BY: JOEY REAMS
When we talk about indie and alternative bands, we often think of American bands that we all know, such as Modest Mouse, Wilco, and Cage the Elephant. We often look at the indie and alternative bands from other countries, except for a few. Mexican Heritage Month, which lies between Sept. 15 through Oct. 15, is a perfect opportunity to showcase some Mexican indie and alternative bands that you may not hear. From Cafe Tacuba to Porter, there’s plenty of indie and alternative bands from Mexico.
Cafe Tacuba is an alternative band from Ciudad Satelite, Mexico, and is probably one of the most well-known bands on this list. Founded in 1989, Cafe Tacuba incorporates elements of Latin rock and hip hop with its music. Nonetheless, the band’s alternative roots have led them through success for over 30 years. The Mexican alternative band has won several awards, including Best Alternative Song, Best Rock Song, and Best Alternative Music Album. The band’s last studio album was Jei Beibi, released in 2017.
Hello Seahorse! is an alternative rock band from Mexico City, founded in 2005. The band quickly gained recognition as one of the top alternative bands in the area, especially after releasing “Bestia” in 2008, which won them “song of the year” at Mexico’s 2009 “Indie-O Music Awards. The band released Disco Estimulante last year, their seventh studio album. Hello Seahorse! has opened for well-known American bands, such as Beastie Boys, The Killers, and Jarvis Cocker.
Another band from Mexico City is Jaguares, an alternative band consisting of ex-Caifanes members Saul Hernandez and Alfonso Andre and friends Federico Fong and Jose Manuel Aguilera. The latter two stepped away from the band during its early years and were replaced by Cesar Lopex Garcia, who also been invited to play with Caifanes. The group of friends started this band in 1995 and kept it alive until 2010. The hiatus was a result of Caifanes making an official comeback. The band made a one-time reunion in 2019 for the annual Machaca Fest. During their time together, Jaguares released six albums together, most recently 45 in 2008.
Porter is an indie rock band from Guadalajara, founded in 2004. The band took a five-year hiatus in 2008 before returning in 2013. Lead singer Juan Son decided to focus on a solo project following 2008 Coachella, citing his lack of inspiration to continue playing with them. According to reports, he admitted to being very lazy and playing with little or no enthusiasm. The band has released three albums during this time, most recently their 2019 Las Batallas, as well as two EPs.
“We would like to inform you all that Juan Carlos [Juan Son] will not be participating with Porter for an indefinite period of time,” the band announced following their reunion. “We spent five years hoping to meet again, but now we are only four on the journey. We are writing new music which in September we will share. Soon we will announce new dates. We appreciate the unconditional support. Porter forever.”
Chikita Violtenta is another indie rock band from Mexico City, who has been around since 2000. Consisting of band members Andrés Velasco, Armando Davi, and Esteban Suarez, the trio has been compared to Pavement, Sonic Youth, and Built to Spill. The band has released three albums during their career, most recently TRE3S in 2010. In 2008 the band’s video for their single “Laydown” earned them a nod from Spin Magazine as a “must-see.”
Mexico City appears to be the band with the most indie rock bands coming from it, as Dirty Karma started there in 2005. The band was inspired by classic rock bands such as Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers Band, experimental rock bands like Radiohead, and modern rock bands like The Strokes. In the 16 years of their existence, the band has only released one album and one EP. Dirty Karma released Four Elephants, their debut studio album, in 2010 after recording it in Sonic Ranch Studios in Tornillo, TX.
Last but not least, we have Los Dynamite, an indie rock band also from Mexico City. Unlike most of the bands on this list, most of their songs are written in English. They have been influenced by The Velvet Underground, The Clash, Pixies, New Order, Joy Division, Depeche Mode, Interpol, and The Strokes. Although they are considered an indie rock band, they like to incorporate punk and techno elements with their music. They opened for Interpol, Bloc Party, The Kills, Incubus, and The Faint. Rolling Stone Magazine ranked them as one of the most promising Mexican bands.