Tag Archives: logan square

Stream: Me Jane – “ISON”

Further evidence that Chicago is the place to be when it comes to interesting new bands sprouting up constantly. Me Jane is a quartet that met in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood and has since released a demo and a single, and now their debut full-length entitled “ISON.”

The production is stripped down and transparent, making the overall sound of the songs reminiscent of Wire’s “Pink Flag,” or early Cure, but the songs here have a tendency to be somewhat more ebullient at times, alternating with inquisitive melancholy – or at least nostalgia. Me Jane walks a tightrope, balancing the stark production with touches of dream-pop and deeply affecting guitar leads.

Take the track “Ghost” for example. As the guitars fade in and the synth emerges from the background a multi-layered song structure is beginning to take shape. More instrumental than lyrical, I think the band’s ensemble work and craftsmanship really shines on “Ghost.” I can’t help but feel that, on the track that immediately follows, “Racket,” the singer is channeling a bit of Wild Flag era Carrie Brownstein. The sharp crescendos that punctuate each vocal phrase, and just the delivery in general – with the backing vocals also owing to the Wild Flag sound – borrows elements from a style, without coming off at all like a cheap imitation.

It’s the moments where the guitar breaks free a little bit, with a kind of reverbed surf-rock tone, that really define Me Jane’s sound. They seem to be testing out a bunch of different approaches across the album, but their distinctive and original voice is most certainly coming through loud and clear.

“ISON” came out this past May and can be purchased either digitally from their bandcamp page, or on limited edition white vinyl directly from the Me Jane site. They also have a few shows coming up in September in Chicago if you happen to be in the area. Dates and other things can be found at their awesomely named website: mejaneyoulisten.com

Stream: Ne-hi – “Ne-hi”

As we’ve seen before, there is currently no shortage of great music coming out of Chicago. After Twin Peaks released my favorite album of 2013 I’ve continued searching out what else the city has to offer and as such I just happened upon this newest release by Ne-hi.

In a nutshell their sound is pretty close to that of Beach Fossils’ first EP with hints of surf-rock, a shading of reverb soaked guitars, and a touch of lower-fi production. Ne-hi’s songs tend toward the more hook-laden end of the spectrum, pushing pretty close to anthem status with some of their more exuberant songs like “Turncoat.” The vibe of a live performance is captured particularly well on that track, brought out by the production.

Every song is filled with the kind of sunny melodies that make a good summertime mix-tape. And with that sunny, reverb-soaked-ness comes the suggestion of the West Coast sound of the early 60s with their carefree vocal harmonies and jangling guitars. Some moments seem to come straight out of the San Francisco pop song writing guide, while others are more related to the experimental East Coast scene. Strains of Real Estate make their appearance throughout some of Ne-hi’s more downtempo material.

Closing song, “Sun Bleed,” takes a beautifully unexpected turn at the end, leaning way back into the groove and tacking onto it a coda of soaring vocals awash in crash cymbals and high harmonies.

The album is available as a 12″ LP from Manic Static right now, as well as through Bandcamp as a download. After listening to the entire thing above (highly recommended) you can check out the video for album opener “Since I’ve Been Thinking,” also above.