Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reviews - 12/28/11

The Demerits - A.P.B. Demo - Somewhere along some cultural spectrum that includes the Son of Svengoolie, the Stooges and the 3 Stooges lies Darrick Elia.  At this point, I would go so far as to refer to him as a hidden Chicago treasure.  Tracing back to my first introduction to the guy, his erstwhile band Bondo was a horn-and-beer-fueled rock 'n' rollibido machine.  Thanks to this strange world's burgeoning media tools, their hilarious ode to drankin', "Fuck You, I'm Drunk", has gone somewhat "viral", as the kids (or annoying marketing people) would say.  So much so that I've seen speculation from online know-it-alls who are 100% sure that the Dropkick Murphy's wrote the tune...or was it Flogging Molly?  Nope, it was Bondo and that wasn't their only great tune.

But enough about Bondo.  This 1-track little demo is a very groovy, mellow little guitar, drum and keyboard number.  Not really fleshed out enough to change your life or anything, but a cool little tune for sure and a nice introduction to the new band.  The Demerits are playing around the Chicago area pretty regularly as of this writing, so check 'em out.

Also recommended in the Darrick Elia ouevre is his other project, the Hamburglars.  If you've got a sense of humor at all, go see them too.  Just trust me on this please.  (

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Reviews - 7/16/11

The Breathing Light - Demo - According to their myspace page this band hails (hailed?) from "America's Ass, Alabama".  Like many demos, the recording quality really varies from track to track, some songs sound more complete than others, etc.  And these guys could, and probably will, get better at playing their respective instruments.  But I'll be horn-swaggled if there wasn't a definite mood conveyed on this little 4-track demo.  Kind of melancholy, slightly disturbing at times, coaxing the listener into a bit of a trance.  It's like there is a definite artistic voice here but the Breathing Light just needs some time, confidence and practice to catch up.

File this under backhanded compliments, I guess, but I liked this.  No idea if these guys are still playing though as I rarely make it to America's Ass, Alabama these days.  (

Norwood Park All-Stars - Norcore - Well, you can learn something everyday.  After searching for some info on these guys, it turns out that they're basically a tribute band to the little regional scene that they grew up with on the NW side of Chicago.  From their website - "The Norcore Scene happened during the mid to late 80’s on the north side of Chicago and near north suburbs. The epicenter of the scene was a neighborhood called Norwood Park.  Norcore was a fusion of different styles and musicians. It was mostly punk, but with a strong glam rock and big guitar / big vocal influence. Occasionally some ska and rockabilly would be thrown into a set with mixed results.  The Norcore scene was tight, but diverse. Musicians ranged from teenagers in garages to middle-aged instructors with an appreciation for new music, and every kind of rock-star wannabe in between.  Bands played at old northside clubs like The Envoy, The Lift Off and the Montrose Ave. Slot Car Lanes. Many all ages shows happened at the Courtside Racket Club."

The 8-song CD itself starts out showcasing that glam-rock angle with "Coulda Woulda Shoulda" which is a cool New York Dolls-ish rollicker.  Some competent rockers fill up the middle and the disc wraps up with "The Same" which is one man's reflection on the emotions one might feel while going down on a lady and, likewise, being gone down upon.  But not so much in a 69 way.  More of a "your turn, my turn" way.  But I digress.

Anyway, the tunes here aren't going to change your life or anything, but they're a great reminder of how important a scene can be to a group of bands, or more importantly, the kids in those bands.  Forging memories and friendships and loves and losses and triumphs and all that.  So before this gets too sappy, if you're reading this and thinking of starting a band, let this be your sign from the universe that you should go ahead and do it.  And kudos to you, oh Norwood Park All-Stars!  (

Friday, June 10, 2011

Reviews - 6/10/11

I should be drinking wine right now.  Scratch that...I AM drinking wine right now, but I should be drinking really good wine right now.  But that is none of your concern.  This, on the other hand, is!

Los Readymade - Demo - In the words of the great Murphy's Law, "yahooooooooooooooo!!!!".  I don't know where the fuck these guys are from because all the songs are either in Spanish or heavily-accented English, but their names are listed as Kevin, Michael, Frank and fucking Dallas.  Those names are the antithesis of Latino to my mind's ears.

Doesn't matter.  Maybe it's a great rib pulled on the Beercan staff to make Los Readymade appear more eccentric than they are (because being from a country foreign to the US automatically makes you eccentric...of course).  The important thing is that this is rip-roarin' garage punk, or whatever the fuck you want to call it.

Yes, this type of stuff has been done to death.  Yes, there are a couple covers on top of that fact.  But when it's done with this much intensity and recklessness, you get a pass from us 10 times out of 10.  Keep on keepin' on you Los Readymade weirdos.  By the way, they sound nothing like Murphy's Law, but kind of the same attitude and, after all, punk rock is more about attitude.  Good times attitude, you fucks.

