Sunday, October 02, 2005

local bands that didn't come across as amateur night

it's hard to be in a new city (well, it's been a year, but with my travel schedule i think it's still fair to say that i am new here) and know where the kool kids go, what local bands are worth checking out, and if there is indeed a scene beyond the obvious, downtown, bridges-and-tunnels-inhabiting, bad dance club and overpriced cheese bars downtown and near my place. thankfully, i have a nice older brother and he has friends in awesome bands, so i went to subterranean friday night for a hurricane katrina benefit show - $10 for four local bands. one guy, cameron mcgill, was really great - just him, his guitar, a harmonica, and the ability to channel a certain bob dylan and ryan adams vibe without coming across as annoying or delusional. plus he was pretty. tb's friend todd is the drummer for moxie motive, and they deserve to actually have a following - they've got their rock star kicks down and sound really great - two guitars, good singer, girl violinist. i couldn't really decipher lyrics but tb said that they are what you'd want to listen to the night that you found out that your daughter had an abortion (genre: songs to slit your wrists to). the other two bands, life at sea and tenki, were good too. i like that chicago gets better every month i'm here. they say that it takes a year to really feel home in a new city, and i think i'm getting there.

1 comment:

TENKI said...

Hi -

Future Appletree Records is releasing 2 EP's from the Chicago band Tenki this year.

Here are three demo songs that appear on both EP's

More info can be found at and

Below is a copy of our bio.

TENKI’s near six-year existence has been an interesting one. Full of member changes, tours taking them from the Smokey mountains through New England, 5-gigs-in-a-day marathons, late night blow-ups, and shows ranging from jam packed theatres to scantily populated road houses, the band has slowly but persistently logged enough experiences to make up a multi-volume rock and roll narrative. But more than the typical rock band fiasco, the really interesting part of TENKI’s history has been its ever-evolving sound.

In 2000 TENKI released Red Glow - a 5-song "eclectic pop" EP with material inspired by a film experiment. They followed up in 2002 with a debut full-length Red Baby - a lyrical canvas of relationships and emotions filled with their signature guitar-driven washes, horns, and keyboards. Derived pop influences and/or similarities peaked through: a Beatles-esque bass line, a Clash-like swagger, a Built to Spill-ish vocal riff. Critics called the recording "new and sharp" and claimed the band holds "a firm grasp of pop sensibilities".

2003 saw the release of the bands second full length album, View of an Orbiting Man, that featured a band MORE poised AND pissed while taking a dramatic personal turn when looking back at life's more tumultuous occurrences: divorce, death and failed love experiments. The album is at once both personally reflective and imaginatively futuristic. The result was music that faded in and out of aural arenas sometimes dark and sometimes sparkling. CMJ said View features "pristine scuzz-pop" with "sugary sweet harmonies over irresistible pop hooks" and "searing aural assaults... It becomes apparent that this is hardly just another Albini-biting rock band from Chicago.”

At the end of this year, the band will embark on its latest musical offering, an album titled We’re Not Talking About the Universe Are We. More than just the next TENKI CD, the album represents a turning point for the band characterized by a further evolved sound. Subtle intonation meets indulgent exclamation all the while capturing a sort of mesmerizing freshness. With the addition of multi-instrumentalist and sound experimenter, Garen Gaston, the mad-scientist sound lab once helmed exclusively by Jeff Wichman is now doubly powerful. Guitarist JK continues his progress as one of Chicago’s most innovative creators contributing both mysterious sound washes as well as die-hard riffs. Drummer Sean Burke has pushed the TENKI sound further still, simultaneously creating driving beats and hypnotic, disco-esque tremors. Lead singer Jamie Toal has seemingly dropped the direct lyrical narrative of View, in exchange for haunting word images, leaving the lyrical meaning of the song to be determined not only by listener, but by the place and time the song is listened to. Finally, bassist/multi-instrumentalist Stephen Favazza joined the fold in 2005. The newest line-up insures that even as the new album has further defined a surging TENKI sound, the future promises an ever evolving intensity.


Please note: We're sending you this because we like your site and think you might like our music. We only release a few records a year so we don't send out too many emails