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First Listen: Rodrigo y Gabriela, '9 Dead Alive'

Rodrigo y Gabriela's new album, <em>9 Dead Alive, </em>comes out April 29.
Jim Mimna
Courtesy of the artist
Rodrigo y Gabriela's new album, 9 Dead Alive, comes out April 29.

In their newest album, 9 Dead Alive, Rodrigo y Gabriela return to their roots, reminding listeners why they fell in love with the Mexican duo in the first place. The album finds them at the peak of their musical flexibility, dexterously weaving elements of heavy metal with flamenco.

These Mexico City natives are an if-at-first-you-don't-succeed parable. As heavy metal musicians, Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero had trouble launching their careers. Making it in one of the biggest music scenes in the Spanish speaking world is as pivotal as it is nightmarish: if you break through in Mexico, you've made it in Latin America, but succeeding in an environment that is frequently reluctant to take risks can also be an impossible task. So they picked up to go busk in Ireland, where they perfected the guitar licks that have made them famous.

The band has a loyal fan base that has followed them as they experiment with more orchestral and cinematic sounds (they famously put music to Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean and Puss In Boots.) But this new album is extremely stripped down and minimalistic, a treat both for those who've been following the duo since the beginning, and also for those who recently discovered them: letting listeners eavesdrop on a private conversation spoken between two friends, in the universal language of the guitar.

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Jasmine Garsd is an Argentine-American journalist living in New York. She is currently NPR's Criminal Justice correspondent and the host of The Last Cup. She started her career as the co-host of Alt.Latino, an NPR show about Latin music. Throughout her reporting career she's focused extensively on women's issues and immigrant communities in America. She's currently writing a book of stories about women she's met throughout her travels.