Punk band names don't come much better than Heath Deadger. That's one of the reasons I was disappointed when that band's violently melodic skate punk went on the backburner earlier this year in favor of the member's poppier side project New Creases.

Punk band names don't come much better than Heath Deadger. That's one of the reasons I was disappointed when that band's violently melodic skate punk went on the backburner earlier this year in favor of the member's poppier side project New Creases.

Disappointed isn't the word I would use to describe how I felt after taking in a couple of New Creases sets, though.

My most recent encounter with the trio came last Friday at The Treehouse. This crew usually plays house shows, but seeing a band in that bar's sweltering back room is sort of like being in somebody's basement anyway, so they must have felt right at home.

They played like it, soaring through a short, sweet set of pop-punk anthems that had the gruff and sweaty audience in elation. It all seemed effortless, or at least as effortless as you can be while hollering at the top of your lungs and playing with manic intensity.

Mickey Mocnik and Troy Allen traded lead vocals and combined for harmonized shouts, she wielding her guitar with aggressive slicing melodies and power chords, he speeding through snappy bass lines that went beyond the basics without getting in the way of the songs. Bobby Leonard frantically controlled the chaos from behind the kit, barely keeping things from speeding off the rails.

Song after song slayed me, but none more so than "Wild Knives," which I first heard as a club remix on New Creases' MySpace page. I dug that sliced-and-diced disco-punk treatment, but the original is just as good - Mocnik practically snarling her angry, bitter rant over the churlish chug.

This band apologizes to no one, boasting blatantly poppy foundations but never bothering to clean up the rough edges. Allen told punknews.org about his love for the Replacements, and certainly that band's boozy self-destruction is in the mix, though considering how narrowly they stay within their genre boundaries, they're conjuring Paul Westerberg's spirit more than his sound.

New Creases left for a tour a few days after the show, and when they return in early August they'll shift their focus from playing out to writing an album. The members won't be M.I.A., though. Heath Deadger is about to rise again. Rad.