The Star Spangles, with the Datsuns

There's one thing to remember when surveying the "new rock" movement, especially with regard to a certain overly hyped group from New York City: Richard Hell did not go to prep school. And neither did any of the four Star Spangles, who are crossing America opening for the Datsuns.

Playing what their Capitol Records bio neatly dubs "Bowery punk," this NYC outfit precedes the supposed new downtown Manhattan "scene" as well as the band of preppie poseurs that should more rightly be called the Jokes. The Star Spangles could just as easily be renamed the Bastard Sons of Joey Ramone -- they were the only band to play both of New York's tributes to him -- and are clearly the spiritual grandkids of any number of bands on the Nuggets collection.

They look like the kind of guys you find slinking along St. Mark's Place cadging quarters to buy a tall boy, a loose joint, or to rifle through the racks of a vintage record store in search of treasured source material. More important, they sound the part: Reviews of material on their upcoming album Bazooka!!! show them to have a deadly blast as well as the pop of snapping bubblegum.

Yep, there's finally a band out of NYC with a genuinely pungent look, style and smell that would have fit snugly onto any night's bill at C.B.G.B. circa 1977. With their long-player slated to relieve the dog days of this coming August, the Star Spangles remind that punk need to not only rock but also roll, within three-minute sweatfests that hook you like a cheap drug and shout to the human condition of smart yet alienated young dirtbags. Somewhere up in heaven, Joey Ramone is smiling.

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Rob Patterson