All the folks in !!! wanted to do was make dance music. From the ashes of Black Licorice, a disco cover band; Popesmashers, a jarring noise group; and the Yah Mos, vocalist Nic Offer's former hardcore group, the now bicoastal eight-piece coalesced one fateful night at a wild Sacramento dance party. With their disparate musical backgrounds, !!! (or chk chk chk, or any one-syllable percussive sound on repeat three times) were destined to spawn their now trademark no-wave, punk-funk groove.

But as the critics at Pitchforkmedia declared, !!!'s self-titled debut LP tripped on the trappings of bad white-funk groups—mundane horns, slap bass, and hi-hat rides. The reviewer went as far as to call the group a white-funk stereotype with one of "the worst singers in recorded history." !!!'s '01 release was unduly written off as a paltry homage to groups like the "long forgotten Sub Pop bottom dwellers" Big Chief.

However, after the release of their anthemic single, "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard (A True Story)"—which the Brits leapt all over as it breached the number one spot on Jockey Slut's (RIP) list of top '03 singles—the group's mark on dance music was better solidified. !!!'s reputation in the dance clubs proved that yes, they feel the funk, but they have more in common with post-punkers like Suicide than the aforementioned Big Chief.

!!!'s take on Nate Dogg's "Get Up," featured on this summer's split single, Take Ecstasy with Me/Get Up, degrades into a no-wave adventure through the expanses of reverb and distortion. The groove loses all innocence once the song nosedives into a blaring swirl of guitar noise, incessant handclaps, and Offer's trance-induced mumblings, snowballing into a strident tribal number à la Liquid Liquid or the Pop Group.

If you're looking to shake ass, don't let all the post-punk, no-wave tags dissuade you. Unlike their late '70s brethren, !!! never really set out to rebel against anything except the hip kid who refused to break a pose for a simple fist pump.

editor@thestranger.com