Bongripper began in 2006 with the self-release of their first album titled “The Great Barrier Reefer” which is composed of a single 79-minute piece. In 2007, the band self-released their second studio album titled “Hippy Killer” and their third studio album titled “Heroin”. In 2008, the band self-released their fourth studio album titled “Hate Ashbury” and a collaborative EP with Winters in Osaka in 2010, the band self-released their fifth studio album titled “Satan Worshipping Doom” in 2013, Bongripper released two splits via Great Barrier Records; one with Hate and another with Conan. In 2014, the band released their sixth studio album titled “Miserable” via Great Barrier Records. They have recently announced the release of their seventh album titled “Terminal” which is scheduled to be released on July 6, 2018.
FACS sprung from the ashes of Chicago band Disappears in early 2017. Initially formed around Disappears members Brian Case, Noah Leger and Jonathan van Herik, the band now counts Alianna Kalaba (Cat Power, We Raggazi) as a member following van Herik’s amicable departure. FACS play stark post-punk from a rhythmic and abstract perspective, using minimalism and space to make modern art rock.
The bands debut album “Negative Houses” was recorded at Electrical Audio by Grammy award-winning producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, War on Drugs, Roots) & will be released by Trouble In Mind records in March, 2018.
Nest Egg are a three-piece from Asheville, North Carolina who describe their head-heavy and kosmische psych-rock wig-outs as ‘mood music for nihilists’. Following a handful of tapes and singles, in 2015 the band released their debut album ‘Respectable’ – a record which cemented their minimalistic kraut-punk jams as one of the most exciting new exports in the States.
Three years on and the band have taken for international waters, joining forces with Fuzz Club for the release of their sophomore album ‘Nothingness Is Not A Curse’, officially released April 13th on vinyl and digital. In a similar ballpark to the likes of Moon Duo or Follakzoid, the new record see’s Nest Egg free-fall down an all-consuming rabbit-hole of cosmic repetition, tripped-out drones, swirling analogue synths and cacophonous guitars; the driving krautrock gusto never letting loose for a second.
Talking of the new album, the band explain: “We tracked Nothingness Is Not A Curse mostly back in 2016 and finished it up last year, we’re really excited to have it coming out on Fuzz Club. The songs were mostly written a couple of years ago and the content is just a conglomeration of everything from that time. It ranges from songs about spending a lot of time in the outdoors to songs about air travel or getting rid of scummy people in your life.”
Nest Egg is the brainchild of Harvey leisure (guitar/vocals), Ross Gentry (bass/keys) and Thom Nguyen (drums). Formed back in 2011, the band have built up a formidable reputation in the US live circuit, playing with everyone who’s anyone – from garage juggernauts Thee Oh Sees to space-rock innovators Loop.
EMMA RUTH RUNDLE
Rundle was born and raised in Los Angeles together with her sister in a household where a lot of folk music was played and has cited Kate Bush and David Lynch as influences, just to name a few. With her first band, the Nocturnes, she released the “Wellington” EP in 2008 and two albums “A Year of Spring (2009) and Aokigahara (2011). Rundle also joined Red Sparowes and played on their third album, “The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies the Answer”which was released by Sargent House on April 6, 2010. She self-released an ambient guitar album, “Electric Guitar: One” in 2011 and formed the trio Marriages, who have released the “Kitsune” EP in 2012 and “Salome” full-length in 2015. On January 7, 2013, she self-released the album “Somnambulant“, attributed to the Headless Prince of Zolpidem, which she described as “my somewhat anonymous downtempo, somewhat creepy electronic dark wave project”. Rundle’s official debut solo album “Some Heavy Ocean” was released on in 2014 by Sargent House. It was co-produced by Chris Common and recorded at the Sargent House studio. Rundle lived at the studio complex as an artist-in-residence for the period. The release was accompanied by a US tour with King Buzzo of Melvins. Rundle suffers from Adenomyosis which in part inspired the material on her second album “Marked For Death” which was produced by Sonny DiPerri and was released in October 2016 on Sargent House. In January 2017 she released a split EP with Jaye Jayle, titled “The Time Between Us”.
Watch the new video for “Light Song” off of Emma’s new album Dark Horse below.
Dos Santos is a quintet just 5 years working in Chicago but already established as one of the city’s most potent, impactful performers. A band known to be at home in a broad spectrum of venues and contexts – as proficient at nailing epic progressive arrangements for summer street festivals in the Latinx culture hub of Pilsen as they are at extended improvisational, experimental cumbia sets on the jazz-centric cabaret stage of the California Clipper, or the Chinook Lounge of The Hideout – Dos Santos’s elasticity & consistency in live performance has earned them an enthusiastic & highly diverse audience in the too-often segregated Chicago music scene. In recorded output, the sound established by their first EPs & singles garnered them wider attention for their ability to rekindle & re-present vintage sounds. But anyone with more than a distant perspective on their musicianship & aesthetics would know not to over-simplify Dos Santos as purely a psychedelic/cumbia revivalist outfit. Dos Santos have been steadily tipping forward into something more future-minded & universal this whole time, something that transcends the nationalism many of us are desperately trying to depart from, but don’t have the vocabulary to fully escape. “Logos,” their International Anthem debut, is a bold & vulnerable push into this transcendence, the band’s effort to proactively poeticize the future in sound.
