It is the longstanding position of NorteñoBlog that the puro sax styles of Chihuahua and Zacatecas would improve with the addition of more terrible “sax” puns in the titles. From the icy wilds of New Mexico comes Aycci Norteña, whose self-released debut album Futuro en Nuestras Manos (alternate title: Saxo Con Nuestras Manos) is an entirely decent jaunt through pop hooks and sax/accordion riffs. As with Geeshie Wiley and Jesus, photos of the Ayccis don’t exist, but the principles of detection tell me they’re a five-or-six-piece: cracking bajosexto/bass/drums rhythm section, an overactive accordionist whose sworn enemy is silence, and sax. Plus whoever’s singing. Plus whoever’s applying heaping doses of reverb. But fair is fair: Aycci’s song entitled “Por Eso Te Amo” (aka “Tu Saxo es Por Eso Te Amo”) has less reverb than Río Roma’s pop dirge of the same name. We’re gonna Pick to Click “Quiero Volver,” though, because then you can watch all these happy couples dancing:
Remember right after Y2K when The Strokes came out, and then suddenly you had all these guitar rock bands named “The [Objects]”? There were The Roots, The Streets, The Avalanches, and I forget who else. Something similar is cooking at la frontera de U.S./Mexico, where saxophones glisten against the desert sands. There we find:
— La Dinámica Norteña, whose possibly self-released “Un Mal Amor” (alt. title: “Un Mal Saxo” or “Un Amor Saxual,” take your pick) is dynamic enough. What’s really dynamic is the way they rip off the logo of Blog favorites and perennial Grammy nominees La Maquinaria Norteña, who stand astride this genre like saxophone colossi. Those promotional gears never stop turning!
— The latest from La Fuerza Norteña is the cucarachish instrumental waltz “Huapango El Gato Rabón” (aka “Saxo Con El Gat-“; never mind). It does not appear on the septet’s 2016 album Rompiendo Barreras; but then, I’m not sure there’s a legal way to procure that album north of the Rio Grande. As El Gato Rabón’s owner told him, just before dropping him off at the cat tail swap meet: you’re on your own.
— The sextet La Reacción Norteña is not the same as the Durango sextet La Zenda Norteña, but I can see where Facebook might confuse you on the subject. They’re also not very good. “No Lo Hice Bien” is accurate, especially if they’re talking about their saxual prowess.
— Far better is septet La Rebelión Norteña, the pride of Ciudad Acuña, state of Coahuila, whose bands we don’t often encounter here at the Blog. Their 2016 single “Por Siempre Tu” (Esteban Maltos/Union Frontera) stomps with the confidence of guys who’ve played every baile within shouting distance and still love their jobs. A special stick twirl to drummer Elias Arreola and his slaphappy cymbal work. Their tricky little waltz “El Meresabor” (aka “El Sabor del Saxo”) is also VALE LA PENA and a second Pick to Click, just so I don’t forget it.
— Best known of all these bands is Chuihuahuan quintet La Reunion Norteña, who are back with a new single on powerhouse indie label Azteca, “La Enorme Distancia” (…”Entre Amor y Saxo”). In 2016 they received the ringing endorsement of everyone from NorteñoBlog to whoever illegally uploaded their album to YouTube. But no, they’re really good: tight band, nonstop riffage, and two singers — Rogelio ” El Morro” Martinez and Juanito “El Torito” Fabela — who drift together into smoky harmonies. I swear, once you get past how all these bands sound alike, you start to hear a world of differences.