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Teen Phenoms Lifeguard Made An Impressive SXSW Debut

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“The best teenage band since Squirrel Bait.” Making that your Bandcamp bio is one way to grab the attention of discerning underground rock fans with an ear toward history. The Chicago trio Lifeguard clearly know their way around the classics, at least if your definition of “classic” includes the frantic, noise-wrecked punk offshoots of the ’80s — like, sure, Squirrel Bait, the Kentucky melodic hardcore band whose hearty and rhythmically complex records helped lay the foundation for entire genres. Watching Lifeguard onstage at Chess Club for an official SXSW showcase Friday, I noticed more than a little Mission Of Burma in their sound too, as long as we’re discussing the forefathers of scraping, dissonant art-punk.

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