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 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
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 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
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Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Gasoline Fight
Useless Piece of Weaponry
Thick Records

Rating: 8/10 ?

March 15, 2005
It seems that no matter how large your city is, given enough time, even the largest cities start to seem smaller and smaller. Now maybe I'm talking out of my ass here, because the largest city I've lived in isn't that large in the grand scheme of things, but I think to a certain extent this analogy holds true. After frequenting the same bars, shops and hot spots, people start to look familiar and become commonplace.

The same is true for music scenes: as bands come and go, and their members start to recycle into new bands, the names of major players in the scene start to show up again and again under different monikers. Nowhere is this truer than Chicago's post-rock scene, where seminal acts such as Sweep the Leg Johnny, Ronin, June of 44, Rollo Tomasi, the Haymarket Riot, Just a Fire (and many more) make their base. The latest incarnation of Chicago's finest post-rock veterans is the greatly-named Gasoline Fight, which features members of Sweep the Leg Johnny, Small Brown Bike and the Traitors.

Useless Piece of Weaponry, Gasoline Fight's debut EP on Chicago's Thick Records, hits like every other great collection of Chicago post-rock - a ton of bricks to the face. Gasoline Fight isn't necessarily reinventing the wheel here, but they are making it nastier, more aggressive and all around meaner.

Useless Piece of Weaponry is straight up Chicago style rock, wherein dual dissonant guitars rule the world and rhythm sections expertly flail and pulse awa,y trying to keep the band together as they careen into chaos. Stan Wood and Scott Flaster's guitars play off one another as if they were similarly poled magnets at the tip of a speeding bullet. Francisco Ramirez's bass churns and burns below with Scott Anna's drums somehow holding the entire mess of noise together. This is the type of rock that makes many a Chicago native smile with giddy aggressive joy.

Tipping the scales at brisk eighteen minutes, Useless Piece of Weaponry uses its time wisely packing in all of the aural assault it can. Recorded in the midst of bassist Francisco Ramirez's fight with cancer which included trips to Texas for bone marrow and stem cell transplants, the frustration of disease comes out clearly with songs titled, "Truth of What Doctor's Tell You," "Night Terrors Come and Go" and "Lay Down and Die."

The bands apathetic outlook comes across best on "Threadbare," with the chorus, "It will be better than you expected/But never better than what you had." All three guitarists, Wood, Flaster and Ramirez, share the throat-ravaging vocal duties, and do it well. Each set of vocals fit each track and no one's particular performance out shines the others.

Useless Piece of Weaponry may not house anything out of the ordinary for a Chicago based rock band, but this EP is definitely worth checking out to see how post-rock sounds when done right. Gasoline Fight hammers on all cylinders with perfect timing, bordering on the edge of chaos yet never falling in. This is what Chicago post-rock should sound like.

Reviewed by Craig Mertes
Craig lives, works and listens to music in the general vicinity of Orlando, Florida, where he absorbs everything from hip-hop to indie, pop, rock, punk and metal. His all time favs include Hum, Clutch, Dismemberment Plan, and the Reverend Horton Heat. The last we heard, Craig was spinning Vast Aire, Soul Position, Blues Explosion, Motörhead, the Blood Brothers and Dead Meadow. Craig is also a life-long, die-hard Cubs fan, so lay off.

See other reviews by Craig Mertes



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