The Briefs and Fabulous Disaster, with the Kimonos

No one could ever accuse Seattle punks the Briefs of being too subtle. The cover of their debut long-player, Hit After Hit, shows band members Daniel J. Travanti, Chris Brief, Lance Romance and Steve E. Nix brandishing baseball bats, chains and nunchakus. Some of the disc is as violent as the cover; check out "Silver Bullet," with its catchy refrain, "Kill Bob Seger right now." When not skewering classic rock has-beens, the Briefs beat out some of the catchiest and silliest new wave/punk since the Ramones and Buzzcocks. They freely admit they're not reinventing the pop-punk wheel -- with their Sex Pistols sneer, skinny ties and bleached spiky hairdos, they've got that whole turn-of-the-'70s thing down -- but they don't come off as retreads. Their witty and sarcastic anthems like "Poor and Weird" inspire dance floor seizures, and when the Briefs shake the boogers out of their noses, even the most jaded hipster will find it hard to maintain that blank and bored "I'm too cool to admit I'm having fun" pose. Signing to a major label has given rise to the buzz that the Briefs might just explode to Stink-182 proportions. Here's your chance to catch them up close in the local pub before they get overproduced by an evil corporation.

One look at the snarling, tattooed, grungy grrrls in Fabulous Disaster, and it's easy to imagine they might screw you and then kill you -- and not necessarily in that order. But don't get too excited, sk8er bois, they're definitely not interested in you. This queer quartet -- already at the forefront of the admittedly small lesbian punk rock subgenre -- plans to break bigger with their new release, Panty Raid! And it just might happen, because their Joan Jett-meets-Veruca Salt with a dash of the Descendents-style songs can make the straight and the sapphic alike pogo with pleasure. What started off as a side project quickly turned into a full-time bit, based on audience reaction in their San Francisco home base. After spotting singer Laura Litter, bassist Mr. Nancy, drummer Sally Gess and guitarist/ vocalist/keyboardist Lynda Mandolyn play a show, NOFX front man Fat Mike decided to produce their debut, Put Out or Get Out. He also co-produced their latest with Alex Newport (At the Drive-In, Sepultura). Song topics include everything from lesbian films to pill-poppin' and carjacking, and their requisite love-gone-bad anthems take on a slightly different tone with the girl-on-girl action. The music is surprisingly effervescent, coming in loud and fast spurts. And though the band's own Web site describes their playing as "tighter than a rhino-sized butt-plug shoved in a gnat's ass," their live shows are purportedly looser, party-prone affairs. The Village Voice called them the "real Josie and the Pussycats," although they didn't weigh in on which group chases more tail.

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Timothy J. O'Brien
Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero