ANCHR Magazine

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Running Away With Jungle Green

Runaway With Jungle Green whirs into existence with the fizzy “Our Love Isn’t Far Away” which leads with rolling drums, swaying along to singer/songwriter Andrew Smith’s gentle vocals. The album sounds like it should be emanating through a jukebox or backing a romantic coming-of-age indie film. The way each track bursts from the beginning makes it sound as if it doesn’t belong in our ground-down dystopian present. But the album was recorded only two years ago by Jonathan Rado (of Foxygen fame). After an intense nine-day studio session in LA, the band emerged with a uniquely charming album. Though it was recorded stationary, the band now plays round robin with no member assigned a specific moving part, the decision of which I’m told over a Saturday night FaceTime with the band is “arbitrary.” This only enhances Jungle Green’s playful nature, whoever plays that instrument? That’s what they’re feeling strongly about and that feeling is to be abided by. They combine a seemingly emotional rule with an incredibly tactful studio production. Runaway is a product of trusted intuition, the whole band having an extraordinary assurance in each other and their abilities. Though a foundational rhythm guides each track the band lends themselves to experimentation with vast layering. They move in a new direction sonically but explore a familiar feeling: love. 

Photos by Mitch Mitchell  Jungle Green is: Andrew Smith - he/him (songwriter/singer/drums), Alex Heaney - he/him, Emma Collins -she/her, Adam Miller - he/him, Vivian McCall - she/her, Adam Obermeier - he/him

Photos by Mitch Mitchell

Jungle Green is: Andrew Smith - he/him (songwriter/singer/drums), Alex Heaney - he/him, Emma Collins -she/her, Adam Miller - he/him, Vivian McCall - she/her, Adam Obermeier - he/him

The concept of love is somewhat omnipotent on the album and when asked about it Smith answers “I’ve always written about it. I think we all want it and we all need it. I think people are meant to be with one another and that it’s a pretty timeless topic.” There’s no naivety to his response, just an authentic ideology. He then jokes “but these days I’m trying to write less about love and more about never making it.” There’s no one catalyst to the creation of Runaway With Jungle Green; it’s an organic exploration. But the feel-good is intentional, “I’m ready to be happy” says Smith. The simplicity may give Runaway a retro feel, but Jungle Green understands that reaching for unfounded nostalgia is a barren pursuit. They don’t fetishize the past like pop-leaning Greta Van Fleet—Jungle Green is just so earnest that it doesn’t assimilate to our current soundscape. There’s no ego on Runaway With Jungle Green, no algorithmic clamor. It’s part of what separates them from so many DIY bands. It’s an impossibly genuine album.

“Now That I’m With You” swings around the room with ease, lucky to be guided by the sturdy bass line. “I Need You” is shamelessly wanting, shifting between an old school simplistic love song and a boogying needing bop. The band’s humor comes through mid song with someone ad libbing “get me my pinot noir” and a brief laugh heard over the bridge. Though the most melancholy track on Runaway, “Cryin” is perhaps the best description of Jungle Green as a whole. The music video features the band from the perspective of a VHS tape as they appear decked out in assorted Village Discount ‘fits as the static of the “tape” flits in and out. In various states of emotional disarray they play seated on the floor and in front of a generous green screen, blurring together in transitional overlays and reconvening with their friends/extras, all as Alex Heaney bangs away at a large box that reads “piano.” This sums up the band’s dynamic pretty succinctly. Bassist Viv McCall tells me that for the nine days they were in the studio, there was barely an argument (let me remind you that there are six people in this band). At this point another band member lovingly chimes in that they observe the Purge. The group’s collaborative curiosity and varietal nature is audible.

Though Smith is the sole songwriter, there is never a song that serves only his purpose, each member is interwoven to serve the song; Whatever the song needs, Jungle Green offers. They allow for the lyrics to breathe. But the dynamic of so many bodies and instruments is heard, never tugging at each other but falling comfortably into place, happy to be there. In many ways the album is a version of Smith explored by other people. Each member elevates the other’s talent, but they’re exploring the same topic. “Please Run Away With Me” is a rollicking track with the jazzier vocals of Emma Collins that plea for the subject to leave their troubles behind and bask in the light of being in love. A testament to Jungle Green’s ability to make the present seem eternal. They suspend you in a temporary alleviation from inevitable environmental disaster and impending election. “All My Life” is the defacto funkiest track of the album with a grooving bass line and syncopated synths. Smith chimes “don’t you worry little mamma, I can make you feel alright,” sneaking in something a little more indulgent to his otherwise meeker songwriting. Though Smith’s voice is often hushed, he’s not tentative. Jungle Green modulates their intensities into something more enchanting than demanding. The final track, “Happiness” could be described as anti-capitalist if I thought there was a political motive. Here Smith sings “working 9-5, trying to stay alive, they deserve happiness as far as I can tell” in reference to grumpy cashiers. It’s a clear and buoyant end.

