Piñata Protest: El Valiente
El Valiente
Piñata Protest: "El Valiente"

Song List: Intreo, Vato Perron, Life On The Border, Tomorrow, Today, Guadalupe, Volver, Volver, El Valiente, La Cucaracha, Que Pedo

Piñata Protest's new album El Valiente begins in epic fashion: an ominous futuristic synthesizer underscores a deep, mysterious voice broadcasting:

Presentando los mas chingones en la música Norteño punk
tocando la musica que tu abuela no quiere que oigas.
Los mas chingones de San Antonio:
PIÑATA PROTEST!

You can run that through Google Translate if you only speak Gringo (I may or may not have needed to consult a band member, myself), but suffice it to say that it serves as a warning. You are about to listen to some badasses from San Antonio play their own blend of Norteño music melded with Punk. It's a sound the band's lead singer and accordion player, Alvaro Del Norte, envisioned when the band first came together—Piñata Protest takes a traditional music enjoyed by grandfathers throughout their hometown and injects with with the punk movement also deeply rooted in The River City.

El Valiente's era and genre-bending goes so far as a cover of the 1976 Fernando Maldonado ranchera "Volver, Volver," that Del Norte describes as "a real panty-dropper." They appropriately rock the fuck out of the plaintive waltz, ultimately building it into a double-timed mosh-inducing frenzy. The album contains one other cover—the traditional folk corrido "La Cucaracha"—in which the band takes some poetic license with meaning of "the roach." As with "Volver," "La Cucaracha" is shot full of electricity, adrenaline, and a dash of mescaline for good measure.

The six original songs on the album will define Piñata Protest for years to come. Their first two records (2010's Plethora and 2012's Plethora Reloaded) spread the band's sound regionally and helped garner opening slots on tours with Reverend Horton Heat and Girl in a Coma. But it appears as though El Valiente is taking the band nationwide. Already, NPR has taken a liking to Piñata Protest, and The New York Times threw them some props during this year's South By Southwest festival.

As you visit with the band—the aforementioned Del Norte, drummer JJ Martinez, and brothers Matt Cazares on guitar and Marcus on bass—they are humble and unaffected by their recent explosion in mainstream media. The guys are in this for the music and genuinely appreciate the opportunity to spread their unique sound formed from the music they were raised on.

Piñata Protest has CD release shows lined up this month in San Antonio and in Austin, with their label mate Hickoids. They will then head out on the road, again supporting Girl in a Coma. Catch Piñata Protest now, while ticket prices are still manageable and so that you can honestly say, "I saw them before they were famous."

Reviewed on 5/13/13