This article originally appeared on Noisey Colombia.
Throughout our series on continental independent music, we’ve put the magnifying glass to the indie music scenes in several countries in southern Latin America. Now we’re moving north to Central America, taking a look at our favorite indie bands in Guatemala.
All of these bands are part of an active scene that’s thriving on a national and international level. They’re drawing crowds every weekend in venues around Guatemala City, constantly working on new releases, and forming links between projects that are mostly sung in English and incorporate indie, stoner rock, synth-wave, and experimental influences.
Here’s a sampling of the best sounds coming from the land of volcanoes.
Fraaek has a spacey aesthetic, and their sound reflects just that: A combination of alternative rock, shoegaze, and dreamy pop influences. It’s music full of synthesizers and packed with power, but with vocals guaranteed to evoke nostalgia. The band also performs extensively around the venues circuit in Guatemala City, released their first LP last year, and have collaborated with Brad Weber, the drummer from Caribou.
This Guatemala City-based band revolves around the concept that they’re the darker, gloomier version of the Greek god of beauty. The quintet—which is comprised of musicians with multiple years’ worth of experience in the country’s alt-rock scene—has a heavy, atmospheric sound full of double-basses and syncopated rhythms that constantly strive for experimentation.
Easy Easy is perhaps one of the best representations of the current Guatemalan and Latin American indie scene. Their sound is pure and fresh—a form of R&B and indie rock that brings back all our good memories from their set at Rock the Park 2016, one of the biggest live music platforms that conquered last year alongside Vive Latino. This is a band that makes jaws drop once people have learned they’re from this part of the world, and—after hitting it out of the park with their album Todo Lo Que Te Digo Está Mal in 2015—are working hard on their next album to be released later this year.
The heavy influence of Bossa Nova and other Latin rhythms in their songs gives Filoxera a unique touch, which is heightened by their trippy, brooding lyrics in both English and Spanish. This project is right up there with Fraaek as a staple of the indie scene in the Guatemalan capital. They also just released their second LP, which you can listen to above.
Although not completely in line with our idea of a “band” in the strictest sense of the world, this project of drums, synthesizers, and electronic arrangements is very particular in what it does. Listening to Dinosaur 88’s debut album from last year is like stepping into an 8-bit video game, where synth-pop dominates and everything happens at full speed.
Special thanks to Revista esQuisses in Guatemala City for their collaboration on this list.
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