On his sophomore album, Argentine singer-songwriter Federico Aubele revisits the dubby beats and tango rhythms, the melancholic bandoneon and folkloric guitar lines that made his debut popular with hipsters everywhere. In 2006, songs from his Gran Hotel Buenos Aires were as ubiquitous at the neighborhood café and chic lounge as the Diesel-wearing, Marlboro-smoking crowds who frequent those places. Aubele's nostalgia and longing for a lost love (or perhaps his native Buenos Aires) are heard throughout. Indeed, Aubele says his constant touring between albums inspired a deep yearning for Buenos Aires and the Americas in general. It's no surprise, then, that his new album is named after the 29,000-mile-long Pan-American Highway that connects Alaska to the tip of Argentina. "Buenos Aires se ve en tus ojos y en cada lugar" (Buenos Aires emerges in your eyes and everywhere), he sings on "En Cada Lugar." Elsewhere he and a cast of talented musicians (Calexico and Los Fabulosos Cadillacs among them) wax poetic about the taste of a thousand kisses, endless smiles and rainy days, all of which are interwoven within a rich tapestry of distant congas, ambient sound effects and acoustic guitars. Although at times the beats and rhythms of songs like "Maria Jose" sound like they could have been lifted right off a Thievery Corporation album Eric Hilton produced Panamericana there's no doubt that Aubele is an artist with a unique voice and vision.
Celeste Moure writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.