Tijuana-San Diego quintet deliver us a noisy and insightful eleven song manifesto
Photo by Hilary Morefield
Formed in 2015, Miscegenation, and More (aka Miscegenation+) have played equally in the cities they call home on either side of the US-Mexico border, San Diego and Tijuana. Some members identify more with one side or the other, but the group as a whole defines itself as inextricably linked to the cultural and political landscape in the borderlands. As they put it in a zine accompanying the record: “We come from legacies of struggle: Somos los anchor-babies, las nietas de las street vendors que te preparan el pozole, the children of guest-workers, the family of addicts, the biracially ambiguous spawn of displaced peasants, the sensitive boys who cry too much, the formerly ‘ethnic’ Whites, the White-working class adolescent who hates White supremacy, and the grandchildren of the Armenian genocide. And we are unstoppable together.”
Having played shows in the region for two years, today’s release marks the bands first full LP. The record is an 11 song “Third World Autonomous Marxist Feminist analysis of everyday life” put to dance grooves and dissonant guitar interplay that’s equal parts mid-tempo Priests, Vaya era At the Drive-In, and Sonic Youth. Vocalist Jael Vizcarra sing-shouts and reads her lyrics, making sure the polemics are crystal clear and centerstage in the recordings. “Anchor Baby” starts and stops in fits of melody and delay, Vizcarra asking throughout “Anchor baby, where did you come from?” and declaring “Import ’em, Import them all.” Miscegenation+ also shine through on more instrumental tracks, such as “The Letter” which largely showcases their knack for noisy surf guitar hooks. The band’s tools perhaps best come together on the record’s closer “Mexicali (Tribute to John Berger),” a sprawling composition that begins from a speech on the nature of capitalism’s destruction of history and ends with a pulsing wall of guitars as Vizcarra yells, “Before your first second and third waves / Nana! / She cleaned your house, she made your bed, she made your world / Her pozole y su me-nu-do / made your poor modern world / made your poor urban world / She made your world, she made your Third World.”
In a refreshing departure from many punk bands, Miscegenation+ repeatedly make clear that they are explicitly concerned with the collective and systemic over the often individualistic concerns of punk. As they say in their press statement, “the neo-liberal era already situates individualism, individuality, and self-expression comfortably within market logic. In contrast, Miscegenation+ make an appeal to revive a Left-wing and underground culture grounded in a collective identity and struggle.” Album opener “Red Line” demonstrates that sentiment by taking on systemic displacement, as Vizcarra shouts “Red Line, you cannot live here,” before decrying the San Diego Chargers and the investment money that dominates their city’s changing landscape. “Expropriate,” too, forcefully declares that the cure for social inequality is to collectively demand the redistribution of resources.
These are exciting, essential songs and statements from a band with eyes simultaneously on the past and future. The record will be available this month via Ethospine.