American Grizzly bassist Marty Funk and guitarists Jack Doyle and Dennis Wilson rumble about their Pilsen rehearsal space with their friend and photographer Tim Nagle. With only a few weeks until the release of their third EP, a self-titled folk-rock compilation out on February 14, the Chicago-based rock band works to finish their album photo shoot.
They’ve hung a tapestry along one of the ways directly over a wooden piano. To the left are two amplifiers. To the right, a white electric guitar. The scene feels vintage; a perfect old southern rock setting, but what really sets the vibe is what’s front and center: a lamp with a cowboy boot base. The look is laid back and in a way may seem out of character for American Grizzly, but Funk, Doyle and Wilson explain, the music found on their new EP American Grizzly is as genuine as the rock-infused tunes fans are used to.
Three best friends start a band, record some tunes and play shows around their city until they make something of themselves. It’s a story told time and time again, but no matter how many bands the boys of Capital Soirèe find themselves among, the Chicago-based trio continues to strive, most recently with their new 3-song EP Waves of Change.
The new release exhibits a different side of Capital Soirèe. The band has taken on a new approach to writing and recording, maturing their sound as they explore different vibes, tones and instrumentation. Multi-instrumentalists James Kourafas, Max Romero and Steven Rejdukowski gather in their recording basement to discuss their latest music and other upcoming projects.
The “ah-ha” moment: for a band, it’s a time when everything comes together. It’s when all the struggles from nights of pouring over lyrics, drafting guitar riffs and the countless auditions are all justified. For The Flips, that “ah-ha” was the reaction from their 2015 album Better Days, a raw record exploring the struggles of mental health, depression and suicide. The songs are darkly beautiful conversation starters, drawing audiences to connect with the band on personal levels.
For a band built on drive, things come together quickly. Proof lies with the Chicago-based rock trio Dead Harvest; a band that has not only successfully self-recorded a 4-song EP but has also built a notable following and an online presence in only a few months. Vocalist and bassist Jonathan Wilson, drummer Drew Garnaut and guitarist Gerard Rapp are continuing on the fast track with a number of new songs, recording plans and a list of shows scheduled for 2018.
The new year has only just begun, but Zoofunkyou has already entered 2018 in full swing. On January 19th, the Chicago-based jam band will be embarking on their first extended tour starting with a hometown show at Chop Shop. The tour covers most of the Midwest and a number of funk-infused cities across the south and follows their first 2018 release; a live album recorded during their October 27th show at Bottom Lounge.
Vocalist and guitarist Derek Dare, guitarist Bryan Scheinkopf, bass guitarist Matthew Coglianese & the band’s manager Andy Boyd gathered in their practice space at Kildare Studios to share their tour details and to discuss the rest of their plans for 2018.
Major changes for bands, such as a new name, often mark a step in rebranding. It’s a chance to set new goals, build a new foundation and prepare for a new adventure. While new endeavors are definitely a desire for Like Language, formally known as Wilder, their name change had less to do with an extreme evolution and more to do with differentiating themselves from other artists.
“We changed our name because there are too many Wilders,” says Matthew Murray, one half of the Chicago-based pop duo. “When we chose the name [Wilder], we wanted one word, something simple. As time went on, I was on Spotify browsing an indie new artist playlist and I saw Wilder was on there and I was like, ‘Oh man, this is the best day of my life. People are noticing us!’, and then it ended up being the another Wilder.”
Forming an 8-person band with members in two states whose music blends pop, folk and contemporary concert music may not sound like the most logical road to successful, but so far, the nontraditional approach has been working in favor for Matthäus. The band, with members in both Chicago and St.Paul, started as a small project from composer Ben Montalbano, adding bold horn sections, piano lines and other intricate instrumentations to a variety of folk-rock tunes. The group has since grown into a collaborative chamber collective made up of Ben Montalbano, Joe Meland, Justin Peters, Lars-Erik Larson, Samuel Peters, Alex Blomarz, Hugo Seda and Chris Shuttleworth.
With a new music in the works and a December 14 show at Schubas just days away, Montalbano, Peters and Meland gathered in a cozy window seat at Wicker Park’s Wormhole to discuss the band’s plans for the rest of the winter and the new year.
It’s not easy to make a name in a music scene as large as Chicago’s. With so many talented bands, solid music and a strong lineup simply aren’t enough to push through the noise. On top of delivering unique works, a band needs dedicated members who are constantly pushing boundaries, an important quality that members of Honey & the 45s know all too well.
Five years and three albums later, drummer Dave Brandwein, lead vocalist Kristina Cottone, guitarist Jon Gould, keyboardist Sonya Major and bassist Sean Tatum are continuing to find success in their blend of R&B, soul and rock with their latest EP Speak, a collection of four empowering songs exploring connection and authentic relationships.
The last couple of months have been a time of evolution for The Inventors. The Chicago rock band comprised of lead vocalist Joe Mango, bassist Nicholas Kieta and lead guitarist Ray Skamay have turned their trio into a foursome with the addition of drummer Tommy Mendoza, taking Mango off mandatory double duty. They’ve also been working on putting together new music and have recently released their first of three singles, “10’s and 9’s” via Amplify Music. The singles are part of their debut full-length LP Counting Backwards, set for release this coming winter. The album was recorded by Matt Cerritos at Shirk Studios in Chicago.
Their second single, “Fire” opens with a beautifully simplistic guitar line before being joined by light percussion and vocals. The energy takes off entering into each round of the chorus, looping the lines “You’re on fire baby/ You are/ You are”. The piece is an easy listen and look into the new direction of The Inventors.
Monday nights in the middle of November are often dreary, but thanks to performances from Two Sets of Eyes and Gazebo Effect on Monday, November 13 at Tonic Room, this particular night was more than just tragic cold and rain.
The night kicked off with the progressive rock trio, Two Sets of Eyes. Having had their first performance only a month ago, it’s evident the band is new to playing live shows together as the three took some time before falling into the groove of the show. While the band may be young, the musicians are well-seasoned artists with a great sense of musicianship over their respective instruments. They ran through songs from their upcoming self-titled debut (out November 25). The vocals on a few of the songs were rough, but most of the pieces where instrumental heavy, creating dynamic arcs with guitars and synth. A standout tune was “Sunshine, You’re Standing in My Sunlight”; an eerie and almost psychedelic instrumental piece that builds around an ear-bending synth melody.
It’s rare to find a band with a kickass guitarist who understands the art of soloing. What’s even rarer is finding three such guitarists on a single stage as part of the same band. Each guitarist from the nights’ second band, Gazebo Effect, shared lead duties and did an amazing job coloring the songs with intricate riffs throughout. Not only did the band exhibit amazing guitar lines, the rhythm section, as well as the vocals, were superb. The band played the songs from the 2017 EP Turtle Rock, with a standout piece being “Laraway Drive” as it encompasses everything the band does right from killer guitar riffs, steady rhythms and catchy choruses. Aside from providing a rich sound, Gazebo Effect’s stage presence exhibit passion and energy without overdoing it.