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Singer/guitarist Matt Lamkin and guitarist Matty McLoughlin front the Muslims. They didn't think about playing music when they both went to Torrey Pines High School in the late '90s.

"I didn't feel the need to play in some jerkoff punk band," says McLoughlin about the musical tastes that dominated their high school. "The kids who did listen to music when I went there were dorks. They were Huey Lewis as fuck.... I liked the Replacements. The rest of the kids were into the Swingin' Utters. I was busy getting my college paid for [earning a baseball scholarship]."

Lamkin and McLoughlin came back home last year with college degrees but without career plans. They decided to start their first band in January while delivering pizzas. Since then, the Muslims have become Casbah regulars and gigged in L.A.

"I'm surprised we've gotten the attention we have [without] playing the game," says Lamkin.

"If you go into the Beauty Bar on any Friday or Saturday night," says McLoughlin, "it's like you're watching a high school musical re-creation of any cool punk-rock band from 1977. It's like they took the look, the attitude, and the sound, and that is what they do. People seem scared shitless to like something that might be a little weird or goofy.... Everything is safe in San Diego. It's, like, some bands think you have to have a reference to the past to be legitimate."

Lamkin, McLoughlin, bassist Richie Lauridsen, and drummer Gabe Cross will move to L.A. next month.

"Some [bloggers] have accused us of being too good for San Diego," says McLoughlin. "It's not like we're abandoning San Diego; it's just that we don't want to depend on our parents anymore or work at some record store."

"I got a job connected with my degree [in film]," says Lamkin. "It's not like we're moving up there to get signed."

The Muslims appear tomorrow at the Tower Bar.

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