Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Divine Inspiration:




It's difficult to express in words how much Malignus Youth means to me. Their unique take on pure and passionate music is both impressive and awe-inspiring. It was back in the summer 1992 (or so) when a friend of mine had sent me a cassette tape of bands that he had been getting into recently. We usually traded tapes back and forth through the mail, exposing each other to new bands, most of whom were underground and got little recognition in the magazines or fanzines of the times. One day he sent me a really long tape (120 minutes!) with a whole side devoted to one band. A strangely named group called Malignus Youth. I grabbed the tape and my walkman and headed out the door to work. At the time, i had a job where i was allowed to listen to music on headphones while working. Within moments of listening to the cassette tape on my shift, i knew that i had a new favorite band.

I can't compare Malignus Youth to any other band that i know of because their approach and their sound stands on it's own and is far above any reference point that would unjustly cast a pale comparison to these superior sounds. Malignus Youth sounds like a band influenced by melodic punk and hardcore bands...perhaps groups like Descendents, 7 Seconds, Bad Brains, Subhumans, Circle One. But the style of those bands seems to have only left minor marks on the sound of Malignus Youth, with it's members forging along and trusting in the power of their own personality to create their songs. They combine very fast playing that is surprisingly catchy and distinct; full of weird melodies and stop-start dynamics, with high pitched vocals that seem to embrace a barbershop quartet-style of harmonic quality. Most of their songs are short little bursts of divine inspiration that sound like a celebration of life and love. Where most bands of this ilk place their emphasis on aggression and anger, Malignus Youth's music envokes a sweet sense of childhood innocence that is charming and a breath of fresh air from the macho posing that they contrast.

The band recorded a few select 7" inch records in the early 90's that probably had a press run of no more than 1000. Both of these records are on this Vinyl CD as well as the band's amazing full-length album titled More To It; in which the band truly hits their stride, punching out their brand of ultra catchy song after song and always showcasing unique songwriting skills and very impressive playing. All of these recordings were recorded in the guitar player/vocalist's bedroom, probably on an analog 4-track machine. Those requiring hi-fidelity might frown on this sort of thing, but i think that the homemade quality just enhances the sincerity of it all.

************************************************

Missa Brevis/Ephemeral
is a collection of two distinct periods of Malignus Youth, the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. The first seventeen tracks are a grab bag of unreleased songs recorded at different times during the band's existence. Tracks 1-10 are taken from bedroom recording sessions dating back to 1989, a few live songs from '92, and some select studio cuts that took place in 1994. The material is amazing from start to finish and growing improvement and band growth is a treat to observe. The later material really shows the group pushing into unknown territory and taking chances that are surprising and rewarding...as on the jazzy pull of "To Fulfill A Dream."

The final songs are reserved for the band's magnum opus, A PUNK ROCK CATHOLIC MASS SUNG ALMOST ENTIRELY IN LATIN and bursting at the seams with ultra-speedy songs full of harmony and breathtakingly beautiful acoustic passages. It is a work of art and takes this band's brilliance to a whole new level of maturity. It is one of the few recordings that never fails to break me out in chills every time i hear it. A true masterpiece on every level. It's really as close to a religious experience as punk rock is ever going to get.

Personally, I consider both of these recordings as timeless testaments to underground bands striving to go out of step and create some truly memorable art. Very highly recommended!

get the Vinyl CD here
pick up Missa Brevis/Ephemeral here.

As always, your comments are always appreciated.

17 comments:

zo said...

Ey yo, Jay,

a sincere thank you for upping this. I am halfway through listening to the Vinyl CD LP, and it's everything you promised and more than that. This is what Blink 182, Good Charlotte and all these other pop-punk celebrities would sound like, if they had any authenticity left. It's sincere, beautiful and you could totally imagine jumping around to their music at your local venue and enjoy a beer with these guys afterwards. Canned beer, boom box and the local community centre are coming back to haunt me listening to this. It's got some of that sweet innocent pleasure of unrestrained joy, even when it's profoundly sad, that is captivating and energizing. Vivano l'innocenti! I'll have to track this down...

1 -zo

jAy @ jApAn said...