Runaway seems to understand that songs can be as simple as they appear, that we don’t have to mine ourselves or our environments for emotional exploitation. Sometimes we can just speak plainly, sometimes we can just focus on the heart. This is part of what makes the album so irresistible. A tender streak runs through Runaway With Jungle Green, the record churns sweetly at its core, unclenching the jaw most of us are used to muscling into place. 



Diving Into Goodnight Gorillas

A review of Goodnight Gorillas’ new album Splash!

Photo by Sam Bramble   Goodnight Gorillas is:  Joe Graves (he/him/his) - Guitar and vocals  Jake Braun (he/him/his) - Guitar  Shun Matsuhashi (he/him/his) - Bass  Connor Peck (he/him/his) - Drums

Photo by Sam Bramble

Goodnight Gorillas is:

Joe Graves (he/him/his) - Guitar and vocals

Jake Braun (he/him/his) - Guitar

Shun Matsuhashi (he/him/his) - Bass

Connor Peck (he/him/his) - Drums

Splash! ricochets off Goodnight Gorillas’ last five albums, providing their most cohesive sound yet. The band is at their best with a clear production and tenacious tracks. Even though this album maintains Goodnight Gorillas’ DIY sensibilities, it’s bright and engaging. The nine tracks are incapable of sitting still, leaping up at unexpected times for choruses to arrive abruptly, all with a healthy amount of “doo doo doos” left to edge their way into the band’s more alternative style. The titular track is dynamic, peppy in sound and ill in lyrics, with vocalist and lead guitarist Joe Graves singing “the chemicals enter my skin and find where my depression lives.” “Splash” then suddenly rolls into the bashing drums of Connor Peck before its immediate end.

Splash! is lyrically boundless, shifting around doused in Millennial ennui. On “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs,” Graves mocks the older generation of down-turned noses singing “you’re awfully young to be selling your soul.” Unlike the alt rock bands before them, there’s more of a happy-go-lucky sense of humor to Splash! than there is a sense of debauchery. Goodnight Gorillas is rolling their eyes at themselves, whether it be the poor decision of getting a liberal arts degree or the fear of being sold a Hulu package. They leave listeners in a constant state of bemusement. The harmonies on tracks like “Make Out” (a bop for non-committal introverts) were designed for an audience sing-along as Graves finds time to do everything except perhaps the person interested in him. Even the most melancholic of listeners would be unable to keep their heads from nodding along to Splash! That isn’t to say that the album lacks introspection, it has a crisp 20/20 hindsight and reflects on many a missed (romantic) communication.

The recently released music video for “Three Words” depicts Graves beating a wifi router to the ground with a baseball bat after a seemingly innocuous argument with In Lieu’s Nikii Post about glitching (internet) connection. The song hinges around an unstable couple with shit internet, Graves defending the choice not to call Comcast with “I haven’t talked to a stranger in years.” Which is possibly more about anxiety than it is about being an easy sell. Though Splash! doesn’t come to an exact emotional conclusion it speaks plainly, giving you the idea that Goodnight Gorillas understands their pitfalls. On the plucky “Doctor” they regretfully croon “I should’ve realized the things I put you through/I should’ve realized what we were gonna do” before repeating “don’t get serious.” “Phase One” hits with gargantuan hooks as The Breakup Anthem of the album with Graves crying “I swear I’ll learn to bark like a good dog.” Here Splash! takes an emo-esque turn with Graves’ voice twisting into a squeak with a tense sincerity. Goodnight Gorillas throw their arms wide open to anyone with a convulsing heart. The band uses extreme volume and addictive riffs to distract from the nerves of living in uncomfortable skin. There is a tenderness that hovers right below the album as they mix dejected songwriting with polished melodies. Maybe it’s irresponsible for Goodnight Gorillas to make their heartbreak sound so damn catchy, maybe it’s just a Midwest nicety. Splash! is a testament to the band’s ability to make the bleak blinding. The album is constantly in motion, the sound both perfectionistic and distressed. It’s not uncommon for the labor pains of one album to be felt on their next, and Splash! is certainly proof of that as an album that feels especially worthy of the effort. After years of treading water Goodnight Gorillas finally jumped off the deep end. And they emerged with a fresh pulse. 

