"If people knew what was good for them, they'd just listen to Mika Miko."
That was the Gossip's Beth Ditto in a July 30th interview that asked for her music recommendations. But it could have been anyone who's seen the Los Angeles quintet Mika Miko tear through a live set, or danced in her bedroom to one of their explosive anthems.
After four short years together, Mika Miko are maturing into a band of sharp instinct, creativity, and not a little bit of humor. Their signature prop, after all, is a telephone receiver—that looks as if Fisher-Price manufactured it—which they use as a mic. Their video for "Business Cats" features an endearing pre-song skit, flashing neon block letters, and time-lapse fake vomiting that somehow manages to come across as hilarious rather than gross. When they break out the song's refrain, "Get excited!," it's hard not to oblige.
Their new EP, 666—so-called because it was recorded on the satanic date of June 6, 2006—was just released on the Post Present Medium label. The CD version of 666 combines their self-titled, four-song debut with a handful of rarities and the EP's six new songs. The new material mostly abandons the no-wave wobbliness of their 2006 LP, C.Y.S.L.A.B.F, in favor of a straight-ahead punk wallop.
One of those new tracks, "Zombies Take One," makes the CD worth buying all on its own. Like many a genius punk song, "Zombies" crams yelped vocals and crashing cymbals into an irresistibly melodic chord progression just hard enough to bruise its edges. The melody stretches and squirms, but escapes being buried in the din. It's the kind of intuitive songsmithing that feels crafted and effortless at the same time, and no less precise for being applied to chaotic, Germs-ish thrash-alongs. They shout in "Capricornations," a song off C.Y.S.L.A.B.F, "We've got smarts, smarts, and style, a rare combination!" Mika Miko are so good, that's not bragging. It's a statement of fact.