Wanna know what’s pretty cool and new in the Latin Alternative scene? Check out these 10 upcoming Latin albums of 2013, everything from ñu-cumbia to effervescent electro-pop. This is only part one.
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If you were anywhere near the southernmost extreme of the continent last summer, you definitely couldn’t get away from Poncho‘s massive hit “Please Me” off their debut album Poncho Total. I mean this track was literally everywhere. My mom, who hasn’t purchased music since circa 1982, raved about it and asked me to download it to her phone. So, of course, there’s a huge load of expectation for Poncho’s follow up where they’ll get to prove that they are more than a one-hit-wonder–or not. Last November, the trio led by legendary porteño DJ Javier Zuker uploaded to the interwebs the first advance single for what will be their sophomore release. “Take My Hand” follows pretty much the same line of “Please Me” (minus the contagious anthemic chorus) in the sense that it’s extremely Brit in its style. However, Poncho had proved to me way more than Anglophile dance sorcerers and paid due tribute to Argentine rock in their debut (that included Luís Alberto Spinetta and Banda De Turistas as guest stars), so we might speculate that their upcoming album (no release date yet) will have some of that too. After all they’re named Poncho, right? -JD
In 2006, Quiero Club released their self-produced debut album which began as a music project with friends to one of Mexico’s most respected groups who’ve made valuable contributions to the indie pop genre. Relocating to Mexico City from Monterrey, it’s their first album, junior record, to be recorded in Mexico’s capital, to be titled El Techo Es El Suelo, and it’s produced by Phil Vinall (Zoé, Placebo, Fangoria, Pulp) due February 19th. Their love for Mexico City has brought the band new musical horizons which reflects beautifully on their recent work. Even vocalist/synth player Marcela has a column with us chronicling the city’s hidden gems. Late last year, Quiero Club released “Cuentos,” the upcoming album’s first single, in the form of a pretty cool and sickening music video. -IR
SLV, Dig Deeper
She used to go by Sandra, the singer of Pistolera. But for her solo debut EP, she decided to make things simpler for the texting-era gringos by abbreviating her name to her initials. She also switched gears, big time. On her new solo project, she went from Spanish being her predominant singing language to English, and left behind the fusion with Latin American rhythms. Dig Deeper will be released digitally on February 12th and it was produced by the legendary Meshell Ndegeocello who also played bass on three of the four songs. More than a departure from her roots or a crossover intent, this is Sandra’s side-project where she got to dig deeper into her soul and show us a different side of hers that could never fit in Pistolera’s repertoire. -JD
Deriving their band name from a title of a poem by Walt Witman, Madrid-based electro pop quintet HATEM (Hola A Todo El Mundo) also crafts music that sounds like poems; poised, with reflection, and musically pensive. They recently released their sophomore album Ultraviolet Catastrophe (album title also comes from a poem by Roy Tiger Milton) via Mushroom Pillow in Spain and Japan, and for the rest of the world, it’s due February 4th. “They Won’t Let Me Grow” is the band’s first single off said album, and it showcases a beautifully modern blend of ’60s chord progressions and ’80s synth lines, drifting more towards the shoegaze. -IR
Ñu-cumbia seemed a little to much like a boys club. True, the same can be said about traditional cumbia, and to certain extent, about music in general. But we certainly needed a female touch in this scene dominated by bedroom DJs and computer geeks. We announced almost a year ago that ZZK Records had signed their first female artist ever, La Yegros (that’s pronounced shegros, in Argentine vernacular). Now, after just one single included on the Future Sounds Of Buenos Aires compilation, La Yegros is getting ready for her first full length album to drop in April. Quite an accomplishment considering her label-mates Frikstailers who have been with ZZK since the very beginnings, are just now getting around to release an official debut LP. -JD