There was a ringing in my ears as I felt my blood rush down to and through my fingertips. I sat crouched down on an amplifier that wasn’t mine in a sweat drenched garage on the Northwest side of Chicago. I hadn’t eaten a thing in days it seemed but the beers kept being brought out to me and the little Mexican girl with the lip ring and bedroom eyes kept scratching just above my right ear lobe and grinning at me while mouthing out something in Spanish. I didn’t speak Spanish.

I looked off to my right and the band was playing. Their singer was a skinny tattooed kid with a shaved head. He was screaming like a wounded hyena on a bad acid trip. I liked him. He reminded me of myself at 22.

The heat was eating us alive but the kids still kept it going around and around like it were 1982 and their lives depended on it.

Bile was creeping its way into my mouth and sexy Mexy was still there with the scratching and the eyes and little black dots were beginning to form. I felt myself nodding out and tried with all my ability to take a deep breath to get some air to my brain but I got nothing but cigarette smoke and week old body odor. I took in another mouthful of beer, thinking it might make things better. It didn't make a thing better. I felt a bead of sweat drip its way down from the center of my back and into my ass crack and I thought well...

I.......... Might............. Faint.............. Need.... Air............ Water..... Something... Anything.........................

I mean I was really going out and this was a bad sinking feeling. I needed to get out and quickly when BOOM! The bastard band broke into a song that made my legs come alive and I jumped through the air ignoring the bad knees and shortness of breath and pumped my fist high in the air and ignored the sweat stinging my eyes and soaking my back and I knew this was it, this was their death trap, this was their song and they knew it and I could feel it and the whole garage of maybe 35 people were transfixed in a euphoric damaged rage-filled cluster fuck and it was good and when that song ended and the garage door was opened back up the sun had gone down and the night was brilliant and the air cooled us and everything was as it should be so I grabbed that Mexican girl and a few beers and we ducked down around the corner in the alley and we made out like we were the last people in the world and I told her this was it, this, that song, those moments, that’s why I still do this shit. Because though we often have to nearly sink in the shit to find a real gem sometimes we do find that gem and it can be a beautiful and marvelous and even life saving thing.

Canadian Rifle s/t 7"
Debut vinyl offering from Chicago’s Canadian Rifle recorded back before Bryan Welch of Chronic Seizure was replaced on guitar by Burn Collector zine author Al Burian. This record gives us three catchy fun rough and raw but melodic punk tunes with witty smart lyrics that are immediately appealing to the ears. Canadian Rifle are the kind of band that could be put on any punk bill and not only fit in but they would also probably be one of the stronger bands of the evening. These guys really offer something for any fan of any genre of punk whether you be into melodic punk bands like Leatherface or Jawbreaker or whether you’re into hardcore/punk or even garage punk which is not the kind of band you run into much these days. Song title themed artwork by now guitarist Al Burian. Perfect debut offering by a band that can only go up. Released on Chicago’s Squirrel Heart Records with a certain amount pressed on green vinyl. Get this! (MCP)
(Squirrel Heart Records // Ryanleary22-at-gmail.com)

Canadian Rifle s/t 7"
Second release by Chicago’s Canadian Rifle in less than a year, and once again these guys deliver the goods. Not much has changed since the first 7" with the exception of a new guitarist but it feels like the band has gotten even tighter and the excellent song writing has become even better and the lyrics even darker. Four catchier than hell melodic raw Leatherface-like style punk tunes done better than just about any other band today taking a similar route. Great gruff vocals, tight musicianship, smart dark lyrics, and a fresh enthusiastic exciting delivery, these guys leave you with nothing but good things to say about them. If these guys stick around any longer they’re really going to have great things coming their way. Perfect recording and featuring song of the year: Hug My Blood. A certain amount is pressed on clear blue vinyl, the rest on black. I give these guys an A.(MCP)
(Criminal IQ Records // www.criminaliq.com)

