Chicago punk trio Meat Wave were planning on touring for much of 2020 to push a new LP, but COVID cleared their calendar and delayed their album (as it did for so many working bands). Rather than sit around and wait, the band hunkered down to write, record, and self-release an EP of new material called Volcano Park, and if you’ve ever listened to Meat Wave before, you won’t be surprised that it absolutely rips. They’ve spent almost ten years mastering their style of driving, rhythmic, dissonant-yet-melodic punk rock, and Volcano Park feels like a culmination of all their past efforts. All of Meat Wave’s best qualities are proudly on display: Ryan Wizniak’s relentlessly jumpy drums, Chris Sutter’s unsettling guitars and wildly catchy vocals, and Joe Gac’s grimy bass and crisp engineering. Side A’s tracks are all hot-as-hell smashers based on repetitive riffs, while side B gives the songs more space for introspection and broadens their sonic palette to include huge cymbal washes and eerie synths. All the energy, thought, and emotion packed into these six tracks can make them feel almost overwhelming at times, but that won’t stop anyone from jamming this record over and over. Because the pandemic isn’t behind us, Meat Wave are still sitting on the new album they’d planned to support on the road last year, and they’ve again canceled their out-of-town dates. That makes this EP and this show your only chances to get your fix of new Meat Wave material this year. They’ll share the bill at the Empty Bottle with Ovef Ow and Mandy, a new band that evolved from a solo project by Melkbelly’s Miranda Winters.
Meat Wave, Mandy, Ovef Ow, Sat 9/25, 8:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, $10, 21+