Thursday, August 28, 2008

Powerpop Fest Pick/Review #4: Cute Lepers (Briefs spinoff)!

The Cute Lepers

Can't Stand Modern Music
Blackheart Records Group

A Briefs spinoff? Oh, man! I can't tell you how many times I bobbed my head around singing "She's got a knife to my head, alright!" in my cube at work. Seattle's The Briefs have to be one of the funnest bands out there, so a project with Steve E. Nix already has the bar set pretty high. Goods delivered! "Can't Stand Modern Music" is full of catchy beats, handclaps, and some of the coolest new wavy/punk riffs that remind one of how punk/new wave rock used to be fun and just silly in a tongue in cheek sort of way. "Terminal Boredom" is a perfect opener with tribal beats and high pitched chords punctuated by Steve E. Nix's "An hour goes by and....(um, you have to hear it to figure it out)! "Cool City" is a dead on homage to The Circle Jerks with a more narrative vocal, catchy chorus, and melodic riffing. The stuff is punk rock, but catchier and definitely not to be taken too seriously. One kind of can't help it with a lead singer who goes into vocal spasms much like the never taken seriously until he became a composer Danny Elfman from Oingo Boingo. Other tracks 'feel' more of a straight on, early '80s, So. Cal. punk like "out of Order," but the handclaps, Oh-Ohs, and female harmonies are a little too inclusive just to be punk rock.

The Cute Lepers are right. Modern music sucks. The best music out there involves taking the basics from the past and bringing them into the future without cleaning them up. The cleanup is modern. Like Steve E. sings in "Terminal Boredom"-"Aint nothing on the radio, no hope, But that stupid band called chemical...Oh what a mope." The album ends on a semi serious note with an optimistic call to arms on "Opening Up," but the harmonies still rock.

Why does this band have seven members? One can only guess that they wanted to include as many people in the fun as possible. "So Screwed Up," like many of the tracks on Can't Stand Modern Music, is more loud punk rock with harmonies. Somehow those two things don't fit together well. I guess like other reviewers, the focus on good songs and catchy tunes with a guitar base can only be called powerpop, but I think a more apt description is punk rock in its joy and irreverance without regards to conventions, including the sometimes uptight idealism of those who want punk to be considered as serious. Yeah, punk rock was about rebellion, but it had plenty of silliness and fun at the same time. Call it what you want: Powerpop, Pop Punk, whatever. To many, The Cute Lepers are just great punk rock. Although his current whereabouts are unknown, Mojo Nixon is smiling right now.

Tour Dates:

Aug 28 2008 8:00P EXECUTIVE SURF CLUB w’ POWERCHORDS, AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas
Aug 30 2008 8:00P WILD WEEKEND POWERPOP FESTIVAL @ THE MOHAWK w’ THE BOYS, 20/20, ALL AGES AUSTIN, Texas
Aug 31 2008 8:00P THE ROCK BOTTOM w’ THE TRANZMITORS, AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES San Antonio, Texas
Sep 1 2008 8:00P RENO’S GRILL w’ AVENUE ROSE, 17+ DALLAS, Texas
Sep 2 2008 8:00P THE CONSERVATORY w’ AVENUE ROSE, DREADFUL CHILDREN, ALL AGES Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Sep 3 2008 8:00P LAUNCHPAD w’ AVENUE ROSE, DREADFUL CHILDREN, 21+ ALBUQUERUQUE, New Mexico
Sep 4 2008 8:00P MODIFIED W’ AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES PHEONIX, Arizona
Sep 5 2008 8:00P KING’S MUSIC w’ THE POWERCHORDS, AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES San Diego, California
Sep 6 2008 8:00P KNITTING FACTORY w’ THE POWERCHORDS, AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES Los Angeles, California
Sep 7 2008 8:00P SIS BAR w’ AVENUE ROSE, 18+ WILMINGTON, California
Sep 8 2008 8:00P KARMA, w’ AVENUE ROSE, ELECTRIC BLONDES, ALL AGES VICTORVILLE, California
Sep 10 2008 8:00P THE BLUE LAGOON, w’ AVENUE ROSE, LUXURY SWEETS, 21+ SANTA CRUZ, California
Sep 11 2008 8:00P BOTTOM OF THE HILL w’ AVENUE ROSE, ALL AGES SAN FRANCISCO, California
Sep 12 2008 12:00P LOWER SPROUL PLAZA @12:00 NOON, UNIVERSITY OF BERKLEY, CUTE LEPERS ONLY BERKLEY, California



No comments: