Spears speaks to these punks


The star of Vegas’ newest music residency gets punked and more in the latest roundup of local music releases:

■ HIT ME BABY, “Punk Me Baby One More Time” (squidhatrecords.com): They bill themselves as “the only punk rock Britney Spears tribute band that you will ever need” and we’re betting that you didn’t even know that you needed such a thing until this very moment.

Upping the speed on a clutch of Spears’ signature tunes, turning their hooks into laser guided missiles, this bunch makes hits such as “Toxic” and “Womanizer” mosh-pit worthy.

Though they bill themselves as a punk act, the band has a pronounced metallic edge, be it in the dense riffing of “Baby One More Time” or the guitar hero lead in “Hold It Against Me” (what’s more, they preface a live version of “If You Seek Amy” with the opening of Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” and end “Crazy,” also recorded live, with a few cowbell-abetted bars of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Don’t Fear the Reaper”).

All these flourishes aside, the band’s most significant departure from all things Britney is that here, the laughs are intentional.

■ UNFAIR FIGHT, “Destruction of Words”(facebook.com/unfairfight): Speaking of words, here’s how to turn five of them into as many sentences: “I’ve. Reached. My. Boiling. Point.” So spits Unfair Fight singer Dan (Just Dan) on “The Price Is Blood,” emphasizing every syllable.

Though their frontman sings of sleepless nights, being consumed by his emotions and existential uncertainty, the band’s bayonet-sharp jams betray no such equivocation: This is fat-free, precisely executed, thrash-influenced hardcore that’s gruff, urgent and subtly melodic all at once. By the end of this EP, on piano-enhanced sing-along “As the World Burns,” Dan sounds as if he’s made it out of hell, guided, in no small part, by these very songs.

■ VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Slykat Presents Recess Compilation Vol. 1” (facebook.com/iamslykat): On Wednesday nights, the Ainsworth Lounge at the Hard Rock Hotel serves as swanky incubator for a wide range of Vegas hip-hop up-and-comers during weekly series “Recess.” This mixtape, overseen by show host Slykat, features close to two dozen “Recess” veterans.

Though the name “Recess” suggests a measure of frivolity and cutting loose, some of the best tracks here are the grittiest and most business-minded, be it the tough-nosed bravado of Moutpie$e, delivered over what sounds like a smoky sax sample on “Sin City,” the sulfurous trap music of Boss$, the sing-song drawl of Big Reez or the outspoken, overcaffeinated bluster of The Mercenaries. Recess? Sounds more class in session.

Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at jbracelin@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0476.