Splash! is out everywhere tomorrow, August 6th.


 Keep Up With Goodnight Gorillas:

Twitter + Facebook + Instagram

Catch their album release show at Icehouse on August 16th

tickets here



PREMIERE: "Closer" by Rainbow James

Rainbow James is Griff Johnson, Charlie Yokom, Mike Cangemi, and Colin Mohr

Rainbow James is Griff Johnson, Charlie Yokom, Mike Cangemi, and Colin Mohr

When I think of the Chicago band scene, a middle school cafeteria comes into my mind pretty instinctually. When I break down the way my middle school cafeteria looked, there are some hard-to-miss parallels to our beloved Chicago musicians. There’s the cool kid table where they are wearing the newest Vans and trading crumbled cigarettes they stole from their big brother for that extra piece of pizza. There is a table with the drama kids where they are all dressed like their favorite Broadway character and communicate with each other with whistle tones and guttural sounds no one understands. I want to draw your attention to one table in particular. At this table, four boys are sitting close together; unreasonably close for lunchtime circumstances. They are typically putting lunch meat on each other’s faces while one braids the other boy’s bangs. If you stumble upon this table, you have oh so luckily ran into the boys of Rainbow James.

The boys of Rainbow James no longer put salami on each other’s faces (that I know of), but they do play music, and they play it well. Breaking into the Chicago music scene can be a big heaping pile of complicated but the boys of Rainbow James have done it with pizazz, creativity, and are sharing some of the catchiest tunes I have heard to date. When first hearing this band name, I was perplexed and more confused than anything. I came to learn that Rainbow James is slang for sprinkles. Maybe you have heard of Rainbow Jimmies? The boys say their time in Boston is what generated this name, but I beg to differ. Sprinkles, in layman's terms, are these colorful pieces of awesome to top off your favorite dessert. Rainbow James has done just that to my favorite playlists. They have finished them off; they are cherry on top, making your plain vanilla cone truly delightful.

With the release of their EP “Songs About James” and now their newest single “Closer”, I asked the boys of RBJ what it was like creating this new track. Mike Cangemi (bass) says, “It is the first song we worked on and recorded with Charlie [Yokom], so it was cool to have one more person collaborating in the songwriting process as well as heading another instrument to think about.” As Rainbow James’ sound grows, so does my affection towards this group of musicians. With their next show happening July 14th at 365-viii, I shall unashamedly be playing their songs on a loop until I can see Rainbow James take the stage, giving us all colors of the rock spectrum a listener could hope for.

Now take a listen to “Closer” early, before its official release tomorrow, July 2nd.

PREMIERE: "Sapphire" by Nativity Beds

Photo by Emma McCall// Album art (below) by Carina Hoyer.

Photo by Emma McCall// Album art (below) by Carina Hoyer.

Today we’re sharing the brand new single “Sapphire” by Nativity Beds, the moniker for singer-songwriter Kyle Maurisak’s electronica, chillwave project.

Outside of his work with The Edwards, Maurisak released Nativity Bed’s debut album ghost in April 2018. “The project mainly served as a cathartic outlet for me for a long time, and I had gone through phases through the process of making it of debating whether or not I wanted to share this music or keep it to myself,” Maurisak says. Ultimately, he decided it was important to cap that period of his life and release the music that represented some of the darkest aspects of those times. “I released the album and really only sent it around to some close friends. To be honest, I thought that would be the end of the project. As of late, I've been back in that creative headspace and ‘Sapphire’ is the first of more new material to come,” Maurisak adds.

The song was written, recorded, produced, and mixed by Maurisak, and mastered by Doug Saltzman (Gia Margaret, Denmark Vessey, Mos Def). Take a listen below now!

PREMIERE: "Hoops" by Siblings

Chicago band Siblings is sharing their new their new single “Hoops” today, as an exclusive early premiere.

Siblings is Kevin Greene, Max McKenna, and Sarah Giovannetti

Siblings is Kevin Greene, Max McKenna, and Sarah Giovannetti

The new track follows up Siblings’ EP, "Revelry," which was released in April 2019, and the band says that "Hoops" is both a love song to the sport of basketball and a play on sports-as-metaphor.

