Latin music

Leti Garza: “Mi Amor (Español)

As far as Song of the Day is concerned, it’s the final New Music Friday of 2023. We’re taking an eight-day break beginning next Friday and’ll be hitting the ground running strong in 2024 for Free Week. With that said, this New Music Friday packs in both an Austin artist and an album announcement.

We’re looking at Leti Garza, who’s already cemented her status as a Live Music Capital treasure since her 2017 LP El Unico Para Mi and her 2021 EP Borderland. Leti’s ability to navigate all kinds of topics and genres in the local Latin space is near unparalleled, so imagine our excitement around this morning’s piece of news – Garza’s upcoming sophomore full-length Canciónes Sobre La Vida y La Muerte – guaranteed to include gallows humor, macabre musings, and optimism over the inevitable.

As hinted at by the record’s second lead single – the waltzy “Mi Amor (Español)”Canciónes is set to break down the borders between folk, Latin jazz, pop, and new age, not to mention traditional and contemporary. Anchored by a charming orchestral arrangement, “Mi Amor” makes Garza sound like a Broadway star, almost like a curtain-pulling Act I opener for a musical that doesn’t exist yet. Leti…for the life of us, we love you to death, and we can’t wait for Canciónes‘ release in late January.

Superfónicos: “Primera Luz”

You’ve heard a ton about our Holiday Sing-Along over the past couple weeks, and today we’ve got good news for both Grinches and Gingerbread Architects alike. To the former, you won’t be hearing those promos after this weekend. To the latter, we’ve got an early stocking stuffer for you.

That’s because shortly after the tree lighting, KUTX favorite Superfónicos‘ll be serenading us with their idiosyncratic blend of world music. This one-of-a-kind Latin-fusion octet is no stranger to Studio 1A, nor Austin Music Minute, nor Song of the Day. Which shows you how just how spectacular and accessible this first-rate eight-piece still is, even almost a decade down the line.

We’re not entirely sure how the stars aligned so dang well for Superfónicos’ latest single, but given the title and their post-lighting performance tomorrow night, the cosmos are clearly on their side. Between tantalizing auxiliary percussion, a free-flowing psychedelic structure, and harmonies that herald radiance, Superfónicos’ almost-unbelievable eight-part cohesion is illuminated throughout “Primera Luz”, AKA “First Light”. Pop “Primera Luz” into your favorite playlist, and catch Superfónicos in person tomorrow night or for “Cumbia NYE” at Far Out Lounge along with Grupo Fantasma.

Easy Compadre!: “Besos De Menta” (feat. Starflake)

Prog-pop. Admittedly not the most expected pairing compared to its ’70s counterpart prog-rock. But here’s where it gets interesting. Austin three-piece Easy Compadre! also incorporates a little bit of cumbia, synth-wave and other worldly styles into their sonics. Comprised of guitarist Hector Tednoir, keyboardist/bassist Oscar Botello and percussionist Chido Machine, Easy Compadre’s been doing their thing since 2019.

The three mend their unique talents into a refreshing blend of traditional and digital multimedia; interactive visuals and video mapping pair effortlessly with classic rock instrumentation and MIDI controllers. And after almost a dozen standalone singles, Easy Compadre! has pulled the curtain on their fourth track of the year and second official collaboration. Not too long ago Easy Compadre! invited The Bright Light Social Hour’s Jackie O’Brien (AKA “Starflake”) into the studio and recently emerged with some impeccable cross-cultural chemistry. “Besos De Menta” (and its SFX-laden music video) is a silly but sweet three-and-a-half minute riff on the anxieties of modern dating, whose eccentric energy and airtight arrangement will treat your ears like the taste of peppermint on your lips.

iLe: “Traguito” (ACL Fest Pop-Up)

Although much of it might’ve been spent on the couch streaming Hulu, we feel like one of the brightest highlights of ACL Fest Weekend One was Adrian Quesada’s Boleros Psicodelícos. And that’s mainly thanks to the sheer quantity and astonishing caliber of international vocalists who flooded the forty-five minute set Saturday afternoon on the Honda stage…one of which helms Boleros Psicodelícos‘ album opener and KUTX airwave darling “Mentiras Con Cariño”.

Born Ileana Mercedes Cabra Joglar, San Juan singer iLe has been inching her way into international awareness since adopting her mononymous handle back in August 2015. Her 2016 debut LP iLevitable earned iLe a Latin Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and went on to win Best Latin Rock, Urban, or Alternative Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. iLe’s 2019 follow-up Almadura racked up its own Grammy nomination right around the same time she went on NPR Music’s Tiny Desk and collaborated with Bad Bunny on the protest song “Afilando los cuchillos”.

And just a couple weeks ago, on the verge of her third full-length Nacarile, iLe treated us to “Traguito”, the record’s lead single whose studio version features Chilean icon Mon Laferte. Nacarile drops on Friday, iLe is confirmed for SXSW 2023, and “Traguito” awaits you in the pop-up video below.

