Punk rock like abuela used to make! Piñata Protest is an accordion powered Tex-Mex punk rock band from San Antonio, TX. Piñata Protest combines the lively sounds and traditional rhythms of the Mexican button accordion with the upbeat tempos and attitude of punk rock to produce a unique and wildly eclectic mix of aggressive yet melodic songs that are sung in both Spanish and English. Adding to their sonic performances that ignite crowds to mosh, skank, and twirl their dance partners around is their energetic and impassioned live show.
Piñata Protest was founded by the Mexican-born singer and accordionist Àlvaro Del Norte. The band includes Jose Morales on electric guitar and vocals, Richie Brown on electric bass and vocals, and Chris-Ruptive on drums and vocals.
For over ten years the quartet has maintained a busy schedule of performing and touring throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico with a wide range of musical acts such as The Reverend Horton Heat, Mariachi El Bronx, Molotov, Guttermouth, Voodoo Glow Skills, Brujeria, The Toadies, Ramon Ayala, The Blasters, Authority Zero, Agent Orange, Molotov, Ozomatli, Mustard Plug, The Blasters, Wayne Hancock, and Girl In A Coma.
Almost two decades ago, on January 9, 1998, musician Nina Diaz was heartbroken to learn her grandmother had passed away. Exactly 15 years later, on that same date, Nina was writing new material when she felt someone watching over her. “I was using that night and felt this crazy energy,” says Nina, who had been battling substance and drug addiction for years. She did this, unassumingly, while fronting Girl in a Coma, the critically hailed indie-punk band that was famously nurtured by Joan Jett, had opened for Morrissey and Tegan and Sara, and earned multiple Independent Music Awards. Adds Nina, “I knew it was my grandmother.”
She ended up naming that mid-tempo, balladic song “January 9th.” Though that track doesn’t necessarily typify the eclectic sound of The Beat Is Dead, her debut solo release, it does set the album’s bittersweet tone. “On the demo, you can hear somebody whisper words before I sing them,” Nina says. She’s pretty sure that was the ghost of her grandmother singing with her. Two months later, Nina became clean for good.
Many albums capture the flood of introspection that comes after a life-changing experience. But The Beat Is Dead (out October 28 on Cosmica Records)—an expansive body of work that sonically references musicals, alt-metal, indie pop, new wave—powerfully chronicles Nina’s journey itself. “This album is the story of my addiction and my sobriety,” she says. Some songs were written while using, some in the infancy of going clean, some looking back months later with clarity. “It’s like I shed a lot of different layers of skin during this process.”
An alt-country band with punk roots, Vandoliers formed in 2015, bringing together a group of Dallas-Fort Worth musicians who’d already logged more than a decade in their own punk and folk bands. Together, the guys make a different sound, mixing raw, rough-edged roots music with the focused, fiery storytelling of frontman Joshua Fleming.
“We wanted to approach country music from a rock perspective,” says Fleming, who fills the band’s debut, Ameri-Kinda, with anthems about hitting the highway, draining beer bottles, rallying against your opponents and, occasionally, dropping acid. Behind him, the guys kick up plenty of fast-moving dust, filling the songs with train beats, gang vocals, blasts of brass and bursts of guitar.
Rounded out by bassist Mark Moncrieff, drummer Guyton Sanders, fiddler Travis Curry, electric guitarist Dustin Fleming and multi-instrumentalist Cory Graves, Vandoliers pay tribute to Texas by putting their own spin on the state’s musical history. Ameri-Kinda is exactly what its title suggests: a twist on a familiar sound, delivered with a wink of the eye and a bang of the head. It’s twang and tattoos, grit and guitars, honky-tonk and horns, Tejano and Telecasters. It’s Vandoliers.