The Mae Shi: Punk With A Bubblegum Soul

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Tuesday's Pick

  • Song: "Run to Your Grave"
  • Artist: The Mae Shi
  • Genre: Punk
The Mae Shi 300

The Mae Shi's members pride themselves on taking music to extremes. courtesy of The Mae Shi hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of The Mae Shi

The Mae Shi's members have long prided themselves on taking music to extremes; they even reportedly played a record-breaking 18 live performances at the four-day SXSW music conference earlier this year. Their work is typically marked by an obsessive urge to create and destroy: They cram many catchy riffs into a single, painfully short song, but then also add carefully timed choral screams on top of the guitar-strewn snippets, turning the mess into a frantic, joyous post-punk collage. The mental energy required in order to parse the songs' complex language is topped only by The Mae Shi's enthusiasm and ambition.

The centerpiece of the epic, Bible-inspired album HLLLYH, "Run to Your Grave" displays impressive amounts of pop polish without losing the effervescence that keeps The Mae Shi sounding like no one else. The song builds a junkyard pile of blips and bleeps, led by an omnichord (a keyboard/drum-box hybrid the band purchased from Goodwill), into a colossal pop song, with a multitude of voices cheerfully singing, "You've got to tear / Burn / Soil the flesh / God will do the rest!" on top of a supremely catchy melody. Who knew that an L.A. punk band so bent on sonic destruction could also have a bubblegum soul?

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