Punks From Cold Climate Accidentally Approximate East L.A.


Jesse Garon (who?) sounds a lot like Tito Larriva (who?). Larriva’s trio, the Plugz, released Electrify Me, probably the great lost L.A. punk document, in 1979. They realized before anyone else that hardcore and Tejano shared a rhythm, and made that insight the foundation of their hyper-caffeinated, toe-tapping sound. (They threw in reggae, and an anarchist take on “La Bamba,” just for kicks.) Jesse Garon fronts C.Aarmé, whose self-titled debut CD is pissy, politically incoherent, and as herky-jerky as a coked-up chimp with five arms.

The bass frequently shoves the guitar into the background, roaring like a pavement saw and blasting thick chunks of rock in every direction. And the “Wipeout”-style drum break on “I Am a Princess” could make your summer. The album’s 15 songs are short and spastic, with just enough melody to make you jump up and down, if maybe not quite sing along.

I kinda doubt C.Aarmé are the Plugz’s direct, conscious heirs: They mostly cop from their Swedish countrymen (headlong velocity from grindcore muscleheads Nasum, and grimy, down-tuned death-rock riffing from Entombed). I wish they were, though. The world could use another great Mex-punk band, even one without any Mexicans.