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Basement + Nothing Play The Metro

One of the best parts about Summer approaching in Chicago is being able to go to a show when it's warm out. Yeah great, whatever it's warm out - everybody likes that. But think about it; how great is it to be able to hop off the train and walk down past Wrigley Field and walk right into the Metro which has its doors wide open, scan your ticket, and run right up the stairs to catch a band play? No giant coat to figure out what to do with, the temperature never changes until you jump into the sweaty pit. But what makes that entire experience better is when the bands you went up to catch are two that you've honeslty been wanting to check out, you just never have, and now you're so glad you finally did - and in the best way possible! This was my Basement and Nothing experience this past Friday the 24th.

Nothing opened for Basement. They're from current noise-rock hotbed, Philadelphia, and delivered behind a cool shade of blue lights or an anxious glow of orange a powerhouse set of shoegaze and hard rock that melded together to evoke the cathartic sounds of guitars turned up and reverbed to hell. In the same way this gave bands like Catherine Wheel and My Vitriol their charm and obsessive character, Nothing presents emotion not only in slow delivered vocals, but in the slab riffs amd trailes of distortion that sound like they're screaming out of a pink neon tube exploding with sound. The songs among their 8 song setlist included cuts like "Blue Line Baby" from last year's Dance on The Blacktop (Relapse Records) and "Vertigo Flowers" off of 2016's Tired of Tomorrow (Relapse Records). Nothing played loud and as soon as they were through, they were through, leaving the Metro stage quickly, making way for Basement. 

From Ipswich, England, formed in 2009, Basement stopped in Chicago as part of the tour for their latest release, last year's Beside Myself (Fueled By Ramen), the band's second release following a return from hiatus in 2014. Though the show was not sold out, the all ages crowd that packed infront of the stage proved that a sold out crowd means nothing compared to an audience of incredibly enthusiastic fans either dancing and shouting lyrics, falling all over one another in an enticing pit, surfing the enticing pit, or what I did to fully absorb the band that I'd only seen in passing at Michican's Audiotree Fest late last year. Noticing this pit, lead vocalist Andrew Fisher noted "I see a bit of movement here. I like it, feel free to have fun," later adding "this is my favorite show of the tour." The crowd did just that while the band played songs from their latest record, "Nothing Left," and "Be Here Now," songs played with a ferocious calm exuded from guitarists Ronan Crix and Alex Henery's confident presence while playing, seemingly for their own enjoyment, head banging and moving around to their songs, letting us join them. Fisher jumped and rocked back and forth while he cluthced the mic and rasped out the sing-alongable lyrics.

To me, this was the best kind of official introduction for both of these bands that I could have asked for. I'd seen their albums covers a few times and thought "oh yeah I know that name..." but never did anything about it until running right up the stairs into Nothing, and staying for Basement, very glad I did. 

 <-----Nothing's Dance on the Blacktop  Basement's Beside Myself --->

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Salads Are Overrated? Not On Tour: WLUW Talks with PUP

Toronto pop-punk band PUP wrapped up the latest leg of their American tour here in Chicago to a sold out crowd Thursday the 23rd. Their third album "Morbid Stuff" brought them to the Metro earlier this month, on the 4th, for a show that also sold out so quickly that this last one was tacked on to satisfy the high demand Chicago fans have for a PUP show. "Morbid Stuff" was released back in April, has been present in the college radio charts since, as well as on WLUW's air waves. WLUW staff members Paul Quinn and Scott Clancy, along with their friend Jeff, were invited onto PUP's tour bus (which had a microwave) to talk to singer/guitarist Stefan Babcock, bassist Nestor Chumak, guitarist Steve Sladkowski, and drummer Zack Mykula about "Morbid Stuff," Rage Against the Machine, salads, Robert Smith, touring, Chicago music, and Chicago organization "Our Music, My Body", and so much more. Check out the interview and look for "Morbid Stuff" out on Rise Records.


