In political circles, they call it La Reconquista, a nativist theory that Mexicans are plotting to take back California and the Southwest.
In musical terms, that's not a bad way to sum up 2003. The past year brought an onslaught of new albums by top Mexican rock bands -- Molotov, Cafe Tacuba, El Gran Silencio, Control Machete, Kinky -- just when people thought these pioneers of the alt-Latino sound had surrendered or retreated.
El Gran Silencio's "Super Riddim Internacional" with its gritty street energy and cumbia-hip hop fusion, was the most compelling of the albums by these groups, though the others had their high points.
Molotov, the incendiary rap-metal group produced by Gustavo Santaolalla, deserves special mention for "Frijolero" (Beaner), its raw, provocative take on racial hostility at the U.S.-Mexico border. The song won video of the year at the fourth annual Latin Grammy Awards, held for the first time in Miami, where anti-Castro protesters picketed against phantom Cuban artists who never showed up because they didn't get visas.