If the independent music scene in Olympia, Wash., had a family tree, there would be a whole lot of inbreeding in it. Olympia-based K Records and Kill Rock Stars have plucked an inordinate number of unique and quirky bands from the city's clubs over the past 20 years, during which nearly everyone seems to have collaborated with everyone else. Which makes for some unexpected combinations -- for example, The Old Haunts.
The Old Haunts, a rotating cast centered on Craig Extine and Scott Seckington, released its first full-length, Fallow Field, in 2005 on Kill Rock Stars. Past members include Chris Sutton of Dub Narcotic Sound System; currently, the Extine-Seckington combo is backed up by the drumming of Tobi Vail, famous for her work in riot-grrl legends Bikini Kill.
The Old Haunts have a sound that's definitively Olympian in that it's so difficult to classify. Raw and underproduced (but in a good way), there are elements of all manner of rock subgenres: The trebly lead guitar takes after surf rock; the hopping bass lines suggest a rockabilly influence; and Extine's vocals are reminiscent of Richard Hell. The songs throb on, at times repetitive, but hardly boring.
Folks arriving at Garfield Artworks for the "ex-Bikini Kill" aspect of The Old Haunts shouldn't expect any "Suck My Left One"-style revolutionary rhetoric. This new generation of Olympian offerings is fresh, and that's what makes Olympia Olympia.
The Old Haunts with Smells Like Gina, Flotilla Way and Kill the Unicorn. 8 p.m. Wed., May 16. (Also features DIY zine and crafts fair.) Garfield Artworks, 4931 Penn Ave., Garfield. $7. 412-361-3342 or www.garfieldartworks.com