Lead singer and songwriter of “Hoops,” Kevin Greene says, "I was killing time in the Loop last fall when the opening lines of this song popped into my head: 'Fake flowers / real garden / real bricks / James Harden.' I thought, 'Gee, this might hurt James Harden's feelings if he ever heard it.' But as a basketball fan, Harden had hurt my feelings a lot over the past few years, so I decided it was only fair.” The rest of the song then came together in the following few weeks, right around the start of the NBA regular season. “That the song turned into a musical homage to the band’s shared adolescence in the mid-aughts proved serendipitous, as it was during those years that I abandoned a pursuit of athletics, where I never really excelled, in favor of the arts. A smart person once told me that we write the songs we want to hear. 'Hoops' brings together two of my absolute favorite things and is on repeat in my heart and headphones constantly. Now I just need to make sure James Harden hears it,” Greene adds.

Catch Siblings live at Burlington Bar on June 20th, and take your first listen of “Hoops” below!

PREMIERE: Sick Day's Debut Singles

Today we’re sharing the debut singles from Sick Day— the new project of Chicago based musicians Olivia Wallace and Stef Roti.

Photo by Alexus Mclane

Photo by Alexus Mclane

“I wrote these songs several years apart. Both explore the desire to break free from others’ narrow definitions, from judgements that can trap us. In ‘Deviant,’ I reclaim and celebrate those labels, whereas ‘Brain’ is more of a forceful plea for autonomy and self-definition,” Wallace says about the songwriting process of the new singles.

Both songs were recorded at Jamdek with producer Doug Malone. “This was the first time I’ve ever tracked my songs live with a full band. Doug Malone expertly helped us capture the raw energy of our live sound, while highlighting textures and intricacies that can get lost in the mix at a concert. The process is intensive, electrifying, and beautifully collaborative. I would never go back to click track recording,” Wallace adds.

Catch Sick Day’s live debut on June 6th and get your first listen of “Brain in a Jar” and “Deviant” below.

Keep up with Sick Day on Facebook and Instagram

PREMIERE: "What Happened" by The Dead Licks

Take your first listen of “What Happened” by Chicago rock band The Dead Licks below.

The Dead Licks are Jack Grbac (guitar), Tom Inzinga (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Gallagher (drums) and Johnny McNamara (bass) / Photo by Cooper Fox

The Dead Licks are Jack Grbac (guitar), Tom Inzinga (guitar, vocals), Jimmy Gallagher (drums) and Johnny McNamara (bass) / Photo by Cooper Fox

The Dead Licks formed in 2016 at the University of Dayton, and the four members quickly became tight-knit friends as they bonded over their love for Radiohead, The Strokes, Pearl Jam and Wilco. After releasing their debut full length Stay Away From the Aliens in 2018, the group is back with new music for 2019, and they’re starting with the single “What Happened.”

Talking about the new single, lead singer Tom Inzinga says, “What Happened started as my attempt to start writing simpler songs. At the time I had been really into Jeff Tweedy’s style of songwriting, and the chords came one afternoon, like most do, where I just picked up the acoustic and started playing. When I brought it to the band, it transformed into a very powerful, melancholic song about complacency and moving forward. The lyrics started being developed during a time I was unhappy with being complacent. It was my attempt to get out of a songwriting rut. However, as time went on, it turned into a song about heartbreak, and the idea of trying to move forward no matter what the outcome may be.”

The song was recorded at Treehouse Records on analog tape, which was a first for The Dead Licks. “We had a great time recording the song on analog for the first time—it was a learning experience and really pulled the best out of us. This is a new and exciting sound for us and we can’t wait for everyone to hear it,” says the band’s guitarist Jack Grbac. The group’s drummer Jimmy Gallagher says the analog recording gave the track a more live sound, adding, “You can expect a much more natural sound than our previous release.”

Tune into the new song below, and celebrate the single release with the band tomorrow, May 3rd at Harte’s Saloon.

Keep up with The Dead Licks on Facebook // Twitter // Instagram, and view their upcoming live shows here.


PREMIERE: "Network" by Strange Foliage

Strange Foliage follows up their 2018 album Settle with brand new single “Network,” out today.

