For nearly 20 years, the Queers -- guitarist Joe Queer and a rotating band of punk iconoclasts that now includes Dave on bass and Lurch Nobody on drums -- have been the lone punk voice emanating from the Portsmouth, New Hampshire wilderness. From the band's first EPs on Doheney Records in the early '80s ("Love Me" and "Kicked Out of the Webelos") to its first full-length on Lookout! in 1990 (Grow Up) to last year's triumphant Beyond the Valley of the Assfuckers, the Queers have brooked no compromise in presenting their increasingly visceral punk manifesto to a petrified world. Joe Queer has acknowledged the band's debt to the Ramones -- when he was brainstorming band names in the beginning, the Black Ramones was a contender -- but it's just as familiar with the early punk trash bratism of the Replacements and the Dead Boys. But unlike their influences, the Queers haven't retired (the Ramones), grown introspective (the shattered Replacements), or died (the Dead Boys). The Queers have become even more virulent and abrasive with the passage of time and can still turn out a punk anthem with the power of "Journey to the Center of Your Empty Fucking Skull" (from Beyond the Valley). But there is also an inexplicably melodic sense of pop at the heart of the Queers' punk politic, a quality that Joe Queer has noted as an attempt to punk up the Beach Boys. As the Queers once again return to the Lookout! stable with the February 20 release of Today, the question becomes: What direction will the band take in the new millennium? The smart money is on brain-boiling, face-peeling punk, with a side of smartass pop.