The gravelly tones of Peter Lopez drift softly over a melodic guitar riff while a swishing drum rhythm pats out the beat. This is the distinctive sound of Los Alamos, a band famous for creating ‘narcocountry’ and now the stars of a new documentary, ‘The Lost Alamo’.
The band was born in Buenos Aires in 2004 and have been a solid part of the Porteño and Latin American music scene ever since. They are well known and loved for their unique brand of music, which mixes blues, punk, rock, folk and pop into a new style known as ‘narcocountry’.
The band became famous for their innovative, gritty sound and played gigs across the world before taking a three year break following their 2008 European tour and the birth of lead singer Peter’s first child. They reunited in 2012, however, to celebrate their staring role in Francisco Forbes’ documentary, playing a packed out Niceto gig in early 2012.
Their first album, ‘No Se Menciona la Soga en Casa del Ahorcado’, was released in 2005, just a year after they formed in 2004. It was an instant hit due to its experimental take on folk music and soon after, the band were chosen as ‘best new band’ in the Latin American edition of Rolling Stone.
Taking inspiration from artists ranging from Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan to the Velvet Underground, Tindersticks and the Cramps, Los Alamos became increasingly popular for their combination of gentle melodies with edgier instruments and vocals to create an intoxicating blend of musical styles. In 2007, Rolling Stone wrote “this band synthesises American folk, the sounds of the coast of the Río Bravo and that distinctive sound we once called stoner rock.”
“The thing that makes the band work is that we don’t pay attention to things that don’t really matter to the music like being part of a scene of being best friends with certain famous bands” said Peter Lopez in an April interview with ‘Rocktails’.
“We’ve never succumbed to pressure to open for certain bands or play certain festivals just because people think we should.”
The group is an unlikely mix of characters, led by guitarist and vocalist, Peter Jopez, a vegetarian and vegan chef with five other members from diverse musical styles and backgrounds playing guitar, vocals, drums, mandolin, bass, electric guitar as well as the trumpet and accordian.
In 2006 the band released their second EP, “Emboscada” and toured around South America, playing Chile twice as well as Uruguy and Brazil, where they shared a stage with Lee “Scratch” Perry. The band’s third album, “El fino arte de la venganza” was released in 2008 and saw them playing to crowds of more than 5000 people in Brazil and Argentina. In August of the same year they commenced their European tour, playing in theatres, pubs and clubs across Germany, France and Switzerland.
A day before the European tour, lead singer and guitarist, Peter Lopez, married his fiancé in France. When the tour was completed, and with the band still riding high in the charts and public adoration, Peter decided to take a break from the band to spend more time with his new family in France, signaling the end of the road for Los Alamos.
The band remained apart until earlier this year, when the release of ‘The Last Alamo’ prompted a reunion in Buenos Aires.
“We were all really keen for a reunion” said Jonah in an interview with Pagina 12 this year. “It was very unanimous, the six of us were all thinking and feeling the same thing.”
2012 will see the band playing several shows as part of a comeback tour which started with their much anticipated gig on the 12th April 2012.