I’m a snob about punk music, a genre which I place into a finite definition. For many, merely having fast guitars and snide lyrics is enough to rise to the punk label — allowing bands such as Blink 182 to be considered punk when nothing could be further from the truth.
No, punk music is a churning, guitar and cymbal thrashing cavalcade of sound and noise, sometimes melodic and repetitive, fronted by singers who act as if they just rather do something else, even though they’re really great screaming into the mic. Bad Brains, Agent Orange, Dead Kennedys, Fear, Minor Threat. These are punk bands.
I love love love The Clash and Husker Du, but they are not punk bands. A punk band would never make sweeping albums like “Sandinista” or “Candy Apple Grey,” as great as those albums are. Plus Strummer and Mould cared, Jello Biafra always seemed like he didn’t care at all.
Music I call punk I hold dear, because it came of age during my restless teenage years, opening a stirring rage within. There is nothing more freeing that slamming into a group of people who share this rage but are human enough to pick you up when you fall down. I remember a Bad Brains show in 1986 at the Cameo Theatre on Miami Beach like it was yesterday — to barely survive the floor during I Against I only to slowly “reggae slam” for The Meek Shall Inherit the Earth is, at 17, discovering true happiness.
I don’t slam dance anymore, my knees disapprove and so does my temperament (what kids today will slam to has me shaking my head), but every time I see Muuy Biien, I’m 17 again. I force myself away from the stage, because I want to throw down. The band makes it difficult for me to obey my own common sense.
I listened to D.Y.I., Muuy Biien’s latest release on Happy Happy Birthday To Me records, and it is a packed potion of punk power (sorry for the p’s). Infused with an insatiable edge from singer/songwriter Joshua Evans, D.Y.I. is nostalgic and inventive, honoring venerable bass lines while roaming through a modern landscape of musical chaos.
To understand the range and verve, all one must do is listen to the first three tracks. The instrumental Cyclothymia I, unexpected with a dreamy sharpness, slides into a drum kick and racing bass line for Human Error. When Evans utters his first words the song tears into new territory — his cadence and ability to filter above and around the sterling din behind him is a treat. With White Ego, all funky-edgy bass line and squawking guitars, Muuy Biien is at its apex. Evans sings, in a controlled yelp, ‘Another white ego/another good gone bad/to overcompensate for what you lack,’ and you understand you’re not dealing with common lyrics.
I go through stages where certain Athens bands I won’t miss if I have the opportunity to see them, I went through this with The Whigs, A. Armada, Producto and Easter Island. Three of those bands are gone and the former tours the world. I’m not sure what will happen with Muuy Biien, but it’s my new must-see crush, and D.Y.I. makes the argument that it’s the best show in town.