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Ten years ago this week, the Bronx played their first proper show at the Troubadour. They were loud and abrasive. They broke things. They were hotly pursued by the record industry and signed only a few months later. They seemed destined to be L.A.’s next punk icons, and although they never reached those heights, the Bronx have, against certain odds, persevered. In the years since, they have released three albums, survived two near-death experiences with their tour van, survived lousy luck with record labels, survived a few other things that might have felled lesser guys, traveled the world, portrayed the Germs in a biopic, and, in a sidebar that sounds like pure fiction, embraced an alter ego as a mariachi band. As Mariachi El Bronx, they have released two albums and become touring sensations. Next year, though, the quintet of Matt Caughthran, Joby J. Ford, Jorma Vik, Brad Magers and Ken Horne return to their punk roots with the release of “The Bronx (IV)” via ATO Records. The new album, written and recorded this spring while juggling tour dates as both the Bronx and El Bronx, is their most deliciously roaring yet immediately likable collection yet. It’s evident that some of songwriting chops the Bronx honed on their mariachi records have served their punk rock well. Caughthran and the guitarists still shred, and band still wears its diabolical sense of rebellion like a badge of honor. But as they celebrate an unlikely decade, their rage is more calibrated, making “The Bronx (IV)” leaner, if not meaner. They tease the album this week with the release of a 7-inch single, “Ribcage.”
||| Stream: “Ribcage”
Photos of the Bronx opening for Refused at the Fonda Theatre by Carl Pocket.