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B-Lines are tuneful ne'er-do-wells

Stupid punk fireworks

B-Lines: Better than sparklers. Photo by Melanie Boisvert

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As the Weekly Volcano's resident holiday curmudgeon, I think it's appropriate that I fill you in on my thoughts about the Fourth of July. Any guesses on where I stand? Any notions about how I react to my dog being in a continual panic for two weeks on either side of Independence Day? How about my thoughts on whether the movie Independence Day holds up?

If you answered, "I bet you think it's all garbage," you would be correct. Welcome to Earth.

With most worthwhile joints shut down for the occasion, and Freedom Fair looming on the horizon, it's a hard time to be someone who can't get onboard with sulfurous explosions in the sky and more amateur hour drinking. Where to turn on a day like that? Thank God for the Northern, which is hosting a night of metaphorical fireworks, including the passing through of some Vancouver punk rock ne'er-do-wells known as B-Lines.

B-Lines are very much not in the mood for fancy-pants subgenre naval-gazing. No hifalutin descriptors; just "stupid punk" emblazoned on their page. One thing does pop up, though: They refer to one of their albums as "post-proto-hardcore," a designation so colossal in its meaninglessness that it approaches the sublime.

There needn't be much attention paid to pitches and press kits with B-Lines, however, because the music speaks for itself in furious volumes. Their most recent 12", Opening Band, is a quick burst of nine songs, just barely passing the 15-minute mark. Along the way, B-Lines are steadfast in their desire to get in and out with as much tuneful efficiency as possible. Even their name - B-Lines - is evocative of the breakneck rush they're in to get from A to B, completely waving off the possibility of a C.

Made up of brothers Ryan and Bruce Dyck (vocals and drums, respectively), Scotty Collins (guitar), and Todd Taylor (bass), B-Lines have been kicking around British Columbia for about seven years, at this point, releasing the odd vinyl punk explosion.

"My first band was kind of a punk band, but in a weird, inept sort of way," says Ryan Dyck. "We were just figuring it out as we went along, which is probably the best way to do it, I think. ... I think we're a little more confident in writing songs. I mean, we're not overly prolific. We've gotten good at not doing stuff that we don't feel like doing. We just do what we like to do, and we hope people like it, too."

The title track on Opening Band is a clever bit of songwriting that actually manages to surpass the three-minute mark, which says something for their desire to say something about the life of playing in DIY shows. Basements, dirty venues, getting time off from your day job, haphazard equipment and perpetually drunk audience members - these are all part of being a working band, and they're qualities that B-Lines are neither praising nor bitching about. There's a sense of resigned humor to the realities of hauling gear around in a van to blast sloppy punk in various locations.

Musically, there's a healthy dose of Redd Kross to B-Lines, with their simple melodies that might be rough around the edges, but that betray a smarter mind at the helm than they might like to admit. Still, what's for sale with B-Lines is that gut punch of sound that'll rival any obnoxious fireworks that might be blazing outside the Northern. Play baseball and eat hotdogs in the afternoon, if that's so important to you. Leave the night to blistering punk.

B-LINES, w/ No Body, Arc Ov Light, 8 p.m., Friday, July 4, Northern, 414 ½ Legion Way, Olympia, $5, olympiaallages.org

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