ActionBoy 300, 1995
A number of great bands in the ’90s were unfairly dismissed as Fugazi clones, and this suburban Chicago group might be the best example of just how great some of these groups could be. Gauge was a young band, which may have kept them from getting the respect they deserve, but they toured hard and put out a body of work that’s well worth a listen, especially this 6-song EP, their final release. Gauge definitely took some inspiration from Fugazi and the dynamic punch of early emo/post-hardcore, but their sound was distinct with throaty vocals and an earnest, utilitarian method of achieving a dramatic punch. At times they’re tense and gnarled, while other times hushed and subdued, offering a slightly math-rock inspired take on what Boys Life and Christie Front Drive were doing around the same time. If you dig this, you’ll also want to check out some of the bands that sprung from Gauge, like Traluma, Haymarket Riot and Euphone.