From the OC, Mika Miko, favorites at the all-ages, noise-focused, downtown LA joint, The Smell, (as well as allmusic pick for best new release – no small deal) are effectively The Ramones of the millenium. Fast, hard, no-frills, thrashing punk comes to the girls of Mika Miko completely naturally. Unselfconscious, Mika Miko playfully yet seriously grab down to rip out your gut with tight arrangements, weighted bass lines that sear, humming chainsaw guitar, steady-fire drums (the token boy, a keeper…..for now) and dual vocals – nothing short of outrageous – which complement in their opposing qualities of higher register scream vs deep plunging baritone. Innocently, Mika Miko annihilates artifice, leaving behind a sweaty, grungy, blissful frenzy.
When I asked about the source of inspiration for their potent – and surprisingly clean, lyrically – songs, Jenna remarked (moderately surprised-sounding) that songs sometimes come to her through daily life and surroundings. For instance, she explained, the last song they sang, Turkey Sandwich, was a direct result of the popcorn machine talking to her at work. I felt at the time like my synapses should have been firing a grok-like response along the lines of, ‘Well, of course!.’ It seemed emphatically to make perfect sense to Jenna, and I noticed her fellow band members nodding in support, as though, of course, they got that too. That was precisely the moment I realized the pure, unadulterated beauty of Mika Miko. They are exactly as they are. Way out-there and truly priceless.
In honoring new inductees, The Ramones, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, the website reads, “The Ramones got back to basics: simple, speedy, stripped-down rock and roll songs. Voice, guitar, bass, drums. No makeup, no egos, no light shows, no nonsense. And though the subject matter was sometimes dark, emanating from a sullen adolescent basement of the mind, the group also brought cartoonish fun and high-energy excitement back to rock and roll. They launched the grassroots punk-rock movement in New York and London – the Clash were among those who paid heed when the Ramones first toured Britain – and helped downsize rock from arenas and stadiums to the more sensibly scaled environs of clubs and neighborhood holes-in-the-wall.” See what I mean? Here’s a refresher: Cretin Hop. Note the refreshing similarities to our beloved Mika Miko.
Now, free yourself from pretentious burrs and proceed to enjoy the blast of raw honesty of Mika Miko’s clobber-whip of punk rock.
Listen to the Exclusive Luxury Wafers Live Tracks (option/click to download):