The Distraction

w/New Town Animals (last show), the Triggers, Electric Kisses, DJ Ken Dirtnap

Fri Jan 24, Zak's, $5.

With a pop undercurrent that's got a smirky pout and the attention span of a flea with ADD, Huntington Beach, California's the Distraction stay true to their name, launching from the first riff into a world of raw spaz rock.

Everything about their music is about the moment--from song lengths (two and a half minutes, tops) to recording style (15 songs in 12 hours for their excellent Dirtnap Records debut, Calling All Radios) to their impatience for excess fine-tuning (three-take limit). That urgent, grab-'em-by-the-balls style leaves its traces all over the Distraction, who sound like an early, brattier, pre-NME Hives (minus all the Mick Jagger pretensions, and dressed in white new wave sunglasses instead of white skinny ties) mixed with punk's pop past.

"All Sewn Up," one of the best songs on Radios, winds the anthemic crank by making a mockery of rock idols known more for their drug habits than their songwriting talents: "Tie it all up/fix it all up/sew it all up/pill it all up/booze it all up," the band taunts with confectionary catchiness.

Guitarist/backing vocalist "The General," a skateboarder originally from Utah, says he started the band a year and a half ago with bassist Triple J, and was raised on a sugary diet of "a lot of power pop and new wave, like '70s mod revival stuff. The Jam is my favorite band of all time, and I really like the Boys and a lot of power-pop stuff--like the Chords, Purple Hearts, and the Circle."

Since the recent release of Radios, the Distraction have gained a new drummer (Mr. Incredible) and a new frontman (Mikey Monoxide), but they've kept their overdriven pop snottiness intact, even though they're down a guitarist from their last record. As they do a small West Coast tour before hitting Germany, the Distraction bring their amped-up outbursts to Seattle, joining fellow freaks the New Town Animals--who, word has it, will be playing their final show tonight.