The Thingz (self-titled EP)
The packaging tells you all you need to know: with a Dangerhouse-style fold-and-go cover born from one lonely little piece of paper, Long Beach's Thingz are flying that beloved budget-rock flag high. Culled from their equally economic demo CD released last year, this seven-inch struts forth with three little ditties ("Tim Johnson," "Thingz Theme," "Daddie's Lounge") of bouncy basic-breakfast punk—three chords and a cup of coffee—that give you all the nutrients your body needs from music. Singer/guitarist Mike Morris rolls through his vocals with a mellifluously Ramonesian lilt that takes some getting used to—clich demands a more pedestrian sneer, which, thankfully, the Thingz avoid—and bassist Kimthing's disaffected backups offer a welcome counterpoint. Messing around with those guy/girl vocals more might perk this up a bit—although this is a fun record, it could probably be a FUN record with a little more caffeine. The Thingz already have pushing-for-catchy songwriting, good rhythm and perfectly appropriate production (nice booming drums and—yes!—bass on one track, guitar on the other), but it's all delivered with curious restraint, as if somebody's parole officer was watching grimly from the studio control room. Just like their theme song says, there's a monster in a box here—fuzz these songs onto a four-track and nurse those smirks into full-blown snarls, and you'll let it out.
Info: Coffee Addict Records, 996 Redondo Ave., Ste. 316, Long Beach, CA 90804; www.thethingz.com.
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OC and Long Beach bands and musicians! Mail your CDs and tapes (along with your vital contact info, plus any impending performance dates) for possible review to: Locals Only, OC Weekly, P.O. Box 10788, Costa Mesa, CA 92627-0247.