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***Like a snotty bottle rocket shot out of The Damned’s dressing room and straight into the gut of Cheap Trick, suburban Chicago's sorely under appreciated teen punk pioneers, EPICYCLE, were left out by most modern historical accounts of Midwest underground music of the time, which is such a shame. We here at HoZac first contacted the band about 10 years ago when researching our Trunk City Punk: Chicago Underground 1976-81 feature article for Horizontal Action Magazine, so it was only natural as we evoled into a record label that we needed to rescue these tracks from the cracks of history. With this compilation LP, we present to you the original punch this band was trying to deliver with their three incredible singles, and tracks from their sole LP, along with some pre-razored demos from their earliest sessions, when they were angry, young, and unstoppable.
Although the band were ambitious enough to do everything themselves (back when that didn't need an annoying acronym), they went above and beyond and even started their own record label, Circkle, and released three singles, an LP, and a handful of singles for other bands, all within a span of a few years, yet it just wasn't enough, despite some key local supporters in the rock'n roll underground. One of their earliest and most enthusiastic champions was none other than Subterranean Pop fanzine editor, and future Sub Pop Records co-founder, Bruce Pavitt, before he left the Midwest for Evergreen University. It was clear that Pavitt was attempting to become the band manager and he had even laid out a multi-point system of attack for the band, luckily of which the original handwritten copy still exists! Another notable band released on the Circkle label was Identity Crisis, who featured a teenage Kim Thayil (along with Pavitt’s brother, John) before he followed Bruce out to Seattle and started Soundgarden a few years later, by default, tying EPICYCLE into the fabric of the primitive beginnings of Sub Pop in it's original Midwest manifestation.
As one of only a handful of Chicago punk/new wave bands with an actual record out in the late 1970s, EPICYCLE hit the scene hard and could be found not only gigging around the usual local punk spots such as Tut's, O'Banion's, Gaspar's, Lucky #, and Space Place, but also at Winnetka all-ages shows, and northwest suburban Glencoe teen dance halls just as well. Their raw-edged pop cut a fine line between the emerging punk and powerpop worlds, and compared with regional bands such as Shoes, Pezband, The Names and many others in the shadow of post- "Surrender" Cheap Trick, they were far younger and more aggressive, yet still just as talented and refined when it was in order. But for all intents and purposes, this is the sound of pure teen punk with a knack for hooks and harmonies, and is just as essential of a document of Chicago’s underground sound of the late 1970s as any of the more well-known usual suspects, who are more than likely the subjects of their classic song, “Hardcore Punk.”