Chicago garage-glam rockers The Smith Westerns played Gooski's back room last September, armed only with '60s-pop harmonies, snarling distortion and youthful abandon. The set was lightning fast and practically on fire, breaking through the smoky haze of Pittsburgh's consummate neighborhood bar like a brick thrown through a window in a fit of teen-age anomie.
The show, like most on the Gooski's stage, was under the radar but urgent, coming quick on the heels of the group's self-titled debut LP, released late last July. The album attracted the taste-making music elite (including Gorilla Vs. Bear and Pitchfork) and perfectly captured 2009's love affair with lo-fi intensity in 10 tracks.
Songs like "Girl in Love" and "Diamond Boys" ooze with glam rock's brash sexuality while betraying a gauche, youthful anxiety. This isn't a gimmick; at the time of the album's release all four members of The Smith Westerns were between the ages of 17 and 19. That balance of adolescent urge and knowing desire informs the album's most indelible cut, "Be My Girl," a track that struts with Marc Bolan's bravura before erupting into the subtle-as-a-sledgehammer chorus.
The Smith Westerns are on the radar now, and on yet another national tour, which visits Brillobox on Wed., March 31. They're ready to put an arrow through your sister's heart, flaunting the reckless love of 17 like it was going out of style.
The Smith Westerns with Male Bonding. 9:30 p.m. Wed., March 31. Brillobox, 4104 Penn Ave., Bloomfield. $8. 412-621-4900 or www.brillobox.net