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Preview Mon Sep 24 2012

Preview: Mission of Burma @ Lincoln Hall, 9/29/12

By Mike Bellis

Can you still call it a comeback when you might be better than ever? The kind of hard-won legacy that Boston noisemakers Mission of Burma made for themselves in the years since their early hardcore salad days is rare: As a band that was only together for about four years at the turn of the '80s and with only one album to its credit, the story went that Mission of Burma crashed before it ever really had the chance to get off the ground. But that album, the now-legendary Vs. — with help from the band's infamous ear-splitting live shows — gained near-mythic status among the independent underground scene in the decades that followed. With hype and nostalgia finally reaching a breaking point in 2002, the band reunited in with all of its original members (sans tape manipulator Martin Swope) including Roger Miller (guitar, vocals) Clint Conley (bass, vocals) and Peter Prescott (drums, vocals). And unlike other marquee post-punk reunion acts like Pixies, Pavement, or (as of yet) My Bloody Valentine, the band found enough inspiration in their reconstituted form to actually write new material. It could be said they had some unfinished business that needed a tending-to.

missionburma-By Jesse Jarnow.jpg
Mission of Burma (photo by Jesse Jarnow)

Now in the midst of one of the better second acts in rock, and with a steady stream of new records that easily eclipses the band's original material at least in terms of output, Mission of Burma returns to Chicago on the back of its new album, Unsound. Over the course of the past decade, the band has been lauded for its spectacular (not to mention age-defying) return to form. Since its first post-reunion release, 2002's ONoffON for Matador Records, the band has enlisted Shellac's Bob Weston to man the mixing boards and commandeer the band's pioneering form of live tape manipulation in place of the departed Swope. Though Weston only makes casual encore appearances with the band (most of his contributions are in-studio), Chicago scene vets will no doubt be on the lookout out when the band heads to the pristine Lincoln Hall stage this Saturday.

The first release since departing from Matador earlier this year and fifth record altogether, Unsound, continues the bands storied legacy into its fourth decade. Released on Fire Records and self-described as a "bewildering and multi-faceted" record, Unsound proves the band can still mine new ways to integrate Conley trademark hooks among Miller's familiar siege of raw and aggressive smatterings of noise. Continuing a run of well-received records in the decade since the bands reunion, Unsound shows the band pushing its own boundaries while reveling in the kind of explosive, hook-laden firepower that made Vs one of the better post-punk records ever made. And though the band might not have the kind of falling-off-the-rails impulsiveness it had as a handful of kids coming of age in Boston's hardcore scene, the Mission of Burma myth lives on to prove once again how Miller, Conley and Prescott escaped their certain fate of what-could-have-been.

Mission of Burma plays Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.) this Saturday, September 29, at 9pm. Tickets are $20, 21+. Bear Claw opens.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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