Favorite

The Star Spangles 

With the Boatzz and Furnace St. Sunday, April 4, at the Grog Shop.

Paul Westerberg's songwriting genius and the inimitable sloppy chemistry of the Replacements ensure that disciples of their punkish thrash have never quite captured their essence: a country-music-like vulnerability and scrappy indie attitude that produced tunes with equal parts heart and DIY heft.

Yet modern 'Mats progeny -- especially N.Y.C.-via-upstate-New York youngsters the Star Spangles -- fare much better at preserving the beer-soaked legacy. Despite skipping the Westerbergian lyrical wallowing and his troubadour tendencies, the quartet's much-overlooked 2003 debut, Bazooka!!!, captures the gritty vibrancy of 'Mats caterwauling to a T, meshing rakish fuzzbombs of power punk and slurred vocal rasps from Ian Wilson that aren't afraid to slip off-key or become completely unintelligible. What's even more appealing about the Spangles is their determination to eschew neo-garage rock's gloss by channeling everything from the Undertones' sprightliness ("I Don't Wanna Be Crazy Anymore") and Cheap Trick's skyscraping riffs ("L.A.") to a Ramones-caliber roar ("Angela") or Bowie-style glam stomp ("Stay Away From Me").

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