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Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

Direct Hit’s Laissez-Faire Pop-Punk

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­­Nick Woods is, by his own admission, lazy.

"I'm a pretty lazy songwriter in general and an even lazier businessman," he says. "I record when I have the time to record. I play shows when people ask me to. With my last band, Box Social, we were so focused on getting around the country and meeting people and trying to find our niche, but I've thrown all that aside with Direct Hit. This time I'm taking a more stress-free route."

Direct Hit is the singer/guitarists' new project, a carefree pop-punk band that's a solid 180-degree departure from the labored, ambitious alternative rock of Box Social. After more than five years together, that Madison/Milwaukee group broke up over the typical creative differences. While the rest of the group was driving toward increasingly grand, sweeping songs, Woods was drawn in the other direction.

"I've always gravitated toward a style that's really loud, concise and as catchy as possible," Woods says. "I've always tried to write tunes that people can sing along with before the song is over."

Direct Hit's zippy, clean-around-the-edges songs, then, are testaments to brevity, breezing by in just two or three minutes, all hooks and bridges, no filler. In that respect, they're throwbacks to the mid-'90s, Warped Tour-ready SoCal pop-punk of Epitaph and Lookout! Records, albeit without the adolescent humor or beginner's politics that sometimes marred punk from that era.

Fitting Woods' don't-work-harder-than-you-need-to business model, Direct Hit has released each of its brief EPs online-only on a donation-based pricing system that means, realistically, most people are downloading or streaming them for free. EPs 1 and 2 have been posted to directhit.bandcamp.com over the past year. On Sept. 1 the band will add their third EP, 3.

"Right now we're trying to get our music into as many people's hands as possible, so the last thing we want to do is charge people five bucks for four songs from a band they've never heard of," Woods says. "Especially coming off of Box Social, I was feeling way too lazy to find a way to get people to actually pay for something. I just want to put out fun, accessible music."

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