Chicago has a long history of excellent DIY punk—the city was home to Naked Raygun and Bhopal Stiffs in the ’80s, Los Crudos and Charles Bronson in the ’90s, and The Repos and Raw Nerve in the ’00s, just to name a few. Still, it has an equally long history of being overlooked in favor of its coastal peers when it comes to the greater canon of U.S. punk and hardcore.
Well, enough is enough. In the past year or so, Chicago has been on a marked upswing in terms of producing exciting new bands that can easily go toe-to-toe with popular coastal punk bands. Whether they feature people who have been at it for years in other projects, or individuals who are new to the city’s punk scene, these new bands continue to breathe life into Chicago punk. Here are some of the newcomers that demand your attention.
We live in a post-Hoax world, where stomping, mid-paced hardcore punk is still a dominant form of mosh fuel. There are plenty of bands in this style that aren’t especially memorable—then there’s Lowhangers. Their first recording, Ulterior Motives, gifts us eight tracks of ear-splitting hardcore punk that, while fairly straightforward much of the time, also takes a fair amount of influence from noise rock, powerviolence (think the parts of No Comment songs in between the fast stuff), and sludge. These influences are incorporated with a deft hand, which is what makes this band work so well. In the midst of a hard-hitting riff, a guitar part will appear that sounds like it could be on a Scratch Acid song, or feedback from a His Hero is Gone interlude. Add raw, vicious vocals into the mix and the result is a very promising first recording.