The Melismatics

The Melismatics

The Melismatics formed at the turn of the century in the fertile ground of the Minneapolis indie-rock scene. Their debut album "Postmodern Rock" quickly caught the attention of college radio stations around the country and garnered favorable reviews from critics around the world. Shortly thereafter, Minneapolis indie-rock king pin Ed Ackerson (Motion City Sountrack, The Replacements, The Jayhawks) signed the band to Susstones Records and produced their next two albums "New Infection" and "Turn It On". The Melismatics toured the country numerous times over and continued to win loyal fans with their high-energy and unpredictable live shows. Their music has been featured on MTV's "The Hills," "The City"and "Laguna Beach," NBC's "Windfall"; Animal Planet's "Jockeys" and they've played such notable events as Lollapalooza, Summerfest, and CMJ. The Melismatics released "The Acid Test" on CC Entertainment/E1 Music (2008). Renowned producer John Fields (Jimmy Eat World, Rooney, Cut/Copy, Har Mar Superstar, etc) caught the band performing at 2007 SXSW in Austin, Texas and signed on to produce the album. The music video for "Digging Deep" charted at #4 on MTVU and received widespread airplay.

The Melismatics' upcoming album "MANIA!" on Pravda Records was produced by Jon Auer of The Posies and Big Star and the band's now long-time comrade Ed Ackerson; the record was mixed by John Fields. The LP was mastered at Sterling Sound in NYC by Chris Athens (Coldplay, Beastie Boys, NERD, etc) and features collaborations with Dan Wilson (Adele, Semisonic) and Jon Auer who also lends vocals to several tracks.

The Melismatics have found a sound all their own that is familiar yet unique, euphoric and adventurous. The Melismatics' sound is constantly evolving and developing -- as The Onion put it, "no one ever accused The Melismatics of being predictable."

The Handcuffs

Led by acclaimed drummer Brad Elvis and vocalist/rhythm guitarist Chloe F. Orwell, Chicago's The Handcuffs explore broad sonic territory while believing in the power of a great radio hook. The Handcuffs inhabit some of the same musical domain as T-Rex, Spiders from Mars Era Bowie, Franz Ferdinand and early Blondie - all filtered through a modern lens - and deliver bold, sexy songs with memorable melodies and unexpected twists. Known as much for their dynamic live shows as for being prolific writers and producers, their songs have been featured in dozens of films and television shows. The band has released three full-length albums and is currently working on the fourth. They recently jumped on the analog/nostalgia bandwagon by releasing a special Cassette Store Day album called "All the Way from Chicago," featuring a "best of" style remastered sampling of their modern garage-glam songs, plus a never-before released nod to one of their influences, Mott the Hoople. "The Handcuffs are one of the few bands capable of effectively combining the spontaneity and musicianship of glam/punk with the urgency and rough-edged sound of garage rock," says Jersey Beat's Phil Rainone. “There's a sexy, swaggering street vibe throughout,” added Musoscribe's Bill Kopp. And the Chicago Sun-Times exclaims that The Handcuffs are simply "effervescent." Completing The Handcuffs powerhouse lineup are bassist Emily Togni, lead guitarist Susie Q. Winn and keyboardist Alison Hinderliter.

Sporting a sonic kaleidoscope that includes intimate shoegaze, dark new-wave and driving dance beats, Chicago's Vanarays have quite the pedigree for major success in the area. In a scene where bands seem chained to their genre, Vanarays are a consistently shape-shifting entity, yet the unique mixture of styles isn't there as a hollow grab for every possible audience. This is a band of well-schooled multi-instrumentalists, clearly writing and performing on their own terms with a canyon-wide palette of slinky, ominous sounds.

Recording at a brisk pace, Vanarays have self-released two mesmerizing EP's in the last two years, a testament to their nose-to-the-grindstone mentality. While similarities are clear between both releases - the band's pension for studio experimentation and lush arrangements is apparent - there's also a noticeable growth in just twelve-months time. 2011's EP opens with the sublimely messy "He Said She Said," led by static-heavy vocals and blazing drums, but the band brings harmonious alt-pop to the forefront on the jangly "This Thought Occurred to Me," the slide-guitar assisted "Oh No" and closing number "Where We're Going," accented by a memorable riff, minor programming and charming, echo-laden singing.

From the opening keys of "Over & Over," this year's EP2 is a lesson in restraint and more defined songwriting. Sounding like a meeting between the low-key bedroom pop of American Analog Set and early 00's post-hardcore pin-ups Sparta, the track is a great lead-in to the remaining five anthems, each making an impact from the very first listen. The active bass and hip-shaking rhythms on "Tell You What I Want," the propulsive percussion of "Countdown to Ten," the toe-tapping instrumental guitar dirge of "Tektoniks" - they all add to an already impressive blend of approaches and performances.

$8.00 - $10.00


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