Earlier this year, Texas punk act the Secret Prostitutes posed a question to the churning crowd at the Knockout: “Okay, who knows 'Job'?” Several hands shot up. The guitarist continued, “Like, all of the words. Don't lie.” Every arm remained outstretched. Then the performer pulled one volunteer onstage and told him to go ahead. He clutched the mic, leaned back, and shouted, “Hey! Mom!” and the Secret Prostitutes careened into a cover of cult San Francisco punk band The Nubs' sole single, “Job.” The guest vocalist knew every line.
The Nubs released “Job” in 1980 to little recognition. Even in hindsight, they're omitted from the usual narratives of early San Francisco punk. However, inclusion on the venerable punk compilation series Killed by Death ensured the group's notoriety within two camps: record collectors and devotees of punk's earliest, most devolved and purely transgressive emissions. “Job” checks both boxes. The original 7-inch sells for around $200 online. Its rollicking riffs and sudden halts underpin the singer's jeering pronouncements of hedonism and senseless destruction, all of them directed toward parents and police. The four verses of “Job” champion unemployment, automobile wreckage, self-harm, and drug-addled bank robberies, respectively, while the chorus denounces money. The feverish delivery of elementary rhymes managed to imprint this song, line for indelible line, upon the memories of surly youth for decades. And now the Nubs are back, playing Thursday, June 26, at El Rio with Pleasure Gallows and Turner. We hear they have more songs.
Limp Wrist's songs are charged with one-liners, too. The queer hardcore band's upcoming show, at Submission with Younger Lovers on June 27, will demonstrate how many local youth know the words by heart. Limp Wrist started in 1998 after the disbanding of vocalist Martin Sorrondeguy's previous group, Los Crudos. To break from that band's austere aesthetic, Sorrondeguy used Limp Wrist as an outlet for campier delivery and cheekier presentation, though without abandoning political charge. What Los Crudos achieved through politicizing punks in the Chicano community, Limp Wrist did for the queer community: advocating for marginalized minorities by creating rallying cries for them. Limp Wrist also thrashes on a high level, as a leather-bound Sorrondeguy and Co. deftly demonstrated when they last played locally a year ago.
“Is there life after breakfast?” So asked Los Microwaves, an early trio of San Francisco synth-pop eccentrics. The band's 1981 LP, Life After Breakfast, appeared incongruously on Southern California punk label Posh Boy. It languished in obscurity until local imprint Dark Entries reissued it last year in a lavish package with archival ephemera and video material as a bonus. Los Microwaves wrote for the dancefloor, but a taste for outlandish attire and absurdist subject matter put them more in the lineage of art students-gone-pop-provocateurs like Devo. Los Microwaves split time between San Francisco and New York before folding in 1983. Now, they're playing a daytime show on Saturday, June 28, at The Knockout with The Offs, Agender, and Baus.