Dos Santos is a quintet just 5 years working in Chicago but already established as one of the city’s most potent, impactful performers. A band known to be at home in a broad spectrum of venues and contexts – as proficient at nailing epic progressive arrangements for summer street festivals in the Latinx culture hub of Pilsen as they are at extended improvisational, experimental cumbia sets on the jazz-centric cabaret stage of the California Clipper, or the Chinook Lounge of The Hideout – Dos Santos’s elasticity & consistency in live performance has earned them an enthusiastic & highly diverse audience in the too-often segregated Chicago music scene. In recorded output, the sound established by their first EPs & singles garnered them wider attention for their ability to rekindle & represent vintage sounds. But anyone with more than a distant perspective on their musicianship & aesthetics would know not to over-simplify Dos Santos as purely a psychedelic/cumbia revivalist outfit. Dos Santos have been steadily tipping forward into something more future-minded & universal this whole time, something that transcends the nationalism many of us are desperately trying to depart from, but don’t have the vocabulary to fully escape. Logos, their International Anthem debut, is a bold & vulnerable push into this transcendence, the band’s effort to proactively poeticize the future in sound.
“Chicago-born,” “progressive,” “boundary defying,” & “unique sounds” are all sentiments from our label’s mission statement. And though, on the surface, Dos Santos may seem like a departure in the narrative flow of our catalogue & community, this band & this album truly epitomize what we strive to cultivate & present. Over several Summer 2017 sessions at IARC HQ Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Wayward Machine Co storefront & the basement of Dos Santos drummer Daniel Villarreal-Carrillo’s home (all on the same 3200 block of Morgan Street in the Southside Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport), the band settled into comfortable confines with The Daves (engineers Vettraino & Allen), making space to improvise, incubate & innovate. What’s heard on the ultimate product of this homegrown process, Logos, is Dos Santos laying their voices bare, at once aware of cultural context, informed by aesthetic precursors, and yet fully irreverent to expectations or how any of this might be “appropriately” employed. Whether through the balladic melodrama of “caminante,” the noir-cumbia refrains of “purísima,” the afro-psych gallup of the title track “logos” (which features the Antibalas horn section), the Tortoise on TNT-resounding guitar phrases of “coda,” or the Tame Impala-like Juno synths of “manos ajenas (touch you every day),” each composition offers a bridge into a sonic landscape that speaks to histories of migration and arts of living that have been central to everything from house music to blues, Latinx punk to salsa in the City of Chicago. Logos presents an idealized new progressive American music, as rooted in Chicago as it is communicable with the world.