Lifeguard Concert Evaluation: Chess Membership, SXSW 2023

“The best teen band since Squirrel Bait.” Creating that your Bandcamp bio is one approach to appeal to the eye of discerning underground rock followers with an ear for historical past. Chicago trio Lifeguard clearly know their means across the classics, not less than in case your definition of “classic” contains the frenetic, noise-ravaged punk crimes of the ’80s – like, in fact, Squirrel Bats, Kentucky Melodic Hardcore band whose heartfelt and rhythmically advanced data helped lay the muse for whole genres. Watching Lifeguard onstage on the Chase Membership for an official SXSW showcase on Friday, I seen somewhat extra Mission to Burma of their sound, even once we’re discussing the progenitors of scraping, dissonant art-punk. .

Final month Lifeguard introduced their signing to the venerable Matador Information, which lately helped make stars of one other band from the identical younger Chicago scene, Horsegirl. In a way, the 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 Pony, amongst different notable teams like 90 Day Males and Disappears. However listening to the lifeguard at Chess Membership, I obtained the impression that even with out prior affiliation, he may need appealed to Matador co-owner Gerard Cosloy, who had appeared in Burma reveals as a teen and later signed for Homestead Information. Signed Squirrel Bat.

With Austin resident Kosloy entrance and middle, as photographed within the tweet above, the lifeguard blew our senses on Friday. The songs had the stressed vitality of youth, however not the clumsiness. It was a tense half-hour of fast-paced post-punk with sharp edges and (sometimes) flattened fifths, delivered with a confidence and authority that both belies Lifeguard’s age or underlines it (I can’t resolve). Each Case’s bass and Kai Slater’s guitar sometimes buzzed via aggressive, dissonant riffs and drifts of suggestions, in any other case, spilling into ever-expanding drones. The vocals, principally from Slater, have been shouted and crooned with a blunt drive that jogs my memory of the seasoned bark of Scorching Snakes frontman Rick Froberg, however with a not-quite-grown-up pettiness. The songs have been tight and knotty, taking part in at breakneck pace with pressure and texture like a FACS LP performed at 45 rpm.

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Lifeguard hasn’t really launched something on Matador but, and earlier than placing out the total size, the label plans to re-release final 12 months’s model. the group can discuss EP; Commenters on Bandcamp examine it to all the pieces from Descendant to Erase Errata to present you a extra sense of this band’s vary. the group can discuss And Friday’s present has me keen to listen to a brand new document, each time it comes out. This band was in some methods raised by one era of indie rock and actually got here of age inside one other, a scene that’s simply starting to unfold to a world past Chicago’s all-ages reveals. (see additionally: frico, a current signing of Hearth Speak Information, who was taking part in proper subsequent door to Swan Dive throughout Lifeguard’s set.) Earlier than hitting his 20s, Lifeguard was already being in comparison with a whole lot of buzz bands in Austin this 12 months. Really feel extra skilled and self-contained. In the event that they comply with in Squirrel Bat’s footsteps, we will look ahead to a slew of creative sounds from this trio going ahead – that could not be too removed from the fiery, impressed music they’re making proper now.

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