“Chicago-born,” “progressive,” “boundary defying,” & “unique sounds” are all sentiments from our label’s mission statement. And though, on the surface, Dos Santos may seem like a departure in the narrative flow of our catalogue & community, this band & this album truly epitomize what we strive to cultivate & present. Over several Summer 2017 sessions at IARC HQ Co-Prosperity Sphere, the Wayward Machine Co storefront & the basement of Dos Santos drummer Daniel Villarreal-Carrillo’s home (all on the same 3200 block of Morgan Street in the Southside Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport), the band settled into comfortable confines with The Daves (engineers Vettraino & Allen), making space to improvise, incubate & innovate. What’s heard on the ultimate product of this homegrown process (Logos) is Dos Santos laying their voices bare, at once aware of cultural context, informed by aesthetic precursors, and yet fully irreverent to expectations or how any of this might be “appropriately” employed. Whether through the balladic melodrama of “caminante,” the noir-cumbia refrains of “purísima,” the afro-psych gallup of the title track “logos” (which features the Antibalas horn section), the Tortoise on TNT-resounding guitar phrases of “coda,” or the Tame Impala-like Juno synths of “manos ajenas (touch you every day),” each composition offers a bridge into a sonic landscape that speaks to histories of migration and arts of living that have been central to everything from house music to blues, Latinx punk to salsa in the City of Chicago. Logos presents an idealized new progressive American music, as rooted in Chicago as it is communicable with the world.
Metavari is the moniker of American composer and graphic artist, Nathaniel David Utesch. Metavari’s dark, cinematic records make extensive use of nostalgic electronics and sampling—referencing a patchwork of electronic genres; new wave and industrial, modern electronica, and the voltage-controlled film scores that raised Generation X.
The project was conceived as a post-rock oriented full band (2008-2012), but transitioned to electronic music at the release of Moonless in 2015. Metavari has since produced two records with Mind Over Matter (distributed by Deathwish, Inc.); Oh Diane (2015) and Tetra A.D. (2017); and two international releases with One Way Static (distributed by Light in the Attic); Metropolis (2017) and Symmetri (2017).
Metavari has toured widely in the US; sharing the stage with notable acts such as This Will Destroy You, Maserati, Tortoise, Beat Connection, Digitalism, El Ten Eleven, Anamanaguchi, Alex Cameron, Mexican Institute Of Sound, Titus Andronicus, and Small Black. The bassist from Metavari’s full band iteration (Ty Brinneman) is a member of the live show.
Nathaniel’s career in commercial art is disproportionately shared between freelance design, zine publishing and album packaging. As one half of the Secretly Group art department he has designed packages for more than one hundred titles.
MCCOMBS, MACKAY & RUMBACK
Dudes/dudettes, I reviewed Bill MacKay’s new Esker LP for Aquarium Drunkard this week. I heartily recommend it – lots of zones to get lost in. After you check it out, check out Joel’s fantastic tape of a recent live jam sesh with MacKay, Douglas McCombs (Brokeback, Tortoise, Eleventh Dream Day) and drummer Charles Rumback. Sparks fly!
Joel sez: We here at sweetblahg (the royal we, the editorial) are proud to present their new trio’s debut: two 20minute jams. McCombs’s short stabs, low-end riffage and huge swells provide the perfect counterpoint to MacKay’s flowing, pastoral runs and dreamy slide melodies. Rumback’s subtle, ever-shifting percussion leaves both guitarists a ton of space but never falls into a purely supportive role. These three are locked in the first note through the last.
McCombs/MacKay/Rumback The Constellation, Chicago, Illinois, April 5, 2017 Live Show Review
“I don’t think anyone’s going to accuse this record or the next one of being simple production,” Jack Bouboushian said of Crown Larks.
Formed in 2012, the band (which also includes Lorraine Bailey, Bill Miller and Matt Puhr) has made a name for itself by bucking tradition and crafting a unique sound . Some band members such as Bailey have had classical training, and the challenge is, in the pop music setting, to push beyond those limitations.
The group has become t more structured since it launched. The members have found a balance between the composing of their pasts and the hard-hitting arrangements of their present. “On one hand, we are doing stuff more structured and rhythmically hard hitting and locked in, but it still has a bit of that mentality of keeping it chaotic and keeping that individual idiosyncrasy in there,” said Bouboushian.
