I should be in the Briefs. It just feels so right. I have a bad haircut. They have bad haircuts. I know three chords on my guitar. They know three chords on their guitars. I want to put on a skinny tie and some tacky sunglasses and live out all my summer-of-'77 fantasies: hammering out the Weirdos' "Neutron Bomb" and pretending that the Masque never closed, Belinda Carlisle was still in the Germs, and import seven-inches were, like, a buck a pop at Licorice Pizza. And they get to do that every damn day. What a perfect match. And did I mention the bad haircuts?
See, we lucky locals are inured to this sort of phenomenal safety-pins-and-stripes new wave noise. But the rest of the world is sometimes a little slow to catch on. Usually bands like this drown in the clammy wake of whatever rot-your-teeth pop or testosto-core bands are slogging through the clubs this summer. But the Briefs don't need to worry about that—they can make anybody pogo, barring obvious medical infirmities. And I want in.
You wouldn't think a band like this would come from Seattle—heroin use usually lends itself to much more downtempo composition. But then again, the Pacific Northwest used to cause all kinds of rock & roll damage back in the day (we don't wanna sit around and talk about the Wipers, do we?). But in just a few short years and one shorter album (Hit After Hit on oh-my-God-we're-a-record-label-now Dirtnap: 13 tracks in 24 minutes—that's up to code and then some!), the Briefs have wiggled their way to the best part of everything.
They opened for raunch garagers the Supersuckers (who want to live in my nutsack!—see Alison M. Rosen's "Hootenanny Hoedown," July 6), and they were so awesome that singer Eddie Spaghetti even gave them a trophy! They opened for Sleater-Kinney and wowed 3,000 indie rockers over two genre-bending nights. They got me when I was stumbling down a dusty street in Austin, Texas—down on my luck, my money and my over-the-counter decongestants—and I heard the first three chords of "Neutron Bomb." I plowed past the bouncers into the bar, and there were the Briefs. It was love at first listen.
It's like someone scraped them right out of Slash magazine and dropped them bigger than live! onstage in front of you: not just because of that Weirdos cover (the catchiest song of 1977—is Joey spinning in his grave yet?), but because they're a hot-rod ride through all the best bands the West Coast could boast that once-in-a-lifetime year, smeared with a good gob of British glam and infused with energy enough to electrocute any charges of nostalgia-tripping. It's like they took my record collection, strapped it to a gurney, called down a lightning strike and bellowed, "It's alive!" I mean, I don't toss around words like "soul mates" lightly, unless I'm on decongestants and you're pretty cute, but I think this might be the real thing. Yeah, I should be in the Briefs. Or at least get to have their baby.
The Briefs perform with the Real McKenzies, Loogie and the Spits at Linda's Doll Hut, 107 S. Adams St., Anaheim, (714) 533-1286. Sat., 9:30 p.m. $8. 21+.