October’s submission queue gives a new series of material from artists we’ve been giving some focus on over the last few months. Eight tracks covering a wide swath of Indie Rock, Pop-Punk, Gritty Folk Rock to Americana and Alt-Country. We also uncover another hidden recording gem from a legendary 80’s Chicago punk trio.
As always, if you like what you hear, please consider supporting the artists below through their websites.
Get Smart! is a three-piece indie rock ‘n roll band that formed in Lawrence, KS in 1980 while the members, Marcus Koch (guitar/vocals), Lisa Wertman Crowe (bass/vocals) and Frank Loose (drums/vocals), were attending the University of Kansas. The group was prominent in the local music scene, and along with a cohort of other bands, helped to solidify Lawrence as an alternative music hotbed and a destination for many other regional and national acts. Along with frequent local shows, the band toured the country extensively, performing more than 300 gigs in a six-year span.
They released their first recording in 1981, a flexi-disc released through Talk Talk magazine. This was followed by Words Move, a self-released 4-track EP, and next was a four-band split cassette, Fresh Sounds from Middle America. They recorded their first LP, Action Reaction, prior to relocating to Chicago in late 1982, and in 1986, released their second LP, Swimming With Sharks.
They are thrilled to announce the release of Oh Yeah No, a 6-song EP recorded in 1987 at Chicago Recording Company with legendary sound engineer Iain Burgess. These recordings were meant to be the start of a third LP with the goal to find a record label to complete and market the album.
With the aim of matching their live sound, they took these songs out of the vault and commissioned another legend, Steve Albini, to craft the final mixes with us at his Electrical Audio studio.
Still fit and fighting to play out live again, their 40+1 Anniversary show on December 11 at Liar’s Club is a reset, and they plan to keep the mission alive by collaborating and playing more live shows as Get Smart! Plans are open for 2022, but include recording more unreleased songs, releasing out-of-print vinyl, and writing more new music.
“I Think You Earned It” is the second single from “Opt Out” which is out today. Check out the Rock in Chicago Show episode with Nora Marks.
The release show is Saturday at Golden Dagger.
“I Am Made of Solid Gold” is the debut single from the pop punk/power pop band Damager.
Damager is a new project from Chicago musician/filmmaker Dan Stewart. Channeling sounds from the likes of Green Day, Husker Du, Joyce Manor and Bruce Springsteen to name a few, they will be releasing their debut album “Best Team In Baseball” on November 5.
Chicago’s Press A released their self-titled debut album, last week.
Best described as “referential rock,” their sound is a sonic smorgasbord of all their favorite movies, video games, and other pop culture items that they wasted their youth obsessing over.
Jim Gainer (lead guitar/vocals) is a founding cast member, writer, and producer of the sketch comedy group Big Dog Eat Child. Jim and Colin Gainer (drums) played together in The Wires. Erik Gainer (guitar) has been a member of The Studs, hip hop group Wannabe Heroes, and as solo MC E-Legal. Matt Gainer (Bass) has been part of Chicago’s storied improv scene as a founding member of the troupe Discount Lunchline and also played in the band Atomic Dog.
The Last Great Riot
The Last Great Riot released their new full-length album, “Tomorrows Gonna Be Rough”, on 9/24/21. Check out the first single “Neighborhood Legend” on their Bandcamp.
Blind Adam and the Federal League
Blind Adam and the Federal League released their sophomore album, “An Act Of Desperation”. It was recorded in October 2019 at Anti-Flag’s A-F Records studio in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with producer and engineer Chris “#2” Barker.
Originally set to release in the summer of 2020, the band decided to put it on hold to focus on their solidarity with the Black Lives Matter uprisings, as well as the mutual aid project People’s Pizza Party in partnership with Brace Space Alliance, and focus on communities that were impacted by Covid-19.
The Distant Memory Project
Bryan Joseph Kuhn has been writing and recording his own music for nearly 15 years.
“What keeps you up at night? This song explores the deep feelings and emotions we go through on a nightly basis. It delves into those negative thoughts that come with sleepless nights. Isolation within our own heads creates a racing mind. Don’t fall into that darkness. Reach out to someone whom you can lean on. It can be hard sometimes, but you are not alone. Hit me up if this song connects with you.”
Brian Joseph Kuhn will be a guest on an upcoming Rock in Chicago Show episode.
Matt Derda and the High Watts
Matt Derda & The High Watts, a Folk Rock group from Wheaton, IL, combines storytelling with resonant melodies. Blending Rock N Roll riffs with Eastern Kentucky roots, they’ve created a unique sound that captures the essence of Johnny Cash’s Nashville and the grit of rock acts like The Replacements.
Their latest single “Moonshine” is a Southern Rock anthem that tells the story of a bootlegger from Eastern Kentucky driving fast, breaking the law and risking it all. Hard hitting guitar riffs and emotional vocal melodies make this song a barn burner and crowd favorite. The song is best described as a combination of Southern roots and blue collar Chicago grit. In other words, it’s like bourbon and Old Style.
Matt Derda is an upcoming guest on the Rock in Chicago Show.