BB Video: The Mae Shi are "Professionals"

Derek Bledsoe, Boing Boing Video producer, is blogging daily Boing Boing Video episodes while Xeni's on the road in Africa.

Why not take the next 3 minutes to get to know a little experimental punk band called The Mae Shi? BB Video's pub crawling music correspondent Russell Porter takes advantage of a dreary London afternoon by having a little chat with Jeff Byron and Jacob Cooper from The Mae Shi.

It's hard to nail down exactly what the sound of The Mae Shi is. Suffice to say that it has left very few boundaries uncrossed. A quick check through their Myspace player produces driving punk songs like "Vampire Beats" and "Boys in the Attic" while at the same time providing some catchy emo-esque riffs in "Run to Your Grave" (also featured in the video above). Over the last few years, The Mae Shi have made their rounds, touring with the Germs in 2007, and playing a whopping 15 shows in Austin during this year's South By Southwest Festival.

Their most recent single, "R U Professional," is a tasty Christian Bale tribute:

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  1. Great band – in my head, they’re kept in a pigeonhole somewhere near DAT Politics and Best Fwends, though they’re more trad than that.

    I would also recommend the current band of former Mae Shi member Ezra Buchla: GOWNS. They had an album out in 2007, and while very different from The Mae Shi’s current stuff, it is absolutely fantastic – like a soundtrack to the suburban teen drama that David Lynch will never make.

    Here’s their MySpace. Play it LOUD.

  2. Not Nerdcore, no, since that’s a kind of hip hop.

    “R U Professional” seems to be a one-off then.

  3. Reminds me of the Polyphonic Spree.

    These guys sound great, but they’re not punk (more like Indie-pop). Please stop using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

  4. Ok, I take that back – “Boys in the Attic” is a punk song. So they’re a band that does punk songs – but not, I would say, a punk band – but I can see how you’d get that impression.

  5. in 1999, they would have been called indie rock.

    today, that name is overused and everyone feels the need to refine genres down more and more.

    they’re just a fun rock band.

  6. The Balerant should be old and well stale by now…but it’s not. It’s still as funny and interesting today as when I first heard it!

  7. @ #1 ZUZU

    After having read the last 12 posts, I will confidently reaffirm my initial statement:

    It’s hard to nail down exactly what the sound of The Mae Shi is.

  8. @ #6

    “Punk is whatever we made it to be!” says D. Boon. A big part of the ideology of punk rock is that there aren’t musical rules.

    I’ve seen the Mae Shi a couple times now and the majority of their stuff is completely unlike the song in the video. Very good live band btw.

  9. Yeah – I’d like people to actually try and define punk. Maybe it ain’t what YOU think it is.

  10. Hlllyh is an amazing album. Much love for The Mae Shi — got hooked after I heard “Run to Your Grave”.

  11. I met these guys when they played at my school a month or so ago… really really nice and friendly. Put on an incredible show, and played extra-long because they appreciated us flying them out to play. I didn’t know how much of a fan I was just from hearing the albums, but the live show convinced me– they’re fantastic.

  12. Saw these guys at the Harvest of Hope Fest in Florida. Definitely one of the standouts, great show.

  13. “Last time I checked … “punk” had no synths, didn’t utilize studio tech, and had little to no melody.”

    That’s such a narrow understanding of punk. At the very most, punk could be defined by a DIY, anti-authority ethic and attitude.

    So that doesn’t prevent anyone picking up a synth or doing their own production (much cheaper and easier now than in 1978), and it certainly doesn’t prevent the music having a melody.

    Look at, say, Madness. They started out as mostly a bunch of, at best, feckless amateurs, but they turned out some of the best pop tunes of the 70s and 80s. Same could be said for, say, The Buzzcocks.

  14. calling the mae shi punk is like calling fucked up hardcore. you’re just asking for an endless / pointless debate.

    regardless, great band and great live – seen and booked them many times.

    @9 – go listen to aerosmith / toys in the attic.

  15. “Yeah – I’d like people to actually try and define punk. Maybe it ain’t what YOU think it is.”

    i’ll take a stab.

    punk isn’t a genre, it ‘was’ an event. punk served a purpose and served it well it changed rock music – if punk was a person it would be pleased at all the great bands that spawned due to it’s efforts and annoyed at traditionalist determined to keep it mired in a murray-esque cultural groundhog day.

    ‘punk rock’ is at best an esthetic. anyone calling themselves punk in this day and age is a cultural fetishist who i think missed the point.

    playing traditional punk rock has all the relevance of participating in a civil war reenactment. if you like it great but don’t pretend you’re fighting a war.

  16. I love the Mae Shi, especially the earlier album terrorbird. I didn’t realise Jacob Cooper had joined the line-up. His band bark bark bark were ace!x

  17. “Playing traditional punk rock has all the relevance of participating in a civil war reenactment.”

    That’s my favourite quote of the week.

  18. This song is also not very representative. Most of their stuff is more spazzy and rocking.

    I would argue that playing in a “traditional” punk band is like playing in a traditional folk band. Just because it isn’t anything innovative doesn’t mean it isn’t worthwhile.

  19. @26

    i was in no way implying that only innovative music is worthwhile – that’s as stale an argument as the opposite.

    folk and punk are very closely related providing you think of ‘folk’ in a modernist sense meaning music ‘of’ and ‘by the people’ with themes of unity, dissent, getting drunk and fucking – usually created by musicians without the ‘benefit’ of formal musical training (at least in an institutional sense). BUT while there are many modern artists who challenge what folk is – it is widely viewed as a traditional art form this is mostly due to it’s long history AND tradition.

    punk on the other hand was a fairly recent reaction to the bloated and boring ego rock of the 70s challenging the notion that you had to be an accomplished rock star to make worthwhile music. though many of the more well known punk bands of the 70s took their musical cues from 50s rock and 60s pop they weren’t traditionalists they were deconstructionists – and experimentation, though not always applied was definitely accepted (providing it wasn’t in the form of 20 minute drum/guitar/keyboard solos).

    this thread has made me reconsider what i think punk is. next time someone asks “what is punk?” i’m going to say “context”.

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