Paul: Today's the last day of the leg of the tour, right?



Paul: How you guys feeling?

Band: Home tomorrow! Too tired.

Stefan: Feeling tired, but lucky.

Nester: Yeah, just like it was awesome. Yeah, it just works out perfectly. Like my wife's birthday tomorrow, so it's actually, it's actually good timing.


Scott: You're going home, you said after this? How long are you guys home for?

Stefan: A couple of weeks. Couple of weeks where we're more or less on tour. We started this tour kind of mid to late March and we're pretty much on tour til December, but we got a couple of weeks here and there. So we'll get her first little break starting tomorrow and then back at it. It will be great.


Paul: So, Morbid Stuff came out, you guys came around for tour, how has been the fan reaction? Going and playing all over the country so far?

Stefan: It's been awesome. Uh, yeah, it's been really good. Most amazing thing is like playing these songs, you know, a week after they came out and having crowds shout the words back in their face, like, people know the songs already. And that's been really, pretty rewarding.

Steve: I think we maybe underestimated it. Like you look at a city like Chicago and we have a night booked at the Metro, you know, we played a few weeks ago and it's sold out so quick. We were all kind of like taken aback, and I'm not trying to be disingenuous. We just weren't sure what the reaction was going to be and the fact that it's been like this overwhelming really kind of kept us going, to like fight through fatigue just from, you know, the demands of being on the road when you know that people are this excited.


Paul: Jeff and I were at the first night and it was fantastic. Both Casper Skulls and Ratboys are fantastic too. How was the first leg of tour of being with those two bands?

Stefan: So, both of those bands, I just can't say enough good things. Like not only are they fantastic bands, but they're all great people and touring with your friends who are in really good bands just makes life so much better and easier. We've done, we've run the gamut of tours from, you know, people who have been our friends forever that we just love hanging out with and bands that we just haven't gotten along with. And being on this tour with just, you know eight other people who we all love and admire for their musical abilities and personality has been just awesome.

Nester: Yeah. And I know Casper Skulls is getting home and they're going to finish the record and I know Ratboys, they're sitting on a record. Yeah. Like they played a couple of new songs here and there. I like they are going to clean up when they put those records out, like both bands are going to be fucking so good.


Scott: So, I want to talk about your new record Morbid Stuff. What differentiates the new one from past PUP releases? Is there a personal theme to it or what kind of goes into it rather than the other ones?

Stefan: Well, I think we've kind of always stuck to our guns in terms of what kind of band we wanted to be. We've all known from day one... or day five what this band should be and I think the three records, in my opinion, people may not agree, but in my opinion, each record has been better than the last. And I don't think it was about trying to do anything different, but it's just kind of about each record has been about  getting better as a band, getting more confident as songwriters and just sort of leaning into the thing that we know we want to be good at. The third record has been a bit of a continuation of the first two and in the same kind of vein our goal has been with all the records to do the same thing, but better, and to not repeat ourselves. So I think we accomplished all of that on the third record. You know, it's not a perfect record, but we feel good about it.


Scott: So, what kind of band did you set out to be then? You said like day five, you had that idea of what kind of band you wanted to be?

Stefan: I think we always wanted to be like sort of heavy, but poppy at the same time, you know we wanted to write hooks but be a heavy band and we wanted to do it and kind of challenge ourselves to do it in ways that other bands maybe hadn't done. I think there's a lot of weird stuff that people either like or hate about this band. Whether it's kind of screwing with the time signatures a bit or you know, abrasive lyrics or you know, I don't know.

Zack: A live show that's about to fall apart at any moment.

Stefan: Yeah, I mean for a lot of people these are probably things that maybe turn them off of this band, but, it turns us on that it's what kind of makes it interesting I think to be in this band, for me anyways.


Paul: Using those words, what's the biggest turn on you guys have as a band on stage?

