meg memes fest
w/ Smut, Izzy True, Girl K, Claude, Kirby Grip
PROOF OF COVID-19 VACCINATION IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY. MASKS ARE REQUIRED. Please visit our COVID POLICY page for further details.
Uniting crunchy guitars with swirling synths, Smut embrace a liminality and experimentation that pushes the boundaries of pop music. The Chicago-based five-piece blend melody and moodiness to yield to a droney and percussive pop. As of late their influences stem from shoegaze, 90s hip hop, and trip-hop. Bell Cenower’s biting bass lines creep below the surface, while Aidan O’Connor’s drums carry the rhythm with fiery precision. Andrew Min’s & Sam Ruschman’s distorted guitar melodies lift the band to explosive heights. Hovering over her bandmates’ wall of sound, Tay Roebuck’s caustically sung meditations on grief, guilt, and growing into oneself make us nostalgic for shoegaze bands past.
Smut have conquered national tours with acts like Nothing, Swirlies, and Bully. Previously working as an actor, Roebuck’s performance is uninhibited, reflective of the stage presence of Blur’s Damon Albarn. During moments of extended instrumental sludge, Roebuck will step off to the side to take in the expansive whirlwind her bandmates have created.
On their EP Power Fantasy we find Smut in a state of transition. Opening track ‘Fan Age’ begins in a dreamscape of guitar chords as Roebuck sings of climbing the backs of giants. About a minute and a half in, Smut has their feet firmly planted as ‘Fan Age’ transforms into an infectious, self-assured anthem– “I don’t feel bad, I hold no guilt.” The EP’s title track finds Roebuck assuming the role of the underdog, hyping herself up to save the world, only to realize that no one person can save everyone. The band’s trip-hop influences show their teeth in the slow building strong closer ‘Perfect Dark’, inspired by the N64 game of the same name. Power Fantasy demonstrates a new direction for the indie outfit, one characterized by continued self-reflection and sonic renewal.
Izzy True is a rock band based in Chicago, IL. Their most recent album Our Beautiful Baby World (released on Don Giovanni Records in July 2021) exhibits eleven dynamic songs that meld collaboration, expressing the deepness of acceptance. In Our Beautiful Baby World, Izzy True creates ups and downs of instrumental chaos and intimate lyrics, leading into big guitars, crashing drums, and gnarly bari-saxophone (“Big Natural”).
This mixture of hard-soft sounds imitates shifts in interpersonal lives and ticking time. Izzy True’s world features angels, open pastures, and ghosts of old friends and lovers (“Haunted Lumina”) looping around Reidy’s twanging yet patient vocals. There’s a desire to find okayness in this harsh world, translated in thrashing around, filled with wonder by the taste of a fresh guayaba (“New Fruit”). Our Beautiful Baby World feels like the closing of a bedroom door and flopping down on the bed, the world zinging in your heart, or galloping away on a horse as a grand exit from an emotional experience.
Girl K began as the solo moniker of Kathy Patino in 2017. When the project moved from DIY open mic nights to Chicago, Patino joined forces with Tony Mest, Alex Pieczynski, and Kevin Sheppard. For one night only hear Girl K re-imagined as a duo, bringing life to old, new, and never to be released songs!
Existential Dream Pop
Inspired by 90’s and 2000’s alternative rock, emo, and all the in-betweens, Kirby Grip is a 4-piece band based in Chicago formed in 2019. The lineup consists of Alex Kociper, Joseph Valdivia, Ryan Nolen, and Kevin Tiongson. Their debut record Portrait of Bliss showcases both heavy, and down-to-earth guitar-rock equally influenced and inspired by Chicago favorites of a louder 90s hay day (Smashing Pumpkins, Local H) and more contemporary distorted guitar-driven acts (Nothing, Narrow Head, Teenage Wrist). Much like the entirety of what is to come with Portrait of Bliss, the first single “Armstrong” proves the idea that healing is a collective effort—both Nolen and Valdivia bounce back and forth sharing vocals, lifting the other up as the band descends back into a maelstrom of distorted and downright melodic feedback. When the band is in full force together, healing feels like a real possibility.