Band of the Day

2011.12.22

Chikita Violenta

These indie rockers from Mexico City make a sonic explosion of anthemic music
You are always a prisoner outside the lines. You didn't mislead them, they've already made their minds.
lyrics from España

Chikita Violenta [Violent Little Girl] is an indie rock band from Mexico City, Mexico. The group consists of Luis Arce (vocals), Andres Velasco (guitar, vocals), Esteban Suarez (guitar), Eduardo “Pachulo” Pacheco (drums) and Armando David (bass, keyboard). From their early formation in 2000 as high school students, Chikita Violenta aimed for a college rock sound influenced by bands such as Sonic Youth, Built to Spill and Pavement. In 2003, the band produced their first album Chikita Violenta. They later hooked up with producer Dave Newfield, an indie rock veteran (Apostle of Hustle, Super Furry Animals, Broken Social Scene), and began working on their 2007 album the Stars and Suns Sessions. Through 2009 and early 2010 Chikita Violenta produced and recorded TRE3S, their third album. They supported its release with a 23-city tour opening for Built to Spill.

They might hail from Mexico City, but don't expect mariachi horns and high-pitched gritos (screams) coming from Chikita Violenta (whose name roughly translates as 'violent little girl'). Instead, the quartet—who have been friends since high school—have produced a sonic explosion of epic indie rock in their latest album, TRE3S. Their third release, which could mean “trees” or “three” depending on if you're an English or Spanish speaker, was recorded over three trips to Canada, with producer Dave Newfeld (who's also produced for Broken Social Scene and Super Furry Animals) at the helm. Newfeld's signature touches of mixing fuzzy guitars with layers upon layers of instrumentation are prominent in songs like “The Pause” and “Roni.” But while “The Pause” has a harder rock edge, opening track “Roni” sounds more ethereal with semi-androgynous vocals (from Luis Arce and Andres Velasco) hazily singing out lines like “for all the worth of just one view, don't blow it” and “I know you're on the outside now.” On “ATPG,” Lisa Lobsinger from Broken Social Scene makes a cameo. In her breathy and feminine vocals, she repeats the lines “All the pretty girls, all the pretty girls,” in between jaunty “ba ba ba-das.” The effects on her vocals, combined with fuzzy wooshing guitars, makes it sound like something you might hear a chorus of mermaids singing to try and catch the attention of strapping young seafarers. A similar echoey vocal effect can also be heard in “All I Need's A Little More.” But instead of sounding detached, there's an odd intimacy to it—as if Arce is sitting a few feet away, singing through a makeshift telephone made out of tin cans and a string. The handclaps and barrage of instruments that come in about a minute into the song make this one of the stand-out tracks on the album. While the majority of the album shows off Chikita Violenta's mastery of those juicy instrumental build-ups that you'd happily wait for, closing track “My Connection” shows that they're just as enjoyable when all the production is stripped away.