2003 in Oakland, Calif.
Sounds like: Simple, timeless, tuneful punk, with a mischievous undercurrent.
For fans of: The Buzzcocks, the Boys, the Nerves, Exploding Hearts.
Latest release: 2007's J'Aime Les Filles, the band's debut for seminal L.A. label BYO Records, on which the Girls refined and perfected their snarling, good-humored pop punk…and then disappeared.
Why you care: In the mid-aughts, the Clorox Girls were Portland's great punk hope. One year after a van accident tragically snuffed the promise of the dearly missed Exploding Hearts in 2003, the band—made up of three transplants from Northern California, all decidedly male—released its self-titled full-length and instantly renewed the city's faith in hooky, three-chord, smash-and-grab punk rock. Although the group met in classic punk fashion (crashing together in an Oakland squat), singer-guitarist Justin Maurer had no interest in the nihilism of the crusty guttersnipes around him, preferring the catchy, effusive energy of the Buzzcocks and Redd Kross. Relocating to the Rose City, the Girls earned a reputation as a fun and furious live act. After three albums and a tour that took the trio around the world, the group seemed poised for a breakthrough. Instead, it just faded away. Deep in debt, Maurer moved to Europe for three years, then back to California. In 2010, however, things started to rumble again. Maurer reconnected with drummer Richie Cardenas and recorded a new 7-inch. Now the original Clorox Girls lineup—Maurer, bassist Colin Grigson and drummer Clay Silva—is getting back together, proving sometimes even punks can go home again.