Get to Know: The Evening Attraction
One listen to The Evening Attraction, and it’s nearly impossible not to get instantly hooked. Between lead singer Miles Malin’s vocals, their strong, melodic riffs, and their subtle nods to an array of influences from country music to Beyonce (more on that later), TEA have managed to brew up the perfect balance. After releasing their debut album and several subsequent singles, the Chicago-based five piece are now back in the studio mixing their sophomore album. In honor of the new record and the band playing our ACLU benefit show with local legends Post Animal and Jude Shuma, The Evening Attraction chatted with me on Record Store Day before their set at Shuga Records. Here's what you need to know about The Evening Attraction, including more on their new music, their past highlights, and future plans.
Miles and Paul have been playing music together for a decade
Bassist Paul Ansani and lead singer/guitarist Miles Malin first started playing music together in middle school, just about a decade ago. "We played in a band called The Break, with Matt Gieser, who owns Treehouse Records," Miles says about the early days with Paul. Continuing on the subject of their first band, he says, "We had some mild success, for kids. We did like all the big venues around the city. Then we moved on into college. Paul went down to U of I, and we kind of spread out. I met Joe at Columbia, and then sophomore year when Matt opened the studio, we did a record there of like post-Break songs that I had, and basically labeled it The Evening Attraction."
The current day line up varies slightly from the first days of The Evening Attraction, though. "We did the whole first Evening Attraction record...it was us three [Miles, Paul, and Joe], Matt Gieser on drums," Paul says. Miles interjects to add, "Then our drummer now, Nick, did like organs and shakers. Just an all-around auxiliary, good musician. Then we started playing gigs with The Evening Attraction."
Paul picks the story back up, saying, "Nick eventually transitioned to drums, and then we added our friend Vince." Vince Pimentel joined the group last year to play keys and various percussion.
Michael Shannon went to one of their gigs
Miles says they've worked on getting their sound down throughout the years as they've played more together. "We’ve been playing a lot. We’ve done a lot of shows since we’ve been together. I think our first show was April of 2013 or 2014," he says.
While they've played many, many shows, one show in particular still sticks out to the band. "I think our biggest claim to fame is one time we played in front of Michael Shannon, the actor," Joey Abaroa says. Although Paul admits he hasn't seen any of Michael Shannon's movies, Joey's a huge fan of the Academy Award nominated actor. "We peaked, and Michael Shannon left our band," he jokes.
The new album references influences ranging from The Monkees to Beyonce
The new record from The Evening Attraction is completely recorded and on the brink of release. "Right now we’re in mixing. We’ve got like two final mixes, and we’re gonna hopefully be done mixing at the end of May. Followed by shopping it around, hopefully getting someone to help us put it out...If we get lucky enough and we’re fortunate enough to get it in the right hands," Miles says, adding that he thinks there's something for everyone on the album.
As far as what the record sounds like, Joey says, "I usually tell people it’s like The Monkees but if The Monkees smoked more reefer than the Monkees smoke reefer." As Miles elaborates on the new music, adding, "The album has 9 tracks, and there’s so many influences that we have. A lot of Jazz stuff, a lot of 60's rock 'n’ roll. Anything from The Zombies to Ty Segall," Joey chimes in again, citing Beyonce as an influence. (The Queen B influence will probably be very subtle if anything, but make sure you listen to the record thoroughly when it comes out).
Paul also reflects on the new album, saying, "It goes a lot of places. I was listening to it today...we have some rough mixes in. They really kind of run the gamut of our influences. Individually every track kind of goes in a different direction." Paul and Miles also hint that the new music includes some jazzy undertones, horn arrangements, swing tracks, Latin flavor, and 1960's Brit Pop.
At the center of every TEA track, sits a strong melody, according to Paul. Miles also says their songs feature somewhat cinematic qualities, with Paul adding,"A lot of them do have some peaks and transitions, and [it] ends in some place it doesn’t start. A lot of jams. A lot of fades."
Much like other Chicago bands, they're immersed in the local scene
Although Matt Gieser no longer plays in the band, the new The Evening Attraction record was still recorded at Treehouse Studios, located here in Chicago. In addition to being a recording studio, Treehouse also puts on shows with a lot of local acts. Just recently, TEA played a Treehouse gig with another ANCHR favorite, Joe Bordenaro + The Late Bloomers. Joey gives Joe Bordenaro a shout out when talking about his favorite bands, also mentioning The Voluptuals and Red Francis.
Paul weighs in on being a part of the Chicago scene, saying, "Now that we feel like we’re kind of consistent and established, we really have a nice connection with a lot of our friends’ bands around here. It's always just nice to see our buddies' bands play. We share the same bill with a lot of the same groups, so it’s kind of good to see everyone hyping each other up." Speaking of sharing bills, don't forget that The Evening Attraction will be playing our benefit show with Post Animal, one of their personal favorites. During the interview Paul is wearing a Post Animal shirt, and both he and Miles say they've been hyping their friends' music for years.
In addition to fellow local musicians Brandon Reed and Max Loebman, the band say they're huge fans of The Nude Party, Scott Walker, and The Beach Boys. Similar to their own dynamic range in their songs, their musical tastes rest all over the map.
Rock'n'Roll runs in their family, from musician fathers and touring grandmas
Talking more about their individual inspiration to start playing music, Paul says,"My dad played in a 90's band called Material Issue, and they had their success in the scene. Growing up with that was always fun because you know, it was just always part of my life."
Paul mentions that his mom is coming out to see them play at Shuga Records, and that Miles' grandma came to the last show. "She’s coming today. She’s gonna come to the next one...and then she’s gonna come on tour with us," Miles joked.
Speaking of tour, the band say they'll likely tour in the summer after the album release. They've already played 7 out of the 9 new songs live, so make sure you head out to any upcoming shows to get a sneak preview.
They're into collecting records
In the true spirit of Record Store Day, Joey says he got up bright and early to do some shopping before their show at Shuga Records. "I picked up that Cheap Trick Volume 1, which is a 1975-1979 double LP. I got the two Zombies 45s. You know what’s really crazy? Bamboo. The Dennis Wilson record on vinyl," he shares about his finds.
Although he wasn't up at crazy hours shopping, Miles says he also collects his own records, in addition to the ones he's inherited from his parents. Miles says his favorites include old jazz records, especially a live compilation from Capitol Records. His absolute favorite, though? "The Casinos. 'I Still Love You.' It’s like this big band, doo wop-y, soul from the 1960s. It’s this track called 'I Still Love You.' It’s like total deep cut that nobody knows," Miles says.
On the same subject of records, the band say they'll definitely release the new album on vinyl. "I’m looking forward to putting together some good album art," Paul adds.
Stay up to date on all The Evening Attraction announcements on their well-rounded, diverse new record and upcoming tour dates by following them on Instagram. Make sure you get down to The Subterranean on July 10th to see them perform with Post Animal, Jude Shuma, and Condor & Jaybird. Grab tickets to that show here, and get ready for the gig by listening to the latest double single from the band below: