El Cantador: New Anthems For Mob-Town

Videos by American Songwriter

El Cantador is an indie rock band from Mobile, Alabama. We first discovered them a few years ago after they made the trek north from L.A. (that’s Lower Alabama) for the Next BIG Nashville festival.

But, listening to the band’s new album, Fools For Light, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had to look through old emails to make sure this was the same band. You see, back then, El Cantador were a folky band, maybe a little indie pop. There was a fiddle player and boy-girl harmonies. Not so much any more.

Fools For Light, self-released by the band’s own Friends Fight record label and available on Bandcamp, ranges in style from the guitar-driven indie rock of “The Brakes” and “If Heaven/Sweet Crimes,” which puts the band closer to the New Wave-influenced rock of The Killers, to the six-minute acoustic-electro album opener “There’s A Hole.” The album’s standout track is “Empty Carz,” a Phoenix-esque anthem with a big hook, arpeggiating synths, and spiky guitar lines.

Despite the sonic shift towards indie rock, which tends to find a bigger audience in big metropolises, the band told us during last year’s Hangout fest that they were committed to creating a stronger artist community in Mobile. “We have a lot more work to do down here. Mobile is hungry right now for change in terms of artistic freedom and expression. It’s happening; maybe not on the same timeline as the rest of you guys, but it’s moving forward in little interesting steps.”

It’s nice to hear another good band isn’t packing up for Brooklyn. Long live, Lower Alabama!

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