Zack: I don't know. Recently it's been at the end of Morbid Stuff when people like wave their hands to the quiet outro, like that's been big, it's like that people are into it. It has been very edifying, especially all the way to the end. Yeah. Yeah. And another big thing is our crowds get pretty rowdy and people respecting each other is a big part of our enjoyment and like making sure everyone can have five minutes of community as opposed to a bunch of individuals. That makes our lives better. It makes the audience's lives better. So I'd say that's a turn on.

Paul: Going on that branch of community, like the last show earlier in the month you guys partnered with Our Music My Body for the show, which is a really, really fantastic local organization, that we have worked with in the past. We've got a lot of mutual friends who work there as well and I just think they're like one of the best charity organizations, especially in the Chicago music scene. So there's obvious reasons why you would pick them because they do a great job, but when you guys are taking these charities to go on tour with or to have at your shows, why was it they were the choice?

Steve: As soon as the initiative got announced, they had reached out and were really, really enthusiastic and we have a lot of friends here, kind of in a similar way where like, this is a really cool organization. I think our friend Mckayla made a shirt for them or like a sticker, I can't remember. Just getting an email from them and then they seemed really, really enthusiastic. It was cool, and I liked that they're not fully putting the onus on individuals or bands. It's kind of like a holistic attempt to educate venues, and festivals, and concert goers and bands. Because I think, and obviously this  is one person's opinion and you know, I'm like a straight white guy, so I have a very specific kind of experience with that. But in actually combating assault and, and making music going spaces safer, it takes kind of effort on all parts to really combat it and to continuously kind of maintain those environments. And it seems like they're doing a really good job in kind of raising that awareness and taking a kind of a multifaceted approach to eradicating that.


Scott: That's right. You're right. Yeah. What do you think...? Like… I don't know...It's like...I don't know if I have a follow up to that one. Right. Nevermind. What have you guys been listening to lately?

Stefan: Charly Bliss! Yeah. And their new record is so friggin' good. It's amazing. Um, that's it. Just Charly Bliss.

Zack: It's funny when we're out on tour, I find it really difficult to listen to new music cause either my ears are just tired, which sounds silly, or I'm just like, oh, I just want to listen to like a podcast. Like I need something that's like very chill, dulcet tones, you know.

Steve: I'm the same, but, when we were in Washington, I went for a walk down to the National Mall. And on the way there I was listening to Charly Bliss. And when I got there, I saw a bunch of white MAGA clowns just like stirring up whatever hatred they're in to and then I turned on Rage Against the Machine. So that was like perfect setting and I forgot how awesome they are. But similarly, I have a very hard time listening to music on tour just cause we're surrounded by it constantly.


Scott: Do you tend to refer back to what you had always loved before or do you actively seek out new music when you have the chance?

Zack: I want something that is immediately satisfying. So whether it's something that I've always listened to or it's something new that I really love, like Charly Bliss or Rage Against the Machine, that's usually what I turn to. Cause I appreciate the act of working on writing a record because some records are very dense and you have to get through certain layers before you ever truly get it. But that's not an easy activity on tour for me.

Steve: Yeah. I like that Big Thief record. Yeah. The little bit that I've heard.

Stefan: It's good. That's also one though where I feel like, yeah you gotta work. I listened to it twice and I'm like, I am going to love this record. I need a bit more time to work through it. There's a lot going on with that album.

Zack: That's what went on with the Mitski record for me and it's one of my favorite records ever now.

Steve: So, I guess I didn't get a real good idea of the Big Thief record in Oklahoma when I was going to buy a salad.


Jeff: Salads are overrated.

Zack: Not On tour, not on tour.

Stefan: Yeah. I find I can only listen to mellow music on tour. I can't listen to rowdy, heavy stuff. It's just too exhausting. So I listen to a lot of the mellower shit when we're on tour and then go home and spend a couple of days of acclimatizing to normal life and then get back into whatever else.

Zack: But I also listen to a lot of, uh, the Super Mario Odyssey soundtrack because I'm playing Super Mario Odyssey.

