Nonagon Credit: Annie Brinkman

You don’t need to read Nonagon’s bio to understand that the Logan Square trio has a soft spot for the great posthardcore bands that shaped American underground rock in the 80s and early 90s. They make that evident with every note of their long-in-the-works debut album, They Birds (Controlled Burn): it’s wall-to-wall with twisting bursts of husky, half-harmonized vocals, vivifying guitar riffs that perfectly balance acerbic with sweet, and brawny rhythms that inject the melodies with locomotive force. The album earns a spot on the proverbial shelf next to classics such as Jawbox’s Grippe while maintaining a distinctive autonomy. At the apex of “The Holdouts,” snaggletoothed guitar cleaves the song’s hulking, seesawing rhythm, sending it spiraling fast in an unexpected direction—and the band constantly uses details like that to sharpen and intensify their already alluring power.   v