Casey Kelbaugh
The Stuck-Ups
Thurs May 8 at the
Liquid Lounge.

The first person to introduce me to Girls in the Garage, a vinyl series of mostly obscure female rock/pop bands from the '60s, was Everett True, The Stranger's old female-band-obsessed music editor, who snatched up a couple volumes when we were record shopping together. The collections are excellent samplings of how little has changed between, say, kooky girl groups in Germany 40 years ago and kooky girl garage bands today. Last week, I got to see the new wave of Girls in the Garage in action, as local (three parts girl, one part boy) band the Stuck-Ups took the floor at EMP's Liquid Lounge.

The Stuck-Ups (Tiffany on guitars, Bre on keyboards, Meredith on bass, Justin on drums) played a free show at what has to be the coldest-looking place I've checked out for this column. More sterile than a gynecologist's office (but with drink specials, no stirrups, and stronger cocktails), the Liquid Lounge's odd layout crammed the crowd into uncomfortable angles to watch the giddy band, between the bar and the sit-down tables. The sound was frustratingly off, so one element of the music was constantly dwarfing the rest. As the Stuck-Ups go-goed through their jerky Runaways- with-art-punky-attitude pop, the drummer's vocals were completely obliterated by the rhythm section, which wrestled for attention with the keyboards. The result was a sound that came across more straight-ahead garage rock than I imagine the band--blending three- and four-part harmonies with quirky keyboard melodies-- would normally attempt to pull off. Not that they were completely bulldozed by bad sound, though. With songs about boys and commands to "Kiss Off," the Stuck-Ups gave off just enough of a shit-eating sneer to perk up their songs, especially as Tiffany's affected vocals shifted from candy-coated to affected ice queen. Cute without being kitsch, the Stuck-Ups jammed together the '60s and the '80s, bubbling pop up through layers of hardened rock.