The Kiss Offs

The Kiss Offs

Rock Bottom

Peek-A-Boo

This is the kind of stuff that press kit writers dream of. If it weren’t true, it might be necessary to make it up. A while back, one of The Kiss Offs’ shows was the site of a veritable melee. The crowd got so rowdy that things were destroyed and an undisclosed number of folks were injured. To top it off, some fortuitous soul got the whole thing on video tape and sent it off to Real TV. They aired it, and the rest is history.

What sort of music could inspire such a scene? It’d have to be something gritty• perhaps some heavily soiled rock. That pretty much describes The Kiss Offs. But don’t confuse them with your average unexceptional post-post branch of punk though. The Kiss Offs are pretty solidly indie-rawk. There’s elements of Pavement, Television, and The Talking Heads, and when they’re at their most caustic, they sound like a more abrupt and pissy Ramones. At moments when they really get into a groove, they’re a delightfully refried Velvet Underground. Rock Bottom contains so much skrawnky jangle and jolt that all the influences going into its songs are constantly in danger of cannibalizing each other. The Kiss Offs’ finger is never too far from the self destruct button. Throughout, there is something pleasantly off-kilter and haphazard about the disc. Even at their straightest on “The Freedom of Rock,” The Kiss Offs manage to sound like Butterglory playing with a heroin enema.

Sure, it’s not everybody’s cup of tea, but Rock Bottom is still much better than the hard music most college kids fall over themselves for today (including •And They Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead). As long as I’m admonishing• let me tell the young punk kids of America something: get this record and throw away all your third-wave, third-rate punk records. As for me, it’s just enough to see a new band like The Kiss Offs spin the spirit of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City so brilliantly into their unique music.

Peek-A-Boo Records, PO Box 49542, Austin, TX 78765 , http://www.peekaboorecords.com

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