Moto-Litas' go-go co-ed

After releasing two breezy collections of deliriously catchy fare, the Moto-Litas have issued a confident, self-titled new EP, boldly proclaiming that those days are over. The back cover photo of founding members Mary Collins and Courtney King walking defiantly away from the camera is highly symbolic of their new musical stance.

Although the Motos began their career as a cute, kitschy all-female pop/rock/surf band, the departure of original members Erin Dangar and Stacy Kerber heralded a dramatic turn from their original concept. Gone are the fun songs, the musicians' silly pseudonyms and the original, distinctly feminine approach. Their coquettish polka-dot print sound has been replaced with the tough, ballsy exterior of a well-used black leather moto-cycle jacket.

Collins and King have retooled the Litas with a male rhythm section, sparking a new engine that cranks out a bilious, aggressive hard-rock sound. Their newfound snarl owes as much to the angry grind of Seattle grunge as their old sound echoed the innocent girls-in-the garage aesthetic of early 1980s Los Angeles. King's harsh growl fuels six songs that range from fuzzy Stone Age rage ("Job 15") to Nirvana veneration ("Shock Me").

This departure is so radical that it really should have been relabeled as a whole new entity. Although still called the Moto-Litas, this almost all-new band roars into 2004 with a solid sonic blast that leaves its history as little more than a fond memory.

The Moto-Litas play Jan. 23 at My Sisters' Room. Call for ticket price, 404-370-1990.