I have some of the most talented and amazing friends. When I was in high school and living in the Chicago suburbs I had a group of friends dedicated to music. They played in multiple bands determined to make a name for themselves. Some of them have gone on to record albums, while others chose the spot behind the mixing board and went to school for sound production. Either way they followed their respective dreams and have continued to amaze me with their talent and dedication.
For anyone who knows me they know that I am rather forth coming with my opinions. I am one of the most judgmental people you will ever meet, especially when it comes to my books, my music, and my clothes (my mom calls me a natural critic). I am not afraid to say I hate something and then list off the reasons why from greatest to least. Stating that, I do not turn the other cheek for my friends. If I think their band sucks, I tell them. If I think their songs suck, I tell them. If I think their gear sucks, I tell them. And I expect them to do the same. As a writer part of the job is rejection and change. Editors hand back bleeding copy and people can reject synopsis and plot more times than you would want to hear. But not once has that ever prevented me from stating my true opinion on a piece of art, music, or written word. Or clothing, for that matter. What goes around, comes around, and because of that I do my best to give honest-to-God criticism and not hold grudges.
With that said, I want you to check out a few things:
This Friday, at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago, my friends, Farraday, are playing their CD release show. They have a five song EP coming out 5/20 called The Fear of Missing Out. Fronted by lead singer Aubyn Beth Scolnick (formerly of Aubyn Beth), the group is best described as a pop punk/pop rock group. I know in the past they were compared to Paramore, both bands being fronted by fiery red-heads who have strong vocals, however, I think that the reference is slightly skewed. Where Paramore fits more securely into a given genre, Farraday straddles the lines with the use of keyboardist Danny Casady. This added dimension rounds out their sound and helps them develop into something entirely new. The band consists of members of other well-known Chicago alums: Aubyn Beth and Phil Serratore hail from the remnants of the band Aubyn Beth, Nic Kaiser and Will Scott are of Robot Love Story fame, and Glenn Eck and Danny Casady are members of Addison Park. As a result, the personality of the band is a massive mismatched family that somehow fits. It’s like Thanksgiving dinner when your favorite aunt and uncle show up, the crazy “cousins” are there and you have a fatherly figure trying to settle everyone down. These differences are like the oddly shaped jigsaw puzzle pieces that are essential to completing the picture. Along with raw talent, this camaraderie infuses the sound providing for an upbeat and lively production. I have listened to the album several of times through and have yet to tire of hearing any of their set. Aubyn’s lyrics not only relate to female fans, but they are also appreciated by the male listeners (and band members), as well. Take the time to look these guys up and listen to their music. It is well worth it. And if you’re in the Chicago area, check out their live set this Friday at The Beat Kitchen for their album release. You can check out their website or their Facebook page for more information. (Favorite tracks: “Put Me On The Next Plane” and “Nightmare“)
My second plug is for another friend of mine. His band, The Crown and Two Chairmen, are an ambient rock band that hail from the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. Their music is beautiful. It reminds me of bands like Moving Mountains and The Appleseed Cast, where they concentrate on the atmosphere of the music far above lyrical (there are no words, literally) importance. The music speaks for itself, giving a sound to certain emotions and feelings without overpowering the listener. You rise, crest and fall with the song as it tells a story. Far above similar bands in this genre The Crown and Two Chairmen excel at delivering variation in sound and expanding upon elements and concepts found in rock, ambient, and melodic post-rock. They have two albums available for download, an EP and a full length. I recommend giving them a listen, especially if you enjoy experimental rock and ambient sound. (Favorite tracks: “But Then Again, I Didn’t Have Pictures Of Their Voices” and “Between Context and Silently Searching“)
The third plug is for my boys, Addison Park. This band combines pop punk and electronica creating an upbeat sound that will win over the most judgmental of foes. The energy in their music is contagious and encourages listeners to dance. Their sound has an appeal for those power pop punk fans who identify more with bands like New Found Glory, Hit the Lights, and hellogoodbye. Their album, Seven, is available for download on Amazon and iTunes. Though the band has been on hiatus for a few years, they have a show scheduled for June 4th in Chicago (Goose Island). (Favorite tracks: “While You Sleep” and “Amor Vincit Omnia“)
One final plug: REMEMBER TO SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS. That means musicians, photographers, writers, painters, etc. I know in this economy it is hard to give monetary support, but that doesn’t mean you can’t pass on the names and good word. Eventually favor will be found in someone who can offer unique criticism, come to shows, download songs, ask about jobs. We are a world of social networks, why not use these sites and these avenues to help develop the artists of tomorrow?