Formed: Around the turn of the millennium, when frontman-to-be Donnie Rife abandoned the Midwest for the promise of Portland.
Sounds like: Weezer, should a lovely and uncomplicated girl have approached Rivers Cuomo in the winter of 1994 and turned his frown upside down.
For fans of: A power-pop-punk joy ride unswayed by fashion and expressly designed to audience specifications.
Latest release: Junior High Anthems, last month’s sampling of odds and ends never properly recorded. It likely won’t change the band’s lingering local reputation as a wholly live phenomenon.
Why you care: Why don’t you care, actually? Failings of nomenclature aside—after Cherry Poppin’ Daddies conquered suburbia, one can’t ever take names that seriously—Rife and company have forged an enviable career absent press support or a previously existing scene. The band’s muscular, simplistic approach to power-pop hasn’t the craftsman’s sheen or self-deprecating wit we typically expect from the genre, but Smoochknob’s fortunes continue to rise. Artless and unaggressive regional pop acts without the slightest regard for romanticizing their labors—this Saturday’s concert, the eighth consecutive Halloween weekend show to sell out Dante’s, centers around a vaguely defined theme of zombies fighting Star Wars characters—don’t get to depend upon ever-escalating good times as a career strategy, right?
Though, with a name like Smoochknob, they’d have to be good.