In our "5 Songs" segment for Hispanic Heritage Month, we turn to the broad range of music styles from the region's Hispanic and Latinx performers, featuring bands who will perform this month or have recently released new music — Junípero, Beach Goons, Gaby Aparicio, the San Diego Latin Jazz Collective and Nortec Collective: Bostich and Fussible with Rubén Albarrán.
KPBS Midday Edition producer Harrison Patino joined me this month to curate the playlist.
Junípero is an indie dream-pop band, based in Tijuana. Their sound is earnest, full of layered melodies and vintage guitar that brings to mind bands like Beach House. They put out a five-track, self-titled EP last April, and it's absolutely gorgeous. A standout track for me is "Stars." It's sweet and hopeful, full of rich songwriting and a lush, dreamy sound — but a little tragic and obsessive too. I love the line, "Stars will guide you back to my arms."
Earlier this year Junípero released a series of live sessions on YouTube that are also worth a listen, recorded at Silvestre Café in Tijuana — including a beautiful version of "Stars." I'm hopeful we'll see a full-length album from them soon. --JDE
Beach Goons: 'Chunti'
Logan Heights-based surf punk trio Beach Goons is the brainchild of Pablo Cervantez, who’s been the group’s sole member since the band’s inception. Their early work consisted of a lot of lo-fi, rough-around-the-edges garage rock but has since mellowed out and matured a little bit — which isn’t to say their newer tracks don’t still have the same frenetic energy of their earlier work.
Their music still retains the fast pace and jangly guitar accompaniment that we see in a lot of surf punk today, but also has this distinct mournfulness and introspection from a songwriting perspective. The band performs songs in both English and Spanish, and on the Spanish side I really like a track from their delicately named 2018 album, "Hoodratscumbags." "Chunti" is on the softer side of their repertoire, and it really captures these themes of sadness and youthful disillusionment that runs through a lot of their music.
You can catch Beach Goons at The Observatory on Oct. 7, 2021. — HP
Gaby Aparicio: 'Corazón (9 Theory Remix)'
Out this week, a new remix of a 2019 Gaby Aparicio track. Aparicio, whose family is from Uruguay, was raised in Florida before moving to San Diego seven years ago. She's a steadfast performer, constantly playing shows in town, and was nominated for a 2020 San Diego Music Award for her album, "La Bella Vita." The album really showed off her impressive range. Her sound is a seamless mix of Latin influence and pop structures, and her vocals are fantastic — powerful while still nimble and graceful.
"Corazón" is in Spanish, though some of her work is sung in English. This new remix from producer 9 Theory adds a chill, house spin with subtle electronic touches. I like how true to the original this remix is, maintaining a lot of the delicacy and quiet groove, but ramping it up just a bit.
San Diego Latin Jazz Collective: 'Chan-Chan'
The San Diego Latin Jazz Collective is a mainstay in San Diego's Latin jazz scene — a genre steeped in many different musical styles and traditions from samba to bossa nova, and a lot of its DNA comes from the music of Cuba and Brazil.
That said, it's hard to overstate just how great Latin jazz sounds in person: cacophonous horn sections combined with driving rhythm and percussive elements make live shows a must see. The San Diego Latin Jazz Collective performs really lively renditions of the classics of the genre — these tunes are popular for good reason — like their take on the son cubano classic “Chan-Chan.”
The San Diego Latin Jazz Collective can be seen live every Thursday at Tin Roof in the Gaslamp. --HP
Nortec: Bostich + Fussible Feat. Rubén Albarrán: 'Convénceme'
This spring we featured Ramon Amezcua, known as Bostich, in a special "Moved by Music" episode of our Port of Entry podcast which explored how he was on track to becoming a dentist until finally becoming one of the most influential players in the Mexican and electronic music worlds. Nortec Collective saw two Latin Grammy nominations for their album "Tijuana Sessions, Vol. 3." in 2008. And, along with frequent Nortec collaborator Fussible, Bostich has recently been putting out a string of singles, including "Convénceme," with vocalist Rubén Albarrán. Albarrán also recently collaborated with The Color Forty Nine and artist Hugo Crosthwaite on the beautiful stop motion music video, "What Would I Know / ¿Yo Que Sé?"
"Convénceme" is a lively, borderline rowdy track, with a textured combination of folk undertones, fuzzy beats and lyrics that feel almost taunting — playful, but a little dark-edged too.
Nortec: Bostich + Fussible will perform as part of San Ysidro-based arts space The Front Arte & Cultura's 15th anniversary celebration on Oct. 16th.
Beginning Oct. 7, their special anniversary exhibition, "El Devenir / Becoming" will be on view through early January. The exhibition features art by Marcos Ramirez ERRE, Rafael Lozano Hemmer, Tania Candiani, Rizzhel Javier and Sama Alshaibi, and the Nortec performance will be a great opportunity to see the work and take in some music, too. Tickets for the Oct. 16th performance are free, but reservations are required and limited to just 50 people due to space restrictions. The RSVP list opens Friday, Oct. 1. --JDE
What are you listening to this month? Join the conversation in the KPBS/Arts Facebook Group.