Historically, punk is youth; vicious and rotten with the clipped, minimalist fury of Wire or the Buzzcocks: "I'm neurotic/That's what she says." Transplant this piss and attitude to San Francisco '12, and suddenly punk's middle-aged and endearingly honest. Terry Malts slam their hooks out with manic intensity, yet they're "desperate for some fun," meaning they're no better at finding it than most of the bored-of-all-ages, and how's this for conservative? "People are such slobs ... Where is the weekend?"
In darkest February, we can't sense how much this hard-fought relentlessness is going to mean when it's warm. Practice by pogoing indoors to the thrashing pop sounds of "No Good for You," "I Do," and killer plod "No Big Deal." Killing Time soars (loudly) because these songs' uncluttered, brash exuberance lets their massive melodies tower. After they complain love makes them nauseous, they'll discuss theology, shed their nonchalance with adorable babababas on "Tumble Down," and in idealistic Californian fashion, finally confess they've had themselves a real cool time wondering "what comes after life." It's a challenge to the disdain of the everyday, and it will speak to you. —Nathan Phillips