Steve: I go to record stores fairly often on tour and will buy stuff and then when I get home it's kind of like a nice way to sort of unwind, chill out. But there's no way we'll have a record player on the bus, that would be a disaster.

Stefan: We haven't once plugged in our phones or anything to jam out to some tunes. It's fucking forbidden. If anyone did that, I would be so annoyed.

Zack: But we've never made that rule. It's just like assumed. An unspoken rule. Don't really do that. Don't impose your music on other people.


Jeff: The bus is an upgrade from that van from that Dark Days video.

Stefan: Yeah. I mean it's not much of an upgrade. It just got bigger, with the same smells, but you have a microwave. It's a little bit easier to sleep.


Jeff: If I can ask one question, everything that happened in that video, Dark Days, was that true? Or did you guys just make an animated short?

Zack: I've never seen the northern lights. That's the only thing.

Stefan: Well, I was going to say it's all true but embellished. Yeah, true-ish.

Zack: And I did barf in the sink. But yeah. Uh, in a different place, different location. Yeah.

Nester: I'd say at some point we just got rid of like what got rid of all the CDs in the van. Cause I mean if you'd have that 10 hour drive and you have 20 CDs, seems like you've listened to everything a bunch of times. So we just we have no more CDs.

Stefan: I couldn't listen to Titus Andronicus' "The Monitor" for three fucking years because I love that album. And we listened to it so much. I'm saying it as like a compliment to that album. For probably two years of touring, we listened to that every day and then one day we just decided like no more and I couldn't listen to it for three years and I didn't. I did listen to it once on this tour and I was like, oh, that's awesome. It's so good. But also now I won't listen to it for another year. At least.


Scott: And speaking of dense albums The Cure's Disintegration is 30 years old this year. Do you have any opinion one way or the other about it?

Zack:I don't know what that is.

Scott: Really? Oh, it's the best album in the world.

Stefan: Can you say it again?

Scott: The Cure's Disintegration.

Steve: Shouts out to Robert Smith for winning is Robert Smith or Morrissey the better person. But i'm not a really big Cure fan, but I love the singles.

Zack: We saw him at Riot Fest.

Stefan: I don't know if I saw it. I was busy getting thrown off the Weezer stage.

Steve: Didn't you say that Rivers Cuomo was your cousin and they believed him for like a minute?

Stefan: Yeah, they let me on the stage and then one of the security guards was like, "wait a minute". Yeah, I was like uh oh.


Jeff: Do you all know each other outside of that? You and Rivers?

Stefan: Oh No, not at all.

Scott: Do you want to?

Stefan: No, not really. I love him. I love Weezer, obviously we love Weezer. Our whole band loves Weezer. We sound like Weezer. But no, I mean, I don't really care to meet him. If he wanted to meet us, I would be down. I've heard he's not the most sociable guy and that's cool too. So no worries on that part. I Love, love Weezer, lover Rivers, and that's all I need. I feel like on a smaller scale, like people shouldn't meet us. Like we're fine. Like I think it destroys a lot of the perception. I think people have it in their heads that were like maybe wild party guys or just super fun all the time. Man, you should come backstage like 10 minutes before we're about to play where we're all like hunched over on the couch looking at our phones, not talking. It's like, man, it's a wild time.


Scott: What switches over then? So if you're doing that before the show and then you get on stage is there something like that, like it's just a feeling that kicks in?

Zack: We like to play music.

Stefan: That's a better answer than I was going to say. I was gonna say do you ever work a job?

Zack: Like even your dream job, but yeah, it's a lot. I mean that doesn't make this any less special.

Stefan: I think there some days on tour where you're going on stage and like, I don't mean to sound ungrateful because obviously we love doing this, but there are days where you have to force yourself to be like: "Okay. We're going to do this. Get it together. Get some energy. Just do what you gotta do. And for me, usually by song two or three I'm like into it and like having a great time. Even if I have to fake it for the first three, four minutes, by the fifth minute I'm like, ahhh yeah. This is why we're doing this. It's great.