And finally, that is some top-notch EP artwork.  ART!!!  (

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Reviews - 5/14/2011

False Alarm/Youth Gone Mad - Fuck 'Em All We've All Ready (Now) Won!/S/T (Featuring Dee Dee Ramone) - This one is a double album and, quite frankly, the whole thing is really quite confusing.  A little research tells us that this was released at least 5 years ago, but showed up in the magical PO Box (PO Box 457, LaGrange, IL, 60525) a few months ago.  The return address was in Indiana (our neighbor to the east), but looks like both albums were produced in California (our distant neighbors to the west).  Both bands have a shared member named Paul who plays rhythm guitar on the False Alarm album and, well, just about everything on the Youth Gone Mad side.  Then, there are two band photos, a picture of Cheetah Chrome, a picture of a guy who looks like the Winters Brothers long-lost brother, and a picture of a lady in a hat.  There's a song on the False Alarm side called "Youth Gone Mad" and there a song on the Youth Gone Mad side called "False Alarm".  Finally, read the album title for the False Alarm side again.  Go ahead, I'll give you 5 minutes to figure it out...

...yeah, I don't get it either.  Maybe I'm an idiot.

Anyway, you, the reader, at this point are probably thinking, "well, enough about the shit you noticed in the liner notes you fucking nerd.  What about the music?"  Good point.  It's pretty good.  The False Alarm side (featuring Cheetah Chrome on a few tracks) sounds kind of like the Dead Boys and the Youth Gone Mad side (featuring Dee Dee Ramone on a few tracks) sounds kind of like the Ramones.  Knock yourself out if you're a Dead Boys or Ramones completist.  (

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reviews - 4/30/2011

Modern Convenience - Demo - Ummmm, there's something here, but it might be a little too artsy for our staff's tastes.  Or too deconstructed.  Or something.

Truth be told, this was another example of a couple songs sounding really good over tinny little computer speakers via a myspace page.  Then the CD came in and well, it didn't sound quite as good.

Maybe it would sound great to you though.  Who can say, really?  This guy is from Memphis so next time you're there, check out a show for yourself.  (

Modern Day Rippers - Demo 2010 - We got this demo last year from the MDR fellas and I believe this evolved into their debut full-length, "Rip It Up in a Modern Way" on Machete Records.  This is one of those bands whose tunes give you the impression that while they talk it, they do indeed walk it as well.  Although "walking it" in this case leads you to write songs like "I Belive in Pills", "Liquor Store Blues" and "Abortion (I'm a)".  (As a parenthetical aside, that parenthetical aside of (I'm a) really cracks me up).

This is bad news rock and roll for bad news times.  But sometimes, that feels so right, doesn't it?  Go check these wastoids out live.  Only, for goodness sake, go straight home after the show.

(As a final parenthetical aside, the lead singer kind of looks like Konnan from WCW, Lucha Libre, etc.)  (

The Negligents - Good Advice - This is a beautiful, yet practically heartbreaking, album.  The Negligents bounced around Chicago for years playing tons of shows with tons of bands.  Then, they put out this debut full-length and subsequently shut down operations.  And if you listen to this album you can certainly hear why.  Songs like "Friends of Friends", "Good Advice", "Down Here in Scenetown", "Turn Up the Suck Knob", etc. are just dripping with the frustration, sarcasm, angst, and disappointment that only a band that HAS put in time and effort in ANY scene can know.  Yes, being in a band, playing shows and writing music can be truly great, but unfortunately, there comes a time in every band's life span when things start to unravel for any number of reasons.

I have no idea of the specifics of why these guys broke up as a band, but I do know that they managed to crank out a great piece of art before they left which uncannily captured the whole range of thoughts and emotions that go along with shitty gigs, broken gear, dealing with phonies, getting frowned-upon by "tastemakers", crumbling relationships, losing money, aging, et al.

Yes, I realize that this review is making this album sound like a real fucking drag.  And if it weren't so well done, the whole thing could have easily descended into a full-on bitch-fest.  Instead, the Negligents rail against all the aforementioned bullshit in an honest and unflinching way and deliver a pretty thrilling "Fuck you" to it all before striding off into the sunset.

Seriously, pick this up at and give them some good vibes after the fact.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Reviews - 1/3/10

One of our many New Year's resolutions that we probably won't follow through on, is to stay more up to date on reviews, etc.  So on that note, here is a great fucking demo tape (yes, tape) that we got over a year ago!

Lord Green - Last Demo - Hailing from the Quad Cities on the Illinois/Iowa border, Lord Green dropped this green cassette on our ears over a year ago, as mentioned above.  Some quick research shows that they're still playing and actually have a bunch of shows lined up for this month in various locales throughout the Midwest that you'd usually associate with farming and not mind-numbing, heavy, HEAVY rock such as this.

We stop short of saying "heavy metal", because while there are certainly elements of that genre on display here, we wouldn't want to give the impression of nu-metal or black-metal or death-metal or anything like that.  There's too much of a groove involved in these Lord Green tunes for that type of railroading.

Whether they're taking it speedy ("Losing the Race") or sloooowly (opening track "Fly"), everything is very heavy and very groovy but NOT groovy in a polyester-pants kind-of-way.  Groovy in a 7,000 foot deep crevace kind-of-way.  Combine that with some paranoid, anti-media-type sound clips in between songs and these cats will get your attention.

So very heavy.  So very enveloped in clouds of smoke.  So very great.  It's always great to be reminded that weird shit like this is lurking in practice spaces, basements, garages, what-have-you in the vast expanses of country's breadbasket.  (