Local Wire

T.S.O.L.

With West Coast punk having attained the rarefied cultural stature of bobbleheads and above-the-ass-crack tattoos, its pioneers aren't exactly first in line for an interview with Terry Gross. But decades since inventing goth-punk and five years after regaining the rights to the name T.S.O.L., this Orange County quartet still offers the kind of shadowy palette that bands from artsier scenes love to contrive. Last year's Divided We Stand finds singer Jack Grisham (a former gubernatorial candidate in the California recall election) having grown into his politics and anguish with acrid anthems about war profiteers and poisonous relationships. If he's guilty of anachronism, it's in the way his frosty cadence occasionally veers toward the Count Chocula school of spooky vocals, but backers Ron Emory, Mike Roche and Billy Blaze apologize with a brand of unearthly surf-rock that only the Dead Kennedys have matched for sonic magnitude. Forgive them also for the Offspring they've wrought.
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Andrew Marcus