Fall Music Preview: Latin Alternative Edition Weekend Edition Sunday gets an earful of new music releases for the coming months, as chosen by Jasmine Garsd and Felix Contreras, hosts of NPR Music's Alt.Latino.

Fall Music Preview: Latin Alternative Edition

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JOHN YDSTIE, Host:

Well, the end of summer is just about here, but for NPR Music podcasts that means Fall Previews of new releases.

Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd of NPR's AltLatino are here with us to share some of their picks of exciting new CDs in the world of Lain Alternative.

Welcome to you both.

JASMINE GARSD: Thanks for having us.

FELIX CONTRERAS: Thanks a lot.

YDSTIE: So you've been doing your show for a little over a year now, and you're managing to find enough new Latin Alternative music each week to fill the show. That's a good sign, I guess.

CONTRERAS: It's a very good sign. Absolutely, we've been able to find it. You know, just to redefine, to remind listeners of how we define Latin Alternative. It's kind of a mix of traditional Latin music with genres like electronica, rock, hip-hop, punk. And so when you mix all two together, it's kind of come under this giant umbrella of Latin Alternative. And there are so many great bands, we're just - we're literally overwhelmed with cuts and releases that we find on the Internet, that we find hidden under trees in different places...

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

CONTRERAS: ...all over the world and it's really just, it's fascinating.

YDSTIE: And you've got one to get us started, Jasmine.

GARSD: Yes, this is Andrea Echeverri from Colombia. And this is on a new cut from her brand-new album, of which were doing a first listen on NPRMusic. This is "Dos" and this is the song "Alegria."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ALEGRIA")

ANDREA ECHEVERRI: (Singing in Spanish)

YDSTIE: That's really nice. And, you know, some harmonies I would've expected.

GARSD: Andrea Echeverri is very iconic Colombian singer. She started off with a rock band Aterciopelados, which means The Velvety Ones. And she always had this really hard, punk rock edge. And what's really interesting about this album, she's experienced motherhood and it's a very laid-back, more mellow album. It's interesting to see the fierce rocker girl that I grew up with kind of mellow out. I wonder what that means for me.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

YDSTIE: Jasmine, Felix mentioned hip-hop earlier and I understand you have some Sunday Morning Hip-Hop. What does that mean?

GARSD: I don't know.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

CONTRERAS: I called it Sunday Morning Hip-Hop about 'cause it's not as aggressive and assertive. It's something that you can put on, on a Sunday morning and groove to around the house, while you clean up and pick up the paper.

GARSD: Los Rakas are two cousins who are, you know, rap duo. They both moved from Panama to Oakland at a very young age. It's really interesting 'cause they have to vary in different lyrical styles. And one of them has a very reggae like drawl that he can kind of accelerate - he's in total control. And that's "Rakaszone."

(SOUNDBITE OF THE SONG, "RAKASZONE")

LOS RAKAS: (Singing in Spanish)

GARSD: The one who came to the U.S. at an earlier age has a very Oakland hip-hop style.

Together, they just form a really perfect rap duo. And what's exciting about them is Latin Top 40 stations are really dominated by a style called reggaeton. Los Rakas are doing something totally different. Since they kind of busted onto the scene about two years ago, they have been putting nonstop single-after-single, mixed tape-after-mixed tape. And their style is just getting better and better. They're really amazing.

And I did want to share they have a new EP out called "Chancletas y Camisetas Bordada," which means "Flip-Flops and Embroidered Shirts" which is kind of, I guess, a way of dress in Panama.

YDSTIE: So, Felix, as we mentioned earlier, you've been doing your show for over a year now. Which country, in your opinion, stands out most in terms of the musical offerings?

CONTRERAS: You know, it's hard to say. Each country, there's so many different things going on. But I think just in terms of sheer size and the sheer amount of music that was already there, Brazil. It is just - if you look at traditional music - every region of the country has its own style and tradition. Very few - we know a few of them here in the United States, but the really hard-core music lovers can never find an end of source of great music there.

And then when you mix all of that with contemporary music, we're just getting knocked out by tons of stuff that's coming out of Brazil.

YDSTIE: Give us an example.

CONTRERAS: We're going to play something by a guy named Lucas Santanna. He's a singer-songwriter. This new album that he has is a mixture of singer-songwriter and then he's collaborated with these electronica DJs to mix the voice and guitar that we're all familiar with from Brazil with electronica. Check this out.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

LUCAS SANTANA: (Performance)

YDSTIE: So it's got a really traditional core but then things start to happen.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

CONTRERAS: That's a good way of putting it. And they make it happen sonically. Especially, you know, with so many people listening in ear buds and headphones these days, it's like a playground. It's just like the old days in the 70s FM period, you know, we used to listen on headphones.

YDSTIE: Right.

CONTRERAS: It's the same thing now. There's just things bouncing around inside your head. These DJs are incredible and mixing and doing all these amazing things with sound.

GARSD: I always say that we have one of the best jobs in the world because we get to listen to so much music. We have to cut stuff down to fit into this half-hour show every week. So we end up put - you know, leaving a lot on the cutting board that goes on our blog, also. There's so much variety coming out - whether it's Chilean pop or Mexican rock. Columbia has an insane amount of musical variety. Argentina - don't even get me started on Puerto Rican garage rock, Puerto Rican hip-hop.

So it's just - it's really hard to say, you know, one country is kind of owning the scene. There is so much out there. It's at once a pleasure and a really difficult task to condense it all into a once a week show.

YDSTIE: Okay, but let's go back here to the U.S. for the last song. What have you got?

CONTRERAS: We didn't save the best for last, but we saved our favorite. This is a group called Girl In A Coma. They're from San Antonio.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

GIRL IN A COMA: (Singing) So I've reached the end of all to bring it back to home...

YDSTIE: So that sounds a lot more like the U.S. rock and AltCountry.

CONTRERAS: They are these three young Mexican-American girls (unintelligible). There's two sisters, and the younger sister and a friend of theirs. It's a power trio. They are very much into real power chord rock. But this album is such a step forward for them, 'cause the songwriting is more complex. The instrumentation is more complex, the arrangements, and the voice is just getting better and better.

I ran into these young girls at South by Southwest about two years ago, and they had already had some albums out. And they're working on a lot of other things at the same time. But this one here, this new album, when they sent it to us it just knocked us out.

GARSD: It's no coincidence that they are on Joan Jett's record label.

YDSTIE: Oh, they are?

GARSD: Yeah, and they do have bad very, you know...

YDSTIE: Really, they sound great.

GARSD: They are wonderful.

YDSTIE: Yeah. Well, Felix Contreras and Jasmine Garsd, thanks very much.

They're hosts of NPR's AltLatino, a weekly online show about Latin Alternative music. You can find the show and the music we talked about this morning on their website, that's NPR.org/altlatino. And they're also on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to both of you for coming in this morning.

CONTRERAS: Thanks, John.

GARSD: Thank you for having us.

YDSTIE: This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. The new host of WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY, Audie Cornish, takes the reins next week. I'm John Ydstie.

(SOUNDBITE OF A SONG)

IN A COMA: (Singing) Oh, and couldn't tell a lie.

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