The Bugs 

The absolute minimum number of people you need for a band is two. A one-man band is a novelty act. From this scientific principle we can conclude that a two-person band is the least adorned, therefore the most authentic, therefore the most punk. Portland's The Bugs are extremely punk—possibly even punk rawk—and they sound it, for better and for worse.

The better is that they have been playing since 1998, and they have the melodic verse-chorus-done song down to a two-minute science. Their music is pleasing and disaffected, like what Moldy Peaches might have made if they only had access to Queers records. The worse is that, after 15 years, the duo's recordings still sound distant and tinny, like what the Moldy Peaches might have made if they only had access to dictaphones.

Fortunately, The Bugs are not really about recording. They're about the shows, and the controlled chaos that only two people who have practiced relentlessly can unleash. Someday anthropologists will remember The Bugs and bands like them as a type of music, a subgenre of a form that neatly explains the principles of punk. Until that darkened age, we have the real thing, best enjoyed in person.

The Bugs play the Zootown Arts Community Center Wed., Oct. 16, at 8 PM with Mountain Shark and Oll Breds. $6.

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