For nearly two decades, the Mexican alt-rock stars of Café Tacuba have systematically dissolved the language barrier. Hailed by the New York Times as "one of the most important bands in the hemisphere," the quartet (flanked live by Alejandro Flores on violin) has a distinctly arty sound. The band's most recent album, Sino, released in October, is carefully knitted in familiar indie rock shades, balanced with just the right measure of upbeat Latin passion. My Morning Jacket's twee-rock formula comes immediately to mind upon hearing "Tengo Todo," an astoundingly pretty round-style workout, while "53100" sounds like midcareer Wire retooling "Won't Get Fooled Again" for today's college radio tastes. The entire album was leaked onto the Internet October 6 and formally released three days later to wide critical acclaim.
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At the Gusman Center show, you might feel compelled to join the chant of "¡Pinche Juan!" And it's okay — it's the Spanish translation of "Fucking John," referring to one of the band's first underground hits. Bandleader Rubén Isaac Albarrán Ortega was so inspired by these affectionate fan displays that he changed his stage name to Fucking John for a while. That lasted only a short time, though; he switches names the way Democrats reverse their stances on illegal immigration.