"They just fucked with the wrong people," growled Spits leader Sean Wood into my phone this past Friday. I wish I could say this disgruntled commentary involved a juvenile beef between Wood's playfully cantankerous punk band and some rival musicians, but sadly, he's referring to the fact that some particularly tenacious thieves robbed the band blind earlier this month. Sometime between October 9 and 25, while the band was on tour in Europe, their storage space on Capitol Hill (specifically Public Storage on 13th Avenue at East Pike Street) was virtually cleaned out. Because the band was using borrowed gear over in Europe, all their usual equipment was back at home. Among the missing items are an old Sunn PA, a PV 412 cabinet, a Gibson SG guitar, an acoustic 215 bass cabinet, an Epiphone bass guitar, 200–300 Spits shirts, countless 7-inches, and other irreplaceable treasures like their collection of vintage skateboard decks and antiques given to Wood by his mother. The Spits are offering a $2,000 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest of the responsible parties. Because of the Seattle music community's tightly knit nature and the suspicion that the theft was an inside job, Wood is hoping someone will unwittingly spill the beans. "I just hope the scumbags start bragging to the wrong person," he says. If you have any information, please contact the band via www.myspace.com/thespits.

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Fall is an industrious time for many local artists—and not just the ones like the Cops and Iceage Cobra that are tuning up their vans and heading out on extensive tours (good luck, boys—be sure to keep an eye on your gear, please!). The Divorce, Panda and Angel, and Mark Pickerel are all bound for CMJ in New York City this week, and many others have been putting in long hours in the studio, including the Whore Moans, who have recently completed their debut and are hoping to get the final product into stores before the holidays. Exploratory psychedelic stalwarts Kinski are also hammering out new material with producer Randall Dunn, who previously worked with drone-driven doom rockers like SUNN O))), Boris, and Earth. Kinski will be playing some of their new songs Friday, November 3, at the Crocodile with the Intelligence and the Cops.

Though they've been playing together since 2002, the eight talented musicians who make up local country outfit the Maldives are starting to generate a real following. Anyone who still appreciates the simple, plaintive beauty of early Neil Young or Townes Van Zandt might want to check out the Maldives' next show on Wednesday, November 8, at the High Dive.

In a similar, but more sinister, vein are the Swaybacks, a minimalist, alt-country trio fronted by a charismatic siren named Claire Tucker, whose delicate, confessional tone manages to sound strong and occasionally foreboding, despite its diaphanous window dressing. Those contrasting elements play beautifully against the contributions from creative percussionist Daniel Hunt, who makes his own instruments from found objects and has taught himself to play xylophone and drums simultaneously on a few of the band's songs. Their forthcoming CD includes appearances by Fleet Foxes' Nick Peterson and Bryn Lumsden. You can catch them at the Comet Saturday, November 4, with We Wrote the Book on Connectors.

It's no easy task to carve out garage rock that sounds fresh these days, so I was pleasantly surprised to stumble across the Hands, a fiercely talented five piece that recently released a seven-song EP that could pass for a lost component of the Nuggets box set. They're pulling double duty Saturday, November 4, making an 8:00 p.m. appearance at the High Dive and playing the 11:30 p.m. slot at the Funhouse.

Love 'em or loathe 'em, your chance to say goodbye to Band of Horses is also that same night at the Showbox. The Sub Pop signees and critical darlings aren't breaking up, but they are turning in their hometown-hero status and heading east to make a new home in Charleston, North Carolina.

I'm sad to report that two adventurous, aggressively entertaining punk bands have officially called it a day. Girth have disbanded, along with their like-minded peers in USS Horsewhip. Fans of the latter will want to save the date of Saturday, November 11, when they play their final show at Lobster Manor in Bellingham, with Vena Cava and the Russians.

hlevin@thestranger.com