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Alternative rock is an anything-goes province, and nothing proves that more than when three of its most disparate luminaries — The Cure, The White Stripes and the Magnetic Fields — all take a stab at using mariachi horns. But more than just dilettantes have combined Tex-Mex with alt rock, from Calexico's deep pastiche mining (and operatic flourishes on "He Lays in the Reins") to Los Lobos' indispensable eclecticism (most raucously on "Mas y Mas") and surf bozos Los Straitjackets' twisted interpretations like "Hey Lupe." Some native border-walkers like the Refreshments' Roger Clyne ("Stick It to the Man," "Banditos") and Old 97's ("Coahuila," "She Loves the Sunset") borrow from a Latinized scale or two, while country lumineers the Mavericks welded the energy of '90s modern rock with the delicacy of Roy Orbison on tunes like "Dance the Night Away" and their recent comeback "Back in Your Arms Again." And thanks to groundbreakers like Joe "King" Carrasco and Doug Sahm (whom alt country buckos the Bottle Rockets paid a full album's tribute to), the path was paved for bands like Pixies ("Isla de Encanta," "Vamos") and Crooked Fingers ("Islero," "Andalucia") to draw total inspiration from border culture.

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