Chicago natives Deeper are a patient and dedicated bunch. They spent almost two years holed up in their practice space, crafting their self-titled debut with friend and engineer Dave Vettraino, who has worked with Melkbelly and Damien Jurado. The result is a jangly post-punk treasure, shimmery gold and all. Nic Gohl’s lyrics hit on existential quandaries and pushing to get more out of life. Gohl’s smooth yet commanding voice hovers over his and Mike Clawson’s tangle of erratic, slippery guitars. Drew McBride’s bass playing supports the mass of shine and noise as Shiraz Bhatti’s percussive stylings hop along with the group, keeping everyone’s ducks in a row.
AdHoc recently caught up with Deeper to discuss their inspirations, their favorite Chicago digs, and tracking food deliveries. Grab a copy of Deeper via Fire Talk Records.
What’s your practice space like?
Nic Gohl: It’s an old Frank Lloyd Wright building. But it looks like something out of Hostel or one of the Saw movies. So, not very pretty.
Drew McBride: I think it used to be a Polish sausage factory. You can Google it. E-Z Polish Sausage.
Your self-titled debut is coming out in May on Fire Talk Records. Can you tell me a bit about the album?
Nic: The album is a collection of songs from the past 2 or so years that we slowly recorded in our practice space with our old friend and longtime collaborator, Dave.
Drew: He’s like one of our best friends. He’s a collaborator, he’s my roommate...
Nic: Mostly his roommate [laughs]. Dave Vettraino.
Drew: But yea, he’s also recorded some other Chicago bands like Melkbelly who’s playing Pitchfork this year. In my opinion the record has like some pretty diverse sounds just as a result of us all learning how to play together over that time.
Shiraz Bhatti: We actually did “Pink Showers” and our first single that we dropped in 2016, “Transmogrified,” in Dave’s basement. Then we decided to demo out the record in our practice space, and we were really surprised at how things worked out, so we spent the next year and a half taking weekends here and there to finish it off.
Hailing from Chicago, Hieroglyphic Being, a.k.a. Jamal Moss, is a prolific experimental composer and sound artist. He has been a fixture in the Chicago dance music scene for decades, his beginnings rooted in creating “Art Noise” soundscapes for the Liquid Love parties at Chicago house hub Powerplant. We Are Not the First is Hieroglyphic Being’s latest offering, a collaboration with J.I.T.U. Ahn-Sahm-Buhl. “Civilization That Is Dying” is the first track to be featured. The accompanying video reveals some details about the album-- names of the eleven songs and eight contributing artists. Shelley Hirsch’s robust sopranino vocals are accompanied by smooth acid oscillations by Ben Vida and Shahzad Ismaily. “Civilization That Is Dying” evokes imagery of outer space and the dawn of civilization, not unlike many works inspired by Afro-futurist principles. The listener is confronted with an unfamiliar space-time paradigm, as if the song was composed and recorded in a cosmic version of Arthur Russel’s Sleeping Bag Sessions. The video also features messages likely from Hieroglyphic Being himself, notably, "As evolved 12 strand DNA beings we must take what we know & peacefully transduce it on earth."
We Are Not The First is out October 30 on RVNG Intl.
Since Chicago's Smith Westerns took indefinite leave of the scene in December, guitarist Max Kakacek and drummer Julien Ehrlich (also known for his work in Unknown Mortal Orchestra) have reemerged in the promising new form of Whitney. In their debut track, streaming below, Whitney has channeled the old act's high energy into a more streamlined and intimate sound, keeping intact Kakacek's signature layering of warm electric riffs with the addition of bright keys from Touching Voids' Ziyad Asrar. The vocals are clean and earnest, as are the lyrics-- hard to resist the draw of a song about aimless summer drives with someone you like. The accompanying video features, amid a smattering of psychedelic petri goo, the stamp of brand new label Lead Riders, whose website suggests there's plenty more to look forward to in the coming months.
Like all things ‘90s, power-pop revival vibes have been popping up here and there recently, but you wouldn’t mistake Chicago shredders MAMA for a Sloan throwback act. On their fresh double 7’’ for rising label Automatic Records, Night Shoot, the band’s loud and peppy way with their instruments and no-fucks-given attitude illustrate quite to the point how the genre’s gotten its name. Album highlight “25 Forever” recalls the wide-eyed youth angst of pretty much every single song Cheap Trick ever recorded, while musically reclining comfortably in the hardest, drunkest, and rawest corner of the garage. Imagine a Burger Records band paying a spirited tribute to The Dictators, and you won't be far off the mark.
Night Shoot is out now on Automatic Records. MAMA is playing a bunch of dates in Chicago and Milwaukee in April; check out the details here.