Crown Larks operates between the margins of the city scenes. Chicago’s music is often defined by the genres in which bands and musicians operate. There are DIY punk house shows, and improv new music experiments and garage rock fallbacks. But Crown Larks doesn’t fit neatly into any sound, which makes its music that much more interesting.
“If we play in front of an audience that’s used to hearing improvised music, they’ll never think we’re an improv band,” Bouboushian said. “But when we play on a punk bill when it’s pretty structured stuff, then we feel like it’s a little looser.” The group works within its own parameters, ones that continue to set Crown Larks’ sound apart.
It’s a delicate balance between choreographed chaos and chaos, as well as making the choreographed chaos not sound overwrought and analytical. Thus far, Crown Larks hasn’t failed. Part of this balance plays out in the live shows, where structures and performance styles vary. It allows experimentation within a plan.
Crown Larks newest record, “Population,” comes out this week. Like past efforts, the group aimed to not make it sound “too polished” by injecting randomness after the fact, to smudge the clean lines of the compositions. Some parts of the record were also pieced together from disparate ideas. “I’m glad the songs come out of a collaborative and communal effort,” said Bouboushian. “It’s all about all of us feeling happy and it’s representative of a journey together.”
But the biggest change on the record is one that might not seem that crazy after all. If the previous record was very instrumental-focused, this latest sees the band opening up with more vocals and lyrics. “I’m getting more into lyric writing with this new record,” Bailey said.
The result is a record full of songs that sound radically different. Every song is its own sonic universe. “We’re kind of on this spectrum where we write rock songs that are long and don’t have normal structure to them, but we don’t fit in the improv song because we’re too structured for them, but they’re not like pop songs,” said Bouboushian. Bassist Puhr agreed, saying, “I think of it almost like non-music in a way, or outsider music, the way that outsider art exists.” For the average listener, this might be difficult to take in, but curious listeners with an ear for intelligent, engaging, experimental music will find much to enjoy.
– Britt Julious
Chicago Tribune Article 2017
If you imagined the sounds of photosynthesis, you might wind up with something similar to the hypnotic synthesizer compositions on Minneapolis-based musician Brendan Wells’s Music For People & Their Plants Volume 1.
Wells grew up in Des Moines, Iowa, and his first real band was a noise-core outfit called Patrick Swayze’s Ghost. He’s performed in punk and hardcore bands over the years, and currently plays bass and sings in the band Uranium Club. “It’s weird to think viola lessons, powerviolence, and The Cars got me to where I am now,” Wells says.
In 2016, Wells took a job as content coordinator at Maximum Rocknroll magazine in San Francisco, but he found it stressful and isolating. He quit after six months. “After that I couldn’t listen to punk music without feeling terrible anxiety, so I thought I’d start listening to classical music.” Wells wound up interested in 20th century minimal composers, discovering Mort Garson’s Plantasia LP, and reading The Secret Life of Plants. His Plant Music project grew from there.
For Wells, plant music has little to do with finding frequencies to aid plant growth—it’s a conceit that allows him to ignore his self-criticisms and indecisiveness. “When I’m recording this stuff on my own at home I’ll look at a plant and ask myself, ‘Is this plant music?’ and base my decisions on that. Maybe it’s more appropriate to say it’s what I would listen to if I were a plant: something simple, minimal, repetitive, calming. A plant works slowly, so I like to keep a leisurely pace, but I like to think a plant does operate in a calculated and intentional way.” Accordingly, Wells’s songs have a loop-induced structure, and their melodies are both meditative and playful.
The final track of Plant Music Vol. 1 consists of 20 minutes of quiet talking from Wells, inspired by Molly Roth’s early ’70s LP, Plant Talk. “The album is entirely spoken word, and the idea is to put it on when you don’t have the time to talk to your plants yourself—whether you’re going to class or ‘making love,’ as Molly Roth suggests.”
-Casey Jarman Bandcamp.com article 2018
Sinner Frenz are Luke Tweedy and Brendan Lee Spengler, who previously played together in the underground supergroup ft(The Shadow Government). Since then, Tweedy has cultivated Flat Black Studios in Lone Tree, Iowa and Spengler has continued to perform in various acts including Viva L’American Death Ray Music. Together, they have collected a pile of modular synthesizers and an evolving sound system that they use for their act. Sinner Frenz is equal parts beats and melody, electronic music for people that listen to rock music, and hi-fi dance music for noise punks.
