Monday, Oct. 19, 2009

The Points: D.C.'s Last Great Punk Band?

By Evan Rytlewski
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Whatever happened to D.C.? For the better part of two decades, the city housed one of the country’s most lionized music scenes, but after the mid-2000s break-ups of Q and Not U, Black Eyes and other Dischord Records bands prophesized to carry the city’s torch for a new generation, no new bands stepped up to take their place. Or maybe they did, only to find they didn’t have the same support system as before. It seems that the Dischord label has all but shut its door to young talent, releasing only a handful of fleeting new projects from performers already grandfathered into the label. Surely there must be something more exciting coming out of D.C. than side projects of El Guapo side projects, right?

Mercifully, there is. A plain-old, no-frills punk band with an ear for big riffs, The Points have emerged as one of the city’s great hopes. Perhaps tellingly, their sound owes nothing to Dischord’s signature post-hardcore; if anything, it’s a do-over, drawing instead from the traditionalist, riff-and-hook punk of The Ramones.

The Points have garnered some lofty critical praise—the Washington Post deemed them D.C.’s best band, though daily papers don’t usually have the best track record with such proclamations—and the group’s latest 7-inch, Beat in Hell, hints at some unlikely new ambitions, branching away from three-minute Ramones retreads with skuzzier, garage-rock guitars, more prominent percussion and an awesome six-minute B-side, “Shout,” that savors its riff instead of racing through it.

But the group mostly built their reputation on the road, with storied, hard-partying live shows. If the group is anywhere near what they're rumored to be live, their show tonight at The Vault with Milwaukee’s Gut Reactions and Magic Words could be the most memorable punk show Milwaukee sees this week.

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