Q&A: American Grizzly

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.

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Q&A: Matthäus

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.

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Profile: Elk Walking

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.

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Q&A: Sunjacket

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.

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Q&A: Zigtebra

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.

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Album Review: Moonrise Nation- Glamour Child

It’s hard to believe the finely crafted songs on Glamour Child are the debut works from the indie pop trio Moonrise Nation. The band, comprised of Emma McCall on lead vocals and guitar, Arden Baldinger on keyboard and Eva Baldinger on bass and cello, is as talented as writers as they are musicians. Each piece is finely crafted into theatrical displays of artistry that are not only instrumentally pleasing but also lyrically fulfilling.

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Live Review: Secret Bad Boy (5/26) @ The Empty Bottle

On May 26, Secret Bad Boy played their first hometown show at The Empty Bottle, opening for Chicago’s Parent and London’s Happyness. The Chicago stop took place toward the end of their week-long tour in support of their new recordings.

The members of Secret Bad Boy are undeniably talented, featuring a variety of recording members from successful musical groups such as Vulfpeck, Mild High Club and I Fight Dragons. Fronting the electronic punk band on vocals, guitar and keyboard is Chicago’s Ben Joseph of Ezra Furman and His Boyfriends. While the recordings of Secret Band Boy feature a number of musicians, including Ezra Furman, the live trio features drummer Mat Roberts and bassist Paul Cherry, a group of young men whose professionalism and musicianship on stage are equally matched between each member.

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