"San Felipe Es Punk” is an anomaly in the history of punk. Overlooked at the time it was released by the international scene, this object contains the essence of Mexican underground rock in a couple of songs. We are not talking the fast, urgent and political hardcore punk most people think of when Mexico pops up in a conversation. This is different, this is what people with no relation to worldwide tape trading or specialized zines thought was punk.
Polo Pepo came from the 60s hippie movement, survived the government repression of the youth during the 70’s and 80s, and finally found in punk the true spirit of rock and roll. Embracing punk, he developed a unique sound with all the limitations an inhabitant of a third world country had.
The songs don’t talk about imminent nuclear war or Reaganomics. Instead “San Felipe Es Punk” is an ode to a poor neighbourhood in North DF where a strong music scene flourished alongside gang violence, alcoholism and drug addiction.
Self-released in 1988 by Polo Pepo and Merced Belén Valdéz, co-author of the lyrics, the record became legendary among the collector and music-freak circles. And now finally sees the light again as a licensed reissue by Polo Pepo himself thanks to La Vida Es Un Mus. The record comes with an 8-page booklet, a recent interview with Polo Pepo and two archive pictures of the man himself.
Our take: Re-release of this Mexican punk obscurity. While the original came out in 1988, it sounds more like a product of the 70s. There’s no trace of hardcore here, with its Pistols-influenced snot bringing to mind the meanest and nastiest of first-wave European punk from the 70s. Johnny Thunders riffs, snarled vocals, loose playing… you get the picture. While the music will interest any KBD collector, the packaging is also lovely, particularly the 12-page booklet devoted largely to an interview with Polo Pepo himself (while the printed insert is in Spanish, there’s a link to an online English translation). A cool obscurity more than deserving of this lovingly executed reissue.