With lo-fi laptop compositions constructed from cheap synths, jacked beats, and inflected with the regional rhythms of the Americas, Mexico’s hip, digitally savvy twenty-somethings have created a ‘new tendency’ in digital music that has the caught the ear of influential music blogs, causing the rest of the world to take notice.
Tijuana—one of the influential centers of ‘hurache-gaze,’ a Mexican reinvention of shoegaze—is home to the genre’s up-and-comers, Los Macuanos, María y Jóse, Santos, and Unsexy Nerd Ponies, who along with Guadalajara’s Los Amparito, Pepepe, and Aguascalientes’ Capullo, have crafted a sound that has been met with great acclaim from hipster tastemakers.
Diplo’s Mad Decent blog voted María y Jóse runner up in the Major Lazer’s Hold the Line remix contest; Europe’s Generation Bass keeps news of, and remixes by, Unsexy Nerd Ponies, Los Macuanos and María y Jóse in regular rotation on their blog; Panamérika has placed Capullo, María y Jóse and Los Macuanos on their 2010 Bands to Watch list; MTV’s Iggy Blog placed Los Amparito on their ‘Bands We Like’ list, calling them a ‘sunshiny, sample-heavy Mexican Animal Collective’; Australia’s Scatterblog praised Tijuana’s music scene, noting its ‘fresh crop of producers [who] hold back at nothing and are now well and truly beginning to flex their muscles’; The 2010 Indie-O Music Awards recognized Mexico’s most exciting new band, Los Amparito, as this year’s best new artist; and Club Fonograma called Los Macuanos, María y Jóse and Los Amparito their ‘favorite new Mexican acts.’
The Tijuana Paradox
While Tijuana is home to some of the most exciting new music being produced, there is little audience for cutting edge local bands on an upward arc. This is Tijuana’s paradox – a city home to an avant guarde music scene that goes unnoticed locally, but has the rest of the globe buzzing. Recently, the city recently played host to Guacamole Fest, a two day music festival showcasing bands from both Tijuana, and around Mexico, at the forefront of this scene. [With Colombia/Canada’s Lido Pimienta as a special guest]
Undoubtably, it was the most exciting musical event this city has seen in at least a year. The festival, however, was met with little fanfare in Tijuana, as neither the hometown talent nor the blogosphere’s darlings from elsewhere playing Tijuana for the first time were enough to get more than 40 people to come out. Mid-decade Brooklyn-centric indy and dated Euro-electro still hold sway here and it has proven difficult for Tijuana’s best new acts to emerge from the shadows of Nortec’s fading relevance.
Mexico’s subcultural musical stirrings have created an ascendant new sound and with it, a new scene. Guacamole Fest was its defining moment. Something is happening here, and the rest of the world is starting to pay attention.