Getting To Know Steve Gunn
We’re very excited that Steve Gunn is in town tomorrow to play Schubas and cannot stop listening to his new album, Way Out Weather. He’s been getting tons of press lately so check out some of the links below to get familiar and enjoy “Way Out Weather” and “Milly’s Garden” from the new album.
+ Steve Gunn Q&A on Stereogum - Read
+ Catching Up With Steve Gunn on Aquarium Drunkard - Read
+ Way Out Weather reviewed on Chicagoist - Read
Grab tickets for tomorrow night’s show here.
The Flannelmouth Sessions: Supermagical
There are certain things fans expect to find when Googling a band; links to social media pages, a blog, a website, or a site of a third party promoting a show on the band’s behalf. But one thing you’d definitely expect to find, especially in the age of digital technology, is a band’s music, ready to play and be enjoyed with a simple click of your mouse. However, if you Google the band “Supermagical” (formally known as Whitegold) don’t be surprised when music is the one thing you won’t uncover.
“Hopefully we will never have our music on the internet,” says Billy Mitchell, drummer of Supermagical. “I feel like it devalues what you’re creating. People used to wear out records and wear out tapes. You can’t wear out an MP3. You can’t wear out a blog page. But if you have physical [music] you can own, you really value it.”
Whether it’s a life philosophy or genius marketing ploy has yet to be decided, but either way, as of now, the only way to experience Supermagical is to come out and see a show. And if you’re a fan of positive dance music and interactive crowd experiences, seeing a performance will be worth the trip.
“We basically want to make music that’s fun and sounds good, but we also like the interactive crowd stuff. At practice when we write songs we also talk about what we should do that’s weird and cool and involves bringing people out of themselves,” says vocalist Emily Kempf. Recent performances have included choreographed dance moves and Lisa Frank stickers being stuck to the faces of audience members.
One thing you can expect to find when browsing through Supermagical’s limited web presence: cats. In fact, it is cat that can be credited for the bands existence, as it was Mitchell’s cat Spellingbee that broke a several month silence between Kempf and Mitchell. Naturally, the cat deserved some recognition for its part, so Supermagical created shirts with Spellingbee’s face as a tribute to their dear friend.
The band seems full of unconventional ideas, and not just when it comes to their music and merchandise designs. During their photo shoot for Flannelmouth, Mitchell and Kempf practically ran the session, throwing out a number of ideas on how and where they wanted to pose. Some shots were taken (blending into the vines on a fence in the alley behind Schubas) and some were vetoed (surprisingly no one wanted to stand on Mitchell’s back while he lay on the ground and the group didn’t seem to fond of Kempf’s selfie idea), but no suggestion was brutally torn apart, which Kempf says is the norm when making decisions on any aspect of the band. “It’s all really open. All ideas are immediately accepted and talked about. It’s not like ‘that’s stupid! We’re not going to do that!’ That never happens.”
Even Supermagical’s formation was slightly unusual. The band started with a spontaneous meeting between Kempf and Mitchell in Kempf’s hometown of Atlanta nearly a year ago. The two decided to start a band, get rid of their belongings, and go on an indefinite tour. After touring until March of 2014, the band decided it was time to settle and relocated to Mitchell’s hometown of Chicago. From there they were introduced to Canadian native and bassist, Andrew Manktello through a mutual friend and Mitchell’s musical arch nemesis, Steve Simko of the band Landmarks.
“Steve declined to be the bass player and sent Andrew in. We were at the practice space and Andrew backs up with his beautiful hair and then he ate an entire pack of cookies during the practice. In my head, those were the moments, when I was like, ‘this is literally the perfect person to be in this band’. It was love at first sight,” says Kempf.
Kempf described having a similar feeling upon the first meeting of Supermagical’s newest member, violist Kendy Johnson, an addition that adds another layer of complexity to their sound. “[Johnson’s] personality and the way she approaches playing ads to us. Some people aren’t good with thinking way outside the box and experimenting and playing in front of others and trying stuff out and not worrying about being a certain way,” says Kempf.
As a young band, only being together a year, Supermagical is still morphing and developing themselves, although judging by the energy and enthusiasm of the members, the band looks to have found their footing in the Chicago music scene. Aside from adding their newest member (Johnson) only weeks ago, the band has also undergone a name change to erase the confusion with the promo band White Gold with the Got Milk? campaign.
The next step for Supermagical is to start recording and putting out music (in a tangible form of course) and to continue to tour and play live shows. The bands next performance will be held at Bric-A-Brac on September 27th for Chicago’s only official Cassette Store Day party. From October 1st-17th, Supermagical will be going on another tour to New York and back.
Photos: Jason Barnes
Words: Jessica Gervais
Sound Opinions Live - Tweedy
For the third straight year, Lincoln Hall was lucky enough to host Sound Opinions for a very special live recording, this time featuring Chicago legend Jeff Tweedy and his latest project, Tweedy. Enjoy the stream below which includes an interview with Jeff and his son, Spencer, followed by a fantastic live performance.
Guest Mixtape: Cymbals Eat Guitars
On Saturday, New York’s Cymbals Eat Guitars visit Chicago to play Schubas with support from VARSITY and Pink Frost. They kindly put together this 11 track mix to prep your for the show. Listen below, but first, grab tickets for Saturday as the show is nearly sold out.
Guest Mixtape: Dessa
We’re extremely excited to have Dessa back in Chicago next weekend. After an amazing New Year’s Eve show at Lincoln Hall, she’ll be back for two nights with Anticon’s WHY?. Ahead of that, she kindly put together this 13 track mix of some of her favorite songs. Enjoy below and grab some tickets for next weekend here.
Guest Mixtape: The Dig
New York quartet The Dig have been building some buzz from their first two full-lengths of ’80s shoegaze-inspired rock. It’s a Cure-meets-T. Rex sound that utilizes dark keyboards, with enough reverb to drown Robert Smith. You & I marks the band’s third release in two years (following last year’s full-length, Midnight Flowers, and their first 2013 EP, Tired Hearts), those sets comprising an impressive sum of 21 consistently nocturnal and sedated songs. - Consequence of Sound