I accidentally took some James Taylor-lovin' folkie music hippies to see Vallejo at the Continental one night last winter. It was late, and we'd already hit a couple of other spots. As we walked in and the music hit us, the look on their faces said, "Earplugs!" One of the louder bands on the Texas Latin rock scene, Vallejo brings two drummers, twin guitars and suggestive polyrhythms to an attack that would crumble the walls of Jericho. There's never any doubt with Vallejo: They are first and foremost a rock band. A hallmark of any Vallejo set is their paint-peeling cover of Wall of Voodoo's '80s rock hit "Mexican Radio." Wacky Wall of Voodoo frontman Stan Ridgway, no slouch as a loud, paint-peeling rocker himself, would no doubt be proud.

It's been four years since the El Campo natives have been in the studio, but spring should see the release of a new Vallejo album, Thicker Than Water, on the California label Vista AVE. A national tour and another zillion gigs in Texas and Mexico will surely follow. Bring your own earplugs if you need 'em.

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William Michael Smith