I was off the blog last week (and won’t have a column in the paper this week) because I’m using some vacation time during my band’s east-coast tour with Davila 666. We’re still out, but I’m back on the job and back on the blog.

Last week I not only learned that Davila is one of the most consistently spot-on bands going—the very definition of a tough act to follow—but also discovered an excellent combo out of Philly called the Tough Shits. They’re a bunch of bros who hang out drinking tons of beers and making exceptionally catchy retro pop. Their Prick Up Your Ears: Complete Tough Shits ’07-’08 is an addictive set of pre-psychedelic jangle rock filtered through a heavily slack attitude. The recording quality is demo-ish throughout, and their lyrics tend to be about things like exercise and outfits, but they have a freakish talent for coming up with unshakably catchy hooks. Spontaneous sing-alongs of “Heard She Kisses on the Mouth” have been erupting in both vans about every two hours or so. No one ever seems to mind.