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Maybe Seattle punk is cool again, maybe it's not--I gave up years ago trying to track the invisible progress of coolness from one scene to the next. The Briefs obviously don't care either: their infectious, intensely dorky 2000 full-length debut, Hit After Hit, sold 10,000 copies, mostly through word of mouth, and put Seattle's Dirtnap Records on the map. The success of the Briefs' version of skinny-tie punk--vocals perched between tough and geeky, lyrics jumping from rebellious fantasies to self-destructive fantasies to sci-fi fantasies, aggressive guitars playing sweet sock-hop chord progressions--earned Dirtnap the cash to support records by other worthy wavey outfits like the Epoxies and the Spits. In 2002 the label released the Briefs' Off the Charts, where the band turned the Adverts' "Gary Gilmore's Eyes" into "Gary Glitters Eyes" and made it sound like a Dickies tune. Now the boys have moved into a bigger, rougher tent: next month LA's BYO Records, who just put out the new one (yikes!) from old London boot boys the Business, is scheduled to release the Briefs' Sex Objects. The record starts out sounding like a parody of the Briefs' new labelmates--on the opening track, yelling "It's an orange alert!" in unison, they're as unintelligible as a bunch of 50-year-old chain-smoking football hooligans. (The only part of a Business chorus I can ever make out live is "Oi! Oi! Oi!") But on tracks like "Shoplifting at Macys" and "Destroy the USA," the fellows morph back into their scrawny, fun, frustrated selves. The Real McKenzies, the Dials, and the Returnables open. All ages. Tuesday, May 25, 6 PM, Fireside Bowl, 2646 W. Fullerton; 773-486-2700 or 800-594-8499.

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