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Gasoline Fight

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If San Francisco’s the home of psychedelia, Chicago’s the birthplace of avant-garde rockers. Gasoline Fight, which gathers members of such acts as Sweep the Leg Johnny, Small Brown Bike and Peralta, blazes with the noisy fury of a punk band that’s given up even the loosest conventions of the punk world in Useless Piece of Weaponry.

The first thing you notice about this EP is Gasoline Fight’s seemingly endless supply of distortion and volumes. Once you’re over the initial shock, however, you realize the Chicago four-piece isn’t just dead set on turning your inner ear into ground hamburger. Maybe that’s a large slice of its modus operandi, but underneath the gritty din – think the post-hardcore tweaker economy of Hot Snakes crossed with bar-rock grime and you’re sort of there – Gasoline fight bubbles with hipster intensities.

That can be pretty tough to see, especially since the band bends over backwards to hide it. “Scum” twists and turns, taking listeners from sleek post-hardcore to overwrought noise-rock within the blink of an eye. “Truth of What Doctors Tell You …” lets drummer Scott Ana live in the space between Keith Moon and Topper Headon, with a furious, though remarkably precise, almost jazzlike quality, while the band flays ears with tinny guitars. The churning bass line and chugging tempos of “Lay Down and Die” are loud enough to make any hardcore fan go nuts, and “New Terrors Come and Go” only barely conceals a complicated, layered arrangement with gruff vocals and snarling guitars.

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