Descendents – Hypercaffium Spazzinate

Milo Goes to College, the first and best record by Manhattan Beach, California’s Descendents, is rightly considered a classic. The longest song is a stately two minutes and fourteen seconds, a result of the band’s well-documented caffeine addiction. The caricature of singer Milo Aukerman on the cover is as iconic as Mick Jagger’s blood-red lips. The lyrical themes are hardcore staples: parents, society, and fake punks, but there was something there that was unmistakably pop.

The word is used today to describe music for the most casual of listeners, engineered for maximum performance by super-producers, built for the widest possible appeal within the thirteen to thirty demographic. Saying that Milo Goes to College is pop isn’t to say that it shares DNA with Ariana Grande’s Dangerous Woman – it doesn’t. Pop isn’t in the music as much as it’s in the band’s intent: the decision that everybody can listen, that nobody is excluded. Punk had always been pop, but Milo defined Pop Punk.

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Review: Davila 666 – Pocos Anos, Muchos Danos

The only thing wrong with this album is its timing. I needed this in June, when it was finally warm enough to be on the veranda at Julio’s with a Bulldog (a Corona immersed in a margarita, if you haven’t had the pleasure.) The Puerto Rican seven-piece is pure sunshine, but the kind of sunshine that helps you to start drinking at noon.

They cite the Stooges as an influence, but Iggy and his boys were defined by an ugliness and darkness that’s absent here. The Stooges plus pop hooks isn’t The Stooges, and that’s OK, because the results here are beautiful. There’s a fuzz over it all that you won’t have heard since early Elephant Six recordings, and there’s a sense of fun that’s palpable. Their cover of Blondie’s “Hanging on the Telephone” is pure joy. Pure, unrefined joy that’ll have you wanting to learn Spanish so that you can sing along.

It’s a shame that despite support slots with the Black Keys and King Khan BBQ Show, Davila 666 won’t gain the recognition that they deserve outside of their own country. The Anglosphere has proven remarkably resistant to anybody not singing in English (Phoenix had to ditch French before they could break through.) Don’t be one of those people. You’ve made it to the end of a short review of a Spanish-speaking band, and with a quick Internet search, it’d be easy to just look up one of their live shows on YouTube or listen to an album on Spotify. Listen to it with the heat turned all the way up.