Tag Archives: la vida es un mus

Check Out “Oído Absoluto”, the Debut Full-Length from Madrid’s Rata Negra

Rata Negra, Oído Absoluto (La Vida Es Un Mus, 1/25/2017)


Violeta (bass, lead vocals), Fa (guitar, vocals) and Pablo (drums) make up Madrid-based Rata Negra.  Following 2014’s Corasones EP, the band released their brilliantly confident full-length debut, Oído Absoluto, in January.

I think Oído Absoluto, in english, means something roughly equivalent to ‘perfect pitch’ (or having an ear for music/tone), but I don’t trust online translation and I don’t speak very good Spanish, so apologies if I’ve missed the mark.  In any event, by whatever name (or any other name) the album is a killer set containing elements of skate punk, late 70s punk and new wave, even some surf and power pop, with an opening one-two punch (band manifesto “Ratas”; “Gente”) among the best you’ll hear this year.  Visions of early Blondie (“Aguas Negras”), Buzzcocks (“Ellos Dicen”), and Agent Orange (“Lo Oscuro”) funning about, but with a darker production sheen underscoring lyrical themes of discontentment, alienation and death, surrounded by (actual and metaphorical) rats.  The frustration conveyed through the shout/sung lyrics, and reflected in the stabs of guitar and cracking snares is palpable but unlike, say, the roiling indignation sometimes heard in hardcore, this anger feels more born of desperation; of observing and feeling but seeing no change.  Possibly less visceral, but no less affecting, it should appeal to those who like their punk aggressive and those who like it with smart, tightly-crafted melodies.  Why not both?

Oído Absoluto is out now, through a collaboration with Madrid-based Beat Generation and the great, UK-based La Vida Es Un Mus.  You can worship at the altar of the black rat on fbook, and check out their other releases on bandcamp.

Highlights include: Ratas, Gente, Aguas Negras, Lo Oscuro.

Yeehaw! A Punk Roundup Featuring The Lowest Form, Exotica, Good Throb, and Urochromes

Ok, so there’ve been a few punk/hardcore/whatever releases over the past few months that I’ve been trying to get around to and haven’t – so now I am.  I intended to write up something individual and special to say about each of these but, fuck it, I’m gonna just put ‘em all into one, shortcut “combo” review.  Since I said “fuck it”, that makes it kinda punk, no?  No?  Oh well, here goes…

The Lowest Form, Personal Space (La Vida Es Un Mus; Iron Lung)

Personal Space is the latest from UK hardcore punk band, The Lowest Form, and it slays.  It’s part old school hc (I keep hearing alot of Wattie in the vocals, and Black Flag in the crumbling guitar sound (provided by Michael Kasparis, also part of Anxiety’s brilliant debut)) mixed with just good ol’ noise, all to great effect.  Highlights are many, and include the repeated face punch of opener, “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, which slowly drowns in its own, rich stew of hiss and feedback, and the utter chaos of “Evol”.  This record is cathartic in the ways of many a great, viscerally angry records.  In years such as this one (have there really been any?), sometimes it’s more than worth it to swallow the bile in your throat, let it burn, then scream it out.

Fitting for a band that sound like they spend a lot of time ‘off the grid’, the band don’t seem to have much internet presence.  Be sure to go and grab a copy of Personal Space (digital or “Bad Boy” vinyl) via the band, La Vida Es Un Mus or Iron Lung (in the US).

Highlights include: “Interplanetary Bad Boy”, “Gak Attack”, “Personal Space”.

Exotica, Musique Exotique #01 Demo (La Vida Es Un Mus)

Exotica wield bludgeoning, 80s (to these, admittedly, old and tinnitus-riddled ears) reanimating hardcore (I hear some of the old NYHC bands like (pre-crossover) Agnostic Front or Kraut, as well as the churning guitars of Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing-era Discharge on tracks like “Depresion”. Lead singer Lauren Gerig’s bilingual sing/scream/shriek is a revelation.  The members of Exotica are based in New York, but hail from Mexico, Argentina – play this loud enough to be heard through your own wall.

Like The Lowest Form, no real interwebs presence to allow fawning – grab a copy of Musique Exotique #01 (digital or cassette) from the band or La Vida Es Un Mus.  They also have a show coming up 12/29 in Guadalajara, MX – deets.

Highlights include: “Pesadilla”, “Passive Victim”.

Good Throb, Good Throb (La Vida Es Un Mus)

From earlier this year, the latest release from London quartet, Good Throb – and, regrettably, the last for a while, as members are now apparently geographically displaced.  Good Throb (the record) adds layers of noise and feedback to the rhythmic, punk-funk hc of 2014’s also great (and succinctly titled) Fuck Off, with tracks like highlight “SCUM” and “The Queen Sucks Nazi Cock” recalling Crass, early Butthole Surfers and Flipper.  Tasty.

Good Throb is available from the band and La Vida Es Un Mus (no, we’re not a label blog – honest!).

Highlights include: “SCUM”, “Welcome Break”.

Urochromes, “My Dickies” (Wharf Cat Records)

“I’ve got a queer theory…” so beginneth “My Dickies” is the new one from western MA, USofA band, Urochromes.  This 1 minute and change track bounces around like a kid hopped up on pixie sticks in a rubber room.  Light speed hardcore.  Cracked garage fuzz.  Avant-noise skreech.  Squirrel!  Do yourself the favor of being tugged along in its wake.  Here endeth the review.

