11 November 2010

I bought this on Amazon for less than a pack of cigarettes

Mika Miko - C.Y.S.L.A.B.F. (Kill Rock Stars/Post Present Medium, 2006)
Some, probably most, yearn to escape and start all over again in California, with its sunshine and beaches and burritos. As if, the crashing waves and relentless swell will eradicate an entire lifetime of personal demons and questionable decisions. Those who want it should go for it because there is honestly nothing wrong with pleasantness and civility. Just know that this writer is staying. The imperfections of the east coast are too ideal for a wallower. Things are supposed to be easy, carefree, and laid-back in the west. All in all, apparently pretty chill. Proposition 19 may have failed, but those vibes are still emitted from that side. There is absolutely no stopping the romanticization of California. Fine. Whatever. However, Mika Miko is far from easy breezy. There is no denying that fun is being had on this debut record, but its been birthed from piss, skunked beer, bad pick-up lines, and most importantly good times.
This band cut their teeth at The Smell, that one spot in L.A. with an alley for a door and the grounds where Wives and then No Age, HEALTH, and Abe Vigoda all made their names. Allegedly, the members of Mika Miko volunteered there and also put in work creating word of mouth hype with their frenetic fantastic live shows. When it was all over, they had released more cassettes than records. They broke up a little less than a year ago, and while that doesn't necessarily ramp up the value of this album it's sad because it means no more.
One can't help but wonder what would have happened if they hadn't broken up. The internets didn't seem to love their last album, or their first one for that matter, even though the last one had a song about turkey sandwiches. Did it all fade that quickly? According to either Walt Whitman or Phil Anselmo, there are two kinds of magic in this world: Those that can be prepared for and those that can't. Were listeners unprepared at first, and then suddenly became all-knowing by the time the second album dropped? If thats the case, then fuck em. This shit is special. Microphone telephone vocals should be treasured.
The record begins with "Take It Serious", and the opening guitar chords almost suggest very conventional and direct rock and roll. Then the vocals begin, and its clear that this is something totally different. "Capricorinations" follows, and its an insanely catch joint with dashes of organ for good measure. "Jogging Song (He's Your Mr. Right)" is pure fun streamlined into the system, with the added delight of hearing an all girl group saying "trying to make it easier for you to understand that I'm your mister right." This review could continue with talk about "The Dress", "Business Cats", and "Chron Liar", but for the sake of time and space just know that they're all great. In fact, that could be said about the entire effort. It's free of any shackles, and puts you on the edge of the cliff. No revelations, just reveling. "I Don't Like Your Widows Peak" is the longest song on the album, clocking in at two minutes and twenty seven seconds.
Online research seems to suggest that most reviewers are detractors, and all agree that this band was borderline unlistenable. If that's the charge being levied, then guess who is in love. Love, love, love.

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