I watched the LCD Soundsystem farewell show this weekend. I’m eagerly awaiting the new Pains of Being Pure at Heart album, and can’t believe I haven’t already gotten my hands on Lykke Li’s latest release. I’m an indie hipster in my musical tastes. And Los Texas Wranglers couldn’t be farther from that world.
Los Texas Wranglers are conjunto music. Conjunto is mostly synonymous with Tejano and Norteño as a musical style, and was partially derived from the polkas of Central and East European settlers to the Southwest back in the day. That explains the prominent role of the accordion in the music, and the uptempo nature of many of the songs: it’s dance music. It’s also a music that I only learned about this weekend, despite having been exposed to it at various times over the course of my life.Los Texas Wranglers - Tita Los Texas Wranglers - En Brazos De Otro
And Los Texas Wranglers seem like a fairly good place to start. They are clearly all very good musicians and mesh very well. They can carry an instrumental well, as in “Viva Seguin,” but also excel in Spanish-language material, like “En Brazos De Otro.” My favorite song might be “Tita,” where they give the horns a larger role and play around with a lot of auxiliary percussion.
Where they falter, in my mind, is on the English language songs. A song like “You Belong to my Heart” is just the epitome of cheesy schlock. Some of the more recent tunes (which may be solo stuff from drummer Julian Fernandez or may be official LTW tracks…I’m a little unclear) go straight up country, like “Country Star,” which is a fairly standard country song, just with more accordion in it than you’d find in a Reckless Kelly track.
Los Texas Wranglers are another part of the Austin music scene that us indie hipsters often forget about. Yet, if the Austin Music Awards are any indication, they are incredibly popular. They’ve won Best Latin Traditional band three different times, and this year, they took the prize for Best Country/Bluegrass, while also having Fernandez and accordionist Sonny Trujillo recognized for their virtuosity on their instruments. They are certainly a band worth checking out, even if this music is totally new to you. Unlike LCD Soundsystem, you might be able to see this band live in the near future.