!!! (chk chk chk)
w/ Glad Rags
Combining punk abandon and tightly-coiled dance music has always been bonded into the band’s DNA. It’s this core plus their growth and mastery of songwriting that has seen them outlive the mid-2000s ‘indie/dance punk’ tag and has allowed them to consistently grow lyrically and sonically from album to album. As If is their most transcendent collection of songs yet. “Each album we’ve made has gotten closer and closer to our live set and this, we’re proud to say, is the closest we’ve come yet. We were heavily influenced by current dance music — Nina Kraviz, Moodymann, Paranoid London, Rrose and Delroy Edwards were frequently referenced — and philosophically by the early ’90s house records we love on labels like Trax and Dancemania and by artists like Romanthony and Green Velvet. Those records sound great because they’re fairly raw attempts to use the technology of the time to ape the New York and Philly disco records that those producers loved. We figured, if those old house records sound like they do because the artists manipulated disco samples with MPCs, why couldn’t we just sample ourselves and manipulate the tracks with Ableton Live? The more raw it came out the better it felt, not only because that’s what excited us about those old records, but because it felt more punk, which always feels good.”
Starting in 2015 in Chicago’s DIY scene, the six-piece art pop group’s first releases came through underground label Grandpa Bay (Water From Your Eyes, Mykele Deville) before setting off to record their acclaimed follow-up ‘Wonder Under’ at their studio Sinkhole Sounds, based in the art and housing co-op Hostel Earphoria where the band lived.
Shortly after the studio began functioning as a label spotlighting marginalized artists in the Chicago scene run by producer Mabel Gladly and percussionist Mah Nu, who has since transitioned the now defunct Hostel into Casa Al-Fatiha, a sanctuary house for LGBTQIA+ asylum seekers co-founded by multi-instrumentalist Mah Nu. Sinkhole is now based in McKinley Park and remains the creative headquarters for the music collective, where soon after they began work on their first full-length.
In October 2021, Glad Rags released their debut LP ‘ALL OF THEM’, a concept album navigating themes of cancel culture and community responses to healing. Soaring harmonies soften the blow, and a deep love and hopefulness for humanity are echoed by those who helped mold this art pop concept album over the last three years. Mastered by Jake Viator (Jerry Paper, MNDSGN, Julia Holter) and featuring over fourteen musical collaborators, the six core members have performed raw interpretations of the songs live throughout the Midwest and plan to tour out East this Summer and Fall. Since its release, ‘ALL OF THEM’ has been featured by Bandcamp, BUST Magazine, the Chicago Reader, CHIRP Radio, and the Windy City Times.