Where catchy punk rock is concerned, there’s no avoiding it – the mere mention of Chicago makes you think of Screeching Weasel. I still clearly recall a record buying trip to London in 1988 when DeHud bought the first Weasel album from Vinyl Solution, the great hardcore label/shop that is now sadly ancient history as far as today’s scene goes. Spinning it excitedly on a cheap stereo yielded a tinny, fast blaze of utter punk glory – dumber almost than The Ramones, yet somehow just as catchy. This led us, later on in the year to interview the two leading lights at the time – Ben and John Jughead. You know the rest of the story, and I have no desire to plough into it here. I want to mention instead, No Enemy! – a band who hail from the same city and have just put out a new Four track ep which crackles with a similar energy.
‘Dying American‘ is the name of the release, and it’s the work of the four piece whose real names, most assuredly, are Riff Damage, Modern Maggio, Rhythm X and Dr. Slow. This seems to be their fourth release as far as I can ascertain, and so they’ve been fairly prolific in the last few years. Each release seems to offer the same buzzsaw punk rock which bounces along at a fair clip, with all the right ingredients – drums just about catching up with vocals, which themselves are just catching up with guitar, whilst chanted choruses and harmonies make it all complete.
I hooked up with Andy “Modern” Maggio, to ask him a bit about how they began:
“We started No Enemy! simply because we wanted to write and record a ton or material before the perils of age and regular life/jobs prevented us from being able to. After we recorded our first release “Life Waster” though, our good friends in another Chicago band, Shot Baker, (their bassist also recorded both “Life Waster” and “Unwind”) started pushing us to play more shows and tour a little with them. From there it grew and we were a full functioning band”With a maximum song length of 3 minutes and 9 seconds, these boys are never going to give King Crimson a run for their money – they’re all about short sharp shocks. The more I listen to this – and some of their older stuff – the more I’m breaking into a smile and travelling back in time to the days when I still had hair, I could still maintain my place in the pit, and I could still recover from a hangover and be ready to drink the same amount the next day.
The band has a really refreshing DIY attitude – reflected in the fact that, as you might notice, all their releases are on a pay what you want basis:
“We just want to write and record good music and get it in the hands of as many people as possible. That’s why our releases are free, and we intend to keep it that way for as long as possible. As of the last two releases (Disagree to Disagree, and Dying American) we have taken over the recording duties ourselves and record mostly in the flower shop that we practice in. By not having to pay a ton of money in studio time, we can give our music away rather than hustle just to make our money back.”
Marvellous stuff, boys, and it’s pay what you want so I’d advise you to crank it up and feel the wind in your hair….and check out their other releases.