Originality is intrinsic within the make-up of Albuquerque indie-rock quartet Side Montero.
Whether it be their indigenous heritage, the questionable driving of their drummer that would go on to inform the band's moniker, or their moreish indie/alternative rock soundscape, Side Montero are not a band to skip.
New single "SandBox" is a coming-of-age story, inspired by Side Montero's first West Coast tour. The planning, the rejection, the new friends, and the new experiences that came along the way. It will be a familiar tale to many independent bands, grafting to find their feet in the industry.
Lead vocalist Aaron Lee adds: "Over the course of tour we met a lot of talented musicians, kind hearted people, new fans, and learned a lot about touring. The challenges along the way taught us so much, and we wouldn't change a thing."
Despite nodding to a diverse spectrum of influences, young quartet Side Montero are acutely aware of their identity. The spine is rooted in rock, with both the driving urgency of alternative and the fuzzy allure of indie ebbing into the soundscape.
2019 debut EP Songs From The S saw the childhood friends put down a marker, with 2021 full-length In The Loop, showing a greatly heightened chemistry and fluidity from the rookie release. From the hooky riffs of the cathartic "Toast", to the wah-wah induced "Indio", the album oozes personality and musicianship, with Side Montero finding a deft balance of instrumentation and storytelling.
Stories are something that the Albuquerque outfit are not short of. The genesis of the band name is derived from a car accident in their teenage years that left drummer Levi Maes' Mitsubishi Montero on it's side in a ditch. The - thankfully harmless - accident would go on to inform the Side Montero moniker as well as rendering Maes grounded and the band working all summer to pay for the repairs.
The Indigenous led band proudly represents a sorely underrepresented group in rock music, with members cover the Navajo, Cochiti Pueblo, and Oglala Lakota tribes between them. Lead vocalist Aaron Lee is a staunch advocate for the environment, particularly the disproportionate affect that climate change has on indigenous communities.
Guitarist Jaren Robledo explains: "It is no secret that the Indigenous experience is vastly different than what mainstream media pushes. This is why it is our mission to give our listeners a window glimpse into the contemporary Native experience."
Above all else, Side Montero is predicated on friendship. Lee shares: "We wouldn’t want to do it with any other band mates, we’ve grown up together and have been friends for a long time, it was surreal knowing you get to travel and play music with your childhood friends".