Taken from forthcoming Night Bully EP, due January 27 from Wharf Cat Records (pre-order a copy and/or digital download here) – one more reason to be anxious for this year to end(eth).

Debut Mini-LP from Glasgow’s Anxiety Is Satisfyingly Unsettling

Cover Art for Anxiety's Self-Titled MLP

Cover Art for Anxiety’s Self-Titled MLP

Anxiety, S/T (La Vida Es Un Mus, 6/29/2016)

Amidst the soul-crushing mix of braying (sorry, “commenting”) jackasses and unwanted personal hygiene pop-ups, it’s nice when the internet coughs up something new and interesting.

Such was the feeling a few weeks back when stumbling across Anxiety, a new “let’s just call it punk even though it’s more complicated than that” four piece out of Glasgow.  As far as I can tell – after some admittedly flimsy research – the band formed last summer, the members hailing from other Glaswegian bands.  Youtube also provides evidence for a particularly robust live set.

The record itself is a richly dark slab of 80s-leaning hardcore, which also packs elements of early, rawer post-punk (particularly on opener, “Dark and Wet”), crust and industrial into a tightly rolled and ready to explode package.  The rollicking, acid hoedown ring-a-ding guitar of “Human Hell” and “Sewer In My Mind” recalls Dead Kennedys; elsewhere, the band tap the experimental aspects of bands like Flipper and the visceral thrust of crust titans like Crass and Rudimentary Peni.  The vocals slap like the hoarsest, most out of fucks to give version of Rollins circa Damaged, at times using effects that recall early Butthole Surfers and even Ministry.  Musically, the songs teeter just on the edge of spiraling out of control – the brilliant “Sewer” being a prime example – held together by some very good guitar playing and a tight rhythm section.

Deeply moving in its stark unsettling vibe, tales of outsiders giving up and general disillusionment – pieces not fitting (a feeling mirrored by the cover art, above).  With titles including “Dark and Wet”, “Addicted to Punishment” and “Sewer In My Mind”, it’s fair to say this isn’t an “up” album, but as a wise man once said “anger is an energy” and there can be light (or, at least, catharsis) mined from bleak sources.

Anxiety’s debut is out now, on La Vida Es Un Mus.  You can also follow the band on Tumblr and Bandcamp.

Highlights include: “Delayed”, “Sewer In My Mind”, “Dark and Wet”, “Human Hell”.

New Music: Primetime, Going Places EP

Primetime, “Going Places” EP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 5/16/2016)

Primetime are a four-piece punk band working out of Londontown.  “Going Places” is the second EP, following 2014’s self-titled endeavor.  Two word review: we likey.  Want more words?  Read on, then…

This is a seriously fun, poke in the eye of a record.  In the tradition of folks like Billy Childish (and related acts), Stiff Records artists like Wreckless Eric, The Slits and more recent artists like Nots and Nervous Twitch, Primetime sing deceptively simple songs about everyday concerns:  waking up/not wanting to wake up; relationships/not wanting to deal with relationships; being in control/feeling like you’re losing control; and pheromones, lots of pheromones.  It’s as deliriously snarky as it is insidiously catchy.

Highlights are many, but think fast, as the whole EP isn’t more than seven minutes long.  “Pervert”’s showcases a great, kind of inverted machismo, beginning with the line “if I’m a pervert/and you’re a stain on my dirty mind/…I want to tear off your shirt”, lead singer Claudia delivering a deadpan warning to an unnamed other that if he/she takes too long getting in da bed, she’ll “start without [you]”.  “Anyway” starts with a beat reminiscent of The Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed”, with lyrics describing being  distracted by someone while simultaneously not (wanting to) give a shit.  The bass/drum combo is rock solid, allowing the guitar room to move and the vocals to strut with a cheeky grin and a one-fingered salute (or two, depending on your locale).

“Going Places” is out now, via La Vida Es Un Mus – grab it now on the labels’ Bandcamp page.  More can be found about Primetime on fbook and the twit.

Review: Flesh World, S/T; A Line In Wet Grass

Flesh World, S/T MLP (La Vida Es Un Mus, 12/18/2013); A Line In Wet Grass 7″  (Iron Lung, 6/24/2014)

A band I first stumbled upon last winter through great Late Riser’s Club program on WMBR, and then again more recently via the MaximumRocknRoll page on Facebook – apparently, the universe was trying to tell me something (or just reminding me that I was going to write this review, like, several fucking months ago – but who’s to say, really?).

Flesh World is a great new(ish) punk band out of San Francisco, whose members are long-time denizens of that city’s diy punk scene (SF Gate went so far as to describe singer Jess Scott as a “scene figurehead”). Their debut self-titled mini-album is a prickly blend of Dead Boys styled punk, the JAMC, C86 distortion-blurred indie pop, Belly-style 90s indie rock (“Reckon and Know” sounds a bit like the Primitives pogoing with the Breeders) and newer “noire rock” bands like Rakta and (early) Raveonettes. One of those great records that manages to pack in the (right) hooks while making your ears ring.

Subsequent single, “A Line In Wet Grass” dials up the goth side of the band’s sound – the ritual drumming and guitar melody reminiscent of early Banshees. Another winner.

Highlights include: Reckon and Know, Sturdy Swiss Hiker, Lost My Heart in Transit Thru the Post, A Line In Wet Grass.  Go like them.