A periodic tour guide to indie rock subterranea (where the seven-inch is still king)

Oh my God, another supergroup project. ... This one is by Molly Neuman from the squealy riot grrrl band Bratmobile, Chris Appelgren of Lookout! Records, and Carlos and Rop from those punky East Bay kids in Rice. Together they are the PeeChees, and their first LP (after 3 EPs), Do the Math, just came out on Kill Rock Stars. That pop-punk word is getting a little Rancid (ouch), so we'll call this one "melodic hard-core." Molly's drumming has gotten faster and tighter since her Bratmobile/Frumpies days, and this combination of talents is a prime example of how East Bay p-rock came by its hipster reputation. Highlights include the instrumental, almost rockabilly groove of "Cloud Fantasy," and a stark-relief take on the grim sentiments of the early 20s punk crowd in "Beer City": "You're getting older now/I am too/Take a place in Beer City/With nothing left to do." Score yourself ten true-punk points if this LP winds up in your collection.

The Criminals, featuring the vocalist from Gilman Street legends Blatz and the Gr'ups, recently released a ten-inch on Recess Records (F.Y.P singer Todd Congiliere's label) that blows away anything Berkeley neighbors Rancid and Green Day have (or have had) to offer. This band is a welcome return to punk rock's whiskey-and-fistfights yesteryear. "Punk Rock Meat Market" is a hilarious take on the p-rock singles scene, and almost anyone will dig "Johnny Mneumonia," a charming little ditty about "the world's sickest roadie." The record ends with "My Hobbie Is Abuse," which explores the connection among youth, boredom and smashing bottles. (Criminals, P.O. Box 40004, Berkeley, CA 94704)

Click, click. Looks like it's time to reload. I'm puttin' on a blindfold next time--so be ready to duck on April 11.

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