Grounders, The New Diet, Stepfather Gets Mohawk
3420 W. Grace St
Chicago, IL, 60618
Doors 8:00 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is 21 and over
Upon returning to his hometown of Toronto from a final European tour with his band, Peter Dreimanis sat sweaty and half-drunk in a candlelit basement bar, nursing a drink, debating his next musical pursuit. Lulled in lethargy, he paid little attention to the beat-up acoustic guitar being passed from patron to patron around him; that was until it found its home in the hands of Leah Fay.
It took only seconds of strumming and dreamy, dulcet singing for Dreimanis to realize he’d met his muse. He sat listening, dumfounded, dreaming up ideas for what could come to be between the two of them. Clear-headed the next day, he started his search for the stranger from the bar with whom he seemingly shared a soul. He found her; they founded July Talk.
Despite their relatively young union, the primary pair behind July Talk has already established its own sonancy: a sound rooted in roots and Americana with the dual-voice charm of Johnny and June, the creepy quirkiness of Tom Waits, and the hooks of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. It’s a very unique blend that borrows from different decades and domains, though where those influences begin and end is cleverly disguised.
Most special about a July Talk experience, though, is the foiling of Dreimanis and Fay as personas; who they are inside or outside of the public eye and just what it is that exists between them. Lyrically, the pair plays with the juxtaposition of gender roles and perspectives, distorting social preconceptions. It’s often a war waged between clashing personalities in a frame that shares two perspectives of the same relationship – at times conflicted, at times chaotic, most times just downright bewildering.
After countless spirited live shows, old demos circulating the web, relentless tinkering, and additions in personnel, GROUNDERS are finally releasing their first official recordings. And it was worth the wait. Wreck of a Smile confirms that GROUNDERS have successfully sidestepped the dangers of local hype to actually hone in on something to call their own. It’s lush, melodic and charmingly idiosyncratic. Like an encounter with an eerily incandescent circus tent in the backwoods, Wreck of a Smile is enchanting, steeped in sublime wonderment.
Led by frontman Andrew Davis and joined by multi-instrumentalist Daniel Busheikin, guitarist Evan Lewis, bassist Mike Searle and drummer Rob Canali (who also created the gorgeous album artwork), GROUNDERS is a group of friends that coalesce into something simultaneously natural and incongruous.
With the production help of Marcel Ramagnano at BoomBox Sound in Toronto, the band has neatly distilled their two years of playing everything from boozy hole-in-the-wall gigs to packed POP! Montreal shows into four songs of unabashedly weird avant-pop.
Wreck of a Smile is comprised of the jubilant “Along The Line,” the serene “Speedboats,” the flag waving “Crown Land,” and the explosive “Grand Prize Drawl.” Sonically, it could be likened to Mercury Rev or Grizzly Bear, but why draw comparisons with a band so cohesive and realized? Just listen.
The New Diet
Chicago's The New Diet was named one of the 13 bands to watch this year by Loud Loop Press, and last year's single "Miles and Days (Van Song)" is a great example of why. It opens in ambling fashion, with a mix of Lomax-esque found sound, dreamy guitar strums and vocalist Anthony Focareto's swooning, hypnotic layers, being "followed by birds / swallowed by haze." Just as the sonic haze clears, in comes a solid, head-bopping backbeat, and suddenly, with one chord from several squealing guitars, "Miles" changes completely. Over the next five minutes, echoed vocals, tightly controlled feedback and airy cymbals paint a swirling image of being stuck on the side of the road just before daybreak. The band goes full force when necessary, but also holds back just enough to give the song it's needed breathing room. Classic Yo La Tengo and early Shins come to mind, yet this is a mind-blowing track seeping with originality. If those bands are built the foundation, The New Diet slaps the roof on.
Stepfather Gets Mohawk
The phrase "Pure evil" is not often used to describe bands in Chicago, Illinois. And it's even less likely to be emphatically accepted by the band in question. Stepfather Gets Mohawk is a three-piece dirty-rock band who has been working since their beginning to preserve an air of evil and anarchic fun.
With heavy, driving riff-and-rhythm based songs, Stepfather Gets Mohawk blends the scrappy edge of Nirvana with the groovy, stoner motions of Queens of the Stone Age. All the while taking full advantage of noise manipulation with an array of guitar and bass effects that make the three-piece sounds like a wall of blistering sound.
In 2013, less than a year after their beginning, Stepfather Gets Mohawk released their first full-length album "Come On, Super Devil". An effort resulting in a perfect encapsulation of their grittysexy, dark music.
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