THE MYSTERY GIRLS with the Sunday Sinners and the Bayonettes at the Oasis (294 College), Friday (July 9). $7. 416-975-0845. Rating: NNNNN
Wisconsin suddenly got a lot quieter when Killdozer and Die Kreuzen quit cranking, but lately a resurgence of exciting noise has been coming out of the Badger State thanks to the brew wave of young, loud and snotty punk prodigies stepping up in their place. So far, the trashy thrills of the Catholic Boys, Strong Come Ons, the Tears, Blue Balls Explosion and the Leghounds are still largely a cheese-head secret, but the Mystery Girls are working to change all that.
Even though the Girls' latest disc, Something In The Water, lacks the beautifully belligerent basement-brawl vibe of their riotous 2002 self-titled debut for Trick Knee, just the fact that it's released by the trendy Los Angeles-based In the Red label - home to the Dirtbombs, Reigning Sound, Clone Defects, Ponys and our own Deadly Snakes - should help carry the sound of the Mystery Girls' reckless rave-ups far beyond Packer country.
And having Detroit's semi-legendary Jim Diamond credited as co-producer and mixer of the recording can't hurt either, at least not as much as the actual sessions at Ghetto Recorders last Summer.
"Yeah, I think the new album is a step back from the first," concedes harp-blowing guitarist Jordan Davis from his Green Bay home. "Most people would probably agree. Our first album was recorded and mixed over a weekend, but we actually spent less time on the new one.
"Jim had some other stuff going on, so we were kinda rushed. That was our first time in a real studio, so I wish we'd had a producer guiding us through the process. It seems like he was on the phone half the time we were there.
"We'd be in the live room asking, 'Hey, Jim, did that sound OK?" And he'd be, like, 'Huh? What? Er, oh yeah, sure, that was fine.' We'll definitely be doing the next one here in Wisconsin."
That's probably a very good idea. Judging by the number of raunchy cool records coming out of Milwaukee right now, there might be some truth to the Mystery Girls' album title suggestion about that murky local water favoured by the brewing industry.
But the influence of renowned Green Bay scenemaker "Timebomb" Tom on the current crop of Wisconsin weeds shouldn't be discounted. We spent half the interview bantering about the Flamin' Groovies, Radio Birdman, the Saints and Germany's mighty Pack.
"Most of the Wisconsin bands people are hearing about now started back in the late 90s, when we were all quite young - maybe 16 or 17 - because there was this great all-ages club we could play in Green Bay called the Concert Café where "Timebomb" Tom was always bringing in these really cool bands like the Oblivians, Thee Headcoats, the Rip-Offs and Guitar Wolf.
"Besides booking shows, Tom was also the manager of the kick-ass record store in town. You could go in there and say, 'Hey, Tom, what should I buy?' And he'd hip you to all the coolest stuff. I remember picking up the Stooges' Fun House and a New York Dolls collection at his store when I was, like, 14."
According to Davis, the golden era of Green Bay trash-punk may soon be coming to an abrupt end. When the municipal government decided to crack down on all-ages events as a way of dealing with an underage drinking problem, most of the city's best bands moved to Milwaukee, where clubs are for swingers, not for swinging.
"There are no more all-ages venues left in Green Bay, so we usually play at the VFW Hall, which has shitty sound, and shows have to be over by 11 pm. It's not very rock 'n' roll.
"The city shut down most of the basement party action, and some serious police brutality was involved - there were stories about how they beat the crap out of this band playing at somebody's house. It was awful.
"Once in a while a show will happen, only you can't post it online because the cops are always checking the Internet, so it's gotta be strictly word-of-mouth.
"We're really looking forward to coming to Toronto."