So you love Chicano Batman. Here’s 6 more amazing LA indie bands to watch.


by Tom Nguyen

LA’s underground Latin indie and rock scene is the most vibrant and explosive I’ve seen in years. Sure, Chicano Batman put the scene on the map and kudos to them…Coachella twice and 3 back-to-back sold-out shows this September wow! They’re such the hip, in-demand darlings right now, eager fans chased them to their cars after their performance to an over-capacity crowd at One Colorado in Pasadena this summer. I see posts on Facebook like a 60-something white CSULA professor gushing about playing their music to her class and wondering why her Latino students hadn’t heard them yet…so I had to ask her besides the Johnnie Walker commercial she saw, can she name any of the many talented and unique bands with Latino musicians playing amazing music in LA right now? Nope.

So Chicano Batman bandwagoners, take note. It took them nearly a decade of playing before the white mainstream music industry noticed, and LA Weekly recently wrote a great piece about LA’s Latin alternative music continuing to break down barriers, thanks in large part to visionary promoters like Viva Presents and Qvolé Collective. The thriving multicultural scene can be summed up by Qvolé’s motto…The Future is Latin. So in addition to great acts promoted by Qvolé like Buyepongo, Brainstory, Cutty Flam, here are six upcoming independent bands I think you should check out: Earth Arrow, Sin Color, The Altons, Twin Seas, Weapons of Mass Creation, Welfair. Continue Reading →

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO PREMIERE: ‘New Day’ by Cuicani a much needed message of positivity right now


by Tom Nguyen

We’re in very dark times right now in this country and there are very few Los Angeles bands like Cuicani who are as embedded in our most affected communities and advocating for them on a daily basis. They not only bring light to social justice issues with their music, but all of them are on the front line as music and arts educators working to inspire youth from K through 12th grades.

Along with last year’s release of their debut double album, Now and Then, Cuicani have been releasing music videos that highlight each of their singers, as well as the social issues that each song addresses. “For Them Now” featured Misa Della calling for black and brown unity in response to injustice and police brutality. Marlene Beltran-Cuauh honors our indigenous people and reminds us the importance of protecting our Mother Earth with “Mama”.

“New Day” is the third and final video in this series and shows the lighter side of Cuicani. Tony Sauza is front and center on vocals and guitar and the Northeast Los Angeles native explains, “the song embodies the joy and hope that comes with new beginnings, despite living in difficult and challenging times.”

Rounding out the Cuicani Collective are Caitlin Moss on drums and John Northup on bass and the video follows the band through various parts of LA and the cultural spaces they inhabit. It’s a reminder that it’s okay to take a break from our daily struggles in these uncertain times and remember what’s important. Self-care, friendship, music…our camaraderie with each other will help keep us strong, positive and with the strength to keep fighting for each other.

So enjoy the video, check in with each other, and look for Cuicani’s next performance Wednesday, March 8, at Eastside Luv Bar in Boyle Heights, with The Altons, as well as a new single to be released in late March.