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Alkaline Trio, with Pretty Girls Make Graves and Pitch Black

Tuesday, June 3

The Alkaline Trio is Blink-182 with the Promise Ring's guilty conscience; they're the kid next door who leaves flaming shit on your porch but makes mulch in the morning. This band is as good as three chords and a sneer gets these days, when rap-metal's self-flagellating crunch is making the pursuit of boobs and beer look downright insensitive.

It makes sense that the Trio's brio, full of capital-A angst, would resonate in a way no one else's in the post-Green Day camp does anymore. Maybe I'll Catch Fire, the band's 1999 album, first caught us off-guard as an impressive continuation of the diary-shredding blare Bay Area heroes Jawbreaker honed on a series of stellar albums in the mid-'90s. That band's front man, Blake Schwarzenbach, became a sort of poet laureate for kids with chain wallets, thanks largely to his ability to make things like boxes of old photographs sound like black holes and his Cobain-like knack for marrying pop's sweet yearning to punk's gruff confusion. Matt Skiba, the devil-locked ne'er-do-well who fronts the Alkaline Trio, has so far proved himself the perfect man for the job Schwarzenbach left when he broke up Jawbreaker. Good luck finding pop-punk as warped as this on the Warped Tour.

 
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