It’s long overdue but it feels like maybe, finally, the Northwest is starting to grasp the fact that there is music that’s really fucking good that also happens to not be sung in English. I could just be living in a bubble here at KEXP, where we just spent a month celebrating Latinx artists with Aqui y Ahora and we have an incredibly knowledgeable Latin Content Manager, Albina Cabrera, who is constantly throwing name after name at our team that are absolute must-listens, but I don’t think I’m alone here.
The tide change towards embracing global bands can be seen where it really matters — on the bills for festivals. Look at last month’s Treefort Music Fest, which brought acts like The Marías and El Shirota to Boise’s often-white stages, and next month’s Freakout Fest, whose lineup might be one of the most diverse bills that Seattle’s ever seen, with nearly half the artists coming from countries like Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Colombia. There’s clearly a hunger to reach across the border and ask, “So, what’s good over here?”
Guy Keltner, founder of Freakout Fest and frontman of local garage rock band Acid Tongue, is no stranger to asking that question. Years of touring in Mexico helped forged the relationships that would make Freakout Fest the haven for international artists that it is today and Keltner the go-to guy for Latinx booking. So, it’s no surprise that he’s fused these connections to make a PNW meets MEX underground supergroup.
Mala Suerte blends Keltner’s musical prowess with the talents of his Mexico City-based friends Jasmina Hirschl, who plays in the bands Las Pipas de la Paz and Los Honey Rockets, and Miguel Servin of Carrion Kids alongside Seattle band The Grizzled Mighty’s Ryan Granger. Together, their sound is fiery, dense, and dirty as hell.
Today, Mala Suerte is sharing the lead single and title track off their forthcoming eponymous record with KEXP. Released alongside a video of distorted VHS footage of occult iconography, the song emphasizes Granger’s expertise in bluesy riffs and Servin’s penchant for howling vocals. Themes of desolation and hopelessness are conveyed in both the Spanish lyrics and the song’s sludgey sonic tone. This is what the band had to say about the project:
I have been touring the US and Mexico with Jasmina and Miguel for a few years now, sharing members between our various projects on a regular basis. Jasmina has booked us into so many dives and punk rooms south of the border, and we have weathered so much chaos, heartbreak and hardship on the road together. We are bonded as few musicians are these days. Ryan is one of my oldest friends in town, and inevitably he ended up giving this project a real Seattle edge, sonically. It was only natural that we'd all finally get together for a loud, raucous project like Mala Suerte. These songs are some seriously dark, heavy odes to the characters we've met in these beer soaked nightclubs.
Mala Suerte para mi fue “Glück im Unglück”, algo bueno que salió de esta locura que es la pandemia que estamos viviendo. Y más por los miembros de este supergroup: Guy y yo nos conocimos en Nueva York hace algunos años y siento que siempre ha sido nuestro destino tocar juntos, Miguel y yo estamos casados y nos encanta tocar juntos, y me siento honrada ahora también poder tocar con el talentoso Ryan.
Mala Suerte for me was “Glück im Unglück”, something good that came out of this madness that is the pandemic that we are experiencing. More than anything because of the members of this supergroup: Guy and I met in New York a few years ago and I feel like it has always been our destiny to play music together; Miguel and I are married and we love playing together; and I'm honored now to also be able to play with the very talented Ryan.
Mala Suerte comenzó como una válvula para sacar todos los sentimientos que teníamos guardados durante muchos meses. Ha sido increíble poder compartir con tan buenos amigos y músicos. Gritar letras alucinadas es mi especialidad y con Mala Suerte no es la excepción.
Mala Suerte began as a valve to let out all the feelings that we had stored for many months. It has been incredible to be able to share with such good friends and musicians. Screaming hallucinated lyrics is my specialty and Mala Suerte is no exception.
At the beginning of the pandemic, Guy showed me a few rough demos he had passed on to our friends in Mexico - Jasmina and Miguel. Some of them caught my ear and I started riffing on the songs and adding some heavier guitar work. As the songs took shape and evolved, we quickly realized we needed to get into an actual studio and make a real album. We all recorded on our own side of the border, passing tracks back and forth to each other all summer. It came together surprisingly quick. We made a pretty kick ass album without having played in the same room together, and when we finally met in Mexico City the chemistry was instantaneous. I can't wait to harness all that energy live onstage with everyone next year, in both the US and Mexico!
The duo behind The Grizzled Mighty play hard, up-tempo rock. Their big, beefy chords and frenetic drumming inspire the blood cells running in your veins to speed up and push you to new heights. Don't believe us? You can check out the band's new album here and go see them live at Neumos today (Satur…