Our Bodies, Our Salves

Once upon a time, the sight of a punk girl moving in next door might have sparked a neighborhood watch for the barricades of cultural revolution. By today's grim revolt-into-product times, the lights are on next door, but the punk girl's not home; she's started up a dotcom offering real-time textual analysis of Jerry Springer's "Final Thought" homilies for a fee. So much for intellectual-property values on your street.

But Charlotte, North Carolina, terminal youngblood Chris Peigler can't let go of that vision-in-shiny-black-boots punkette ideal he glimpsed around 1980. He's pursued her musically ever since, first with his new-wavish band Intensive Care, then through the zip-hop Proletariat Madonna, and finally in the fully punk guise of My So-Called Band, now on their third CD release. The supporting players change from disc to disc, but bassist-vocalist Peigler and his incisive-couplet lyrical obsessions anchor each lineup. His persona amounts to a feminist whose atavistic Southern chivalry makes him want to protect these assertive punkettes from the leering-chauvinist society they've pogoed into. But for all his enlightened, self-interested lust, the alt womyn always end up in arms other than the narrator's—often those of some testosterone download bent on abuse.

Not a pretty dancefloor picture, but My So-Called Band's soulpunk musical smarts make for a bracing background for itchy ressentiment of those cock dings: relentless churn from Ryan McGinnis's guitar and Peigler's bass, punchfunk drums from Chris Loebs, chord changes that stop on a Ramone, and insistent auteur Peigler's speedcroon vocals darting through the valleys of frenzy. To coin a soundbite simile, My So-Called Band sound like Steve Forbert might've if he'd fronted the MC5 while on the lam from all those Next Big Dylan delusionals. Positively shakin' street.


My So-Called Band
The Punk Girl Next Door

Yesha, P.O. Box 31725, Charlotte, NC 28231-1725, www.yesha.com

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