Part of the essential diet of a music fan is collecting records. Physical formats are no longer necessary for listening to music, but they’ve adopted a new role among fans. Spending your hard-earned cash on a record is about building a bridge between creators and listeners – a way to get closer to the sounds we love.
Although the post-Napster landscape and the arrival of mp3s and iPods rendered CDs and cassettes obsolete for the average music fan, vinyl records enjoyed a resurgence in the late 2000s, thanks to efforts like Record Store Day and reissues of classics and cult favorites. Today it’s not uncommon for folks to own a turntable and a record collection, despite the fact that many had feared the demise of this format just a few years ago.
Punk has been loyal to vinyl even in the days when it seemed no one would ever be interested in physical formats again. Independent labels dealing with all forms of this type of music have regularly pressed their records to vinyl. Ironically, the recent boom has forced contemporary punk labels and bands to spend crucial funds on pressing LPs, even as manufacturing costs have skyrocketed. Tapes have taken over as the go-to format for up-and-coming punk outfits, but collectors still pay for first-press releases and rare editions of punk records from all over the world.
Punk records in Latin America are hard to come by. Although it was a cheap option for many bands abroad, it was also a restrictive format for many young artists since money is hard to come by and few pressing plants – if any – operate in each country of the region. Regardless, these are some of the most important and rare punk records en español out there. Many go for a few hundred dollars, if not more. Even if these are out of your price range, consider this list a starter guide to some of the best Spanish-language punk out there.
Los Crudos - Canciones Para Liberar Nuestras Fronteras
This classic album from the most important punk band ever to come out of Chicago remains a touchstone in the genre. Luckily, it has been reissued a few times, so it’s not really hard to come by. But if you want to collect a piece of punk history, you should hunt down the original edition, which features a handmade cover rather than a mass-produced one, reflecting the DIY ethos of Los Crudos.
Massacre 68 - ¡No Estamos Conformes!
Although there were older punk bands in Mexico, Massacre 68 was probably the first to crystallize a Mexican hardcore sound and remains one of the most distinctive and inspiring bands in the genre worldwide. ¡No Estamos Conformes! is the full-length effort that followed various cassettes, and it’s a very sought-after artifact of punk history.
La Polla Records - Y Ahora Qué? 7"
The 7″ single remains the format most associated with punk culture. Cheaper than manufacturing a 12″ LP, the 7″ is perfect for brief songs played at top speed. One of the true classics of the format comes from La Polla Records, the influential Spanish melodic punk band. This release still boasts some of the rawest energy you can find on a 7″, and is a welcome addition to any fan’s collection.
Los Violadores - Los Violadores
Buenos Aires’ own Los Violadores were spawned from Los Testículos, who are often regarded as one of the first punk bands in Argentina. As with most things related to the so-called “origin of punk,” there’s plenty of debate around that claim, although no one would argue against the idea that Los Violadores were the group that popularized the genre in their country. Their self-titled debut album attests to that legacy.
Los Saicos - Any of their 7” singles
You know the lore already – Perú invented punk rock, thanks to Los Saicos. Their early garage singles boasted aggression and distortion levels that few others matched in the mid-60s, and their music holds up. Because of that, if you want to own a piece of their history, you’ll probably have to spend a small fortune.
Descontrolados - Descontrolados
Being in a punk band back in the day was hard, and being in a punk band in Ecuador was probably one of the toughest things in the world. But Descontrolados managed to establish the genre from their home in Guayaquil and released one of the era’s most definitive albums.
Leusemia - Leusemia
Although they assure they’re not a punk band (by some sources like Wikipedia), the music of Leusemia is one of simplicity and passion, largely influenced by their love of the Ramones. Their existence helped establish the punk scene in Perú in the early 80s, and this self-titled release merits a place in your record collection.
Atoxxxico - Punks de Mierda 7”
After leaving Massacre 68, bassist Thrasher founded a hardcore trio called Atoxxxico along with drummer Warpig, later of surf rockers Lost Acapulco. Punks De Mierda is a landmark in Mexican punk and oddly enough, the first vinyl release of it is a reissue of the original tape.
Todos Tus Muertos - Gente Que No / Tango Traidor 7"
Better known as a reggae rock fusion band on par with Los Fabulosos Cadillacs, Todos Tus Muertos originally played fast and furious punk with references to other genres (like the horns on “Gente Que No”), no doubt thanks to their devotion to The Clash. Their first single displays their love for punk and remains one of the rarest artifacts in Argentine punk history.
Eskorbuto - Los Demenciales Chicos Acelerados 7"
Perhaps Spain’s biggest contribution to punk history, Santurtzi band Eskorbuto remains one of the most emblematic groups in Spanish-language punk. Their raw power still sends shockwaves to listeners everywhere. This single is one of their major works and, unsurprisingly, commands a high price on the market.