Cafe society

Cafe Tacuba
Cafe society

Over the last decade, in the rush to proclaim rock en español a genuine musical movement (when it's more accurately a cultural phenomenon), many bands have been hyped and overestimated simply for playing familiar-sounding music in a different tongue.

Cafe Tacuba is not one of those bands. This Mexico City quartet is endlessly inventive, mixing rock with ska, new-wave pop and a variety of Latin beats, ultimately arriving at an odd hybrid that has yet to exhaust itself after five excellent albums.

Often called "the Beatles of Mexico" (when not being called "the Talking Heads of Mexico"), Cafe Tacuba formed in 1989 as a design-school side project and took its name from one of the group's favorite Mexico City coffeehouses.

Cafe Tacuba
Control Machete, Ely Guerra

Wednesday, July 14
La Zona Rosa
612 W. 4th St., Austin
Its self-titled 1992 release was a riotous sucker punch in the era of grunge, a compendium of wacked-out B-52s and Joe Jackson motifs turned sideways. The foursome has only grown more musically ambitious since then, building a U.S. fan base that includes Beck, who invited the band to open his 2000 Midnite Vultures tour.

After a four-year hiatus, the group returned last year with the Grammy winning Cuatro Caminos, which featured the production contributions of Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips) and Andrew Weiss (Ween). Those connections are not accidental. Like the Flaming Lips and Ween, Cafe Tacuba concedes no music limits, and the band has found a way to age gracefully without sacrificing its special brand of weirdness.

By Gilbert Garcia


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