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World News

Latin Alternative Music Conference
Published August 4, 2008

By Lissette Corsa

The Latin Alternative Music Conference (LAMC) pulled out all the stops this year - it's ninth - showcasing performances by some of the most cutting-edge artists in a genre that stretches so wide it defies easy labeling.

For four days emerging and established acts from across the Americas and Spain descended on some of New York City’s hippest dives. The second night’s showcase at the Bowery Ballroom, not far from were the legendary CBGB's once stood, offered some of the best live performances. From Spanish power punk, ska outfit La Pulqueria’s full-throttle sound to the electro, psychedelic-pop hybrid of Mexico City’s Los Fancy Free.

 

By far the most buzzed about artist at LAMC was 22-year-old starlet turned singer/songwriter Ximena Sariñana. The Mexico City native’s live New York City debut, a sneak peak of her debut album Mediocre, which dropped five days later (July 15), lived up to all the hype. She’s been called Fiona Apple en español and while there are some definite parallels to be drawn in the songwriting, onstage Sariñana sparkled with a childlike demeanor, quirkiness, and indie-appeal all her own that belied a remarkably mature and very personal quality in her music. Sariñana was a tough act to follow, but it didn't stop Alex Cuba from going on with his barebones band comprised of himself on guitar, a bass player, and a drummer. What the Cuban-bred singer/songwriter lacked in sonic muscle, he made up for with his inviting vocals and charisma. Some of the kids in the audience didn't respond well to Cuba's simplified format but he parlayed the soulful, guitar-fueled pop songs from his latest album Agua Del Pozo with confidence.

Headlining Celebrate Brooklyn at the Prospect Park Bandshell on LAMC’s third night was The Brazilian Girls. The band played some songs from their upcoming CD New York City as sultry siren Sabina Sciubba floated around the stage in a puffy white ensemble that made her look like a cloud in some remote sonic plane she even sounded totally disconnected from the rest of the band.

The last LAMC show of the week featured Chile’s DJ Bitman, Plastilina Mosh, and Grammy winner Julieta Venegas in Central Park's Summerstage Show at Rumsey Playfield. PMosh didn’t play any of the new songs off their latest album All U Need Is Mosh. Instead they revisited hits from the past. Still the duo from Monterrey, backed by an energetic band, put on a high-impact show, deftly transitioning from fist-pumping, arena-rock numbers to hip-hop, electronica, and funk, delivered with irreverent onstage antics and a party vibe that makes fans come back for more. Viva La LAMC!