I’ve always thought that punk music, like basketball, was a young person’s game (don’t tell Mark E. Smith). It always made sense to me that young people were able to scream out their aggression, angst, anger and anathema through the healing power of fast paced and jarring punk. Yet here I am, almost closer to forty than thirty, with a mortgage, sciatica and a lawn to mow, and I’m listening to, and thoroughly enjoying, Mika Miko. Mika Miko themselves don’t necessarily lend themselves to my revised theory, as none of its members are currently of a legal drinking age, so in that respect, the original statement still stands. This Los Angeles punk quintet is made up of five young spitfire femmes, releasing their debut full-length CD with the mysterious and enigmatic acronym title, C.Y.S.L.A.B.F.
Los Angeles has always been a hotbed of musical activity, if not spawning specific styles of music, then at least providing the best polish with which to present them. Mika Miko continue in the footsteps of their predecessors, adding their own spice to a still thriving scene. The girls were too young (read: not even yet born) to experience Black Flag, X or the Germs in their native hometown, but the Sunset Strip practically oozes with their residue. They play their instruments at full volume and breakneck speed, with members Jennifer Clavin and Jenna Thornhill trading off on vocal duties, screaming at the top of their lungs, each word a round from an automatic machine gun. Luckily, the liner notes contain the lyrics to these wind sprints of songs, or there’s no way I would have been able to interpret these near maniacal rantings.
Mika Miko call what they do `pony thrash,’ an apt name, reminding me of two other terms, `pony league,’ the teenage equivalent of little league baseball and softball, and `pony keg,’ which for partiers needs no further explanation. They do indeed thrash, with guitars and bass whipping along at a frantic pace, but there’s also another element of Los Angeles rock, that being the Doors-like keyboards that accompany some of the tracks, such as the wonderfully named, “Tighty Liberace.” Particular songs are sure to find their way onto your punk iPod playlist, like “The Dress,” “Capricorinations” and “Business Cats.” “I Don’t Like Your Widow’s Peak” is another personal favorite, with more than a resemblance to early Pixies classics.
The danger for me in listening to Mika Miko is that without even doing the pogo or thrashing in a pit, I already feel like I should be icing my back. I suppose in some respects that punk still is a young person’s game, and Mika Miko carry the torch proudly. Some of the members of the group are also young actors as they, along with other area bands, are due to appear in the film, High School Record, yet another apt name for the girls. So, in a way, they’re like two sport high school seniors, not sure which avenues to pursue as they move off to college. Considering the strength of their debut CD, I think the choice should be clear.
X-Ray Spex- Germ Free Adolescents
The Slits- Cut
The Raincoats- Odyshape