10 Latin Alternative Music Recommendations for Bandcamp Friday

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Just in time for Bandcamp Friday, this carefully selected list highlights music from artists producing electrifying aural experiences. Their creations serve as an enticing amalgam of writing, wide-ranging beats, and rhythms, orchestrated in ways that continue to perplex.

When artistic experiences leave you wondering, you tend to remember and that is just one reason why it is so important to nurture this type of creativity.

Links to all of the featured artists are included in this exceptional music guide.

Nemegata

The musicians that form Nemegata—Victor-Andres Cruz, Cesar Valencia, and Fabian Rincon—are exceptional in the work they create individually away from this project. So it’s no wonder they would transcend beyond exceptional when they’re together.

The band’s most recent singles, “Quiero Llegar” and my current favorite, “Fondo,” carry the depth of ancestral rhythms that fluctuate among mystifying strokes of psychedelia and futurism. I enjoy their punk attitude, especially as they dive deep into complex arrangements, whether musically or vocally.

As a huge plus, as if it could contain any more, Beto Martinez (Grupo Fantasma, The Los Sundowns, etc.) mixed and recorded the new singles at his studio, Lechehouse Music.

El Turco Perro

El Turco Perro is a Colombian accordion powerhouse who doesn’t just host a carnival of sounds—he is the carnival of sounds.

In his new album Carnavaleado, he takes a festive approach to traditional Latin sounds while revealing stories of his city. His carnival, he writes, is one “adorned by sounds of the accordion, drums, laments, joy and rebellion.” Acá entre nos, there’s also something a little dark floating about in his music but I can’t quite explain it. In some instances, his music reminds me a tiny bit of American Horror Story… but that’s just me. 

SavaBorsa

I stumbled upon this EP during my search for new music, and even though I don’t fully understand who SavaBorsa is—is it a group, an individual, a concept?—I do appreciate the effort put into this recent EP, Vibración. It’s a compilation of three original and collaborative songs, and the label, Resueño, donates 50 percent of its profits to support those in need in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala. 

Charlie Palomares/Mita y Su Monte Adentro

We love that the label Vampi Soul gives new life to vintage music. In this case, they’ve re-released two Peruvian hits from the ‘60s.

The first song is “Vives Bugalu,” by legendary pianist Charlie Palomares, and the second is a salsa song “El Yoyo” by Mita y Su Monte Adentro.

Both tracks are available on vinyl as a 45. 

Half Gringa

Combining folky rock and retro sounds, Half Gringa just released a new single, “Miranda,” which emerges as tender, heartbreaking, and introspective.

As I listened to the song, I was overwhelmed with nostalgia and all sorts of emotions. It feels like something I know and also something unexplored. I’m not sure what Half Gringa refers to in this song, but it makes me quite happy that more art is blossoming across the Midwest, in this case via Chicago.

Conjunto Ingenieria

This isn’t new, nor is it alternative. It’s just delicious tropical music.

Conjunto Ingenieria is a huge Venezuelan group formed by students who attended the Universidad Central’s Escuela de Ingeniería. They reigned dancefloors in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s with their mix of bugalu, salsa, rocanrol, mambo, cha cha cha, and more.

I am particularly in love with the vibráfono on some of these tracks. The songs were selected by El Palmas, a Barcelona-based label that will be releasing a 12-track compilation at the end of October.

You can currently stream five tracks on Bandcamp including “Mambo Sancocho” and “Aefo,” the second having some cool and strange vocals. 

Adrian Quesada

On this new album, Jaguar Sound, due in November, Adrian Quesada features music written during the pandemic (and before he released the boleros compilation). Everything Adrian Quesada touches—from his trippy take on classic boleros in Boleros Psicodelicos, to this latest Latine soul-inspired, funk-vibin’ single, “Noble Metals”—shows that this brilliant sound man knows how to elevate any music.  

Beats y Batería

Beats y Batería’s performances showcase their innate ability to blend textures, rhythms, vocal processes, percussion, and electronics. For example, while you may feel house rhythms in one track, you may be quickly transported to Havana or Moldova in the next. Differing sound patterns align cohesively, and the trio’s influences reveal themselves in the most subtle ways.

Their new single “Sirenas” is a preview from their upcoming album and includes Kevin Ford on synths.

Kotrina

Peruvian producer Kotrina, from what I can tell so far, creates electronic club music. It’s ravy.

His tracks on Untitled 4 are fast, bold, weird, and catchy. This isn’t for mom and pop, unless they’re into banging their heads and bodies on the dancefloor.

What’s interesting is that the tags for Kotrina’s music include baile funk, reggaeton, and club, but then you listen to a track like “Los Matones No Lloran” and wonder what Kotrina’s really into.

I want to know more. 

San Cha

The dance-friendly Latin fusions San Cha just debuted on her two-track EP, Processions III are badass. Her operatic vocals add an almost haunting feel to the songs, which adds a layer of unexpected richness. Her voice also has that distinctive flamboyance she carries in her performances, which is wonderfully dramatic and beautiful to watch.

Featured image: Cover art for ‘Sirenas’ by Beats y Batería

Sandra Treviño is a music journalist, DJ and radio host living in Chicago. Listen to her on the radio Friday afternoons on 91.1FM Vocalo and every second and fourth Monday at 6 PM CST on 105.5FM Lumpen Radio. she is also one half of the female selecta duo The Ponderers. #futurerootz #theponderers #djangelfuk

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