Bands Worth Watching

The Funs

The Funs are Philip Lesicko and Jessee Rose Crane—both play guitar, and both play drums and both sing, trading off instruments song to song, blasting their guitar through a number of speakers at a brutal volume and pace. They play in their own time, speeding up and slowing down tempo bar by bar with total connection to one another’s rhythm. My favorite part is simultaneous similarities and differences between the male/female vocals as they trade guitar-duties. Philip also runs his own tape label (the first to release our debut Sunken on a limited 100 release last year, actually!) called Manic Static, with the most cohesive and just simply cool aesthetics I’ve come across in a long time, not to mention a roster of the super sweet bands that he’s put out.

Today’s Hits

Today’s Hits “What Up Dog” from Coleman Guyon on Vimeo.

James Swanberg has recorded a song everyday for the past 824 days (as of 6/24/13). He emailed us a few months back when he was first trying to get his foot in the door out here in Chicago, moving here from Kentucky—he told us no one had offered him a show yet, sent us his EP about pizza, his awesomely-goofy pentagram, basketball, and gun filled video, and mentioned he clerked a liquor store and “rolled baby jays all day.” Needless to say I was a fan off the bat. Since giving him his first gig at some run down bar we played that no one showed up to, he’s assembled a live band with members of the incredible Magic Milk, Jovantes, and The Sueves, and is making Chicago’s DIY circuit his stomping ground. Oh, and they just did a tour with 18 dates in 23 days, and may or may not be plugging with Burger Records. This dude is on fire. Throw back garage rock at it’s finest, sloppiest, get-drunk-hold-hands-and-make-out best. Catch him at our record release next month (which is yet to be announced).

Sister Crystals

Sister Crystals play both dreamy, psychedelic glam-rock, and just straight-up catchy garage rock—I know that sounds like a ton of stuff nowadays, but I tell you what, Lauren Whitacre and Colin Croom do it right. No blatant Beatles and Pink Floyd knock offs, but pure magic in the collaboration of this dude and dudette. I mean, just listen to this live version of the first single, “For So Long.” I’m endlessly impressed that the two of them recorded the whole album themselves — part of a collective of bands that frequents FeelTrip, a studio/live room/living space with rad musicians exploring a number of genres from within the pad’s confines, Colin could kill the game with a band of four of himself, and with the addition of Lauren’s beautifully spriteful voice and pop sensibilities their songwriting feels extremely natural while exploring a broad range of styles. AND the production on their album is just so great. Catch them at our record release too!

The Boxers

I’ve known the dudes in The Boxers a long time; three of the four of them were in the grades below us in elementary school, one of whom is my childhood best friend’s younger brother, and all of them went or still go to the high school Jack and I graduated from (two just graduated this past week and two are rising-seniors)—I don’t simply mention them because of that connection though. When we finished high school we went on a three-week tour of the west coast, which the excitement of eventually led to us dropping out of college this past fall, and comparing our experience to where the guys in The Boxers are at now I can’t help but see a similar trajectory in their future. They just finished up recording their first effort, a solid 10 track album with pop hooks in nearly every song, impressive instrumental prowess, and the balls to go from sounding like early Strokes on one track to a heavy Strawberry Fields-esque jam on the next. They’re embarking on their first tour this July, heading to Denver, CO, a few spots in California, and up to the Pacific Northwest. Keep your eye on them in the coming year.


You may have heard of these guys before — actually residents at FeelTrip, they’ve frequented SXSW for a few years and gotten some love from the press. They’ve gotten compared to Animal Collective at times, but I find it to be a really lazy comparison (like when people compare us to Smith Westerns). Sure, these guys have ambient-electronic, sample-based songs, but their songwriting is more along the lines of The Beach Boys and Deerhunter than what Animal Collective does to me, and the instruments take far different roles — especially their use of percussion in huge, ensemble-like ways, mixed with the standard kit. They seem to seamlessly go from one song that sounds like a straight up electro-jam to folky, 70′s rock reminiscent bangers. Now, what I’M excited for though is their NEW album, which has been in the works for some time. It’s another self recorded project from their studio, but from the live versions of songs I’ve caught and the clips of recordings I’ve heard, the boys are incorporating more and more live instrumentation into their tunes and treading the ground of rock within their ethereal pop world. Attention is way overdue on YAWN.

Next page: Venues Of Note