If the four faces behind Chicago’s Namorado look familiar, you may have caught them onstage during their Urbana-Champaign college days as A Cool Hand. Although, now nearly two years into their new formation, the faces of lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Altergott, drummer Charlier McCarthy, guitarist/vocalist Jack Keating and bassist/vocalist Adam Howarter may be the only things to spark familiarity.
After moving to the city of Chicago, the four bandmates had a serious discussion about the evolution of their songs from standard indie rock to well-composed music built on guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. With a new EP in the works, set for release in early 2018, Altergott and Howarter gathered at their Avondale rehearsal space to share the ins and outs of their latest endeavors and what it’s like as a band maneuvering through the Chicago music scene.
It’s hard to pinpoint it, but there’s something about Emily Rose and Joe Zeph, the duo behind Zigtebra, that makes them impossible not to admire. They’ve spent the past four months traveling the United States; playing shows, writing songs and producing music videos, yet they bounce into Sip Coffee House with such energy and enthusiasm, you’d never know they’d only just returned to Chicago the day before.
Emily Rose falls onto the plush couch, coffee in hand, apologizing for her mere one-minute lateness as Joe Zeph takes a seat in the armchair across from her. They playfully banter, the admiration between each other evident as they recall their crazy endeavors of the last couple of weeks.
Like many up-and-coming bands, Vast Canvas has experienced their fair share of band members; a year of lineup changes that have settled to include drummer Taylor Kreemer, bassist Parker Langvardt, lead guitarist Justin Doebert and the only original member, vocalist and rhythm guitarist Chelsea Foss-Ralston. In October, the four members worked with engineer Josh Stanley to record their 3-song EP Fck Around, out August 14 via Bandcamp, just in time for their August 17 show at Beat Kitchen.
Vast Canvas falls somewhere on the spectrum of DIY. While their sound is more fit for a conventional music venue, they took a hands-on approach to their latest EP, recording it in Foss-Ralston’s Pilsen home, just blocks from The DoJo, one of Chicago’s top DIY houses. It’s in the bright and open living space of this home where Kreemer, Langvardt and Foss-Ralston gather, (along with Uncka, the band’s polar bear pup), to discuss their new music and the ultimate struggle of responding to emails.
A year after August Hotel dropped their single “12 am”, which has been listened to nearly 100,000 times across streaming services, the indie pop group has finally put the finishing touches on their 4-song EP Charms. Although the band has a number of tunes available online, Charms will be the first official collection of music released by the current Chicago lineup which includes guitarist Ryan Lammers, bassist Cale Singleton, keyboard player Craig Schwartz, vocalist Joe Padilla and drummer Dean Sinclair.
In preparation for their release, including the single “Michigan Again” available Wednesday, August 9, August Hotel will be closing out the summer with two Chicago shows. The first will be on Tuesday, August 8th at Schubas and the second on Wednesday, August 16th at Reggies.
Lammers, Singleton and Schwartz gather in a studio on Northwestern’s campus in Evanston while Padilla and Sinclair join in on Skype to discuss their new music and semi-concerning band dynamic.
Vocalist Sadie Rogers, of Sadie and the Stark, admits the name and concept behind her experimental fantasy band may seem like a joke, but promises the music created by herself, guitarist John Tweedie, drummer Tom Stukel and bassist Anthony Johnson, is anything but. Their dedication to each others’ creative visions in their 2017 EP Ghosts proves commitment and seriousness. The songs may be full of sci-fi lyrics and mystical themes, but there’s an artistic energy within each melodic and instrumental line.
In preparation for their upcoming show on Sunday, July 16 at Quenchers Saloon, the foursome gathers in their rehearsal space to discuss new music, dream venues and live show expectations.
Storytelling and music often go hand in hand. Musicians have a way of turning personal heartbreaks into compelling anecdotes brought to life with vibrant instrumentals and mystic vocals. They craft songs to explore various realms of life, love, and in the case of The Diving Bell, Panama excursions and poisonous frogs.
The alternative folk rock group is headed by husband and wife duo Steve and Clare Hendershot, backed by Charles Murphy, Mike Parton, Graham Gilreath and Jake Gordon (pictured above). Clare and Steve met roughly five years ago during an open mic night at Uncommon Ground and have since worked on a number of creative products in addition to their band, including a multimedia art project and podcast. Even after recently welcoming a new member to their now family of three, the couple shows no signs of stopping. With a new EP expected for release later this year, and a few upcoming shows, Steve and Clare settle onto a couch in their Edgewater home to share how they’re turning art and creativity into a family business.
Members of The Just Luckies have a hard time describing their sound. With various musical influences flooding their creativity, they’ve settled on the label twang-punk. Sonically, their instrumentals and vocals fall within the realm of Americana. A hint of a southern accent can be heard in the lead vocals, backed by touches of ukulele and uplifting beats. Their lyrics and individual personalities, however, are the epitome of punk. They embrace their uniqueness and use their music as a tool to comment on various types of relationships and today’s political culture.
Gathered in a glass conference room in the back of Portage Grounds on Chicago’s northwest side, vocalist KC Weldon, drummer Shea Briggs, guitarist Nat Greene and bassist Lucy Diavolo share the ins and outs of creating their latest album Lovesick Politics and discuss what it’s like growing within Chicago’s music scene.
To residents of the Berwyn, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago, Euclid is nothing more than the name of a residential avenue. During the day, it’s filled with cars. At night, the lights of houses and street lamps illuminate it. From day to day, that’s all there is. It’s an ordinary street. But somewhere along that street, not far from Taco Yo and Wire, sits a home of inspiration to the bandmates of Cardinal Harbor. A home, so influential, it’s been honored by an entire album; the third for the progressive rock group made up of Spencer McCreary, Chris Hills, Joel Stapleton, Scott Carrick, Mark Andersen and Taylor Dalton.
At the corner of Euclid and Roosevelt, McCreary occupies a couch on the stage of Friendly Tap, a local coffee shop and bar. “We want to play here, but we’re maybe a little big for this stage,” laughs McCreary, settling in as he gets ready to explain his passion for this venue, this suburb and Cardinal Harbor’s infamous street.
With a few releases and business models behind them, The War on Peace collectively agrees that their newest EP Automated People encompasses the sound and creativity they’ve been striving for. With a stellar first single, “Fear of Loss”, and accompanying sci-fi inspired music video directed by Chicago-based filmmaker Chris Hershman, the band is setting the groundwork for what they hope will turn into a successful career.
In addition to covering the basics (solid music and supplemental materials), The War on Peace is working on new and creative ways to not only standout in a saturated music scene, but to monetize on their art. The first result has been a subscription service called The Collective, which the three members were kind enough to discuss with Listen Live and Local, along with some interworkings of the band and their creative process behind putting together an EP.
Some bands think it’s best to solidify a following in their home city before embarking on a cross-country tour. Other bands find cramming three bandmates, a sound engineer and a considerable amount of musical gear into a van the best way to weed out the weak. The latter explains the mindset of Tony Aguilar, Cody Varga and Steve-o Gonzalez, the trio behind The Wistful Larks, who have recently returned from a twelve city tour less than a year after recording and releasing their debut EP.
Now that they’ve proven they can tolerate each other at each other’s worst, the three are working toward a collection of new goals, including a 6-song EP and more regular shows in their home city of Chicago.
Varga and Aguilar share their story: