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9 cool acts you should see at RuidoFest

Written by
Brent DiCrescenzo

This week, Chicago picked up another major player in its overwhelming roster of summer music festivals. This one, thankfully, is quite unique. There's nary a Mumford nor Son in sight. Put together by Riot Fest and three other local promoters, RuidoFest is the largest gathering of Latin American rock, indie, pop and electro acts we've seen this far north. It all goes down in Pilsen on July 10–12, the weekend before Pitchfork. Ruido turns up the amps for some massive acts. Zoé and Estelares are basically the Coldplay/U2 of Mexico and Argentina, respectively. Some acts like Kinky, Molotov and Cafe Tacuba even had flashes of alternative nation breakthrough here. It's a fascinating mix of music ranging from the Rio Grande to the Tierra del Fuego. Here are nine bands any self-respecting music junkie should check out.

9. Descartes a Kant If someone grew up in the '90s listening exclusively to CDs by the Boredoms and the Breeders, she might come up with this. The spazzy, punky rock group from Guadalajara has opened for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Sonic Youth. It's no mystery why.

8. Minor Shadows Ah, so chillwave made its way south. Makes sense. This Mexico City duo brings to mind Toro Y Moi, especially on its latest cut, "Sueños de un Bebé Sodomita."

7. María Y José Tijuana beatmaker Tony Gallardo gets a little blissed out, too. Though his album Club Negro polishes the sound a bit, his early single injects Norteno rhythms into trippy electronica. It's easy to imagine Panda Bear pulling this out when he DJs.

6. AJ Davila & Terror Amor Fans of the Black Lips should slurp up this fuzzy garage act from San Juan. The poppy Puerto Rican punks released Beibi (check out "Borderline") on Burger Records late last year.

5. Rey Pila In a couple weeks, Rey Pila will drop The Future Sugar on Julian Casablancas's Cult Records, and it's easy to see why the Strokes frontman adores these leather-and-synthesizers rockers from Mexico City from tracks like "Apex."

4. Kinky This Mexican funk-rock troupe broke in 2002, blending the big beat electronica of the Fat Boy Slim era with sex and guitars. Lately, they can bring to mind Hot Chip, Foster the People and New Order.

3. Nortec Collective This production group also shook the dance landscape around the turn of the millennium with its Tijuana Sessions, which took the traditional, folky, polka-like rhythms of the borderlands and coated them with silicon and chrome. It's a deep, heavy, horny sound.

2. Astro We dug the self-titled debut of this playful Chilean synth-pop band, which brought its MGMT-like formula to Lollapalooza. Listening to "Manglares" is a quick shortcut to summer.

1. Café Tacuba In Mexico, this quarter-century-old quartet rank up there with Radiohead and Wilco. A little over a decade ago, that was nearly the case here, as Tacuba was recording with Dave Fridmann and gathering Grammys on great albums like Revés/Yo Soy and Cuatro Camino. The former is a classic and any cool kid who name-checks Os Mutantes and Talking Heads should seek it out. 

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