New Music: Nortec Collective And Tom Tom Club “Motel Baja”


When acts like Nortec Collective, Kinky, Cafe Tacuba, and Plastilina Mosh gained mainstream momentum in the late 1990s, it was hyped as a turning point for Mexican and Latin American pop. Not your abuelita’s Top 40, it was bilingual, international, electronic, indie, and its buzz helped clear the way for artists like Mexican Institute of Sound, Hello Seahorse, and many others.

Once a rotating crew that included Clorofil, Hipoboreal, Panoptica and others, Nortec Collective disbanded in 2008 to pursue individual careers, continuing to use “Nortec Collective Presents” as an umbrella for their various releases. That same year, Bostich+Fussible released Tijuana Sound Machine, following it with Bulevar 2000 in 2010. Now, after fifteen years, five albums, several Grammy nominations, and worldwide tours including Coachella and Bonnaroo, Bostich+Fussible (Nortec’s remaining and founding members) are packing it in. “After this, Nortec is done,” states Fussible. “There will be no more Nortec. This is the last album.”

To conclude their Border Trilogy and wrap things up, Bostich+Fussible (Ramón Amezcua, Pepe Mogt) )have recruited Kraftwerk, Señor Conconut, and Tom Tom Club for their final album Motel Baja, out September 16th (Mexican Independence Day). On the title track, streaming below, Tom Tom Club add their breezy funk and Tina’s lollipop voice to Nortec’s classic Norteño/techno mix of accordions, quirky squelches, and tongue-in-cheek rhymes (“piñata/marijuana”). Ostensibly an ode to that great American pastime, the Gringos Gone Wild Getaway, “Motel Baja” grooves like Fussible and Bostich’s guests checked in with echoes of their Nassau/Compass Point days ringing in their ears, making for a mellow and vibrant ride into the sunset. Yes, even the best of parties must come to an end. But, as Motel Baja reminds us, “when we check out mañana, another one begins.”

Photo Credit: Josue Castro