.
This year, though we’ve seen some excellent Latin releases already from the likes of Gepe, Klaus&Kinski, and Julieta Venegas, it’s about time to freshen things up on the old iPod. We love Audiovision as much as everybody else, but we’ve reached our play count limit and are ready for some new sounds.
So, we’ve rounded up our most anticipated fall and winter Latin album releases (13 in total!) with everything from accelerated tribal rhythms to effervescent electropop to keep you up to date and in tune.
Veo La Marea
“Empieza a Amanecer” [ft. Niña Dioz]
Though Veo La Marea is her debut album, Tijuana-based Ceci Bastida already has a long musical trajectory. Before embarking on her solo career, Bastida was a member of Tijuana No!, then part of Julieta Venegas’ backing band for several years. Now, after much anticipation, her solo project is getting its first full-length release, a personal and socio-politically aware collection of songs featuring beats prendidos by heavy hitters like Diplo and XXXChange. In “Empieza a Amanecer,” Bastida gets help from Monterrey MC Niña Dioz and together they deliver one of the best tracks of the year, a bold and summery song to usher you into otoño. Look for the stateside release of Veo La Marea later this month.
TOM TOM CLUB
Genius of Live
“Genius of Live” [Money Mark Remix]
Tom Tom Club, formed by Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz of Talking Heads, has put out some killer dance tracks over the years, most notably “Genius of Love,” a song that has been sampled countless times. For their latest album, Genius of Live, the band will feature a Latin alternative remix tribute to that oft-sampled song. The tribute will include remixes by Ozomatli, Kinky, Money Mark, and The Pinker Tones, and will be out September 28. The Money Mark mix sounds like something Bowie would have done, or like the long-lost cousin of “Safety Dance.” Download both and compare!
Aprendiendo a Amar con Los Espiritus
Los Espíritus, a collaboration between Colombia-via-Toronto’s Lido Pimienta and Tijuana’s María y José, is the most interesting and exciting project to surface this year. The release, which will be out in October, is the first volume in a series called Aprendiendo A Amar Con Los Espíritus. It will be what Pimienta calls an encyclopedia of love, beginning with stories of the sexual awakening of two teenagers and spanning their romantic lives, ending when their kids have teenagers of their own. In later volumes, the pair will be collaborating with Capullo and Zizek Club’s El Remolón, and the saga will be fascinating to hear unfold. Download “Besito,” a sweet tune with a bubbly melody and charming lyrics, all over María y José’s infectious tropicalismo.
Since the debut of her first full-length album, Esquemas Juveniles, the muy simpática Javiera Mena has enjoyed much critical and commercial success. Her smart yet accessible electro-pop has garnered attention from across Latin America, and her eagerly-awaited followup, Mena, promises to be even more charming and danceable. Not only has Mena grown as an artist, she will also be releasing the album, featuring such esteemed musicians as Daniel Hunt of Ladytron, Jens Lekman, and Lara Pedrosa, on her own label, Unión del Sur, later this month.
“Una nueva historia violenta”
Prehistoricos, comprised of Tomas Preuss, Jeca Romo, and Felipe Moreno, is a band out of Chile that lives up to their name with their fascinating primordial style that evokes prehistoric images and visceral emotion. The ultimate intention of the music, according to Preuss, is to generate warmth. But along with the music’s warm qualities, it is also hazy and porous. The band plans to release their first album, the tentatively-titled La Orquesta Oculta, at the end of the month. “Una nueva historia violenta” is powerful in its minimalism, a grand work of simplicity, eerie yet sweet. We can’t stress how great this song is. Escucha!
La Lucha Constante
“El Sonido Ensordecedor”
In a sudden surge of creative energy Cheky, of the Caracas-based pop duo Jóvenes y Sexys, began working on a solo project this past June. It was Cheky’s chance to discover the range of his voice, work with synthetic sounds, and write lyrics for the first time. The result was La Lucha Constante, his debut album as Algodón Egipcio, which is already generating a lot of buzz on both Latin and non Latin-centric blogs for its dreamy, imaginative take on pop. “El Sonido Ensordecedor” is a beautifully layered and ethereal piece and quite a departure from the Jóvenes y Sexys sound. Look for the album to be released on Bandcamp mid-September.
A La Piscina
Whether “La Truita” is about a trout or a tortilla or something else entirely is mostly irrelevant when the band behind the song makes it sound like a vintage beach vacation. Barcelona-based Aias is a trio of talented ladies making sunny, hazy indie pop in Catalan and one of the first Ibero-American bands to emerge around the recent buzz of the lo-fi scene. Though compared to the likes of Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls, Gaia, Laia and Miriam, similar to their fellow compatriots Los Punsetes, are delivering their own take on the noisy, garage rock-inspired style and getting noticed for it. The band is already Pitchfork-approved (if you care about that indie cred sort of thing) and was recently signed to Brooklyn’s own Captured Tracks. Look for their debut album, A La Piscina, on September 14 and for a stateside tour later this fall.
Música, Gramática, Gimnasia
“Lo que quieras”
Chilean duo Denver is one of those slept-on acts that you wish you had been awake for from the beginning. Mariana Montenegro and Milton Mahan have been making their wistful indie pop since 2005, with an EP and full-length album already under their belts, not to mention some spectacularly cinematic music videos to match their spectacularly cinematic songs, like “Lo que quieras,” a love song seeped in grandeur (one of the best tracks of the year). Now the duo is ready to release their second album, Música, Gramática, Gimnasia, which is due by the end of 2010.
“FM Tan Sexy”
El Guincho has been quite busy since the 2008 release of the acclaimed Alegranza!, the album that put him on the musical map. He’s undertaken an ambitious project with Piratas de Sudamerica, a series of EPs reimagining South American classics, the first volume of which was released earlier this summer. Without even un descansito between projects, El Guincho is set to release his third full-length album, Pop Negro, later this month, which, from the sound of it, is his most accessible collection of songs yet. The first single, “Bombay,” serves just the right amount of dissonance to go along with the island vibes that El Guincho is known for, and “FM Tan Sexy” continues that electropicalia flare with a touch of sexiness.
For his follow up to 2008’s Presente, Ulises Hadjis did not consciously write songs with an album in mind. But being the kind of singer-songwriter who never stops writing, Hadjis soon had enough material for Cosas Perdidas. His sophomore album continues in the same vein of simple and graceful pop and features Lo Blondo of Hello Seahorse! on vocals and a song co-written with Juan Manuel Torreblanca. Our first taste is the lovely “Musica Normal,” a short and sweet little track featuring Hadjis’ soft, soothing vocals and a subdued guitar melody, great indication of what’s to come with Cosas Perdidas, which will be out in October.
Conejillo de Indias / Demasiado Viejo Para Morir Joven
“Los Arsenales de Algodon”
Juan Pablo Oczkowski comes from a family of musicians who immigrated to Venezuela from Poland in the ’70s. He goes by Jan Pawel (Juan Pablo in Polish) and makes confessional beachy folk pop (though he prefers not to think of himself as a folk musician). He works in the realm of emotion, not narrative, never venturing to tell stories with his songs, preferring instead to take unconnected images born as emotions and stringing them together for others to listen and make their own interpretations. Look for two releases from Jan Pawel this year, one being a lo-fi compilation called Conejillo De Indias and the other an EP titled Demasiado Viejo Para Morir Joven. “Los Arsenales de Algodon,” which will be included in the compilation, begins with a charming accordion (a la Beirut) that transports you to a little French café, where you’re sipping a latte and watching the passersby.
NORTEC COLLECTIVE PRESENTS BOSTICH + FUSSIBLE
“I Count the Ways”
Nortec Collective’s take on the sounds of Tijuana, an intriguing amalgam of electronica and norteño, has started dance parties all over Mexico and across the globe. Always on the cutting edge, Bostich + Fussible have designed an interface for the iPad that controls all the components of the musical space station they use in their live shows. This innovation is just one of the features to look forward to from the duo’s follow-up to Tijuana Sound Machine, Bulevar 2000, which is out September 14. “I Count The Ways,” a combination of sturdy tuba bass line, playful accordion and trumpet, and wispy vocals, though a bit uncharacteristic, couldn’t come from any other source but Nortec Collective.
Mientras Tu Dormias
Baja California native Carla Morrison, after a short stint in Phoenix during which she formed the band Babaluca, returned to la patria to pursue a solo career and soon released her debut EP, Aprendiendo a Aprender. Since then, Morrison, with her striking vocals and honest lyrics, has quickly become Mexico’s sweetheart. Her second EP, Mientras Tu Dormias, was produced by Morrison’s good friend, the talented Natalia Lafourcade and will be out October 26.
Bimexicano: Nuestros Clasicos Hechas Rock
“La Cigarra” [Natalia Lafourcade]
In honor of Mexico’s bicentenario, some of the country’s most acclaimed rock musicians, including Ely Guerra, Kinky, and Jumbo, have put their spin on the beloved classics of their homeland for Bimexicano: Nuestros Clasicos Hechos Rock. It’s an inspired and heartfelt tribute to Mexico, lindo y querido. You’ll be especially interested to hear what “Bésame Mucho” sounds like in the hands of Sussie 4. And, not surprisingly, Natalia Lafourcade’s take on “La Cigarra” is a haunting and stirring performance you won’t be able to get out of your head.
You can combine all of the nuclear arsenals on the planet and they cannot equal the threat of Calle 13’s upcoming album Detonacion C-13. At least, that’s what the duo’s thriller of an album teaser, not to mention their already explosive career trajectory, lead us to believe. This is why, since earlier this summer, we’ve been preparing for an explosion of atomic proportions. That doesn’t mean we’re barricading ourselves in a bomb shelter, though. We want to be around for this one. Puerto Rico’s most intriguing reggaeton visionaries have already given us a first taste with “Calma Pueblo,” a brazen and menacing anthem propelled to a whole new threat level with the help of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s brash guitar. The album drops in October, so brace yourselves.