There were some solid musica-indie releases in 2019. This process always becomes arduous and unfair, but as we’ve done in the 6 previous years, we will simply rank albums that we listened to the most. Sit back and enjoy the tunes this weekend (playlist below).
Also, be sure to spend quality some time with KCRW ‘Bestest’ of 2019!
Ximena Sariñana – Donde Bailaran Las Niñas
Ximena Sariñana has really come into her own on this powerful album which opens with a song that plants a thesis for the entire record: “I don’t give a *#@% about what they say.” And in that liberating spirit, Ximena delivers an album as captivating as her 2008 debut. You have the infectious ‘Si tu te vas’, the fun to dance to, ‘Lo bailado,’ and the heartfelt, Latin Grammy nominated, anthem, ‘Cobarde ‘. It’s got all the best elements of what is hot right now in pop music without sacrificing any of Ximena’s essence in the process.
Combo Chimbita – Ahomale
This ensemble of Colombians via New York has fused together fierce and powerful sounds that summon every memory of their order of ancestors (or Ahomale in Yoruba). The album’s energy is cathartic.
Nicola Cruz – Siku
This powerful, mystic offering of Andean sounds layered with electronic elements and a myriad of Sikus (Andean flutes) struck the very core of Pan Caliente all year. It’s retro-future perfection.
María del Pilar – Songs + Canciones II
María del Pilar (aka Lady P aka Pilar Diaz) has been a personal favorite of ours since her days in the LA-based rock band, Los Abandoned. Her solo efforts have gone through several reboots, and on the follow up to her Songs + Canciones, Pilar has definitely found the right combination of her affinity for new wave, her ease with bilingual lyrics, rocking out with a Ukulele, and addressing political issues such as the immigrant community of Dreamers in the U.S.
Amor Elefante – Billetes Falsos
Billetes Falsos is the 4th album for this quartet from Buenos Aires. The three founding female members use a playful call and response vocal structure to score some of their catchier songs, and they get downright funky with disco beat on others. It’s something they translate really well to their live show (we lucked out and got to see them in their LA debut) and became instant fans of their back catalogue.
iLe – Almadura
iLe continues to cement her place in the Latin music industry despite already having the keys to the kingdom (she was a member alongside her brothers in Calle 13 throughout their ascent). Almadura is full of that Caribbean passion and emotion she established on her Grammy Award winning debut just three years previous. Her modern take on boleros does not get old one bit.
Fémina – Perlas & Conchas
This harmonic trio of femme vocalists has produced 2 solid offerings previous to their 2019 release. However, there was something magical about the convergence of their Patagonian cadence and the minimal Andean influenced beats this time around that really made this album stand out. Not to mention, a guest feature by the legend Iggy Pop on the track “Resist.” Be still my heart.
Divino Niño – Foam
Foam is the perfect soundtrack for anyone looking to groove or chill to a romantic rock n roll record that could also be an Indie-alternative contender… and would mos-def qualify as a musica-indie member.
La Santa Cecilia – La Santa Cecilia
The one thing you can expect from Marisoul, Pepe, Alex, Oso & Marco is that every song will feature all of their musical abilities. La Santa broke out of the local LA scene with a hand decorated EP that had a disparate mix of genres on it; and they have never stopped exploring. Despite the varied sounds, they manage to weave the entire piece as a cohesive album through Marisoul’s powerful vocals. “Hashtag Winning” as their lead single boasts.
Grupo Fantasma – American Music Vol. VII
Even with a rotating cast of musicians, the Austin-based ensemble has found a way to keep their sound consistent. These diverse sounds can definitely be categorized as American music if you take the broader definition of the Americas (North, Central, South). There are boleros, cumbias, Tejano influences and a political polarizer called “The Wall” feat. Ozomatli & Locos Por Juana.