Jeff: With your comment too like, "have you ever had a job". We obviously have bad days going in to work too. And we all work together. We need a good crew to have that good day. I'm assuming you all are best friends, you guys have a good crew every day of the week. You guys ever get sick of each other or get at each other's throats?

Nester: Yeah, there's that. I mean we spent the last six years touring together. It's basically like family now. We know exactly how to push each other's buttons. When to push them and when not to push them.

Zack: You annoying or not annoying somebody is a skill, you know.

Steve: And  think we've mellowed just generally, as people, which is good. Everyone can conserve their energy. I feel like five years ago I'd be like: "Stefan! Why are you going to bed? Have another beer!" And you'd be like, "I don't want to" and I'd be like, "ah, come on!" Now it's just like, who cares? It doesn't matter.

Stefan: What's changed is I don't tell anyone I'm going to go to bed. I just go. The thing that I've learned about partying on tour, especially as you get older, not like we're old, but you know, we've been doing this a while, is that you just have to reduce the frequency to which you do it. So I think at the beginning, like most bands, if they're not, you know, straight edge, I think probably their first tour they go on, they get obliterated every night because it's a fun new experience. It's exciting. Booze is free, and also you're nervous to go on stage. And now at this point we've been touring full time for six years. We can treat this more like real life where maybe you have a drink or two most nights, not all nights, but some. And then once in a while you have a lot and make an ass of yourself and then feel shame and the next day and go about your business.

Steve: I think I can count on my one hand the number of times I've done that on this tour.

Stefan: I think that says more about your ability to not be hungover.

Steve: But even that's a skill that I didn't have on our first tours.

Zack: Our livers have a lot of practice.

Steve: Stefan and I used to get high before rehearsal every once in a while.

Zack: Oh, you idiots.

Stefan: It's like one of those dumb things. I mean, when you're a teenager, you're like: cool. When I'm stoned I'm a better driver because I'm more careful. It's like shut the fuck up. Well, when I'm high, I'm so much more creative. It's like, no, you just think you're amazing and you suck. That's the six years of touring with this band.

Zack: I mean, there's something to be said for harnessing the ability to be creative without substance.

Steve: It just gives you a different look.

Stefan: Steve's still working on that picture. Just kidding.

Steve: Write high, edit sober. What are you talking about? Come on!


Paul: Then for the last show you guys had the band Kodachrome come up on stage and play their version of Free at Last and you guys came out and you played your version.

Zack: Yeah. They're definitely one of our favorites. I mean there are obviously a great band, but so much energy and enthusiasm for it and that like really came across. It's like I actually gave a shit about what they're doing.

Nester: After, you know, 253 (submissions), there's like still a handful that kind of stuck with us. We were like, Oh shit, this one, this is actually good. You know, like these guys did a great job.

Stefan: We had a band called Tiger Castle do the same thing in Philly. And we're going to do it once more, but we're not talking about it yet. But it's also been cool cause it's been rough for the most part. It's been rock bands, the ones that we've chosen to come on stage and do it up in rock bands who who are great bands that maybe are not as well-known as they should be. So it's just the kind of cool opportunity, uh, to give those bands some exposure. Like Kodachrome is amazing and Tiger Castle are amazing and everyone should know those bands. Hopefully it's been a little bit helpful for them as well.


   <---------- Morbid Stuff out now on Rise Records


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Yann Tiersen Invokes an Environmentally Soaring Atmosphere at Thalia Hall

Yann Tiersen is a French musician and composer who now resides on a small island in the Celtic sea. His major breakout occurred when he created the soundtrack for the popular French film, Amélie. On May 18, 2019, he returned for his second two-hour show in a row at the magnificent Pilsen venue, Thalia Hall.

