88 Fingers Louie/Phallocracy – split 7″ (Labyrinth, 1994): I first heard 88 Fingers Louie on the Hopelessly Devoted To You Too compilation CD. You see, a mere ten years ago, CDs were still a thing and they were super cheap to make. So tons of labels put out these sampler CDs for 3 or 4 bucks and I LOVED them. Hopelessly Devoted To You Too was the second one from Hopeless Records and I loved that thing.
Later, I found out 88 Fingers Louie was a Chicago band that shared members with Alkaline Trio and Rise Against, among other lesser known Chicago greats. I picked up this 7″ recently and remembered how great this band was, especially for their era. This is absolutely hardcore influenced punk, but it’s still melodic enough to make each song catchy and memorable. And it’s not at all in a youth crew/Gorilla Biscuits melodic sensibility – this is just aggressive, angry punk with serious musicianship. Their two tracks on here don’t sound dated or cheesy and that’s a testament to how good this band could be when they were on.
I assumed, based on their goofy name, that Phallocracy would be a throw-away. I’d listen to the side once and file this under 88 Fingers Louie as a one-sided 7″. I was wrong. Phallocracy, hailing from Canada, blaze into three tracks of blown-out, garagey punk with aggression and a seriously absurd guitar tone. Their lyrics are smart, biting, and sarcastic. The lyrics are like those Doc Dart might write if he were only partially insane. This is a well-balanced awesome split. Enjoy it.