Sounds like: Joy Division, if they smiled once in a while.
For fans of: Gun Club, Buzzcocks, Wire, the Wipers, Exploding Hearts, Sacred Bones, Dirtnap Records.
Why you care: What would punk be without suburban wastelands? The members of Lunch grew up outside Sacramento in Rocklin, Calif., a town whose topography, by their description, is entirely strip malls and SUVs. There were no music clubs, though the band still managed to get gigs from time to time. “We convinced this Starbucks rip-off to let us play,” says singer-guitarist Prometheus Wolf (not his real name, sadly). “We essentially drove away all their customers and destroyed the place.” When the group fled to Portland in 2009, Lunch played what it thought was heavy noise-rock, but in retrospect it may have been “a bad version of a sludge band.” Shifting in a less torpid, more combustible direction, the songs on Lunch’s debut cassette, Quinn Touched the Sun, explode in tight, melodic bursts. It’s pop-punk with post-punk edges: The bright power chords of “Johnny Pineapple” are serrated by Wolf’s throaty holler, and the eruptive “Slug Bones” is streaked with atonal guitar scrapes. “Monochrome Lust,” meanwhile, is overlaid with oddly alluring saxophone, courtesy of a dude they met after a show. “We thought he’d be playing some weird noisy bits over top of it, some super-skronky sax, and he throws down this really mellow saxophone line,” Wolf says. “It’s very sexually charged, but it’s for the whole family.”
SEE IT: Lunch plays the Foggy Notion, 3416 N Lombard St., with Piss Test and White Murder, on Friday, Feb. 7. 8 pm. $5. 21+.