Single of the Week: Mil Mascaras – Fuzz EP (Hozac)
By Erika Elizabeth
Over the past few years, some serious historical wrongs have been righted, with a treasure trove of long out-of-print Euro femme post-punk classics being reissued at a steady pace – perhaps most noticeably with kill rock stars putting Essential Logic, Delta 5, Kleenex/Liliput and The Raincoats back into circulation to be pursued by the new school of kids tracing their steps backwards from current disciples (Grass Widow et al). In my perfect world, everyone would be giddy about the fact that you can now get your hands on a copy of a re-released Chin Chin LP at a reasonable price. [Did they include my NME interview in the sleeve-notes? – Ed]
So following that lead, if you had told me that the songs on this single were long-lost contributions to a Rough Trade compilation circa 1982, I probably wouldn’t have argued with you. You could have also convinced me that Mil Mascaras were some mid-to-late 90s post-riot grrrl band who were probably from the UK and probably along the Slampt Records axis (hello, Lung Leg!) and somehow had escaped my radar until now. The truth is that the women of Mil Mascaras were the Parisian faction of the early-to-mid 00s lady-centric No Wave/post-punk renaissance (think the jagged sounds of Erase Errata), which is just as plausible, really. If any of those scenarios appeal to you in the least, especially when done with a French accent, you need this record.
The three short tracks here are all-killer, no-filler, but the best of the bunch might be ‘French TV’, which wraps chanted Kleenex-esque harmonies around a skittering beat that speeds up and slows down with reckless abandon until it gets to the finish line (in under two minutes). What’s not to love? The back-story on these ladies is still fairly mysterious – apparently their entire recorded output up until now is limited to one side of a split 7” with another French band (The Normals) from 2006, and the songs on this single were pulled together from a batch of unreleased recordings well after the band’s demise. It’s good to see Hozac, usually known more for peddling goofy garage-rock than feminist-informed post-punk, getting in on the reissue bandwagon with this one. Say oui.