Cost of Living (Sub Pop). She rails against the stupidity of borders (“a wall is just a wall”) as her bandmates keep up a relentless barrage of power chords. Led by former Bratmobile mastermind Allison Wolfe, Ex-Stains crank out an intense collision of punk-rock intensity and more fluidly funky post-punk experimentation. Onstage, Wolfe comes off simultaneously as a playful, rabble-rousing cheerleader and an uncompromising, inspiring feminist.
If you’re looking for an evening of gently intoxicating melodies and escapist, romantic love songs, you’ve come to the wrong place. Instead, coed Rhode Island punks Downtown Boys and fiery locals Ex-Stains are restlessly energetic bands fronted by defiant, articulate and fiercely confrontational vocalists. Downtown Boys singer Victoria Ruiz howls her politically incisive, leftist imprecations in English and Spanish on the group’s new album,