“Network” cover art

“Network” cover art

“Network serves as a turning point for us as we’ve evolved from my solo songwriting to a more collaborative group effort,” Strange Foliage founder Joey Cantacessi says, adding that their new approach in writing is better tailored to the sound of all four members.  “Settle was nearly a direct result of my songwriting, whereas now Strange Foliage has a solidified group of members, and this upcoming release will challenge us all as a band, as well as our fans to approach the new dynamic sound with open arms, or walk away.”

Strange Foliage is gearing up to release more music in the coming months. Keep up with them on Facebook and Instagram for the latest news, and go see them Saturday, April 20th with Blue Dream and Elk Walking in Chicago.

PREMIERE: "So Mad" by Drugs & Attics

Today we have your first listen of Drugs & Attics’ brand new single “So Mad,” from their upcoming album Clean Their Room.

Photo Courtesy of  High Dive Records

Photo Courtesy of High Dive Records

Talking about the single, the band says, “We wrote the song about getting broken out of an intergalactic prison, where we were forced to break rocks with even harder rocks until we got mad. Then we hitched a ride back to earth from Shaft who documented the ordeal along the way, and that’s how ‘So Mad’ came to life.”

The band recorded “So Mad” at Massive Sound Studio, which has one of the old mixing boards from Stax Studios in Memphis.  “We used this board to record ‘So Mad', and after the recording, the engineer shared with us that the board was used to record The Shaft theme song.  So we have that going for us,” the band adds.

Clean Their Room by Drugs & Attics is out April 19th— pre-order it here, and listen to “So Mad” below!


Keep up with Drugs & Attics on Facebook + Instagram

PREMIERE: "The Sun Will Come Back" by Faux Co.

Today we’re premiering Faux Co.’s new single “The Sun Will Come Back" from their upcoming album Radio Silence, out Friday, April 5.

Faux Co. is Ben Mackey, Chris Lee, Christian Whiting and Jayson Homyak // Photo courtesy of Faux Co. by  Dan Jarvis .

Faux Co. is Ben Mackey, Chris Lee, Christian Whiting and Jayson Homyak // Photo courtesy of Faux Co. by Dan Jarvis.

Faux Co. front man Ben Mackey describes the new single’s journey, saying, “[The song] was originally written as a soft acoustic song by our songwriter friend from Canada, Nick Gagne. We completely reworked it into kind of a banger, with his approval, of course. I really like the idea of old rock records from the sixties that had a few covers on them, like a Motown hit reimagined by the Beatles or The Byrds. You really hear what the band is bringing to the table when you hear a classic song reimagined. Nick Gagne might be a lesser known artist from Canada, but to me this song was always a classic soft and beautiful acoustic track and I wanted to reimagine it our way.”

The piano on “The Sun Will Come Back" was recorded in the (now closed) Uptown Underground. “The strings sound like a synth at points which was a happy accident in the mixing process. For some reason, it seemed to fit perfectly with the other songs on the record, so we put it in there. It is one of my favorite tracks on the record,” Mackey adds.

Take a listen to the finished song below, and pre-order the album, out April 5th, here.


PREMIERE: "Crowd" by The Golden Fleece

Album Artwork by Pete Gowdy // @arcticsun_collageartist

Album Artwork by Pete Gowdy // @arcticsun_collageartist

The Golden Fleece are back with new music, and we’ve got the exclusive first listen of their new single “Crowd" below.

The track marks the debut single from the band’s upcoming album, announced today. Out April 5th, the band teased their new full length, saying, “Mind Mirror is the kind of album you listen to once, then throw on a pile of fire.”

Mind Mirror was recorded to tape at Future Apple Tree Studio and engineered by Pat Stolley, original Daytrotter engineer. You can pre-order the album here, and celebrate with the band at one of their release shows:

QC Release April 5th @ Rozz-Tox w/ Condor & Jaybird and Faintlife
Peoria Release April 6th @ Pizza Works w/ Condor & Jaybird and Faintlife

If you’re going to SXSW, you can also catch The Golden Fleece at our showcase on March 14th at Shiner’s Saloon.

Keep up with The Golden Fleece on Facebook + Instagram

PREMIERE: "Stage Fright" By Pool Holograph

Ahead of the official release tomorrow, March 5th, we’re giving you an exclusive first listen to Pool Holograph’s new single “Stage Fright.”

