Through two albums and a handful of singles, the Kiss Offs played garage rock with a typically Austin irreverence. The band was formed by drummer Dwayne Barnes and keyboardist Katey Jones; Peek-a-Boo Records’ Travis Higdon played guitar (as did Phillip Niemeyer) and Gavin Scott bass. Though the dueling vocals compare to X, the use of organ make the band sound more like contemporary skronkers Oblivians or the Make Up filtered through Great Plains, particularly on the rudimentary Goodbye Private Life. The bratty, tuneless vocals dominate some worthy songs. The skeletal musicianship is kind of the point but the overall effect is not so much “Kiss Off!” as “Yippee, we’re in a band!” Though the music doesn’t always satisfy, it fulfills standard garage band requirements and the spirit makes it obvious they were compelled to play. Each band member takes vocals at times and the albums are completely homebrewed: from band to studio to label.
On Rock Bottom, “Love You Hardcore” has the best songwriting but “Mmm Mmm Mmm” comes across as the most sincere and thought out. In “The Freedom of Rock,” Barnes admits “I can’t really sing but you know I give it my all.” The four-part “Pleather Pantz” is a garage rock mini-opera.