After the departure of the guitarist from their band Slip Silo, remaining members LeDuc and Smith, along with bassist/vocalist Drew Morton, limped along under the former name until they took a band trip to the West coast in October of 2013. On Halloween, the three musicians clambered into a cab driven by someone they won’t soon forget. “ The driver was a major character, ” explains Morton. “He had us laughing in the first ten seconds of the ride. He was a great storyteller, a genuine person, and expressed joy in his work. We thought that someone who left such a remarkable impression in such a short time deserved to be emulated through our music. So we came up with a name inspired by his and hold him as a symbol of what we want to sound like: truly free. I would love to find him some day and show him our music!”
Drawing on their formal jazz training and years of experience in the Iowa City music scene, the band is crafting a sound that is primarily ambient/electronic but influenced by improvised music. “I like to sample things onstage, and the band often improvises around the samples to create new sections of the song on the fly,” explains Smith. “This gives the audience something unique every night and creates an interesting challenge for us.”
Telekinetic Yeti is a 2 piece Stoner Rock/Doom band based out of Iowa that has been impressing audiences across the US and Canada with their high energy performances and thunderous live sound. They dropped their first official music video in 2017 which currently has 130,000+ views. Their debut album “Abominable” was released in March of 2017 and has gotten many rave reviews from rock/metal websites and has ranked on several best albums of 2017 lists. They have also toured the US and Canada alongside sludge metal legends “Weedeater”, stoner rock legends “Truckfighters”, Greek stoner rockers “1000 mods”, and also have some upcoming tour dates with Black Label Society.
CONDOR & JAYBIRD/THE GOLDEN FLEECE PRESENTS: SNOOTY AND THE SNOUT POUCH
Condor & Jaybird and The Golden Fleece have been amazing Midwest crowds for a past couple of years now. All Senses is not sure what this one off collaboration between these two bands of Snooty and the Snout Pouch will consists of, but we’re excited to find out.
Sara Wainscott is the author of Queen of the Moon (dancing girl press, 2017). Her work appears in DIAGRAM, The Journal Petra, Powder Keg, BOAAT, Fairy Tale Review, The Collapsar, Dream Pop Journal, and elsewhere. As a former co-curator of the Wit Rabbit Reading Series, she appears on New City’s 2017 “Lit 50” list of people who influence literature in Chicago.
Kyle McCord is the author of five books of poetry including National Poetry Series Finalist, Magpies in the Valley of Oleanders (Trio House Press 2016). He has work featured or forthcoming in AGNI, Blackbird, Boston Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Harvard Review, Ploughshares, TriQuarterly and elsewhere. He’s received grants or awards from the Academy of American Poets, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Baltic Writing Residency. He serves as associate poetry editor of The Nation and currently serves as Co-Executive Editor of Gold Wake Press. He is married to the visual artist Lydia McCord. He teaches in Des Moines, IA.
Becca Klaver is the author of two books of poetry—LA Liminal (Kore Press, 2010) and Empire Wasted (Bloof Books, 2016)—and several chapbooks. Black Lawrence Press will publish her third full-length collection, Ready for the World, in 2020. Her poems, which explore place, gender, American culture, and virtual and physical realities, have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Fence, and on Verse Daily. The 2018-2020 Robert P. Dana Emerging Writer Fellow at Cornell College, she currently lives in Iowa City, IA.
Matt Mauch is the author of three books of poetry, Bird~Brian, If You’re Lucky Is a Theory of Mine, and Prayer Book. He is also the author of the poetry chapbook The Brilliance of the Sparrow. He founded and has since passed along the annual Great Twin Cities Poetry Read and the Maeve’s Sessions readings at Maeve’s Cafe along NE Mpls’s in/famous Poetry Row. A Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Initiative grant recipient and National Poetry Series finalist, Mauch heads the staff at Poetry City, USA, an annual collection of poetry and prose on poetry, and teaches in the AFA in Creative Writing program at Normandale Community College and in the MFA in Poetry program at Concordia University, St. Paul. He lives in Minneapolis.
Chad Simpson is a short and flash fiction author from Monmouth, Illinois. He is the winner of the 2012 John Simmons Short Fiction Award, juried by Jim Shepard. His short story collection, “Tell Everyone I Said Hi,” was published by the University of Iowa Press in fall 2012. He has written numerous stories that have appeared in multiple literary magazines. His flash story “Let x” won the second annual Micro Award in 2009. “Let x” originally appeared in Esquire.com. Simpson earned a BA from Monmouth College in 1998 and a MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in 2005. He also is the author of a chapbook, “Phantoms,” published in April 2010 by Origami Zoo Press. He is currently an associate professor of English at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois, where he received the college’s distinguished teaching award in 2010.
Jennifer Colville holds a Ph.D. in English and Creative Writing from the University of Utah and an M.F.A from Syracuse University. Her collection of short stories Elegies for Uncanny Girls was published with Indiana University Press’s Break Away Books in 2017. She lectures and leads workshops on “the inventive female voice” and the creative intersection between visual art and writing. She is the Founding and Fiction Editor of Prompt Press.