Pool Holograph is Wyatt Grant, Zach Stuckman, Jake Stolz, and Paul Stolz

Pool Holograph is Wyatt Grant, Zach Stuckman, Jake Stolz, and Paul Stolz

Pool Holograph’s lead singer and songwriter Wyatt Grant said the new single was written shortly after the release of their last album Transparent World. “With ‘Stage Fright’ particularly we wanted to focus on making a narrative separate from the supernatural themes of Transparent World. The imagery is that of a drama production (curtains, backdrops, decoys, etc.) in which a character experiences both sides of the fourth wall. The instrumentation was a departure from what we had used in the recent past, using a piano, xylophone, sounds of paper, and some layered acoustics,” Grant adds.

“Stage Fright” will officially be released alongside another single on a 7” split later this Spring through Land and Sea Dept.'s Audial LSD imprint, but take your first listen of the track below!


You can catch Pool Holograph at SXSW this year, including the ANCHR Showcase on March 14th at Shiner’s Saloon— full dates below. They’ll also be preforming at the next ANCHR Chicago showcase at Thalia Hall on March 22nd, tickets and information here.

IMG_4788.jpg

PREMIERE: "Oh! Sweet Nuthin'" By Thompson Springs

In honor of Lou Reed’s birthday today, Thompson Springs has recorded a cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” — and we’ve got the exclusive premiere!

Thompson Springs is Matt Smith, Andy Goitia, Jacob Bicknase // Photo by Jake Hanson

Thompson Springs is Matt Smith, Andy Goitia, Jacob Bicknase // Photo by Jake Hanson

Recorded, mixed, and mastered at Treehouse Records by Barrett Guzaldo straight to analog tape, this single comes ahead of Thompson Springs’ debut full length album, to be released later in 2019.

Take a listen to the new single below, and if you’re heading to SXSW this year, don’t miss Thompson Springs at our ANCHR SXSW Showcase at Shiner’s Saloon on March 14th.

Keep up with Thompson Springs on Facebook and Instagram.


Feature: Hard Times With Niiice.

Photo Courtesy of Niiice

Photo Courtesy of Niiice

Niiice. walks into our place of meeting, a 24hr vegan restaurant owned by ex-punks, grinning and scraggly. Which is not out of character for their sound: emo with a kick of power. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t hesitant of sitting down with a three piece band comprised of all white dudes, but the more we talk the more they grow on me. And obviously, I’ve already listened to their forthcoming EP Never Better, out today, March 1st on Brave Cove Records, which has given me high expectations. Never Better actually jumps off 2018 LP, Try to Stay Positive. Whereas “try to stay positive” sounds like measly advice, “never better” sounds like the sarcastic retort to “how are you?” The titles work as a musical “two steps forward, one step back”. Never Better is more concise and collaborative than previous releases, which is ironic considering that it’s hinged around instability. The catalyst being the ass-kicking summer of 2018 where singer and guitarist Roddie Gadeberg and drummer Sage Livergood shared an apartment with rats and mold. Which is probably why there’s a certain need for comfort on this EP. But as Gadeberg tells me about his love for the first two Slipknot albums, Livergood tells me he’s been listening to Lil Peep lately, and bassist Abe Anderson sits quietly, I see the full picture of Niiice. come into focus. Their lovable burnout trope is self aware, not a hint of irony on them.

Never Better opens with the more pop-influenced track, “Snowbored,” which gleefully delves into Midwestern loneliness and the season of snow that interconnects our sadness. On it, Gadeberg mutters “the weather’s fucked, life fuckin’ sucks/but what’s new with you?” Niiice. takes themselves lightly and their music seriously, leaving the emotions to fall somewhere in between, coming in waves of goofy twists on a more classic emo sound. On ‘Love Handlez’ a chipper cartoon voice chimes in “wait, let’s always be stupid. Forever!”, giving us the idea that Niiice is in on the joke: another band crammed with longing, broke, and coming up with track titles in their free time. But Niiice. is reflective, with Never Better being a product of spending a lot of time with yourself- for better or for worse. On the jangly ‘Blunt Force Marijuana’ Gadeberg bemoans “it’s like my father told me, I’ve got no direction/I hate the way I look like him when I’m staring at the mirror.” But the pitfalls of trying to be more doesn’t stop the EP from having a good time: It’s persistent with dynamic riffs. Livergood tells me “we don’t just play emo,” meaning that there’s more to Niiice. than scraping vocals and hating your hometown. The most aching part of Never Better is that the “you” that Gadeberg sings about isn’t some woman-shaped space in his life. “You” is rarely even a person. It’s nostalgia. It refers to a better state of mind, a better time and place. When things were just a bit easier. Never Better doesn’t point to past romantic relationships, but contentious family ones, typically with father figures (Gadeberg calls Emo Boy breakup songs “misogynistic” and “annoying”). Don’t conflate Niiice.’s stoner jokes with their ability to feel deeply. Niiice. is fluent in puns and memes, but isolation undercuts the melodic humor with the shiftlessness that comes from being lonely even when you’re not alone. The cover art for Never Better features a gap-toothed kid smudged with a sinking black eye, giving you a thumbs up. At one point Roddie adds that sometimes he feels like the kid on the cover. Or maybe the cover art feels like him. A kid still standing with a goofy smile after a smack. When it comes down to it, maybe Never Better can best be surmised as a trampled on thumb still pointed upwards.


Never Better is out now on Brave Cove Records. Niiice. will be touring March 8th-17th with a release show at the Garage in Burnsville, MN on March 17th.


Keep up with Niiice. on Facebook + Instagram





PREMIERE: "Feed The Pile" EP by Chromagnus

Photo Credit: Kelly Ngo

Photo Credit: Kelly Ngo

Today we have an exclusive sneak peek of Chromagnus’ brand new EP Feed The Pile, ahead of the project’s wide release tomorrow, March 1st.

Feed The Pile marks the Austin band’s first release as a four piece, with guitarist Max Prudhomme and bassist John “Hutch” Hutchinson joining founding members Will Grover and Ronnie Sokol. The tracking for the latest EP was done live to 1/2" tape in the band’s living room over the course of a week in early 2018, with band member John Hutchinson stepping into the producer role. The band says this recording process gave them full creative control, adding “We wanted the limitations and ‘vibe’ of analog recording to accurately convey the energy of the music, and we learned a lot in the process.”

Get your first listen of the four-track EP below, and keep up with Chromagnus on Facebook + Instagram.


Austin- make sure you don’t miss the band’s EP release show tomorrow at Hotel Vegas, presented by Howdy Gals- details here.

PREMIERE: "We're All Gunna Die" by Waltzer

Photos courtesy of Waltzer

Photos courtesy of Waltzer

Today we’re giving you the first listen to the new single “We’re All Gunna Die” by Waltzer, the brainchild of singer-songwriter and recent Chicago transplant Sophie Sputnik.

The well-traveled track was written when Sputnik lived in Florida and recorded with Felix Fung at Little Red Sounds studio in Vancouver. Now, it’s finally getting its release in Chicago. “I like to think this song reminds me of Little Shop of Horrors, but instead [it stars] Roy Orbison and The Supremes,” Sputnik says, describing the existential crisis-inspired song.  “It's a pretty dramatic show-tune, but it leaves room for sarcasm. There's no doubt I've had some long nights obsessing over my mortality and the next morning dealing with my emotional hang over,” she adds.

Reminiscing on the recording process, Sputnik says, “We used an electro-voice re15 mic, a lot of reverb and compression for the vocals, the drum machine on an old Lowery Orchestral Holiday organ, and my buddy Rob (Fuzzbaby Records) as the Zombie Elvis voice in the end. Recording this song was one of the best last minute decisions I've ever made, and I've made a lot of those.”

To follow up this first release of 2019, Sputnik says she’s already working on new material. “I'm currently in the process of recording more songs with Chris Kulwin, who does about a million incredible things (Rookie, Luke Henry, and The Trinity Irish Dance Company) as the producer in his studio, The Workshop.”



Now that you know the backstory, take a listen to “We’re All Gunna Die” below! You can also catch Waltzer live at Burlington Bar on February 22nd with Elk Walking, Aunt Kelly, and Captain UFO.

Flyer for Waltzer’s Chicago Debut Show

Flyer for Waltzer’s Chicago Debut Show


Keep up with Waltzer on Facebook & Instagram

 

PREMIERE: "Something Teenage" Video by Dream Version

Today we’re bringing you the first look at the video for Dream Version’s latest single “Something Teenage.” The trio from Chicago has an unwavering knack for crafting fun and catchy tunes that are guaranteed to get stuck in your head or get you dancing, and “Something Teenage” achieves both.

Dream Version performing at ANCHR’s September Showcase

Dream Version performing at ANCHR’s September Showcase

Although the lyrics read as a love letter, lead singer and guitarist Alec Jensen says it was not written for a romantic interest. “It's a love song for Iggy Pop, and references some things he said in this John Peel lecture,” Jensen clarifies. “In general it's supposed to be about the way I listened to music in high school, and how exciting it is now when something hits me that viscerally. Usually, it's nothing particularly smart or highbrow. Blah Blah Blah is a super glossy, plastic 80s record Iggy made with Bowie, and it's singing in the shower music.  ‘Something Teenage’ sounds more like Yo La Tengo than Iggy, but it's our little love letter,” he adds.

