There’s plenty of stuff going on in the punk-rock world right now, but La Vida Es Un Mus (LVEUM) is definitely one of the labels you have to periodically check for releases if you want to listen to the real stuff. That’s why it’s so frustrating to write about them without being able to talk to Paco, the founder. It’s not for lack of trying, but Paco showed no interest in this piece, which is fine and should be respected. I guess he wants his records to speak for himself, and the veil of mystery that will continue to surround his label kind of makes things even more interesting. But the truth is that I wanted to ask him questions like, why is the label called what it is, and how the hell is he able to find such great bands and always have releases that are out of this world? Or if he’s able to survive without going crazy just by running the label. And what would he like to put out next. Clearly, this is someone that truly believes in punk and probably lives up to his beliefs. At least, that’s what I want to think, because 21st century punk wouldn’t be half as fun without La Vida Es Un Mus.
This is a guy that has GISM and Disclose reissues at more than fair prices instead of supercharging classic stuff like most people do. And then there’s the new bands that La Vida Es un Mus keeps putting out and just leave me breathless trying to keep up with. Shit, there’s so much great stuff out there by LVEUM that I don’t even know where to start, so let’s try to start at the beginning.
I guess you could see that Paco – and that’s assuming that it was just him – meant business right from the start when he began putting out stuff from Limp Wrist, Nailbiter and Severed Head of State. Amidst that, you were hit by bands like Destrucción and Sida – both of them hard-sounding as only latin punks know how to be, with claims like wanting the communists out of there or just plain profession of D-Beat love which sounds oh-so-much-more dreamy in Spanish.
LVEUM also put out what could be the Spanish version of Discharge, even though that’s not enough to make them justice: MG15. That pretty much paved the way for what was to come, which was a mix between hard to find classic punk stuff with bands breaking new ground. But whatever the period that they focus on is, they are all over the place, in a good way. Some stuff is melodic, other is dirty crust. And some stuff is just what-the-fuck. In fact, as time went by, they started diversifying even more, and gave us a lot of great new bands like Una Bestia Incontrolable, which is one of the best punk bands of the last few years.
Of course, the natural connection of Paco with Spain – again, I’m assuming he is Spanish because of the label roster and name as well as his own name, but maybe I’m completely off the mark – helps in getting to know all those excellent Spanish punk bands which are kind of a tendency these days. And if Una Bestia Incontrolable sounds like psychedelia getting its hippie ass kicked by crust, Belgrado are like one the catchiest post-punk bands since The Cure, even though they don’t sing in English. Then there’s Obediencia, which translates as obedience, that are more on the melodic side of punk, and also melodic are the beautifully named Juanita y los Feos. Then there are records totally out of the box, like the French oi band Rixe or the Brazilian noisy no-wave clash with post-punk Rakta. You also have typical, and I mean this in a totally complementary way, hardcore punk bands like Blazing Eye, who sound exactly like they’re supposed to considering their name and their mad blasts and discharges of power. Or Government Warning, a little more on the old school side of things. Still in that universe also check Anxiety and Haram. You also get garage punk like The Shitty Limits or Hank Wood And The Hammerheads, and there’s also room for some freaky mutant rock like Anasazi do.
Hell, you’ve got the whole world to discover, and that’s why it’s damn shame that I haven’t got the first-hand story to tell about La Vida Es Un Mus. Even so, I’m hoping that if someone from the label reads this, maybe they want to speak with CVLT Nation for a bit. Otherwise, we can always count on them to find out bands that really have something to say and that’s just gold these days.