From: Oakland, CA
Sounds like: A more upbeat and loose Flobots, but just as political.
The eight-piece group Bicicletas por la Paz is from Oakland, but their sound could have come straight out of southern California or Latin America. Their self-described “Latin Circus Funk” combines elements of ska, rock, and Cumbia (Colombian salsa music) into an energetic sound that channels bands as diverse as Rage Against the Machine and Tom Waits, both of whom also come from the golden state. Their live shows capture this exciting energy, which includes jugglers, skits, and dancers that interact and dance with the crowd while the musicians play on. Though the music keeps an up-tempo groove, their lyrics address more sinister affairs such as war and poverty.
But what really sets this band apart from all the other goodvibe rockers is that they tour the US and Mexico by bike.
Not motorbikes, actual bicycles.
Whether this comes from a desire to save the environment, to get in shape, or to save money on gas, each band member carries their own instrument on their bikes. That means that the band has to use bike-friendly instruments such as solid state amps, tiny speakers, folding drum kits, and so on, but the tradeoff is that the band is cutting back their damage to the environment. It’s not for every band, but it’s an admirable challenge to the notion of conventional touring. The band also addresses bike activism and makes it their mission to make the world a better place, for people and for bikes.
Their debut album ‘Musica Por Puppets’ came out in June, and it is intended as their soundtrack for a bicycle revolution that they hope to spearhead. We’ll see how far this revolution goes, but for now we have some great music to enjoy.
Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber