Piñata Protest 

El Valiente

In the American Southwest, punk thrives alongside centuries-old Mexican traditions. Combining the two isn't a gimmick so much as an inevitability. Take San Antonio's Piñata Protest, which marries traditional norteño with power chords and shouty vocals. "Punk rock like abuela used to make," according to the band's website. Lead singer Alvaro Del Norte sports a cowboy hat and a patch-covered black vest, playing accordion with swagger. Songs on the El Valiente EP move between ranchero classics with a touch of edge, like the cover of "Volver, Volver," to bilingual party anthems with lyrics like, "Vatos perrones, we won't go away, live for today." I'm most partial to Piñata Protest's occasional blasts of hardcore, which get me all nostalgic for Los Crudos.

Not everything in Piñata Protest's repertoire is a stand-out, and some songs are excessively repetitive. I still can't decide if the lightning-fast version of "La Cucaracha" is awesome or obnoxious. Either way, it will be stuck in your head for days, and being both hilarious and annoying is pretty much as punk rock as it gets.

Piñata Protest plays the Top Hat Thu., Oct. 3, at 10 PM with Agent Orange and Guttermouth. $18/$16 advance.

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