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It’s been nine years since Hunx & His Punx dropped their sophomore project, Street Punk. They’ve been on extended hiatus since then, and frontman Seth Bogart (Hunx) has moved on to other creative pursuits such as acting and visual art. Other than “Baby of the Band,” an old B-side released on Hardly Released — a 2017 compilation of “bedroom recordings, demos, rarities, unreleased, and widely ignored material” from their old label Hardly Art — there’s been no new material from the Bay Area band in the interim.
Today, the group’s original trio of Bogart, Shannon Shaw of Shannon and the Clams, and Secret Stare‘s Erin Emslie have returned with two new songs: “White Lipstick” b/w “Lose My Mind,” released as part of Sub Pop Singles Club Vol. 7. Both songs pick up the Punx’ signature, surfy sound right where they left it nearly a decade ago, but it’s the former — named after “King of Camp” John Waters’ cancelled sequel to Hairspray — that feels more like a return to form.
Driven by an urgent drum line, a steady bass groove, and a wonderfully jangly guitar, the track is elevated by Shaw and Emslie’s hauntingly retro backing vocals and an electric organ piping out heavenly tones behind the mix. Hunx’ voice is as deep and sultry as ever as he recounts being taken by surprise as a young boy by a woman’s white lipstick “shining in the night, reflecting in her eyes.” Later, he tries it on, wishing he was “just like her.” It’s a breezy, three-and-a-half minute jam that could easily be read as the origin story of how Hunx — once dubbed the “New King of Camp” by Pitchfork’s Quinn Moreland — took his first steps toward Waters’ crown.
Watch J.J. Stratford’s appropriately old school visual treatment for “White Lipstick” below.