How do you say punk in Espanglish? In Miami the answer is Güajiro (pronounced war hero in gringo). The Hialeah punks, consisting of Cuban-American and Honduran exilos and a notable ex-Long Beach, California resident, are thrashing their way onto the national stage with a five-song EP on the same label that houses Sublime's side project, Shortbus. The bandmates seemingly came out of nowhere, and their quick ascension left many a scruffy rocker wondering just how in the hell they did it. Well, it helps when your drummer is a former member of the Vandals, the fiercely independent progenitors of groups like the Offspring, Blink-182, and countless others. But the band also capitalized on an angle that has been surprisingly lacking in the Magic City: It is one of the few true punk bands that sings in the hybrid language known as Espanglish.
It's a commodity that any label, particularly one based in a state with a strong Latin American community, can't pass up. Sure Güajiro is not the only group to straddle the divide between the Anglo and Latin market share. But while most local bands that do so are resigned to crooning pop rock en español, this group is one of the first to incorporate its Latin heritage into a Dropkick Murphys-like punk sound that is most notable on tracks like "Mantanzero" and "Simpatico." "I was surprised when I moved to Miami to find that most of the bands down here were not incorporating their roots into their music. They were all Latin guys trying to sound like something else, like British bands or New York punks," said drummer Doug MacKinnon, an Anglo. Albeit a little rough around the edges, the EP is a worthy freshman effort, with production by Universal Latino recording artist and 2004 Premio Lo Nuestro nominee Jorge Correa, and mixing by Pennywise collaborator Darian Rundall. -- Kris Conesa