“The very best teenage band since Squirrel Bait.” Making that your Bandcamp bio is one solution to seize the eye of discerning underground rock followers with an ear towards historical past. The Chicago trio Lifeguard clearly know their approach across the classics, no less than in case your definition of “basic” consists of the frantic, noise-wrecked punk offshoots of the ’80s — like, positive, Squirrel Bait, the Kentucky melodic hardcore band whose hearty and rhythmically advanced data helped lay the inspiration for complete genres. Watching Lifeguard onstage at Chess Membership for an official SXSW showcase Friday, I seen greater than a little bit Mission Of Burma of their sound too, so long as we’re discussing the forefathers of scraping, dissonant art-punk.
Final month Lifeguard introduced their signing to the venerable Matador Data, which lately helped to make stars of one other band from the identical younger Chicago scene, Horsegirl. In a way, Matador was already household; Lifeguard drummer Isaac Lowenstein’s sister Penelope is in Horsegirl, and Lifeguard bassist Asher Case’s dad Brian — presently of FACS — performed within the former Matador band Ponys amongst different noteworthy teams like 90 Day Males and Disappears. However listening to Lifeguard at Chess Membership, I acquired that the sense that even with out the prior affiliations, they might have appealed to Matador co-owner Gerard Cosloy, who snuck into Burma reveals as a teen and later signed Squirrel Bait to Homestead Data.
With Austin resident Cosloy entrance and heart, snapping the photographs within the above tweet, Lifeguard blitzed our senses Friday. The songs coursed with the anxious power of youth, however not the clumsiness. It was half an hour of tense, fast-paced post-punk with sharp edges and (generally) flatted fifths, delivered with a confidence and authority that both belies Lifeguard’s age or underlines it (I can’t determine). Each Case’s bass and Kai Slater’s guitar buzzed by means of aggressive, discordant riffs at instances and careened into squalls of suggestions in any other case, often spreading out into prolonged drones. The vocals, principally from Slater, have been hollered and yelped with a blunt forcefulness that jogs my memory of Scorching Snakes frontman Rick Froberg’s weathered bark, however with a not-quite-grown-up slightness. The songs have been tight and knotty, toying round with stress and texture at breakneck speeds, like a FACS LP performed at 45 rpm.
Lifeguard haven’t truly launched something on Matador but, and earlier than placing out a full-length, the label plans to reissue final yr’s Crowd Can Discuss EP; commenters on Bandcamp evaluate that one to all the pieces from Descendents to Erase Errata, to present you an extra sense of this band’s vary. Crowd Can Discuss and Friday’s present have me keen to listen to a brand new document, every time it comes. This band was in some methods raised by one technology of indie rock and fairly actually got here of age inside one other, a scene that’s solely starting to spill out into the world past Chicago all-ages reveals. (See additionally: Friko, latest signees to Hearth Discuss Data, who have been enjoying proper subsequent door at Swan Dive throughout Lifeguard’s set.) Earlier than hitting their 20s, Lifeguard already really feel extra seasoned and self-possessed than lots of buzz bands in Austin this yr. In the event that they do observe within the footsteps of Squirrel Bait, we are able to stay up for a gamut of ingenious sounds from these three down the highway — to not get too far out forward of the fiery, impressed music they’re making now.