Franny y Zooey: Pan Caliente

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The best part of finding new music from different parts of the world is constantly finding bands that defy preconceived notions of what music from those regions should sound like.

Take, for instance, the Carribean & Tropics. They are territories associated with raucous party musical styles such as Reggaeton, Merengue and Bachata with strong roots in Reggae, Dancehall, and traditional African music.

But like most parts of the world in close proximity to the U.S., there has been a steady influence and consumption of rock-n-roll for the better part of 4 decades. So naturally, once you start to dig a little deeper than the Billboard Latin charts you will find that a constant stream of rock music is being produced on these gorgeous islands.

Case in point is a very young project out of the Dominican Republic called Franny & Zooey.

If you’re wondering if their name is a nod to JD Salinger’s book, the answer is yes, and no their lyrics are not steeped in Eastern religious philosophies.

It was mere happenstance that a member of the band was reading this book during the weeks in which their EP was finalized, so they decided that Franny & Zooey was as good a name as any.

When I first heard Franny & Zooey’s music, I loved that it resembled bands like Best Coast, Warpaint and Asobi Seksu rather than their country’s main musical export, Juan Luis Guerra. It was intriguing to hear Dream Pop influences interpreted by these young kids from the Dominican Republic.

On their mid 2013 EP release, “Franny & Zooey“, aka Juan Julio Peña and Victoria Linares, take their shared a love of 60’s pop music and affinity for surf rock rhythms and combine it with clever existential songwriting in both English and Spanish.  It’s not quite loud enough or ethereal to fully classify it as Shoegaze, but this band is so young I wouldn’t doubt that maybe some of the songs on their forthcoming album will contain heavier sounds.

As a teaser for their 2014 release, they uploaded a free single in December entitled “Otto y Ana which takes their echo encapsulated melodies and existential lyrics and applies them to an 80’s style Spanish pop. Creating a fast paced ode to Julio Medem’s 1998 mystery romance film Los Amantes del Circulo Polar (Lover’s of the Artic Circle). It’s cute, kitchy and a great lover’s anthem (ahem….Feb 14th around the corner…)

Definitely excited about hearing more from this band and highly anticipating their full length release.

— Jose Galvan