People were seated throughout the entire venue; many were dressed in gorgeous suits and dresses, speaking beautiful languages that I only wish I could understand. It was a picturesque atmosphere that was created not only by Thalia Hall’s stunningly rugged and fulfilling energy, but also by the people who calmly strode through the hall, excited to open their ears to world-like music that would soar through them all. 

The concert commenced after the room became dark and a spoken story began to echo through the hall. It was a story about traveling through the world and how one species’ actions will affect the next. No matter how small the interaction, the way we connect with each other and with those living things that are not so similar to us, will eventually come back in an impactful way. Aligning with the beautiful and thoughtful story, Yann Tiersen glided across stage and sat at his massive piano, effortlessly letting his fingers soar through heart-grabbing rhythms and melodies. 

The sounds that were created throughout the show were often calming, and one would find their breath slowing to a pace that may go undetected. Deep breaths of love and awe filled the hall as neighbor to neighbor we sat mouths ajar. Just when comfort set, moments of anticipation and tension began, and breath would stop. As this tension progressed, musical climaxes would erupt. Overflowing throughout the hall, absolute power and indescribable aural pleasure encompassed us all. 

Through Yann’s set, he invited more sounds to join him on stage. His set featured many pieces from his 2019 release, All. It was the first album to be created at Yann’s new home, called The Eskal, which features a studio, venue, and community center. The Eskal is located on Ushant, a small island in the Celtic sea, where Yann has lived for the past ten years. With Yann’s connection to nature and his surrounding environment, he incorporates live audio from places like the redwood forests of California, the Tempelhof airport in Berlin, and what seems like a playground where children are laughing and playing into his recordings and live performances. Yann would rotate between the many instruments on stage, whether it was his piano, keyboards, tubular bells, melodica, or violin. He also employed guest musicians to sing, play percussive instruments, or help with any other one of the arrays of instruments that were set on stage. While working together, his team created an absolutely stunning atmosphere. 

Visually, a screen sat high above the musicians’ heads. Throughout the set, environmental cinema would appear. The video would feature still or slow-moving camerawork that captured a calming sea, a bristling forest, or a rushing river through a valley. The screen was not employed for the entirety of his concert, let alone the majority. Instead, it was accompanied by a dazzling and calming light display. In addition, there were eight thin rods that stood upright and were dispersed equally throughout the stage. These rods would alter in color and would pulsate in rhythm to create an all-encompassing environment.

Following an absolutely gorgeous hour and a half set, Yann waved the crowd goodbye and exited the stage. Everyone in the hall rose from their seats and gave the most real encore I have ever been apart of. Loud cheers and applause echoed through the venue without waver until Yann emerged back on stage. He sat at the piano with total nonchalant composure as if he wasn’t putting on the greatest show I have ever seen at Thalia Hall. One last time, he began a musical progression as if adrift a calming sea, and then caught in a roaring storm.

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THE SOCIAL is a Pop Alternative band consisting of members Thomas Horrock (Guitar), Alexander Rosca (Drums), and Keaton Stromberg (Vocals). To kick off the year, their debut single “Any Other Way” was released on January 1st. Since then, it has been a pretty busy year for them. Not only have they released other singles such as “Dancing on the Moon” and “Everything’s Alright,” but they supported Spencer Sutherland on his Sweater Shows tour throughout the month of February. As of now, we can expect more music to be released in the near future along with some shows. Calling all the way from Los Angeles, THE SOCIAL talked to me and Erin Marie to discuss Chicago, music, and food.


Did you have any favorite memories from the Chicago show?

Keaton: It was pretty crazy, we were driving from Minneapolis the night before the show, and the polar vortex was going on! 

Alexander: It was tough to go through it.

Keaton: Normally it’s a 6-hour drive but it took us close to 11 hours. After our soundcheck, we rolled up, put our stuff on stage, got ready, and went straight in and straight out. That was a crazy night

What are some of your favorite venues that you played so far?

Keaton: I really liked the one in Chicago! 

Alexander: Minneapolis at the 7th St. Entry.

