Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, June 9, 2008 11:17pm | Post a Comment

I had the pleasure of seeing the band Mystery Hangup at Self-Help Graphics on Saturday. Mystery Hangup are three sisters from Orange County (plus a token guy bass player) that just rock harder than anyone I’ve seen in a while. Their sound and look come straight out of the classic 80’s L.A. Goth compilation Hell Comes To Your House with Sonic Youth and psyche rock influences. From my description, they may not sound all that original. I had the same feeling when I saw their first few songs. I figured it was just another young bilingual band heavily influenced by 80’s Goth and Punk. However, my attention was caught in the middle of the set when lead singer/guitarist Kat put down her guitar and played various percussion instruments as the rest of the band played a Birthday Party-like vamp with folkloric influences. Another thing that caught me by surprise was at end of the set, when the band launched into a full-on Cumbia. It wasn’t a modified Gothic Cumbia ala Caifanes, but a straight up keyboard/bass/drum/guitar Mexican style Cumbia like Los Dinners would have played in the 70’s. So, just to recap, Mystery Hangup is a bilingual Gothic Punk with Latin Music influences. If that was a sport (bilingual Gothic Punk with Latin Music influences), Mystery Hangup would be in the top three. It's not that I don't like the more rocking element of their sound, but it's with cultural influences that sets them apart from the rest of the bands.

I spoke to band briefly after their set. It turns out that they went to a Latin Music school for three years in which they learned to play various styles of Latin music such as Cumbia, Baladas and Mariachi.  The school also gave them a strong sense of their Mexican roots. Still, it was The Cranberries, Sonic Youth, Radiohead, and other alt rock groups that gave the sisters the ganas to start a band.

They released an album last year entitled Three Moons and The Crashing Sun, produced by former Screamers/45 Grave keyboardist Paul Roessler and Geza X (The Germs/Dead Kennedys). They have plans to record two albums, one in English and the other in Spanish. Their goal is to tour Mexico as well as the rest of the U.S. in a few months.

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Mystery Hangup (1), Sonic Youth (39), Cumbia (38)