Über Maldita Vecindad
Formed in Mexico City in the mid '80s, left-leaning rockeros Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio -- in English, roughly, the Damned Neighborhood and the Sons of the Lowest Caste -- were soon the biggest selling homegrown rock band in Mexican history. Though that title was later eclipsed by younger, prettier groups such as Mana, this hyperactive six-piece remains one of rock en espanol's seminal acts. Dominating an early '90s boom in original Mexican rock alongside Caifanes, Maldita Vecindad set the sales record with their second and best album, 1991's El Circo, on which they mashed up rhythms from across the globe -- ska, Tex-Mex, calypso, Algerian rai, South African music, a cover of a Juan Gabriel norteno -- into fast, punkish rock, akin to what the Pogues did with Irish folk. On Baile de Mascaras, released in 1996, the hybrid got artier and spacier, but the band's output has been sparse since, with only two albums in 14 years. Yet in 2010, they were still around and still eclectic, addressing the evils of free enterprise and government corruption, global warming and human rights abuses on Circular Colectivo.