Public Eye Channels the Agitated Energy of Youth With Veteran Punk Swagger

When their old band hit a creative wall, the group honed their creative frustration into a more focused and aggressive form of post-punk.

10 (tie). Public Eye (28 pts.)

SOUNDS LIKE: Parquet Courts' snotty little brothers took their entire month's supply of Ritalin in one handful.

NOTABLE VOTES: WW Music Editor Matthew Singer, Typhoon's Toby Tanabe and Dave Hall, music video director Matthew Thomas Ross.

Two years ago, Autistic Youth hit a wall.

After three albums and extensive touring, the Portland garage-punk veterans were burned out—with the project, but not each other. So when the group returned from a European tour, they decided to pull the plug on their old band, exchange instruments and start over. Reborn as Public Eye, the quartet channeled their creative frustration into a more focused and aggressive form of post-punk, while maintaining Autistic Youth's ear for melody.

"We wanted something totally new, but with the same people because we vibe so well," says frontman Nic Vicario. "It totally feels like we're playing exactly what we want to be playing now."

Public Eye's music manages to channel the exuberantly agitated energy of youth while also exuding the swagger that comes from a decade spent playing all over the world. Relaxing Favorites, the band's debut, is chock-full of serrated guitar riffs that rip through speakers like a buzzsaw. The band's tighter attack complements Vicario's barbed lyrics, a good deal of which address the ongoing battle for Portland's soul.

"I don't think any of us are super-happy about the Portland explosion. We all grew up here and remember when it was cheaper and whatnot," Vicario says, before adding a silver lining. "Musically, though, our scene is thriving with people from LA or New York or whatever, and I think our scene is better than it's been in 10 years. So it's the good with the bad—although I don't think anyone playing in those bands is living in a luxury condo."

NEXT SHOW: April 12 at Holocene.

Best New Band Intro | No. 1: Sávila | No 2: Black Belt Eagle Scout | No. 3: Frankie Simone | No. 4: Amenta AbiotoNo. 5: MaarquiiNo. 6: Brown CalculusNo 7: SunbatheNo 8: Blackwater HolylightNo. 9: AutonomicsNo. 10 (tie): Public Eye and WynneWho's Got Next? No. 11-20 | The Complete Ballots

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