Editor’s note: ¡Viva Tijuana! is a multi-story series about the life and culture of San Diego’s modern neighbor to the south. More stories from the series can be found in links below.
At least three bands of note have saluted Tijuana with their names. They include top-selling Mexican narcocorridos group Los Tucanes de Tijuana, the Long Beach punk-pop trio Tijuana Panthers and the sadly defunct Tijuana No! (Grammy Award winner Julieta Venegas is one of its former members).
Here are three current Tijuana-bred acts to check out right now.
Veteran San Diego music fans may recall Pablo Dodero as the bassist in the hardcore punk group Mae Machino. In recent years, Dodero has recorded and performed laptop-free ambient electronic music under his own name and as the one-man band Les Temps Barbares. As Late Nite Howl, he specializes in gently intoxicating acoustic ballads and hopes to have a new album done by the end of the year. Under any name, he’s a talent worth investigating.
With performances at Coachella in 2016 and South by Southwest last month to its credit, this three-year-old group is making international waves with a savvy mix of shoegaze and noise-pop. Previously a trio that has now morphed into a duo, Mint Field features singer-guitarist Estrella Sánchez and drummer Amor Amezcua. Amor’s father, Ramon “Bostich” Amezcua, co-founded the pioneering TJ electronic music band Nortec Collective.
Talent clearly runs in the Amezcua family – Grenda (real name: Andrés Eduardo Amezcua) is the brother of Mint Field’s Amor Amezcua. A two-time UC San Diego Jazz Camp attendee, Grenda creates lush electronic soundscapes that are rich in atmosphere and texture. His processed singing, while uneven, serves as an additional instrumental voice in his sonic landscapes, which are unusually mature for someone still in his teens.