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.