Naming your band after another band's song is one thing. Actually sounding like that other band is kind of pushing it. And yet, the Seattle quartet known as Shoplifting actually pulls off appropriating both its moniker and method from England's dance-punk pioneers the Slits. Not that Shoplifting is a straight-up cop; the group's fractured, frazzled sound wields a wide arsenal of serrated riffs and projectile rhythms as it shatters every straight line in the structure of rock-and-roll orthodoxy. Hints of everything from Bratmobile to Erase Errata pop up in Shoplifting's girl-centric assault, but it's the influence of the Slits that sticks out most on its self-titled debut EP, released this week on Kill Rock Stars. The skittering guitar work of Chris Pugmire and Devin Welch scratches like a drowning cat beneath the chant-like vocals of drummer Hannah Blilie and bassist Michelle Nolan, who coo and screech authoritatively on the topics of sex, underwear and economics. And although still pretty new, the foursome (featuring ex-members of GSL Records' the Chromatics) is already known for its confrontational, pelvis-pumping live shows. Theft or not, Shoplifting takes the jagged sound of early-'80s post-punk and runs with it.
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