If you wanted to get cynical about it, you could say the Fastbacks' career has been a not terribly lucrative two-decade quest to make the great lost Buzzcocks album. But the thing that separates the Seattle quartet from the gazillion other bands trying to squeeze down that particular bottleneck is that they've succeeded--many times. There's not much to say about their new The Day That Didn't Exist (Spinart) except that they've done it again. Kurt Bloch's tunes wed existential dilemmas to ingratiatingly simple rhymes; on my favorite song from the new disc, "I Was Stolen," bassist Kim Warnick and guitarist Lulu Gargiulo warble, "We tried to save the world last fall / You remember that we didn't save anything at all" over the usual triumphant bar chords and drumrolls. It's not that the Fastbacks are the last great punk band, as some have argued, but that at their best they sound like they could be the first: more than 20 years (and almost as many drummers) down the road, they still manage to convey the giddy rush of making the guitars go like that! New Bomb Turks headline. Thursday, March 23, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee; 773-489-3160.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/David Wild.