By Arturo R. García
It’s Sept. 16, which means it’s Mexican Independence Day – please remind any friends who might be confused about the occasion that it’s not in May – and also time for our annual peek at musical goodness from the (personal) Motherland.
Kicking it off in the clip above is Molotov, rock en español‘s longtime agent provocateurs, who are celebrating their 15th anniversary this year with a tour, and are expected to drop an album later this year.
Overall, though, this year’s spotlight is a bit different from our 2010 and 2009 installments, mostly because of the rise of a new genre, ruidosón, a successor of sorts to the Nortec movement from earlier this decade, which fuses old-school rhythms with modern tech to create a sound that, while retaining some familiarity, is exploring new territory. More beats than you can handle are under the cut.
The Name: María y José
The Style: Antonio Jiménez (there’s no María, for the record) is one of ruidosón’s burgeoning leaders, with two albums already under his belt.
The Buzz: ““Puerto Alegría” is an immediate contender for -2011 Song of the Summer-, and it’s undeniably, María y José’s catchiest song yet. It’s so sticky you could easily confuse him with a popstar. ” – Club Fonograma
The Name: Los Macuanos
The Style: Three-man Ruidosón crew rides a similar chill wave as MyJ, with music bridging the gap between traditional grupero music and club-friendly sounds.
The Buzz: “Los Macuanos take inspiration from a wealth of resources — New York City no-wave, Detroit techno, rural Mexican music; the list goes on—and I wouldn’t be surprised if San Diegans eventually get keen on their borderless sounds.” – San Diego CityBeat.
The Name: DJ Javier Estrada
The Style: Hailing from Monterey, Nuevo León – the same city that gave us the mighty Kinky – Estrada is as prolific as he is prodigious; all four of his Ritmo Del Mundo mixtapes were released within one year.
The Buzz: “Whether injecting gravitational strength to The Police’s ‘Roxanne,’ outing Lalo Mora from his norteño cave in ‘Mi Casa Nueva,’ or adding some bloody spills of his own in María y José’s ‘Violentao,’ Estrada is a force of mammoth tropical bass and technological nature.” – Club Fonograma
The Name: Mexican Institute Of Sound
The Style: EMI Mexico President Camilo Lara steps out from behind his desk to create traditional/tech pastiches comparable to groups like Nortec Collective. Released the Suave Patria EP right around the time of last year’s guide.
The Buzz: “Fusing the sounds of old Mexico with different tracks and sounds that make you wanna pull a dance move or two while all the head-nodders will get their fill of bass is what this release is about. As eclectic as sounds come while retaining it’s roots it’s nice to see musical history repeated in a fresh and palatable way to the generation of now.” – When Giants Meet.
The Name: Ximena Sariñana
The Style: A bilingual, jazz-trained pop chanteuse, Sariñana is decidedly SFW but still fun, so don’t be surprised if Sariñana breaks on thru to the most rarified of airs – Adult Contemporary stations – sooner rather than later.
The Buzz: “Hers is one of the most ambitious pure-pop full-lengths of 2011 — one that puts her jazz training to good use and highlights her idiosyncrasies, but never forgets that she’s making music for mass consumption. Sariñana springs from these tracks a fully formed character: playful, giddy, occasionally difficult, worried that she can’t keep up with the angels but determined to stay sweet even in the face of disappointment.” – New Jersey Star-Ledger.
The Name: Pipe Llorens
The Style: It takes a certain amount of confidence – or arrogance – to release a self-referencing documentary when you’ve only got two albums to your credit. But Torreón punk-rapper Llorens, who’s called “Coahuila’s Bad Boy” so often it’s probably on his business cards, is wry enough to make it hold up, as the trailer to said film, Indies, demonstrates. The same attitude pervades his rhymes, as he tells stories in the relaxed style of that scenester friend you want to get annoyed by, if only he wasn’t having so much fun.
The Buzz: “Well, I’ve moved around a lot since I was very young and I still do with my music. But I like having Torreón as my home base. If I were to move anywhere, I think it would be to California. My dream is to move to Los Angeles, open a Chipotle, and just work on music all the time. And become a surfer. With a blonde chick.” – Remezcla.
The Name: Les Butcherettes
The Style: Frontwoman Teri Gender Bender made her name early on in Mexico with an in-your-face performance style that emigrated with her to Los Angeles when she assembled the Butcherettes’ current lineup. The band has gone on to open for heavyweights like Queens Of The Stone Age and Jane’s Addiction, and delivered an eye-opening set at this year’s Lollapalooza.
The Buzz: “Teri’s voice and musical style is often associated with those of Patti Smith, PJ Harvey and Karen O, and she intently stares into the gaping eyes of those who press themselves against the stage with a nearly menacing scowl, transfixing them with her commanding aura while belting out songs about love, loss and sometimes even Republican takeover of Third World countries.” – What’s Up Magazine.