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 […]
Traditionally, when people say hardcore bands have “progressed” it means they’ve begun the slow process of abandoning the genre for something more accessible. Plenty of hardcore bands have started slipping into 90s alt-rock territory, but Baltimore’s Turnstile use their new album, Glow On, to draw out the fact that heavy radio-friendly rock was built on […]
If you went to a lot of shows at defunct Bridgeport punk house Rancho Huevos, you likely caught the July 2019 debut performance of south-side underground supergroup Canal Irreal. The band, whose name means “unreal channel” in Spanish, features members of razacore outfit Sin Orden (who emerged in a second wave of local Latinx punk […]
It’s a common misconception that true, filthy rock ’n’ roll died in the early 80s after being eclipsed by new wave, whose shiny commercial sound piled on the gated reverb, drum machines, keytars, and New Romantic vocals. In fact, noisy rock and garage punk flourished underground during that era, thanks to the likes of the […]
This week’s featured gig poster was created by Justin Gray, an illustrator and designer from New Jersey.
Viagra Boys’ career as acid-punk raconteurs has been fueled by mutually assured destruction—they’ve pumped their bodies full of illicit substances and squared off with toxic masculinity to a frenzied backbeat. But what happens when you tire of your old enemies as you rage toward a better world? If the Stockholm five-piece’s new album Welfare Jazz […]
Over the past dozen years, White Suns have created a perfect marriage of folding-table harsh noise and streamlined punk, and the New York trio’s latest full-length, The Lower Way (their first for Decoherence Records), asserts their hybrid style more strongly than ever. By layering assaultive electronics, circuit-bent synths, atonal prepared guitars, fried stomp boxes, musique […]
Chicago feminist punk two-piece the Ovens debuted a decade ago with a charming, rowdy self-titled album that put heteronormativity in its crosshairs. In 2012 they released a second full-length (Settings) and an EP (Try), but since then they’ve been fairly quiet—probably because guitarist-vocalist Heather now lives in Brooklyn, while drummer-vocalist LB remains in Chicago. This […]
Chicago has no shortage of inventive underground bands that borrow from punk, indie rock, metal, and any other pulse-quickening style to create a deranged, idiosyncratic sound. But no one in town does it quite like the Cell Phones. This three-piece can whip up as much noise as a crash of rhinos—if rhinos had thumbs and […]
A few years ago Matthew Hord, who fronts Chicago-based noise-punk mainstays Running (and played alongside yours truly in a handful of local bands over the years), moved to New York City and linked up with guitarist Jordan Lovelace and drummer Peter Buxton, both of whom had played a similar style of jumpy, blown-out garage rock […]
This week’s featured gig poster was created by local artist and musician Jay Ryan.
When Racetraitor formed in Chicago in the mid-90s, their uncompromisingly antiracist politics weren’t always warmly received in the hardcore scene, but after their breakup in 1999 their influence continued to spread (especially once drummer Andy Hurley joined occasional Racetraitor bassist Pete Wentz in Fall Out Boy in 2003). More than a decade later, the burgeoning […]
When punk musician Neil Berthier sat down for a Better Yet Podcast interview at the beginning of 2019, he was halfway through a yearlong stint in Chicago; he’d moved here after a short stay in Nashville following the 2017 dissolution of his rambunctious, stylistically slippery New Orleans indie-punk band Donovan Wolfington. Berthier was still coming […]
I was once at a Nest Egg gig where a friend said to me, “The thing I love about these guys is that they’re punks who just happen to play psychedelic music.” This joyously astute statement gets at something important about psychedelia: though the word often conjures lovey-dovey visions of the pastoral and the perfumed, […]
Before I first press play on an “aging punks still at it” record, I try to prepare myself for the worst. Whether the band in question have retained only one original member in a completely retooled lineup (like present-day Gang of Four), or replaced their figurehead (like the Misfits did in the 90s), or awkwardly […]