Giving Up -- lifelong homeys howling their ruff and wrung-neck brand of L-U-V songs into a self-contained karaoke unit, mixing red wine with tequila either on stage or under a sleeping bag, bangin' out hit after ever-hissing hit, passing out with a full bowl in the microwave and a Radio Shack mic in the crotch of their underpants -- the way GAWD intended 'em to when he or she ripped Fat Bopper out of the sky and made Iowa punk in the first place.

This is the sound of friendship being used (with the help of guitars, organs, other things) as a tool to disarm. It's no shortage of a good time to be had here, but there's a certain sense of opposition on the songs at hand. A lingering tension, faced one day at a time by booking tours, pacing apartments, making dinner.

And while Giving Up's music may share the same treehouses as the Half Japs and Black Tambourines of the world, with perhaps a more-than-subtle scent of fumes from the Lookout Records catalog burning in the bonfire below, band members Mikie Poland, Jenny Rose, Sean Roth, Dusty Vanness and the seemingly constant auxiliary scab/fam that always keeps their company have something ELSE, something OTHER, something RAW with an unidentifiable, inimitable charm which cannot be mistaken as anything but what it is -- midwestern power-rock with an oversized heart and an empty glass -- made by buddies, for buddies. Words, songs, feelings. Cute. Gross.