Holy Shit! s/t LP
I’ve given this record repeated listens, looking for flaws, and I keep going back to one word: Amazing. There are no flaws. Third vinyl offering from Milwaukee’s Holy Shit and first release with Chicago’s Criminal IQ, this time in the form of a 12 inch, their first. With this record Holy Shit is proving what I’ve been saying all along and that is that they’re not only one of the best bands in hardcore/punk but that they’re one of the best bands in the world. I mean this stuff is insane. Mental. Each song whips by at a frightening pace, nearly teetering on the brink of a deadly alcohol-filled explosion before crashing to a sudden abrupt end. Recorded this time around with Justin Perkins who did a real bang up job with this long player. Spastic screamed out vocals with steady pounding bass guitar accompanied by some of the best drumming I’ve ever heard and the guitar work? The guitar work has mad hate-filled genius tacked all over it. This time the drumming can be heard so clearly that it feels like the drummer is right in the room behind you smashing the fuck out of his drum set like he’s clubbing a baby seal to death. Absolutely great song writing with so many quick changes it’s incredible that these guys are able to play these songs the same way each time. Combing elements of all the best classic 1980's American hardcore with touches and tinges of Jap hardcore with Minutemen-like changes. This is easily Holy Shit’s best moment and quite possibly the best hardcore record to come out in the last 5 years. Amazing. Chalk up another hit for Criminal IQ. (MCP)
(Criminal IQ Records // www.criminaliq.com)

Norman Bates and the Showerheads “Psycho Too!” CD
Had the Gizmos or Ramones started in the mid-1980's and played hardcore/punk this is what they would have sounded and looked like. What you have here is a 1987-1996 discography of the semi-legendary Norman Bates and the Showerheads who play awesome and hilarious New York hardcore/punk that is equal parts Ramones, Motorhead, and the best of early Metallica with just enough traditional rock & roll tinges to satisfy. With songs about being a tarantula and smoking Marlboro cigarettes and being Gilligan of Gilligan’s Island these four Joe Dirt looking motherfuckers are definitely a fast fun hard good time punk band that should certainly have more attention put on to them. Twenty-three songs in all and not a single stinker. Very recommended.(MCP)
(Haunted Town Records // www.hauntedtownrecords.com)
(Dead City // www.deadcityny.com)

Pedestrians “Ideal Divide” LP
Second LP by one of Chicago’s best modern punk bands. This time around the Peds recorded at Chicago’s own Volume Studios with Chicagoan Doug Ward handling the mastering and this one has a real big kick that the first LP didn’t quite have while the Peds still crank out their signature rough-edged mid-tempo melodic yet aggressive punk assault. Song-wise there’s not much of a difference from previous releases but why mess with a near perfect thing. The song quality is always top notch with a rock solid rhythm section, flawless guitar, and excellently barked out vocals. The Pedestrians are one of today’s only punk bands that come to mind that truly have created their own sound while sticking to a bare bones stripped down punk-rock textbook formula. If you were to ask me what band would be a perfect example of Chicago punk I’d put this LP in your hands. No shit, it’s that good. Vinyl only release on Chicago’s A Wrench In the Gear Records. CD on Southkore. (MCP)
(A Wrench In the Gear Records// PO Box 476903 Chicago, IL 60647)
(Southkore Records // www.southkorerecords.com)

V/A The Statutory Ape Vs. the Gut-Bugs split 7"
Now this is exactly what I look for in a split 7". Two rippin’ ridiculous unknown basement punk bands on an unknown obscure record label based out of the Midwest (Columbus, OH to be exact) with xerox copied covers and inserts. Statutory Ape start out with a very Sabbath-y intro before completely degenerating into a garage-y metallic punk thrash jam mess with the singer screaming out “How dark can one man get, when all he needs is another beer and cigarette?” which is absolutely perfect for this style of music. Two great and memorable songs that whiz by in just under seven minutes by Statutory Ape that would appeal to any fan of hardcore/punk, stoner rock, and metal. Next up is the Gut-Bugs who deliver my favorite of the two sides. The Gut-Bugs play fast stupid sloppy snotty punk that would appeal to those who like the snottiest of the snotty on Rip Off Records. With lyrics ranging from getting drunk and forgetting your dope to a girl having “Whoreable Acne” and “Matt Faggot and the Pussy Parade” these guys are just perfect in my book. Best split 7" I’ve heard all year hands down. Released on Columbus, OH’s obscure Burnt Sienna Records. 500 pressed.(MCP)
(Burnt Sienna Records// bsienna-at-aol.com)

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