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Although the Chicago-based band Allá only released their full-length debut, Es Tiempo, in 2008, the idea for the band and the album had been around for much longer. In 1998 guitarist/keyboardist/producer Jorge Ledezma and bassist Gabor Meszaros started Defender, which was initially a home studio project consisting of the duo plus an assortment of guest musicians. In 1999, after the addition of Jorge's older brother, drummer Angel (who had also played briefly in the punk group the Vindictives) solidified the lineup, the band began to perform in venues around town, developing its experimental, shoegazey sound. It was during a 2001 studio session, however, where Allá was truly conceived. When Meszaros had to leave early one day, the younger Ledezma spent the time working on a new song, what would later become "Un Pedazo." A lack of funds prevented Defender from completing the album, but Ledezma was able to keep the master tapes, and he continued to work. In 2004, local singer Lupe Martinez was asked to join as a vocalist, and she sang with Defender until 2006, when she and the two Ledezma brothers officially amicably broke off and formed Allá. Allá provided the trio the opportunity to greater explore their Mexican heritages, while not neglecting their influences like Can (Defender had actually toured with singer Damo Suzuki), Brazilian tropicalia, electronica, and indie pop. The finished project, Es Tiempo -- which besides "Un Pedazo" only contained one song, "El Movimiento," from the original 2001 Defender sessions -- was recorded in studios around the world, and came out in the spring of 2008. ~ Marisa Brown

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Chicago, IL

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