Something funny happened on the way to Shesus becoming yet another screeching, riotous grrrl-led new-wave redux band. First off, it made a great debut record, one of the best of the year so far. Loves You . . . Loves You Not (Narnack) is a sharp slab of the kind of choppy, chanting indie rock that bands like Sleater-Kinney, Le Tigre, the Bangs, and oodles of other post-Bikini Kill groups have been mining since the latter '90s. But Shesus strikes a sturdy Midwest guitar-army stance, rather than the trust-fund, overthunk stiltedness of much of this ilk. Also, a few members paid dues in previous regional bigwigs Brainiac, Lazy, and Miss May 66, so there are hard-won songwriting smarts and real road-life attitude built in. And the singer sure can sling some sly zingers.
Next thing you knew, Loves You . . . got some Big Apple buzz. Then, a couple of weeks ago during a West Coast tour, they were asked to be a presenter at the L.A. Weekly Annual Music Awards, where they got high with Kool Keith and Giovanni Ribisi at an afterparty, then were whisked off to perform on a big-deal West Coast Fox Network music show. But don't worry, there's been no seismic shift in the tectonic plates; hell is still hot. Radio ain't going to play this tough stuff, and buzz often zips away quicker than a bee's carcass after his guts get yanked in the sting. Shesus is back to $50-a-night gigs in Boise, guts and sting sharp as ever.