by Thomas Harding on Jul 16th, 2011
Get ready folks, because you’re gonna be stuck with three reviews back-to-back of one of the craziest bands to come out of Sacramento in the last 20 years — The Yah Mos. You might say “But Thomas, what about those funky and far out cats in !!!(Chk Chk Chk)?” Well for one, they played at Bonnaroo in 2008, so how out there and crazy can they really be? Furthermore, there would be no “!!!” with out the Yah Mos anyway. Also, “!!!” is a dance band first and foremost, and the Yah Mos were a punk band with some dance rhythms at times, so which do you think the hipsters at Urban Outfitters are going to blast on the PA?
You’re probably wondering why I keep mentioning “!!!” in a post about the Yah Mos; I do it because “!!!” features former members of the Yah Mos. If you need some kind of missing link, the answer is Out Hud. The major connecting thread is vocalist Nic Offer. Enough exposition, lets dive in:
We’re gonna look at three records that comprise the out put of The Yah Mos:
Right On! 7-inch
Off Your Parents 7-inch
Right On! was the first and a logical place to start.
What you have here is a convergence of two styles of punk that were coming out of California in the early 90′s: a band blending the certain pop punk sensibilities that were fulling the San Francisco scene at the time with the angular chaotic hardcore approach that was San Diego hardcore. For you who speak namedrop, it would be like if J-church covered Antioch Arrow songs.
That’s a horrible analogy and I regret having made it, but whatever. We got three of these things to get through.
Really, I think its more like Antioch Arrow covering J-church. Yes, I like that better. Moving on.
Of the three releases, Right On! is probably the most in-line with traditional 80′s Hardcore and the band frequently channels elements of Black Flag from around 1980. I don’t mean that in the cop-out rock-journalist sense where Black Flag means “Its noisy and I don’t really get it,” “Refusenik” definitely brings a certain sense of Ron Reyes-era Flag to mind.
This E.P. looks to have had two pressings on Sunney Sindicut Records. As with lots of small 90′s DIY labels, it ceased operation back around 1999. One press has a black and white cover and the later press has some red thrown in. A quick look at the inserts, and we can see the band’s signature proto-text speak spelling. Lots of “2” and “U” and “R”. Offer’s lyrics are delivered in the breathless rambling style of bands like Antioch Arrow or Nation of Ulysses.
Right On! Offers two critiques of various bands and people who have “sold out” that book-end three songs mostly about confronting “the system.” Typical hardcore faire.
Had these guys been a metal core band or a youth crew band, you probably never would be reading this as they simply would never have stood out. As it happened, The Yah Mos coupled rather cookie-cutter lyrics with their unique sonic blend of west coast hardcore and pop sensibilities.
This 7” isn’t easy to find for sale, but if you have got to hear it, you can probably find it pretty quick if you just use your noodle.
Stay tuned. Next up is the Off Your Parents 7-inch.