Welcome back to Teca, Latin America is a Country’s own jukebox, where we’ll introduce you to some of the coolest, hippest, most recent music from cities around Latin America. Brought to you today by our good friend and vinyl collector Juan Felipe Pérez.
“Ay, qué rico, Costa Rica,” sings the Peruvian musician François Peglau and that is what I feel as I write about the rock/pop scene in the country’s capital, San José. Usually, when we think about the “Latin American” scene, the first things we think about are the Chilean pop boom, the huge Mexican scene, or the well-known—and historical—Argentinian scene.
But that’s not all there is. We could argue that the Costa Rican pop/rock scene is the biggest and most interesting in Central America. Bands like Sonámbulo Psicotropical, 424 and Las Robertas have played in some of Mexico’s, Colombia’s and the United States’ most important music festivals (such as Nrmal, Vive Latino, Estéreo Picnic, Rock Al Parque, Austin City Limits, or South By South West). The latter two bands have also been reviewed in the Argentinian and American press.
What’s more, there are festivals in Costa Rica, like Epicentro—which has already been organized twice—that have created dialogues between the Tico scene and the “Latin American” scene, as they have invited bands and people working in the music industry from Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and others.
So, relax and enjoy a selection of five bands from San José that will make you travel through sounds so distant from each other like afro-beat or lo-fi rock.
Sonámbulo formed in 2006 and they have released two albums: A puro peluche (2009) and Psicosonorama (2014). They define their sound as psicotropical, which is a mixture between merengue, salsa, cumbia, Cuban son, funk and afro-beat. Their eleven members hail from Costa Rica, but also from El Salvador, Cuba and Colombia.
If you like Daniel Johnston, you will surely like Las Robertas, as they (two girls and a boy) participated, with some bands from Spain and Argentina, in a tape cassette covering the American singer. Besides, the cassette came with a fanzine titled Coloreando a Daniel Johnston (Coloring Daniel Johnston). They have released two albums: Cry Out Loud (2010) and Days Unmade (2014).
Both times 424 have come to Colombia, they have made young girls melt with their charms. But this rock/pop band is not only about pretty faces. Their sound is a combination between brit pop and rock en español standards, such as the Mexicans Zoé. Maybe it’s because Phil Vinall produced albums for both bands, including 424’s Oro, released in 2012.
Pablo Rojas, Jorge Guri, Álvaro Díaz and Franciso Araya got together in early 2010 to form Florian Droids, a psychedelic rock ensemble. In 2011 they released their self-titled debut album, and in 2014 they released Osos de agua. They were also part of the soundtrack of the film Por las plumas (directed by Costa Rican Neto Villalobos) with their song “Bípedo implume.”
Out of the five bands in this playlist, Monte is the youngest. So far they’ve only released two Eps: Monte (2011) and San José (2014). They also participated in a compilation titled Sí, San José, in which various up-and-coming bands from the city also took part.
For this bonus, I would like to thank David Bolaños, from Zòpilot!, who helped me look at the Costa Rican scene. These three bands were his recommendations:
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