ANCHR Magazine

Holding you down with the best new music

Filtering by Tag: Song Premiere

PREMIERE: "All You Got" by Modern Vices

Today, Modern Vices shares their new music video for “All You Got,” the lead single off their upcoming album If Only. The new music marks a return for the Chicago band, delivering their sophomore effort as a follow up to their 2014 self-titled debut.

Photo by Kevin Allen

Photo by Kevin Allen

For their highly anticipated follow up, the band primarily worked in their hometown, experimenting with self-production and analog recording at Treehouse Records, which guitarist Peter Scoville says allowed them to approach the recording process from a new angle. For the first album, the band made an DIY record with limited gear, but for If Only, Scoville says, “This time we were able to explore the studio and experiment with different equipment and work in different settings.” In addition to experimenting with advanced gear, the band also ventured out of the city to Nashville and Bowling Green, where they recorded in different studios with new producers in order to also expand upon their writing techniques. “Working with others present really helped to push ourselves harder as songwriters, both in and out of the studio,” says bassist and keyboardist Miles Kalchik. “Having an outside ear to our sound meant we could take a step back on what certain songs needed structurally or sonically and fully flesh out new ideas to their fullest potential.”

Combining their years of experience playing music together and their refreshed approach to songwriting and recording, If Only also sees the band come into a more stylized and refined space, while still maintaining their original intentions. “Lyrically and instrumentally this record displays the different rhythms of love and emotion,” says vocalist Alex Rebek. “One song may be about a friend while the other is about someone closer or something experienced in a dream. The complexity of love and emotion may seem infinite, but expressing it thoroughly through music is our way to shed light on a specific feeling.”

The band will celebrate If Only’s October 24th release date with a show at Schubas. Get ready for the new era of Modern Vices by getting your first look at the video for “All You Got” below.

If Only Tracklist:

1) Of The Night

2) All You Got

3) The Moment

4) Not A Problem

5) If Only

6) For Yourself

7) Telephone TV

8) On My Side

9) Alora

Keep up with Modern Vices on Twitter // Instagram // Facebook

PREMIERE: "Piss Boy" By Discus

Artwork by Clare Byrne and Jake Stolz

Artwork by Clare Byrne and Jake Stolz

Ahead of the release of their debut album Something Has Happened on September 20th, Chicago’s Discus is premiering their third single, “Piss Boy,” below. Brothers Paul and Jake Stolz (Varsity and Pool Holograph) make up one half of Discus alongside Kevin Fairbairn and Arthur Velez, and the new song pays homage to the Stolz family dog, Boudreaux. The single plays on a sense of nostalgia, which corresponds to the sentimental theme that threads through the album as a whole.

Take your first listen of “Piss Boy” below before its wide release tomorrow, and get ready for Something Has Happened by reading Wyatt Grant of Pool Holograph’s poem about the album:

how could I tell you?

a hiss in white caps of residential roofs in winter

having to return in the afternoon

the world came knocking

and strange wheels keep turning

a certain distance

an unknown and unfair science

never could get the timing right

an appeal from the pillar of steam rising

An unlikely design

that keeps you focused on the shape of text

rather than the contents

A train on new years eve

in which everyone is in their heads

A funny portrait of collected features

that watches the clock

A note on the wall that has since

fallen under the bed

as a pit in the terrain

the same as

the spring that was once a river

did not want to rush anymore

Celebrate Discus’ new album with a Free Monday show at Empty Bottle on September 23rd— details here.

Discus on Facebook // Instagram

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.


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.

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: "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: "Northern States" By The Edwards

The Edwards are Kyle Maurisak (Nativity Beds), Chris DePorter (Torres), Emma McCall (Moonrise Nation), Stuart MacFadyen (Strange Foliage), and Chris Murphy.

The Edwards are Kyle Maurisak (Nativity Beds), Chris DePorter (Torres), Emma McCall (Moonrise Nation), Stuart MacFadyen (Strange Foliage), and Chris Murphy.

Ahead of the next ANCHR Showcase on November 27th featuring The Edwards, we’re premiering their first single “Northern States.”

The song stands today as a reimagined idea that was originally conceived for a scrapped 2014 solo project of Kyle Maurisak. Brought to life by the launch of The Edwards as a full band, the song highlights the creative interpretations and contributions of each band member. Maurisak leaves the songwriting open to interpretation, but nods to the overarching theme of being about comfortable love and the desire to adventure alongside another person—something, for better or worse, we all find ourselves needing in 2018. That theme coupled with the patient guitar melodies and warm tones unfolds like a daydream.

The band recorded the single at Chicago’s Experimental Sound Studio, with Maurisak taking on the role of engineer and producer. Doug Saltzman (Gia Margaret, Denmark Vessey, Mos Def) mixed and mastered the track.

Take your first listen to “Northern States” before the official release on Friday, November 23rd.

You can catch The Edwards performing the song live at Sleeping Village, along with Pooky, Sun Cop, Thee Casual Hex, plus a DJ set from Cadien Lake James on Tuesday, November 27th. Tickets are only $5 and proceeds go to
Our Music, My Body- more info here.

Keep up with The Edwards on Bandcamp and Instagram.

PREMIERE: "American Trap" by Those Far Out Arrows

Those Far Out Arrows

Those Far Out Arrows

This Friday, Omaha’s Those Far Out Arrows will release their second album via High Dive Records. Ahead of the November 2nd release of Part Time Lizards we’re sharing the band’s next single “American Trap,” which you can stream below.

Talking about the song, guitarist and vocalist Evan Keelan-White says, “‘American Trap’ sends a clear message about what's happening in our world today. There's no hiding the content and the intentionality of the lyrics. We encourage everyone to avoid the American trap, which can manifest in unique ways from person to person. The ‘American dream’ has failed so many generations of Americans...lies, deceit, and broken promises.”

