NETTWERK AMERICA/SONIC 360
Is Monterrey, Mexico, Aztlan's answer to Orange County? Don't scoff: Monterrey is a moderately well-off place, blessed with lots of sunshine and a special sonic kinkiness, a town that consistently produces bands stuck on a sound that's sometimes punky, sometimes silly and always cheery. Sound familiar?
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The last big thing to come out of OC's sister to the south was Plastilina Mosh, a perky mix of punk, dance, jazz and Mexican folk that won a lot of ink north of the border. But in 2002, the big thing is Kinky, a five-piece whose perky mix of rock, dance, jazz and Mexican folk owes a debt to their aesthetic forefathers in P. Mosh. But the Kinky boys tone down the Mosh's worst tendencies, especially their fondness for numbskull Three Stooges-style spazz fests. Instead, Kinky pumps up the dancing-fool rhythms while holding on to the essence of P. Mosh's good-spirited Dada-esque humor. And they dump a kitchen sink's worth of musical influences into these 13 songs: icy vocoders, banda accordians, funk guitars, Batacuda percussion, even samples from what sounds like a Mexican bar mitzvah. It's a nearly perfect breed of dance music that's as good for your head as it is for your feet. The only downside is that these guys stay happy and upbeat for way too long. Hey, we're having fun, too, but could they just wipe those smirks off their faces for one second?