Puerto Rico’s Los Vigilantes Take Garage Punk to the Beach on New Single

Read more

Hey, South America: Puerto Rican garage-punk band Los Vigilantes wants you to know they care. In six years of releasing short EPs and full-length records, they’ve teamed up with ChaCho Records, rookie label Warevel Socio, NYC’s Norton Records, and Slovenly, an internationally minded punk imprint. For their next trick, they’ve connected with Brazilian startup Mandinga Records.

Guitarist Jorge “Jota” Mundo says the pairing was perfect. “I love the name. I love the name!” he gushes. “It’s a very small label; they just started…[The title track] was a song made at the beach. It just went well, the name of the label with the cover we had in mind, with the vibe of the whole thing.”

The art for Viento, Sereno y El Mar was modeled after an album from Roberto y Su Nuevo Montuno, a Puerto Rican salsa group from the genre’s iconic 70s heyday. The sound is not unlike typical Vigilantes fare — 50s rock ‘n’ roll sways, perfectly placed twang and an easy-on-the-ears punk underpinning. No aggressive stuff was squeezed into the short four-song release, which is totally OK. These mostly breezy numbers may not induce frenzied shaking all over, but they’ll definitely get you shimmying.

Los Vigilantes are saluting other parts of the world, too: The EP includes a song in Japanese. “Wakao Ayako,” dedicated to a Japanese actress, comes courtesy of Ricardo Vilaro, a longtime but sometimes removed Vigilante living in Tokyo. Another track, “Mejor,” is a cover of Los Brincos, a 60s group often regarded as the Spanish Beatles.

“It’s very United Nations,” Mundo laughs. “We’ve been trying to tour in the U.S. for so long and we’ve been to Europe…but we want to go more to South America. That’s something that we can do. We want to make it a normal thing.”

The band is fresh off a jaunt around Mexico, which Jota reports went really well. To their surprise, Vigilantes tunes had been in rotation locally on Reactor 105.7, a popular radio station, for months. Crowds in D.F., Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Toluca were consistently pumped, he says, and they even encountered a band playing covers of their songs.

Mundo hopes they’ll be greeted with the same enthusiasm when they finally get to South America. Considering their partnership with Mandinga and the fact that drummer Rafa Díaz is originally from Colombia, we don’t think he’ll be disappointed.

Viento, Sereno y El Mar will be available digitally in April, but only 300 physical copies will be pressed. Until then, listen to the first single below.

Update, 3/2/2016, 10:16 a.m.: A previous version of this post implied that this EP would include a song in English. The post has been updated to reflect that it will include songs in Japanese and Spanish.