Mika Miko – We Be XuXa

25 07 2009

Mika MikoWe Be XuXa
2009 – Post Present Media

I guess Mika Miko are old news around here (here being coastal California), but to this recent Canadian transplant, and hopefully to some of you, they’re brand spanking new. This all-girl band from LA formed in 2003 and have put out a string of albums on labels like Kill Rock Stars and Sub Pop, while also releasing a few of their own albums.

The band sounds like a bunch of different things, but the first thing I noticed when I put on this, their most recent release, was that they totally have their shit together. I love female musicians (full disclosure: I am a female musician), but I really hate when girl musicians use the fact that they’re girls as some kind of marketing strategy. The way I see it, if a band’s biggest selling point is that they all have vaginas, the band can’t be very good, and I’m not very interested. I think that kind of thing ghettoizes all of the ladies who practise and sweat and work to be good on their own merits and don’t have to rely on cute outfits or girl-centric marketing. Anyway, Mika Miko can clearly play on the level playing field. They can all play their instruments, and they sing like they mean it. They don’t sound cute or girly; they sound awesome.

The music itself is a mix of punk rock with elements of funk and dance (but just a bit) thrown in. Parts of this album remind me of the Slits, though Mika Miko have a lot more cohesive, catchy-ass songs. Parts of it also remind me a bit of the Gossip, though none of the ladies in Mika Miko have Beth Ditto’s pipes, I think they all have Beth Ditto’s balls, which, combined with the totally good instrumental work, really works and makes for a high-intensity album that makes you wish it went on for longer than the 22 odd minutes (for 12 songs!) that it does.

Even though I didn’t know about these guys until just now (thanks be to the Maximum RockNRoll Top Tens), which means I’ve evidently been missing the boat, I hope that the fact that these guys exist means that we’re going to start seeing more girls in punk and rock ‘n roll and hardcore bands. I know I’ve been sick of Brody Dalle being the face of women in punk for quite a while. I hear these guys are great live, so if you see that they’re coming to your town, be sure to go and check them out, and buy some of their stuff! Hell, order their stuff now, get inspired, and start your own band. Long live Mika Miko!

Also Listened:
Japandroids – Post Nothing
Ponytail – Ice Cream Spiritual
T Rex – Electric Warrior
Brian Eno – Here Come The Warm Jets
Titus Andronicus – The Airing of Grievances
Jonathan Richman – Jonathan Sings


J Church – One Mississippi

12 06 2008

J ChurchOne Mississippi
2000 – Honest Don’s Records

This is my second run at this.  I don’t know why J Church has given to me such a serious writer’s block (insomuch as I can call myself a writer). The first time I tried to write about One Mississippi, I ended up in tears on the couch. I’m going to blame that on the PMS and the shitty weather, since listening to it now, at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee and the sun coming through the window, this is a happy album, for the most part. Oh, except the Lance Hahn died of complications from kidney dialysis part. That’s still a downer.

I had heard of J Church before, of course. I had probably even heard a couple songs on other people’s stereos, but I had never sat down and listened to them. Now that I have, I regret that I hadn’t really heard them until now, after the possibility for ever seeing them live or buying a new album has passed.

This album sounds kind of like Propagandhi. The first chords on the first song sound so much like Prop that I had a mid-nineties flashback (in the best possible way) and then immediately went to the J Church website to see if they had ever worked or played together, which, it turns out, they have. Now, I don’t know a lot about punk music. Okay, let me qualify that. I know something about punk music. More than the average person, I suppose. To someone who only listens to top 40 radio, listening to me talk about punk music probably sounds pretty impressive, like a person with a jr. high school education listening to someone with a biology undergrad degree talk about echinoderms. However, to people who are really into music, I don’t know much about punk music. I’m just starting to put it together and develop my own  (douchey as it sounds) philosophy on punk music, so here’s what I’ve got so far and how it relates to One Mississippi:

I don’t know what the core of punk music is, but, like a big fat classist or racist or something, I think there is some kind of purer punk centre or ideal and that bands can be placed along some kind of continuum between that centre and something else that isn’t punk at all, like, well, Nickleback or Laurence Welk. Anyway, on that continuum, I feel like J Church is closer to the centre than many other bands. It’s not that they’re intensely political or blindingly good musicians or dress really cool (though they may be all of those things), but J Church just seems like a real band. I know, that’s lame to say. Classifying things as “real” or “not real/fake/poseurs” is stupid, but I’ve been racking my brain for a couple days now, and that’s the closest thing I can find to what I think about J Church. They sound like a bunch of cool guys who sing about interesting things that happen to them in their real lives. I don’t know – I’m distracted and have had too much coffee, so I apologize, but I really liked this album. It was unpretentious (both in its content and its production) and honest, and like I said, it tugged at my heartstrings when I thought about Lance Hahn.

I guess it made me want to get out of the house, go drink a little too much, hang out with my friends, play music, and quit being so much in my head all the time. See you late

Also Listened:
Dan Sartain – Join Dan Sartain
The Daktaris – Soul Explosion
Lucero – Nobody’s Darlings
Steeldrivers – S/T
Old 97s – Blame it on Gravity
The Swiftys – Ridin’ High
NQ Arbuckle – xox
Ladytron – Velocifero
James Hunter – The Hard Way
Sloan – Parallel Play
Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
The Roots – Rising Down