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.
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.
One of the upsides to attending an art college as a dedicated artist is being surrounded by other talented individuals who are willing to indulge in creative projects. It’s a great place to build working relationships, and sometimes those relations grow into solid professional structures. As Savanna Dickhut and Julian Daniell of Elk Walking share before their performance at the SubT Lounge, it was a chance meeting during college that pushed the two songwriters to pursue a career in Chicago’s music scene.
Roughly two years after the release of their debut EP Gardens, a record praised by the local press for its dream-pop melodies and folk instrumentation, Sedgewick (Sam Brownson, Oliver Horton and Jake Hawrylak) has released their first full-length album Collapse. The new compilation perfectly responses to the bands’ early work, building from the calmness of the first album into fully orchestrated pieces complete with a large range of sounds and colors.
For a band who thrives on the dark and heavy synth sounds found on their 2016 debut album Mantra, the four men behind Sunjacket are surprisingly upbeat and goofy. Their banter flows like a well-rehearsed comedy act, no one missing a beat as they play off each other’s comments to poke fun at one another. Even when discussing shared passions, such as their music or love of foosball, Garret Bodette, Carl Hauck, Bryan Kveton and newest member Jeff Rukes can’t help but turn lighthearted conversations into subtle roasting sessions. Even through the malicious giggles, the 4-piece successfully shared their journey of the last year along with their plans for new music and shows.
A residential rooftop in Chicago’s South Loop became the latest stop in Honeystone’s collection of intimate showcases this week. The four-piece rock band, who has regularly been performing private parties, charity gigs and Sofar Sound shows throughout the city, says they enjoy smaller performances because it allows them to interact with fans. They make sure to take time before and after sets to speak with audiences and show their appreciation, knowing their support system plays a role in their success.
“We’ve been pretty fortunate with a lot of good friends and fans helping us out, [letting us know when someone] is looking for new bands for an event,” says lead guitarist John Nordquist.
The boys may be too humble to admit it themselves, but their success doesn’t solely lie with the word-of-mouth marketing of their friends. Honeystone has spent the past year creating a sound that brings together the best of old and new rock. Their well-crafted tunes along with their level of professionalism on stage have brought them to a number of musical milestones. With their summer tour complete and a batch of singles almost ready for release, Nordquist, bassist David Koslovsky, drummer Nathan Taylor and vocalist Justin Honigstein share what’s next for the band.
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.
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 Ghostsproves 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.