Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Alex Cuba (né Alexis Puentes) traded the tropics of his native isle (whose name he appropriated) for the near-tundra of northern British Columbia a decade or so ago. His music is as expansive as the distance in between, a hook-heavy hybrid that combines a non-specific Cuban/Latin sensibility with mellow, singer-songwriter fare, norte-americano folk-pop, and more virulent strains of soul, funk, and rock. Cuba has won a few Juno awards in Canada, but his highest-profile gig so far south of the border was collaborating with Nelly Furtado on her 2009 Spanish-language album, Mi Plan. His infectious new eponymous album on his own Caracol label is full of breezy melodies and slinky rhythmic intrigues, whether simmering, horn-laced syncopations on upbeat tunes like "Caballo," new-wave rock jaunts like "Tierra Colora," or the sleek funk (with Chicago-like horns) of "If You Give Me Love" (the only song he sings in English on the album). Cuba has a fine, molasses-sweet voice too, venturing into prime, soulful territory on love ballads, but also kicking it out on the wicked Cars/Kinks-like rocker "Que Pasa Lola."
Wed., June 9, 7 p.m., 2010