The streets of New York City are paved in sweat at the moment. You know what that means: it’s time for the Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC). Rockeros, music industry suits, and wannabes from all over descend upon our sticky shores either hoping to be discovered, hustling to sign the next Kinky, or just get a hickey or two. Of course, a lot of the artists can be hit or miss and many non-official LAMC shows spring out of nowhere. So we’ve consolidated it all for you. This year there will be a lot of old-school rock en español types as well as a few new gems that might surprise you. Here are Remezcla’s recommendations for the must-see at LAMC: old, new, and everything in between.
Jarabe de Palo
MUST-SEE SHOW: Central Park SummerStage, June 6, 2011
Also performing: Ely Guerra, Novalima and Mr. Pauer
Spain’s Jarabe De Palo returned with their 8th new album released this year, ¿Y Ahora Que Hacemos? premiering the single “Quiero a morir” featuring Spanish superstar Alejandro Sanz. Fronted by Barcelona-birth Pau Donés, the quintet began the pop rock music project in 1996. Since their debut, Jarabe has released some of the best Latin tracks out there known today including “Bonito,” and “Lado Oscuro.” Jarabe’s greatest achievement came in their commencement after a notable trip to Cuba. Word has it that Donés became inspired to write “La Flaca” in that part of the globe.
About a year later, their debut album reached millions in sales, and “La flaca” became a Spanish anthem in the summer of 1997. Since then, this quintet has received high acclaim from pop critics around the globe. As for their latest works, they are equally if not more musically compelling. Expect to hear your old school favorites and new material from the album, there will be a little something for everyone.
Choc Quib Town
MUST-SEE SHOW:SummerStage at Central Park, June 9, 2011
Also performing: Rita Indiana, Ursula 1000, and Uproot Andy & Geko J.
Hailing from the remote and rainy Pacific coast of Colombia, Choc Quib Town is an Afro-Colombian hip hop group. Members Tostao, Goyo, Slow, Larry Viveros, Alex Sanchez, Juanpablo Tobon, and Andres Zea work with a variety of styles, including funk, ragga, and traditional Colombian rhythms, to produce a unique hip hop sound. The group released their first album, Somos Pacifico, in Colombia in 2007. Their second album, Oro, was released on Nacional Records, giving the group a boost in stateside recognition.
MUST-SEE SHOW: S.O.B.s
Also performing: La Vida Boheme, Gaby Moreno, Hello Seahorse, Superlitio, Napoleon Solo, One Chot, No Te Va Gustar, Cuatro Poder, and Diego Garcia.
You might think Ely Guerra has about fifteen personas, what with all the changing hair dos, outfits, and string of hobbies. You’ll probably be even more confused by her recent album, Hombre Invisible, a complete 180 for the Mexican singer-songwriter. But confusion is a good thing, at least in Ely’s opinion. She wants to keep you guessing. Which is why she’s produced this recent album and its artwork (below), a collection of songs and snapshots that personify the last decade of Ely’s life.
Again, you might wonder how owls and rams and jaguars (oh my!) figure into a 38-year-old’s life. But if you talk to Ely for two seconds, you feel this animalistic nature in her. Like a rampant creature, she feels freer than ever. She’s free from the label that once housed her (EMI Music Mexico), the management that guided her, and the general “formula” that followed her. She is free. Now she’s left to her devices: making music, making food, and making friends (although with friends like Cafe Tacuba, do you really need any more?).
Hello Seahorse! is a Mexico City-based trio comprised of Denise Gutierrez (Lo Blondo) Fernando Burgos (Oro de Neta), and Bonnz! Their breakout album Bestia generated a steady stream of blog buzz last year and made them indie pop darlings, with the title track getting significant radio play and a remix by Julieta Venegas. The song also earned them several award nominations and a win at the 2009 Indie-O Awards for Song of the Year. The band is currently working on a new album with such names as Money Mark and Yamil Rezc.
MUST-SEE SHOW: Bowery Ballroom
Also performing: Francisca Valenzuela, No Te Va Gustar, Napoleon Solo, Cuarto Poder and Diego Garcia
In the last few years, Ximena Sariñana has already achieved what many craving artists starve for: a breakthrough, fire-selling debut, and three Grammy nominations. The Mexican bilingual singer recently released a “bigger and better” sophomore album, her all-English debut Ximena Sariñana. Regardless of the superfluous lifestyle that comes with stardom for any accomplished celebrity, this multi-talented artist has a sense of connectedness with her roots and the people part of it. Whether it stems from Mexico, the U.S., or a loving family.
MUST-SEE SHOW: Mercury Lounge
Also performing: Jazzimodo, Pablo Malaurie, La Vida Boheme, Superlitio, and Elastic Bond
We know you’ll become fast friends with Poncho, the band of electro heads from Buenos Aires, produced by misplaced Brit Justin Robertson. And maybe in turn you’ll chummy up with their friends (Banda de Turistas, Luis Alberto Spinetta, Shannon Funchess of !!! aka Chk Chk Chk, among others). You can hear it in their music, how affable and free spirited they are. Like those nice Dutchmen you met when you were backpacking through Europe and they offered you all sorts of libations and drugs. That’s the effect Poncho has, makes you feel like you’re shirtless on Fire Island having the time of your life.
Poncho’s debut Poncho Total boasts great variety, from classic Euro, fist-bumping beats, to the effusive pop-rock of Latin America, a cultural mix that speaks to the EuroLatincentricities of Argentina and its flock. The entire album is a great jolt, perfect for any e-infused fest. But it works wonderfully sober, too.
The Best of the Rest
Why would you go to any other after party? Once you’re done with the concerts, the panels, the booths, and the back and forth taxi trips (and the locura!), cap it all off with the official LAMC after party at D’Antigua, co-sponsored by Jack Daniels, featuring “Local Bands We Love” performances by Estados Alterados, Mexican Dubwiser, One Chot, Una Via, and Elastic Bond. It’s going to be a long night.
Remezcla will host exclusive live interviews with many of this year’s LAMC artists, to be streamed LIVE on Friday, July 8, packed with performances from your favorite LAMC bands.