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Spoonboy's pop punk is just a matter of heart

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The Tumblr page for David Combs, aka Spoonboy, includes frequently asked questions such as, "What are your opinions on dropping out of high school?" and "How do you feel about people singing along to shows?" The Washington, D.C., pop punk artist answers in a surprisingly serious fashion—surprising, perhaps, because so many other musicians would opt for sarcasm or flippancy. For instance, he doesn't mind people singing along at his shows, but maybe not during an acoustic set where he might be drowned out. As for high school, well, YOLO. If it's not working for you, he says, drop out—just know there are consequences. (His answers are more in-depth than that, but that's the gist.) Do fans really ask him this stuff?

As an advice dispenser, Spoonboy's a bit earnest, but as a musician that earnestness transforms into something great. His new split record with London's Colour Me Wednesday includes five of his songs, each kind of starting out the same—with a guitar riff like Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl"but diverging quickly into a diverse collection of shiny gems. In "The Dispossessed" he sings about a guy's number he has folded in his pocket. We don't know the situation, only that he's feeling nostalgic and that not calling is painful and calling could also be a bad thing. "It's not a matter of strength that pushes blood through your veins," he sings. "It's just a matter of a heart that keeps pumpin'."

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Heart, in fact, seems like the best description for Spoonboy's strength and something that was also true for his previous punk band, The Max Levine Ensemble. The Spoonboy split is a super catchy collection of anthems; it's raise-your-lighter material by someone who is approachable and principled. By the end of the record you might be able to understand how fans see him as someone to turn to for advice. Maybe. One thing's for sure, these are songs with which we definitely want to sing along. So Spoonboy, can we?

Spoonboy plays the VFW with Erica Freas, Lymph Gnomes, The Hasslers and band-in-residence Slowglass Thu., June 26, at 9 PM. $5/$7 for ages 18–20.

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