I'm not saying that "Sweatpants Boner" by The Trashies is the most important song of the 21st century, but I'm not ruling it out, either. It tells, as quickly as possible, the timeless story of a young man who needs a job to pay the rent but wears sweatpants to his interview, where he sees an attractive person. Simple? Yes, and classically so. Poorly recorded? Kind of. Punk rawk? Very, in the style of that bygone era when the songs kind of hated you for listening to them.
I would not want to listen to The Trashies all day. But I would tremble to live in a world where they did not exist, because they are such a pleasing and effective time machine. Songs like "Sweatpants Boner" or "I'm a Worm" immediately transport me to Tad Harker's Cutlass, circa 1992, where I heard brief, frightening songs about states of abjection from bands I could not identify. This was punkthe second, '80s punk that related to music as an epileptic seizure relates to tidying up. The Trashies are less a band than a demonstration, yet the songs are as tight and unified as the sweetest pop. They are abrasive and finally unpleasant, but they feel good.
The Trashies plays Total Fest Sat., Aug. 17, at the ZACC. See our festival coverage for more info or go to totalfest.org.