Latin Alternative

The Ten Best Latin Alternative Albums of 2012

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Thu, Dec 27, 2012 at 4:00 AM

click to enlarge Monsieur Perine - CARLOS BASTO SPOON
  • Carlos Basto Spoon
  • Monsieur Perine
It has become difficult to define what Latin Alternative is these days. The genre seems to encompass everything from traditional roots band playing an accordion to a progressive hip-hop MCs to singer-songwriters crooning romantic ballads -- and can be sung in Spanish, English or Spanglish. It's a hybrid-culture, forward-thinking scene that is ever evolving.

Those following Latin Alternative music can't just be up on what's happening here in L.A. or out in New York City, they music know what's new in the streets of places like Mexico, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile. With all of that in mind, here's our list of the ten best Latin alternative albums of the year.

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10. Ghetto Brothers

Power Fuerza

The Ghetto Brothers were a Puerto Rican street gang in the South Bronx that formed a soul and funk band and are linked to the birth of hip hop. The brothers called for a peace treaty among Bronx street gangs in the early '70s, and present was their friend Afrika Bambaataa, who used the weekly peace gatherings as a platform to throw his first hip hop parties. Originally recorded in 1971, Power Fuerza went without a proper release until Soul and Truth Records released it this year.

See also: Street-Gang-Turned-Band Ghetto Brothers Attract "All Classes, All Races, All Ages" Years After Making Hip Hop History

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9. Monsieur Perine

Hecho a Mano

Monsieur Perine surprised us this year, flipping the script a bit with music inspired by French jazz, swing, and Colombian folk. They achieved Gold status in Colombia and a small buzz in the U.S. Once they get around to promoting themselves here, they're likely to cross over and gain a wider fan base, one suspects.

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8. Twin Shadow


George Lewis Jr. -- aka Twin Shadow -- does not come immediately to mind as a Latin Alternative artist, but he's Dominican-born and exemplifies how a new generation of Latino performers are diversifying. He self-produced Confess, his second album, which offers flashback dance pop fit for an '80s movie soundtrack.

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