Pistolera is the brainchild of Sandra Velasquez, a woman who grew up in San Diego listening to the music of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. But her childhood wasn't all about the

Pistolera is the brainchild of Sandra Velasquez, a woman who grew up in San Diego listening to the music of Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and Sonic Youth. But her childhood wasn't all about the rock'n'roll.

"In the living room," she says, "my mother was pumping cumbia, merengue and Mexican pop music." And the result of such a diverse crop of influences can be heard in her music. Pistolera melds the sass of indie rock with traditional Latin sounds to create compelling pop melodies, all of it sung entirely in Spanish. As the band's booking agent, Alexandra Casazza of Trouble Worldwide, says, "Pistolera's music is the crossover between the old and the contemporary."

The quartet's self-released debut album, "Siempre Hay Salida," streeted Nov. 7, 2006, and Pistolera sold out New York's Joe's Pub three days later. The band is playing a showcase March 16 at this year's South by Southwest festival, and a short European trek is set for April.

When asked what she'd be looking for in a potential label, Velasquez says, "Creative control—that's always the big one. I'm not interested in labels that demand that we sing in English . . . I really believe the emotion needs no translation."