Band of the Day

2011.11.15

Diego Garcia

Hopelessly romantic, Latin-influenced pop
More than most that I know, you hide yourself behind the wall.
lyrics from You Were Never There

Diego Garcia is an indie singer-songwriter from New York, New York. Garcia, who began playing guitar at the age of ten, got his start in the music industry in 2000 after graduating with a degree in economics from Brown University and moving to New York to start a band. The result was an indie rock group called Elefant, active between 2000-2010, that was signed to Kemado Records. When the group disbanded, Garcia found a new musical direction and began his solo project, fusing laid-back acoustic indie with Latin elements (Garcia was born to an Argentinian family). His debut album Laura was released in 2011 on Nacional Records. The album's sound notably draws upon singers such as a Julio Iglesias and Serge Gainsbourg, with lyrics about love and bittersweet heartache.

Type in 'Diego Garcia' in Wikipedia, and you'll come to a page about the atoll (a coral island encircling a lagoon) in the middle of the Indian Ocean. But since this is Band of the Day, and not Obscure Land Mass of the Day, we've decided to go with singer-songwriter Diego Garcia. On his debut solo album Laura, the former frontman of Elefant has traded his indie rock background for Latin-influenced pop. Garcia, who is a first-generation American born to Argentinian parents, has put together a nine song collection that's heavy on acoustic Spanish guitars, and even heavier on romance. The songs are simple and sensual, bursts of expertly picked guitars, rich strings and melancholy melodies that seem to float gracefully by. He's drawing on the best of breathy romantic pop, 60s French pop like Serge Gainsbourg, jazzy torch songs, American singer-songwriters, and wrapping it with a distinctive Latin touch. The album's title track is full of tenderly romantic lyrics and instrumentation, dramatic guitar stabs and atmospheric strings, as Garcia emotes with his beautifully wounded vocals. You almost imagine him as ultra romantic Leonard Cohen, wooing his love through song, and gallantly galloping below her window on a white horse, dark locks of hair blowing in the gentle night breeze. “Separate Lives” is gorgeously stripped-down, with coffeehouse-style bongos, and a delicate acoustic guitar that gives a nod to Latin greats like Leonardo Favio and Sandro. “Lie your head down, but don't fall asleep,” sings Garcia gently before a Latin-style acoustic guitar solo comes in with just enough strings for melancholic emphasis. “Nothing To Hide” is also full of love and longing, with Garcia's yearning vocals declaring, “in my heart, I've got nothing to hide!” before a lovely string section. This timeless romantic pop quality of putting all of his emotions on the line, is what will draw you in to Garcia's music. You'll find yourself empathizing with his tales of the ups and downs of love. But don't feel too sad for him—he's now happily married to the Laura that inspired this album.