Although they’ve kept up a seemingly relentless touring schedule over the years, City Mouse have never been the most prolific band when it comes to studio work. An enjoyable self-released digital EP in appeared in 2004, but it would be seven more years before they returned to the studio. An excellent four track EP in 2011 was swiftly followed by split releases with The Homewreckers and Weekend Dads, but obviously, these only gave fans brief glimpses of a great band at work.
It’s been a long while since City Mouse released their second EP back in 2011, but it has lost none of its punk-pop cool – especially if you’re a big fan of female fronted bands like Tilt.
While studio recording seems not to be a priority for the band, they’re still busy. Next month, they head out on a country-wide US tour. All dates are listed below. You can also stream the 2011 EP…
Following a much earlier EP and cuts on various comps, this 2011 7” by City Mouse is a superb disc. Issued on It’s Alive Records (home to The Copyrights, The Methadones and Gateway District), this record represents the Riverside, California punks as an underground band at the top of their game.
Fitting a huge amount of energy into just over six minutes, these four songs grind and bounce just as well as material released by many of the best-known names in melodic punk rock/pop punk. Classic sounding tunes need a great vocal, and in City Mouse’s frontwoman (and mainstay) Miski Dee Rodriguez, this band has an extra edge. Her voice moves between a melodic punk warble and attitude-filled hard rock rasp, which although not as instantly recognisable as a voice such as Tilt’s Cinder Block, for example, is more than distinctive.
The strongest cut, the razor-sharp ‘Dumb Dumb Dumb’ makes great use of a simple refrain and equally simple riff. Listening a little closer, a particularly busy bassline provides some more sophisticated elements; Zac Howe is a very talented player. Likewise, the highly infectious ‘Bird Song’, combines a fast punky riff with a sharp vocal line, the intermittent presence of the already familiar “here is the church, here is the steeple” line is guaranteed to make this tune stick in your memory.
The other two songs (‘You’ and ‘The Rhyme’) may not quite have such instant lyrical hooks, but are certainly on a par musically, especially at those times Howe’s basslines rattle out notes at speed, constantly fighting Dee’s guitar work for superiority. Of particular enjoyment is Miski’s performance on ‘The Rhyme’, on which her voice rings the best results out of nearly line.
Like Pinhead Gunpowder’s ‘Fahziah’, ‘Nervous Breakdown’ by Black Flag or ‘Spiral Scratch’ by Buzzcocks, here, City Mouse adds more weight to the argument that, when approached correctly, the 7” four-song EP is the ultimate punk artefact. If you have ever been attracted to (m)any of the punk bands from California – particularly the best Larry Livermore-produced ones on the Lookout! Records label – then this is definitely for you.