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POP-PUNK AND ITS DISTANT RELATIVES

Fans of pop-punk and one of its third cousins—guitar pop that sounds like it was vaguely influenced by pop-punk—no doubt have tickets in hand for a couple of shows this week.

In the latter category comes The Maine, which, despite its name, hails from Phoenix. In 2008, the young'uns released their debut album, Can't Stop Won't Stop, on Fearless Records, then went on to live out the album's title.

Since then, they've racked up thousands of touring miles supporting bands like Boys Like Girls, All Time Low and 3OH!3; co-headlined last year's Alternative Press Tour (the magazine loves them—The Maine was on the cover of the July issue, and earlier this year, the rag put the band in its annual Most Anticipated Albums of 2010 issue); was a marquee artist on last year's entire Vans Warped Tour; and earlier this year played on both coasts as part of the Bamboozle festival, for which Rolling Stone named them one of Bamboozle 2010's Five Bands to Watch.

So, yeah, they've got a bit of buzz around them right now.

After jumping to Sire/Warner Bros., the group last month released its second album, Black and White, and is currently on the tail end of its first national headlining tour, which will bring the band to The Rock this week.

Musically, the band seems like the logical next step for tweens who just graduated from the Jonas Brothers school of pop—and that's not meant as a slam. The Maine is somewhere in the neighborhood of power-pop, a genre that's always managed to remain timeless, and that works in their favor. These are sweet, catchy pop songs that draw on bands like Cheap Trick and Big Star, but with an added radio-friendly sheen, the gritty edges sanded off. The album's first single, "Right Girl," sounds an awful lot like Third Eye Blind, but it's something of an anomaly—one of the most modern-sounding songs of the bunch. If the majority of the songs on Black and White were recorded 25 years earlier, you'd find them on a Rick Springfield album, and lord knows teenagers, especially the young ones, have always loved this kind of stuff. The industry is inundated with bands looking to capture that market, but The Maine is one of those bands that will no doubt be playing on a bigger stage their next time through town.

This week, they'll be at The Rock, 136 N. Park Ave., on Friday, Aug. 20, with tour-mates This Century opening. The all-ages show starts at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $15, available in advance at Bookmans and all Ticketmaster outlets, or by calling 321-1000. For more information, call 629-9211, or head to rocktucson.com.

The Ataris, meanwhile, are relative survivors, having dished out heaping doses of standard-fare pop-punk—as well as a cover of "The Boys of Summer" that helped put them on the map—for about 15 years now. Those who saw them back in the day at, say, 7 Black Cats might want to know that, save for singer Kris Roe, The Ataris are a brand-new band these days.

After four albums on Kung Fu Records, the band signed with Columbia/Sony, which released one studio album and one live one. After completing its most recent album, Welcome the Night, the band parted ways with Columbia, and the album was released on Sanctuary in 2007.

Three years is an eternity in the pop-punk world, but the band hasn't been squandering its time. The group has reportedly logged a lot of studio hours working on The Graveyard of the Atlantic, which is close to completion and due for release late this year or in early 2011.

Catch The Ataris tonight, Thursday, Aug. 19, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Gasoline Heart (actually, Gasoline Heart's Louis DeFabrizio, backed by The Ataris) and Phoenix's Don't Panic open the all-ages show. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and tickets are $12 in advance, or $14 on the day of the show. For further details, call 622-8848, or head to hotelcongress.com.


SHORT TAKES

After releasing three EPs, Portland, Ore.'s Archeology finally put out a full-length, Memorial (River Seine), in March of this year. On it, they examine some pretty bleak themes, but their bare-bones, harmony-laden songs emerge with a sense of hopefulness and, occasionally, transcendence. "White Walls," for example, with its lyrics featuring "four white walls" and "hospital gowns," manages to hit Arcade Fire-like crescendos.

Archeology performs at Solar Culture Gallery, 31 E. Toole Ave., on Wednesday, Aug. 25. Young Mothers open with an acoustic set at 9 p.m. Admission to the all-ages show is $7. For more info, call 884-0874, or head to solarculture.org.

Though it's been available for purchase for a month or so, I Am. And I've Been Looking for You., the debut album from locals HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS—singer/guitarist Josh Levine (formerly of Red Switch and the Apocalyptics), guitarist Noah Gabbard (Bombs for the Bored), bassist Justin Lillie (Chango Malo, Gentlemen of Monster Island) and Ernie Gardner (Red Switch)—will receive the official CD-release party treatment this week. In her review of the album in these pages earlier this month, Annie Holub wrote, "It's almost like the Stones never aged and formed a new band with the Sex Pistols." It sounds like hyperbole, but after logging hours upon hours listening to the album, I can testify that it's not. Half the time these days, I'm walking around humming one of those songs in my head—I simply can't shake 'em, and I suspect that any rock 'n' roll-loving fool will have the same response.

HAIRSPRAYFIREANDGIRLS' CD-release party, which includes a video shoot, gets underway at 9 p.m., Friday, Aug. 20, at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. Early Black, who will celebrate the release of their own debut CD in a few weeks, open the show, along with The Provocative Whites. Admission is free. For more information, call 622-8848, or head to hotelcongress.com.

Plush has another fine local lineup this week. The always-fabulous Mostly Bears headline a show that also includes a pair of up-and-comers: Dead Western Plains, whose fluttery, off-kilter, harmony-rich pop songs have garnered them an upcoming 7-inch on Fort Lowell Records, and Sleep Driver, which features former members of Blues and You Apart (who recently played a reunion show at Skrappy's) and trades in songs that sound like they come from the '90s heyday of indie-rock—"Grimace and Grace" reminds of Superchunk, while "We Were Sharks" is a bit more Archers of Loaf.

This triple bill gets underway at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 21. Plush is located at 340 E. Sixth St. Admission is a fiver. Call 798-1298 with questions, or log on to plushtucson.com.

Their shows may not be the performance-art spectacles they once were, but when you've got a catalog as rich as that of The Tubes ("White Punks on Dope," "What Do You Want From Life?," "Mondo Bondage," "Talk to Ya Later" and, yes, "She's a Beauty"), you don't need much more than straight-up performances of the songs.

The Tubes featuring Fee Waybill perform an all-ages show at the Rialto Theatre, 318 E. Congress St., next Thursday, Aug. 26. Advance tickets are $22; they'll be $24 on the day of the show. Call 740-1000, or point your browser to rialtotheatre.com for more info.


ON THE BANDWAGON

Smoke and Feathers (a promising psychedelic-shoegaze-Southern rock band from Austin—a bargain at $2) at The Hut on Monday, Aug. 23; As Blood Runs Black, Oceano and others at the Rialto Theatre on Friday, Aug. 20; Blake Shelton at the Diamond Center at Desert Diamond Casino next Thursday, Aug. 26; Gary Hoey at Paradiso Bar and Lounge at Casino del Sol tonight, Thursday, Aug. 19; Laramie Dean and The Modeens at The Hut on Sunday, Aug. 22; Kottonmouth Kings, Authority Zero and Big B at the Rialto Theatre on Tuesday, Aug. 24; Lenguas Largas, The Creamys and Bone Token at Red Room at Grill on Wednesday, Aug. 25; Bob Spasm's Birthday Gala at Surly Wench Pub on Tuesday, Aug. 24; "Cabaret San Marcos" at St. Mark's Presbyterian Church on Sunday, Aug. 22; Nobody, et al. at J-Bar tonight, Thursday, Aug. 19; the Last Call Girls at Music on the Mountain in Summerhaven on Mount Lemmon on Sunday, Aug. 22.

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