Earlier this week, I introduced readers to my “Latin
Alternative Music Guide: LA Edici
OC is youthful, Latino and talented, but it lacks the interconnected venue support that can create a scene. There are no “Eastside
Luv” wine bars here, nor anything closely resembling La Cita.
There is a small revival, however,
in the works of promoter Christian Mejia and grassroots cultural institutions
like El Centro Cultural de Mexico and SolArt have kept the pulse from
Even with that, OC remains a far cry from what it was in the years
when JC Fandango operated in Anaheim and locally-based bands like Enjambre
would have album release shows. Now JC is a salsa dance club and Enjambre, like
a canary in a coal mine, ditched to OC (and LA) for D.F. and are doing quite well
But fret not, for good music never dies–and bands from 'Santanaheim' still
have much to offer in this genre of genres. Check it out:
Powered by the vocals of Anaheim
resident Nancy Mendez, ¡Aparato! is exploring a new way of combing jaranas and
electric guitars in an amalgamation that can be described as “Jarocho-Rock.”
Son Jarocho, Son Huasteco, and Boleros intermingle with futuristic rock riffs
in one of the most innovative sounds to emerge in LA or OC.
spirituality and a little fun in between, ¡Aparato! is visionary in all of the noise that it makes. The band is currently heading back into the studio to record more
tracks to add to its John Avila produced sessions with an EP to come soon
Upcoming shows: Check out ¡Aparato! at OCCCA in Santa Ana on December
11, and later in Los Angeles with Fitter on December 18 at
Club Good Hurt.
2. My Machete
Jessica Escobedo has one of the best singing voices in all
of OC as she fronts the alternative rock band My Machete. The Anaheim-based
group's music cuts in similar ways as Pretty Girls Make Graves: frantic melodies,
fierce drumming and compelling arrangements. With a new guitarist and
his penchant for effects-pedals in the mix, My Machete adds a new sonic twist to its offerings.
After being written up
in the Locals Only section of the Weekly, My Machete enjoyed a busy year
playing gigs around the county.
Upcoming shows: A
two-for-one special: My Machete opens for ¡Aparato! at OCCCA in Santa Ana on
Another alternative rock band that deserves its due
attention, the Inkblots strike with an updated grittier energy that Gustavo
Arellano relayed to me once as reminiscent of the Animals. The band has been moving
forward, cleaning up its demo into a full length album released on Vacant Bunny
Records, filming a music video in support of it and perfecting their charismatic
stage shows. Inkblots dig into some Spanish on the track “Mexico” which rides a
bass line that's funky in any language.
Upcoming Show: Today at the Boyle Heights Farmer's Market
Mini Concert and Art Show. Just go to the Plaza de Mariachi Metro Station.
Cuauhtemoc is easily the most dangerous band in all of
Orange County. The activist rebel rockers describe their music as that of
“broken families, exploited workers, fed up students and at the same time the
sound of a confidence in a people's ability to resist and not only fight back
The revolutionary fury Cuauhtemoc unleashes is as desperate as
the times as Sherman Austin keeps the beats pounding, Ollin's riffs tear down
walls and Coyotl's lyrics speechify. They probably would even object to being
lumped into my “Latin Alternative” music guide (for lack of a better term) as “Alerta! Alerta!” screams “No
Somos Latinos!” Juggling work, family, and community activism, the band is
finding time to expand their “Draft of the Movement” EP into a full length.
Upcoming Show: Keep pace with Cuauhtemoc for upcoming shows on their MySpace page.
5. Taller Sur
If relaxed bohemian vibes is where your musical heart resides, Taller Sur provides. A collection of singer-songwriters, Taller Sur can pull from a repertoire of their own skillfully crafted songs as well as from a number of covers by Latin American's great trova/folk singers. As their self-titled debut album goes to show, the group is apt at combining elements of pop, rock, trova, and numerous other elements into the fold. Now a quartet of musicians, Taller Sur is enjoyed best with a relaxing glass of wine.
Upcoming Show: Every first Friday of the month at Long Beach's Viento y Agua Coffee House.
Can't get enough
“Latin Alternative” music from Orange County? Check out these Must Listens: Street Spirit, Son del Centro, Teen Rex, Nancy
Sanchez, Becky and the BlackTones.
Gabriel San Román is from Anacrime. He’s a journalist, subversive historian and the tallest Mexican in OC. He also once stood falsely accused of writing articles on Turkish politics in exchange for free food from DönerG’s!