Keep up with Those Far Out Arrows on Facebook and pre-order the album here.



Ahead of this year’s official Halloween Bomb Bash, The Bombats are releasing not one, but three songs: “FUTURE,” “SUPER,” and “SAVIORS.”

Lead vocalist and guitarist of The Bombats, Josh Boyer, says the title for this three-part single came to mind shortly after the group had finished the last record. “I got really into this idea of the triptych and wanted to challenge myself to write something based around three parts: exposition, climax, and resolution. I was also reading a lot about The Hero’s Journey wanted to make something that played out like a movie,” he says.

After he had the concept in mind, Boyer set out to figure out how to manifest the concepts both musically and thematically, while staying true to the three parts. “It became a whole page of these word associations: Future-Super-Saviors, Bubblegum-Frantic-Epic, Dracula-Wolfman-Frankenstein, Me-Mike-Doug.” Once the writing process had begun with the brainstorm of different word associations, Boyer says a lot of the initial concepts stayed intact for the remainder of the recording process. “‘Future’ became a guitar riffy, pop punk song with a rigid structure. ‘Super’ became a loose, drum heavy, noise monster. And ‘Saviors’ became this bolted together, bass led, finale,” he adds.

Throughout this process, the group says they were still working out what kind of band they wanted to be, but by recording this single trilogy themselves, that gave them the chance to continuously explore their sound and vision. “We recorded it ourselves which gave us a lot of opportunity (maybe too much) to go back and change things constantly. We took a long time making this because we were always trying new things and figuring out what we didn’t want to do,” Boyer says. “Sonically, it’s this exploration of us trying to become a better band and lyrically I was taking all these things I didn’t like about myself and kind of shutting the door on them. It’s pretty cathartic to yell and stomp around about that sort of thing,” he adds.

Now that you have the inside scoop on the new single, take your first listen to the three songs below, and grab your tickets to the Bomb Bash on 10/30 here.

Keep up with The Bombats on Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp

PREMIERE: "White Noise" by Martin Van Ruin

Today we have your exclusive first listen of "White Noise" from Chicago's Martin Van Ruin. The track previews the group's upcoming album Current Day, out August 17th.  Frontman Derek Nelson of the band describes the process behind the track below.


Sometimes, songs can come together in a moment and it’s tough to keep your pen moving as fast as your ideas. “White Noise” wasn’t one of those. The chorus melody came first, and then it was written over a bunch of months, almost passively. I listen to white noise (the real thing, not the song) sometimes to focus — it’s meant to calm you down, but if it’s on full blast, it can actually be hard to hear your own thoughts. That’s how the internet can feel sometimes. I guess that’s what the song’s about.

Once the idea came through, the song came together pretty quickly with the band. I love what Sarah [Goldstein] did vocally; and I love [Brian] Sharpe’s guitar solo on the final recording. As soon as we heard a mix, we knew it’d probably be the first song on the release. 

Tune into the song below, and come celebrate the new album with Martin Van Ruin on August 17th; they'll be performing at Fitzgerald's and you can grab tickets here. 

Keep up with Martin Van Ruin on Facebook 

PREMIERE: "The Wild What" by Oku

Today we have your first listen of "The Wild What" by Oku, the project of songwriter, musician and producer Alex Katsaropoulos. Below, Katsaropoulos vividly describes the winding journey behind his debut single. 


This song began over 3 years ago when the chord progression to a The War on Drugs song called “An Ocean Between the Waves” really caught my attention. It was a simple back and forth between D major and E minor for the entire song but that feeling of constant flux was something I really enjoyed. It’s funny to look back at the water imagery of the song that inspired “The Wild What” because the subject matter and title of the track came from another source.

Around the same period of time I was reading a book called “Things That Are” by Amy Leach, and in the book there’s an essay and an idea called "The Wild What." Essentially The Wild What embodies possibilities and potential, anything in the ether and the unknown. I thought that this was a perfect metaphor for the start of a relationship when things are fresh and it could be anything. At the time I had just started seeing someone so it felt right. To go deeper, that unknown can be like the ocean: exciting but often terrifying and overwhelming. I for sure was feeling that in the moment so that’s where all of the water imagery came back into play.

Originally the song was a lot happier the way the chords were played but as the rest of the album developed it was clear that it might need a slightly darker tone. So I changed the way the first chord was shaped to give it a tone that wasn’t as bright. It also had a totally different chorus for a while that felt too happy, so I rewrote that in the pre-production stage. We recorded the nylon string guitar and the drums at a studio called the Mixin' Administration in Chicago and then the vocals were tracked at my home studio in Andersonville.

All the pieces were there but something was missing, it didn’t have that THING that made the track stand out. Jonathan Alvin, the producer, suggested a string quartet for the chorus to try to mimic sinking into the waves, almost like drowning. I thought about recording live strings, but felt that I wanted something weirder and slightly more alien than usual. So after I wrote the part I began finding audio online of each note being played by different people and created a strange sample instrument with them that I could play. And that’s where the uncanny nature of the strings comes from.

Another thing that really draws your attention in this song is the distorted and pitched up vocals, which is a consistent theme throughout the rest of the album. Some of the really high parts are me singing the note in falsetto and then adding a higher octave to it. And that’s pretty much how the song came together. It reflects a lot of other ideas on the album as far as production and style goes but it’s unique in that it’s the only track that somewhat resembles a love song.

Now that you've got the backstory, dive into the exclusive premiere of "The Wild What" from Oku's debut album, which is due out this September.

Keep up with Oku on Instagram + Facebook, and grab tickets to see him at Tonic Room on 7/29 here