Zo, thanks for the awesome comments. I can totally relate to some of the lines you draw from rec center shows and the MY stuff. And you're right about the feeling of being able to hang out and party with the guys after the show. In fact, I was so emmersed in this band as a teen that i called information to get the number of James, the guitarist and tell him how great i thought their band was. He was totally cool and even played me a few songs of the Missa Brevis mass over the phone. and this was about 5 years before it was ever even officially released!

Thanks again for your kind and insightful words.

Anonymous said...

Just wanna say... I saw 'em live a few times in the early 90s and Malignus Youth is still my favorite band of all time. Beatles are #2.

Valentine Michael Smith said...

This is really enjoyable. thanks for sharing.

Samuel said...

Hello. I was wondering if you could tell me which songs are from the 'crisis' 7" & which are from the 'more to it' LP on the collection CD? Really appreciated, thank you!

jay said...

Tracks 1-8 = Malignus Youith 7"
Tracks 9-16 = Crisis 7"
Tracks 17-32 = More To It LP
(There was another track on the original LP that served as an intro to the album. It was a short rendition of "Little Bo Peep" that served as a segway directly into "Life, Lies, Truth." It was left off of the cd re-issue due to....copyright issues(?)

Guy Incognito said...

missing track 28

TMM said...

Man, I've had this on a tape for the last 9 or 10 years and I love it. Never thought I'd ever hear of these guys again. One of my true loves..

Anonymous said...

It's awesome to find pages like this and know how much others respect and enjoy the music of "Malignus Youth". I was fortunate to grow up in the small town and was able to attend a few band practices and majority of the shows throughout my teen years. The greatest moments for me was that my band "Justus" was able to play a few(8 or so) shows with them. I credit this band for my teenage memories and for making the best punk scene of it's time!

Anonymous said...

It's awesome to find pages like this and know how much others respect and enjoy the music of "Malignus Youth". I was fortunate to grow up in the small town and was able to attend a few band practices and majority of the shows throughout my teen years. The greatest moments for me was that my band "Justus" was able to play a few(8 or so) shows with them. I credit this band for my teenage memories and for making the best punk scene of it's time!

Anonymous said...

It's awesome to find pages like this and know how much others respect and enjoy the music of "Malignus Youth". I was fortunate to grow up in the small town and was able to attend a few band practices and majority of the shows throughout my teen years. The greatest moments for me was that my band "Justus" was able to play a few(8 or so) shows with them. I credit this band for my teenage memories and for making the best punk scene of it's time!

Anonymous said...

It's awesome to find pages like this and know how much others respect and enjoy the music of "Malignus Youth". I was fortunate to grow up in the small town and was able to attend a few band practices and majority of the shows throughout my teen years. The greatest moments for me was that my band "Justus" was able to play a few(8 or so) shows with them. I credit this band for my teenage memories and for making the best punk scene of it's time!

Anonymous said...

i think the little bo peep girl was just forgotten for the cd. it certainly wasn't copyright issues. i think the girl was James' niece.

Mikey said...

This is Mikey, the drummer for Malignus. Just googled "Malignus Youth" and was pretty astonished at seeing so many great comments. Thank you.

Also. we have a FACEBOOK page. Over there, you can hear lots of bands from that classic Arizona Hardcore era. HEADSPACE from Bisbee, AZ. THE AMERICAN DEATHTRIP from Tucson, AZ. etc..

Anonymous said...

Hey Jay!
I wanted to thank you for the share. I am recording my vinyl collection to a hard drive and I came across the two 7" inches and More to It LP from these guys. I mailed ordered them direct from the Youth Ink label years ago, while living in Alabama (only way to get any good music there!). I was blasted back in the greatest way, never knew about the Missa Breva LP. To think years on I would get the pleasure of hearing new stuff to me just made my 2010. So original for its time and even now!!! Many many thanks!
Ben L

Justin Thoreau Lund said...

Thought you all might dig this...

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1454223265/family-the-story-of-malignus-youth

Help make history!

FuseRed said...

for those interested - head space can be found here http://trappedbydesert.blogspot.com.au/2011/06/head-space.html