Keaton: Yeah! That one was a really cool club. It had really low ceilings, it almost feels like you’re in a basement. That was really loud.


Are there any venues in Chicago that you would want to perform in?

Tommy: A good one is the Subterranean.

Keaton: Yeah I like that venue.

Alexander: It looks pretty cool!


For those who are not familiar, how did you guys meet and how did this band come to be?

Keaton: Alexander and I got together when I was looking for musicians to play with for my solo album that I released in 2017. I did a whole audition process, and so I came across Alexander. We started playing together and everything was really natural. It felt really good playing together and jamming out, so we thought ‘maybe we should start a band!’ We actually had to put out a craigslist ad looking for a guitar player, and Tommy showed up. It turned out that Alexander and Tommy played together in the past, so it was really cool how that happened and how everything fell together. 

Tommy: It was very intuitive. 

Keaton: We really didn’t plan on it being a band. It wasn’t like a grand scheme to put this together. We just kind of went with it.

Alexander: It’s something that we’re holding onto very tightly. It’s something very exciting for all of us when it’s something we all really believe in.

Tommy: We went on a trip to write the record, and it was pretty obvious when the sound of THE SOCIAL came alive. It was very different than anything we’ve worked on before. So, it all kind of happened and fell into our laps pretty much.


Who are some of the artists that you look up to for your sound?

Keaton: We have all our own individual influences, but then I think all three of us love alternative pop bands, like The 1975, WALK THE MOON, The Killers, Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club. All three of us immediately clicked on this sound and we love these types of bands. We definitely draw a lot from them. 


If you’re at a music festival, like lollapalooza, rolling loud, etc., and if you were in charge of picking who gets to perform at these types of festivals, what would be your dream lineup?

Keaton: Well, I would definitely love to have us on there somewhere! I don’t know where that would be, but for me headlining would be The 1975.

Alexander: They’re a headline band!

Keaton: They are! They put on a killer show. They’re definitely reaching a massive audience right now, and their sound really reaches out. Past the alternative thing, they definitely have a pop radio sound.

Tommy: The Phoenix is on that. They reach out to a lot of people and they also have that super cool, unique sound.


How did you guys come up with the name the social for this band?

Keaton: When we knew we definitely wanted to start a band, we were going through different names and we had landed on ‘S’ names. We liked ‘The’ preceding with a name, like ‘The 1975’.

Tommy: And ‘The Killers’ or ‘The Strokes.’ 

Keaton: It is a very solid kind of name. We were going through ‘S’ names and we landed on ‘THE SOCIAL’ and at first we were like “okay, we’ll keep it in mind.” And we just kept coming back to it. We tried putting other words after ‘THE SOCIAL’ and before, but nothing felt as strong as ‘THE SOCIAL.’

Alexander: And it’s a kind of network for everybody and it’s very inclusive. We’re more than a band. We’re a community and literally socializing with other people.


 Keaton, you used to be in a band called emblem 3. I was really interested and excited to see that you were part of a new band. What was that transition like from the pop area to more of an alternative sound now?

Keaton: The whole band stopped being together for about 3 years now, and I was on a hiatus from music after I put out my solo record in 2017. I was lost and felt like I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Alexander and I got together and started jamming out and I thought “this is why I started doing music in the first place.” Playing and creating new music together and having fun with it; that was definitely something that was lost in my prior projects. Like I said before, it happened all naturally. It wasn’t like I planned to start a new band or anything. It’s also really important because it’s not just my band. It’s all of our band, and we all feel easily a part of it. That can be a weird thing sometimes when someone in the band has had some sort of success before. It’s really cool how we got together, and we were playing music as friends and creating for fun. It was the first time I felt that in a long time.


If you had any advice for upcoming musicians, what advice would you give them?

Tommy: Don’t stop ever! No matter what happens, keep going, and always be yourself. Some people have the mindset that they have to be something else. They have to be somebody else’s image of what you’re supposed to be. Do whatever you think is right.

