Music » Livewire

The Spits

With Self-Destruct Button and the Gluttons. Friday, July 22, at the Beachland Ballroom.


The no-fi fringe-punk scene this Seattle band travels in has been sputtering for years. The sound is all fast and dirty, proudly pumped out on cheap 7" singles with black and white, cut-and-paste art sleeves that strain to look like moldy artifacts from 1977. It's called "Rip-Off-Records style" or "Killed by Death," monikers that mean squat to most, but are the Good Housekeeping seals of approval for the rabid fans of this increasingly silly subgenre.

The Spits get sillier still, dressing up in zany costumes for every show: as mummies, priests, space aliens, etc. That gimmick has kept them just a bit above the anonymity that such bands prefer. None of which obscures the fact that the band's shows are fun -- usually for about 15 minutes, which is frustrating, because the records are pretty great. Since 2001, the Spits have dropped three CDs and some singles of electro scuzz-punk that never wallows too long in that "Rip-Off style" before shooting for knuckleheaded nods to Devo's jerky rhythms, winkingly crude lyrics, and perfectly ripped-off Ramones riffs. Being familiar with the band's records gets you through the ass-end of their gigs, but they're a guaranteed goof nonetheless.

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