Feliz Día de los Muertos! Time to crack some skulls, it's the Day Of The Dead. Mexico’s most famous holiday is a chance for friends and family to gather together and remember those who are no longer with us while also enjoying the blind rush that comes from gnawing on a skull made of pure sugar. I was in Mexico City last month to cover the Corona Capital festival for NME, and while bands like Suede, New Order and The Maccabees showed that even in troubled economic times Britain can always rely on our booming musical exports, there were also plenty of local delicacies to be sampled. I rounded up the cream of Mexico’s music press to give you the lowdown on what’s hot south of the border, so pour yourself a cerveza with a shot of mescal on the side and hear this:
An electronic pop band with a distinctive Mexican flavour, the band brought a fresh new sound to the country’s indie scene when they broke through in 2009. Jimena Gómez Alarcón, editor of Mexican music magazine Marvin, says: “Their lyrics and vocals are pretty amazing, and it's hard to think of a more perfect song for a hot summer day than ‘Light of Day’.” Blogger Ximena Gonzalez Romano adds that their live show is something to behold: “They know how to put on a show and whenever I see them play they either come disguised or have some props on stage that make you feel as if you were someplace else.” Here's a video of them playing the aforementioned 'Light Of Day' with a Mariachi band in Mexico City's surreal water-world of Xochimilco. If you like that, check out their most recent single 'Fun In The Sun'.
Pablo Dodero is an established force in Mexican music, having been a sort of grunge star during the 90s. His latest project is perhaps his most personal and introspective, and singing predominatly in English. Jimena Gómez Alarcón describes his music as: “a dark dense sound full of grief and despair.” Blogger Berto Ceballos adds: “For me, it expresses in a certain way the melancholy of the way of living in an small northern town, with no doubt the contryside can be felt in his tunes.”
Born in the northern deserts of Chihuahua, surrounded by narco-violence and Musica Norteña, Bill Yonson has somehow ended up producing sun-kissed electro-tropical songs. Jimena Gómez Alarcón says: “His music is deceivingly simple, with elements of sonidero he creates essentiality Mexican songs, songs that couldn't be created anywhere else, even if they don't sound like typical norteña sombrero-and-boots music.”
Vicente Gayo are an intriguing proposition, mixing elements of math rock with a poppier sound. Malfi of PR Agency MalfiCo. says: “They are a true Mexican band. They know the importance of rhythm in a song and they're not afraid to mix extremes. Alan's voice is soft while the instruments go crazy. They sounded like Two Door Cinema Club, before Two Door existed.” Berto Ceballos adds: “They where the first indie band in Mexico doing music with toys - circuit bending – so this turned a lot of attention towards them.”
Julio Gudiño of The Plastics Revolution also has a genre-melding electronica alter ego as I Can Chase Dragons. Ximena Gonzalez Romano says: “I would say he has a lot of Animal Collective influences, but he mixes it with Mexican folkloric music and creates something truly danceable.” Berto Ceballos adds: “It reminds me a lot of the Spanish musician El Guincho, but also Vampire Weekend with the sound of cumbia thrown in.”