The video, shot and directed by local musician Emily Jane Powers, captures the buoyant energy of the track as it cuts back and forth between the band members enjoying a carefree, summer day at Montrose Beach and performing the track. Talking about the inspiration behind the video, Jensen says, “I came to Emily with the idea of basically doing the ‘Can't Buy Me Love’ sequence from Hard Day's Night,” adding that they wanted the video to focus in on the friendship between himself and bandmates Eric Brummitt and Michael Kunik. “Emily did a great job. She made us seem really funny, which is good, because we, like, are.”

Now that you know the backstory, get your first look at the video below!

Keep up with Dream Version on Facebook + Twitter + Instagram

PREMIERE: "Apple Tree" by Dreamboats Music Video

Photo Credit:  Reilly Drew

Photo Credit: Reilly Drew

Today we’re sharing the first look at Dreamboats’ debut single and video for “Apple Tree.” Dreamboats’ current line up recently came together when siblings Jeremy and Maddy Marsan and bandmate Dave Hubbell (formerly known as Maddy, Dave & Jerry) joined forces with John Duray.

The new four-piece blends together influences of country and shoegaze music to create a unique sound that they dub as “dream pop western.” The track “Apple Tree” gives listeners a sneak preview of what is to come on Dreamboats’ upcoming debut album. With the help of filmmaker Reilly Drew, the accompanying video for “Apple Tree” shows a juxtaposition of real life and daydreams, cutting back and forth between dreamy scenes and clips that showcase a mundane reality. Check out the finished product below, starring Dreamboats, Kubrick the dog, and Sheila the cat.


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PREMIERE: "Daylight" by Capital Soirée

Today we’re giving you the first listen of Capital Soirée’s new single “Daylight,” a track that the band says is a conversation between lovers in a digital age.

Capiral Soirée is James Kourafas, Max Romero, and Steven Rejdukowski // Photo by Kate Liddy

Capiral Soirée is James Kourafas, Max Romero, and Steven Rejdukowski // Photo by Kate Liddy

“The song questions the honesty and authenticity of modern love where, with technology, dishonesty seems more prevalent than ever. Lines like ‘hold my hand as I hold my phone, we both pretend that we don't feel alone’ capture the struggle of wanting to experience something real with someone— being in the same room, yet feeling so disconnected,” they say, adding that they wanted to convey the feeling of being stuck in this place of constant struggle, uncertainty, paranoia, as well as love.

To juxtapose the melancholy and emotional sentiment of the lyrics, the group paired them with a more upbeat rhythm featuring drum machines and synths. This single marks the first of a group of singles that the band will be releasing in the coming months, and the track was written, recorded, and produced collectively by the band, with mixing done by James Kourafas of the group.

Now that you know the song’s backstory, take a listen to “Daylight” below!



Grab tickets to see Capital Soirée at Schubas on January 31st with Ember Oceans, August Hotel, and Friday Pilots Club here, and keep up with the band on Facebook + Instagram.

PREMIERE: Milk-Based Religion EP by Deep Sea Peach Tree

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Following the release of their debut album Vaguely Navy in 2017, NYC sleepy surf rockers Deep Sea Peach Tree are back with their new EP Milk-Based Religion. The 4-song release officially comes out tomorrow, but we have your first listen of the EP below.

Talking about the creative process behind these songs, lead vocalist and guitarist of the band, Kristof Denis, says, “I wanted this release to move our sound in a more vibey direction. I utilized keys more than in the past and with the help of John Colapinto's hot bass-lines, I think we achieved a new sound.” The songs were then recorded in a secret studio space provided by friends of the band, Jack Staffen and Eliza Callahan of Jack and Eliza and Purr. “This is the last release to feature original drummer Adam Wanetik and original bassist John Colapinto. They have since been replaced by new members Wiley Watson, Andrew Pesce and we've added a fourth member Andrew Dell Isola,” Denis adds.

Take a listen to the full EP now, and if you’re in New York, make sure you snag tickets to Deep Sea Peach Tree’s release show on December 2nd here.


Keep up with Deep Sea Peach Tree on Instagram + Facebook