Kiko Villamizar: “Poncho”

There’s aninherently international quality to the original tunes ofKiko Villamizar, theMiami-born, Colombia-raised singer, songwriter, and gaita flautist who currently calls Austin his home. You might’ve caught Kiko’s My KUTX session a couple weeks back, seen him do stand-up around town, heard some of his contributions to Money Chicha’s latest record, or gotten wind of his annual WEPA Cumbia Roots Festival. But going back to that thread of “world music”, Villamizar’s soon set to release his third full-length Todo El Mundo – out February 18th. Recorded at his very own WEPA Recording Studios, Todo El Mundo showcases Kiko Villamizar’skiller vocals, vigorous compositions, and transcontinental vista of worldly influences. Villamizar was going to celebrate with a release show tonight at Antone’s, however that’s been postponed until next month. So whatever the weather (butparticularly in the midst of a winter storm), you can still simmer in the steamy crawl of one of Todo El Mundo‘s punchiest offerings, “Poncho”!

Como Las Movies: “La Bruja”

Bands with truly badass names rarely live up to the hype, but Austin-via-McAllen/Rio Grande Valley quartet Como Las Movies definitely delivers with their synth-laden brand of cinematic Latin-indie-pop-rock. These Studio 1A veterans formed back in 2013 before becoming a KUTX favorite with their 2018 EP Nuevo Wave, and now, at the tail end of October, Como Las Movies has charmed us once again with a witchy spell on their latest reel.

Adapted from the iconic Mexican folklore legend, Como Las Movies’ slick-but-sinister take on”La Bruja” finds the four-piece in complete control of their searing and spooky psychedelic arsenal, making this almost dystopian-sounding single a must-add for your Dia de los Muertos and Halloween playlist.

Angélica Rahe: “tqro”

In this KUTX Producer’s humble opinion, Latin artists hardly get the press they deserve here in Austin. So today we’re shining the spotlight on Austin jet-setter Angélica Rahe, who grew up in Japan and Spain before settling in the States in her teens. After accruing influence from Erykah Badu, John Mayer, and Sade and elevating her own abilities, Rahe found herself on international tour with Kali Uchis as her musical director, guitarist, and backing vocalist in 2018.

Rahe dropped her Solange-reminiscent solo debut REINA last Valentine’s Day but had its promotional tour cancelled in light of COVID. Well, now Angélica Rahe’s back on the road and performing in Austin. She’ll be playing at 9PM this Friday at Mohawk and to get you back into that live music summertime groove, gyrate those hips of yours to Angélica Rahe’s latest single, “tqro”!

Combo Lulo: “Escuchen A Mama” (feat. Alba Ponce de León)

With the abundance of side projects, solo releases, and other one-off endeavors in this era of home studios and virtual collaborations, the term “supergroup” can get used a little overzealously. But considering the quantity of members from high-profile groups like Charles Bradley‘s Extraordinaires, Antibalas, the Easy Star Allstars, and the Skatalites, the phrase seems fitting for Big Apple ensemble Combo Lulo.

Between their collective talents, stage-filling arrangements, and intercontinental, Afro-Latin-Caribbean style, Combo Lulo’s set an incredibly high standard for fellow world music groups, thereby living up to the band’s namesake excellence. This Saturday the eight-to-fifteen-piece releases their surreal nine-song debut, Neotropic Dream, and today you can jointly celebrate Cinco de Mayo and Mother’s Day with a Spanish-language matriarchal message, featuring fellow New Yorker Alba Ponce de León, “Escuchen A Mama”!

Marinah: “Superheroína”

We’re officially halfway through Women’s History Month but still have plenty of folks to shine the spotlight on, so let’s continue the celebration with Spanish singer-songwriter Marinah. Marinah ‘La Canillas’ Abad’s become beloved in Barcelona and beyond based off her glory days with Latin Grammy-winners Ojos de Brujos, but since the band called it quits back in 2013, Marinah’s made a memorable name for herself with a promising solo output.

Having already shown a mastery over many contemporary and classic Latin styles with her first two full-lengths, Marinah released her third album, Heroínas, last Friday. And to call it a solo album is almost unfair, considering the number of noticeable collaborators involved. But Heroínas is nonetheless an impressive personal contribution to Women’s History Month from Marinah and her counterparts, who all share the real life superpower of survival in the modern era of oppression, as detailed in empowering tracks like “Superheroína”!

The Los Sundowns: “Al Final de La Tarde” (feat. Alex Chavez)

For more than two decades, Grammy-winning guitarist and producer Beto Martinez has imprinted Austin with his Latin-leaning outputs: Grupo Fantasma, Money Chicha, and Brownout. And though psychedelia’s always been a major factor in Martinez’s formulas, with some conceptualizing on behalf of Dos Santos drummer Daniel Villarreal, the two have dawned on a new Latin psych-soul project, The Los Sundowns.

In a little over a month The Los Sundowns will release their debut self-titled EP, stacked with a roster of talented collaborators from Villarreal and Martinez’s combined rolodex and issued through Beto’s new label Lechehouse Music. And while we all anticipate auspiciousness from The Los Sundowns when drops on February 12th, the group’s tided us over with their lead single, featuring fellow Dos Santos veteran Alex Chavez, “Al Final de La Tarde”!