By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Abel Folgar
By Kat Bein
By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
Sound and influences: A mix of Rolling Stones-tinged R&B, Argentine tango, and Uruguayan candombe.
Stature: One of the few consistent stadium rock acts in today's Argentina, with legions of die-hard followers. They have released six albums independently, four of them distributed in the United States.
Musical approach: As for any indie band that suddenly got famous, the most important thing for Los Piojos is to deliver a straight and honest message to their fans, and to avoid any kind of overexposure.
Hit song: "Maradó" (as in soccer idol Maradona) on Tercer Arco (Third Arc), 1996.
Sound and influences: Inspired at first by the Beatles and the Stones, the guitarist and pianist has crafted a pop-rock sound influenced by Eighties South American pop-rock bands.
Stature: The most important pop artist to come from Peru, Vértiz has released three albums after leaving the pop band Arena Hash. Sony released his last solo album in seventeen countries, including most of Latin America, the United States, and Spain.
Musical approach: Mainstream back home, he appears determined to reach the biggest possible audience wherever he goes. Ultra-accessible pop.
Hit song: "Alguien que Bese Como Tú" ("Someone Who Kisses Like You") on Degeneración Actual (Today's Degeneration), 2000.
Fiel a la Vega
Origin: Puerto Rico
Sound and influences: A mix of Anglo rock, acoustic nueva trova from Cuba, and Caribbean percussion, with deep, pro-Puerto Rico Libre! lyrics.
Stature: The biggest rock band of the Isle of Enchantment has recorded five albums and moved more than 300,000 copies. The last two albums (including El Concierto Sinfonico, recorded live in San Juan with a 43-piece orchestra) were released in the United States by EMI Latin.
Musical approach: No boundaries. And no bars: This year Fiel did what no other Puerto Rico rock band had ever thought of before -- played for the inmates of Oso Blanco prison.
Hit song: "El Wanabi" ("Figure it Out") on Fiel a la Vega, 1994.
Locos por Juana
Sound and influences:Multiculti rock format flowing with salsa, reggae, cumbia, and hip-hop.
Stature: Big band on Miami scene. Mostly Colombian-born musicians scored a record contract last year with local MP Records for a disc to be distributed in the U.S., Puerto Rico, and some Latin American countries.
Musical approach: Party-time, plain and simple. Sound System-style with songs fading in and out of the same leading beat.
Hit song: "Qué Es Lo que Está Pasando?" ("What's Going On?") on Locos por Juana, 2002.
Sindicato del Hip
Stature: As the evolution of pioneer punk-rock band Detenidos, Garaje H is an important underground band from a country where the genre has always been under suspicion. The first two albums were released in Spain by hardcore Basque label Esan Ozenki. The third was recorded here, with a new lineup to assist leader Abel Garcia.
Musical approach: Strong and noisy, they are not going to be the darlings of Amor 107.5 FM, but they don't seem to care.
Hit song: "Tatuajes" ("Tattoos") on Mandatorio, 2002.