When today's counter-culture kids -- the "hardcore" punks -- feel that society is kicking them in the face, they don't call the orthodontist. They spit the broken teeth right back at their antagonists, then smile broadly. Government Issue's new release,"The G.I.s," provides a sound-tract of punk attitudes, depicting an ugly, mean, oppressive, unrelentingly depressing world where the only options seem to be bland, boring, bourgeois orthodoxy or overtly defiant punk.

Government Issue's songs are power- packed and to the point, a series of harsh, dense, yet handsome sonic implosions. Lead singer John Schroeder's lyrics lay out the battle plan of the modern rebel: "It irritates you, the way I dress," he admits in "Sheer Terror," adding, "I do it to annoy you, I confess." His purpose: "Questioning your dreary existence," according to "Here's the Rope."

Since their early days, Government Issue's sound has grown more serious and venturesome with experimental off-the-wall rhythmic twists and eerie special effects. The musicians have become more self-confident and consistent, making them that much harder to dismiss as a callow, childish joke. On this album, there's no mistaking that they're playing for keeps. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM GOVERNMENT ISSUE -- The G.I.s (Dischord/Fountain of Youth). THE SHOW GOVERNMENT ISSUE with the Circle Jerks, Friday at Space II Arcade. K Street and North Capitol.