There is this extraordinary merge of garage and punk happening all throughout the Midwest. Although these tendencies go as far back as bands like Death and The Gories, the modern brew has had some time to age. We’ve seen the puberty of punk perish with horrible bands of the late nineties and reemerge with a more refined version of the previous brain bashing. Newer groups like Fox Face are using the best ingredients of the old punk method and applying them to new formats.
Fox Face, out of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, boils punk down to pure attitude and uses the garage rock sound. These guitars just sound old. Old thick strings plucked and slightly saturated with reverb; tubes red hot; drowning in overdriven crackle. Even the vocals have that basement PA sound. Lips smack up against the grill of the mic, the speaker not quality enough to reproduce the actual sounds being relayed, lost in translation, the vocals come out with missing elements. This is most certainly a recording best fit for tape.
The eponymous cassette they have available starts with a song called “Hell Yeah!” that bangs out a four on the floor beat, bass and snare rattling away in first gear. It feels like a Detroit stomp, divided by overdriven guitars that are a little late on the draw. The punk jams out quick, with snotty lyrics about partying and drinking 40’s, a perfect opener. Unpretentious power chord punk rock reminiscent of a mix between The Gun Club and Stiff Little Fingers.
The Gun Club element I hear appears mostly in the guitar work, especially in the last track “I Give Up”, and also in the track previous “The Moon & The Tide.” They lean more toward the garage influences at times but tend to get overshadowed by the straight punk riffs and tongue in cheek lyrical content, which is a minor criticism in a catalog of songs which go from snotty to snottier. This is a band I can see fitting in well with the Chicago scene as many of the Dumpster Tapes Records bands have a similar mix of punk and garage.
This short album gives me faith in the future of punk music. Fox Face is currently working on a new record, which I am excited to indulge in.
Fox Face will be playing Chicago this Friday, April 24th at Cole’s Bar with The Baby Magic, Beat Drun Juel, and Alright Panther as part of Chicago Singles Club’s Fourth Friday series. You can pick up the cassette at the show for only a few bucks, it’s completely worth it. If you can’t make it out check out their bandcamp and buy it there!