From the synth-grunge of Reacta to the electrified translations of Yibel Jme’tik Banamil, Cinco de Mayo is the perfect occasion to check out what Mexico’s offering up in the indie-rock department, and we’ve picked five great bands for you to start with.
Hailing from Aguascalientes, Mexico, this band is currently as sizzling as the hot springs that radiate through the region they live in. Their new album, “Refraction,” just out this past February, was specifically written for their hometown fans. However, it’s so accessible and catchy they’re snagging new fans from all over the world.
Their sound recalls a mix of The Bravery, Gavin Rossdale, and vintage Incubus, although the grungy energy is all their own. Suggested Single: “Complication” Web: reacta.bandcamp.com
THE PLASTICS REVOLUTION
After seeing the Flaming Lips perform live in Mexico City, this six-piece outfit was formed, inspired by the FL’s cartoony persona and danceable tunes.
Blending electronica and pop with a cheerful and lively stage presence, they’re touring with tunes from their newest album, “King Bono vs Los Flight Simulators,” and bringing plenty of showmanship and props with them, from costumes and confetti to a disco-worthy light show. Suggested Single: “Light of Day” Web: facebook.com/theplasticsrevolutionmx
Also from Mexico City, the complex rhythms and patterns of math rock are mashed up with a little pop to form Vicente Gayo’s edgy, scratchy sound. It’s chock-full of dynamics and with just enough hook to keep you around until the next track.
Singer Alan Ortiz and his bandmates Joshua, Armando, and Javier don’t shy away from musical experimentation, and it’s paying off big for them, with airplay already happening on MTV Latino. Suggested Single: “Circuitos Doblados” Web: vicentegayo.com
Cuernavaca, Mexico’s Zoé is an altpsychedelic band that has already snagged a couple of Latin Grammy Awards for their well-honed mix of ‘70s heft and ‘80s synths.
It’s all set solidly behind singer Larregui Leon’s boyish vocals; their cover of “Besame Mucho” flipped the Mexican bolero track into a whole new sound. Zoé’s latest (and fifth) studio album, “Programatron,” is said to be both their best and most experimental set to date.
Suggested Single: “Nada” Web: zoetheband.com
YIBEL JME’TIK BANAMIL
Their name translates to “Root of Earth,” and they’re led by frontman Valeriano Gomez. But they’re not a folk outfit.
These distinctive Mexican musicians sing their indie-rock-inflected songs in Tzotil, a language spoken by the indigenous Maya in Mexico’s Chiapas state. It’s their bid to help preserve the language via their music, and they do it with style, from their sharp electric guitar riffs to the matching ponchos they often wear on stage. Suggested Single: “Son Jlumaltik” Web: myspace.com/yibeljmetikbanamil