Summer Releases We’re Hyped For

The return of a super influential Mexican rock band, just about to go on tour in the US. The third record of a retro and deeply soulful mambo ensemble that rescues the classic sounds of the Cuban orchestras of the 50s. A handful of remixes derived from the masterful album a French sound scientist created, resulting from the musical bridge he built between Cuba and Senegal. And some refreshing bonus tracks to add to your good vibes playlist.


Café Tacvba – “La Bas(e)”

 “Nobody is illegal, the world is our home,” can be translated from Café Tacvba’s new song, “La Bas(e)”, timely released alongside the announcement of their impending US tour. Finally, we have news from these Mexican rock icons: five years have passed since their second MTV Unplugged, and seven since their last studio album, Jei Beibi (2017). It’s no coincidence that they return now to celebrate their 35th anniversary. Co-produced by their longtime collaborator Gustavo Santaolalla, “La Bas(e)” is a song of resistance, an anthem supporting immigrant rights; a statement of unity, freedom, brotherhood and a safe way of life for expatriates, erasing borders and dreaming of a world where all humans take care of each other (“1, 2, 3 for you, 1, 2, 3, for me”, they also sing in Spanish, inspired by a popular local children’s game). This new single sets the tone for the band’s next stage, constantly reinventing itself, but always maintaining its unmistakable stamp.


Considered by many the flagship of the alterlatino movement, Café Tacvba is one of the most inspiring bands in the history of Latin rock — although they’ve always proven to be much more than a rock band, blending genres and pushing boundaries. Over three decades, they’ve been an unwavering advocate for cultural diversity and a voice for the marginalized and underprivileged, both on and off the stage. Through their music, Rubén Albarrán, Emmanuel del Real, Joselo Rangel and Enrique Rangel have addressed social and political issues with frankness and courage, challenging injustices and promoting inclusion and equality. “La Bas(e)” is proof that the band is active, committed to its reality, and willing to interact with new generations (Ruben’s son, Yantra Albarrán, collaborates here).


Orquesta Akokán – “Con Licencia”

Orquesta Akokán already carries its history. A little more than five years have passed since they appeared on the scene, as that Latin jazz ensemble that blazingly resurrects the great era of mambo. In this short time, they have achieved many wonderful recordings, usually in legendary studios in Havana, with techniques from the 50s to reinforce their magical retro style. The list goes from their great self-titled debut, with its sequel of instrumental versions, to an even more profitable present — just two months ago they surprised us with their Rosalia covers. Of course, that list also includes their third full-length album, Caracoles, scheduled for July 12 via Daptone Records. To kick off the announcement, they share a celebratory, ritualistic, and dance-inducing video for the lead single “Con Licencia”. It’s also the opportunity for the band to introduce its new singer, Kiko Ruiz, a “priest” who imbues his lyrics with a Palo Mayombe spirituality that propels the mambo back to its original meaning.


“For me, Cuban music, dance and religion are intrinsically intertwined; they make up who I am, and I wanted the song to represent all of those cultural traditions,” says Kiko about “Con Licencia”. Here, mambo is both a song and a prayer, beseeching good spirits to guide one’s journey away from darkness. Based in New York and Havana, Orquesta Akokán remains under the command of producer and multi-instrumentalist Jacob Plasse and virtuoso pianist and arranger Michael Eckroth. True to their name (Akokán is a Cuban Yoruba word that means “from the heart”), they’re set to deliver their most explosive effort to date: Caracoles is filled with music that inspires the body to move, but also designed to uplift the spirit — the profane and the prophetic, intermingled.


Guts – Estrellas Remixes

A production like the one that led to Estrellas, the great album Guts released in 2022, deserved a sequel of remixes and remakes. The idea of ​​this original record crosses borders, even continents and oceans, building bridges and fusing styles, bringing together many Cuban, French and Senegalese talents in a studio in Dakar during a pandemic. It’s a true musical journey that focuses on Afro-Cuban rhythms such as rumba, but that also travels through hip-hop, reggae, cumbia, lounge and downtempo electronica, among other styles, all led by this versatile artist born in France and settled in Ibiza.


Set as an EP, Estrellas Remixes includes four tracks: “San Lázaro” by Bosq, “Medewui” by Captain Planet, and two different versions of “Por Qué Ou Ka Fè Sa”, one by Poirier and the other by David Walters — the song also features the talented Cuban percussionist and singer Brenda Navarrete. Originally from Antioquia, Colombia, but based in London, DJ and producer Bosq stands out for giving an Afro-Latin imprint to his house, disco and funk sets. It’s not surprising that he took it upon himself to remix “San Lázaro”, clearly focusing on the groove and without losing the vocal impetus of Akemis Carreras. At the end of the day, this gem seems to summarize Guts’ initial plan: bringing Africa and the Caribbean together for a modern dancefloor.


Bosq & Kaleta – “I No Dey Play”

Bosq is a serious thing. We just celebrated his remix of Guts’ “San Lázaro” and we keep moving, now even speeding up the beat, with his recent single with Kaleta “I No Dey Play”. A bomb of Afro disco that never goes down, not even in the middle, with its false ending, to give way to a second part based on funk bass, tropical percussion and repetitive guitars, in a kind of back and forth between highlife and champeta, from Africa to the Caribbean. Above all that, Kaleta drops his shamanic chants so that the trance is complete. “I No Dey Play” is another preview of the album No Be Today, due out at the end of June. After 10 years of globally celebrated but only occasional collaborations, Bosq & Kaleta have their first full-length album together.


Savana Funk & Gaudi – Raha

Savana Funk is a free-form music journey. Their name, however, makes the starting point clear: funk. Afterward, everything depends on the itinerary: it can be more or less African, more or less psychedelic, more or less electronic, more or less disco, more or less bluesy or jazzy. Their traveling sound could also be explained by the origin of its members: Aldo (Italy), Blake (England) and Youssef (Morocco). On their new EP Raha, the trio joined forces with renowned musician and producer Gaudi to attempt to revive the “cosmic-disco” sound of the late ‘70s, a term used to describe various forms of African-influenced dance music based on synthesizers. The two singles are precisely the songs that open and close the record, like a good sonic journey: “Orewa” and “Raha” (the title means “peace of mind” in the Moroccan language).