Keaton: Going off of that, I feel like people look as failure as “oh I failed I should give up.” But the truth is, the only time you fail is when you give up. Like Tommy was just saying, as long as you never stop, you’ll make it one way or another. That’s really important.

If you could redesign the food pyramid and eat anything without any health consequences, what would it look like? 

Keaton: I would put ice cream on top 

Alexander: And let it all just go down! 

Keaton: Exactly! Let it all go down. 

Tommy: Yeah!

Keaton: I’m a big donuts and candy type of fan. 

Tommy: I’m going to make pizza the base of it. With ranch for sure.

Keaton: Okay there you go!

Tommy: Ranch on everything!


What would be the health food to avoid at all costs?

Alexander: Tomatoes.

Keaton: Yeah I’m really not a tomato guy.

Alexander: That would be off the pyramid. 


So, you don’t like ketchup?

Alexander: I don’t like ketchup either. 


So, the next time you guys are at the subterranean I’ll make sure to bring a bucket full of tomatoes for you guys.

Keaton: yeah that sounds awful! 


Any last words for your fans or anybody out there? Want to drop any social medias? 

Keaton: All of our social medias are @findthesocial. We love everyone! Keep looking forward to some new music.

Tommy: It’s definitely a big year for us. We’re going to be releasing [new music] and doing a lot more towards the end of the year.

Keaton: We’re doing a show here in LA on the 29th at the Moroccan Lounge, and we’re keeping our eyes open for new tour opportunities.

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Check out what's new rotation at WLUW!

Every week WLUW’s music staff picks the best new music releases to add to our rotation. Check out what we’ll be spinning this week and into the future!

  1. Alaskalaska - The Dots - Marathon Artists

  2. An Horse - Modern Air  - Lame-O

  3. Big Thief - UFOF - 4AD

  4. Body Type - EP1 + EP2 - Inertia Music

  5. Charly Bliss - Young Enough - Barsuk Records

  6. Combo Chimbita - Ahomale - ANTI-

  7. Craig Finn - I Need a New War - Partisan Records

  8. Dehd - Water - Fire Talk

  9. Esperanza Spalding - 12 Little Spells - Concord

  10. Greys - Age Hasn’t Spoiled You - Carpark Records

  11. MorMor - Some Place Else - Don’t Guess Inc.

  12. The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension! - Wick Records

  13. NOTS - 3 - Goner Records

  14. Pile - Green and Gray - Exploding in Sound

  15. Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique - Domino

  16. Second Still - Violet Phase - Fabrika Records


ALASKALASKA - The Dots - Marathon Artists

Inventive South London-based indie-pop outfit ALASKALASKA drew in a lot of excited listeners with their self-titled EP, and they do not disappoint with their debut record The Dots. The Dots manages to have a bunch of overlaying instrumentation without feeling over-produced, and it’s a very refreshing record.



An Horse - Modern Air - Lame-O

Ten years after the release of their debut, Australian alt-rock duo An Horse return with their third full-length Modern Air. Modern Air maintain the same grand sonic identity of their earlier work while feeling simultaneously edgier and more polished.



Big Thief - U.F.O.F. - 4AD

Big Thief has always been Adrianne Lenker’s baby, but U.F.O.F., the project’s third full-length record, feels more than ever to be a group effort. Lenker’s bandmates, Buck Meek (guitar), Max Oleartchik (bass), and James Krivchenia (drums), sound more cohesive than ever, resulting in the lushest Big Thief recording to date.



Body Type - EP1 + EP2 - Inertia Music

Garage and surf rock quartet Body Type combine cascading guitar riffs, reverb-drenched mix, and singer Sophie McComish’s dreamy vocals. This week we’ve added their debut EP from last year and their new EP which just released, both of which are fun and breezy.



Charly Bliss - Young Enough - Barsuk Records

New York-based Indie-rock band Charly Bliss returns for their sophomore record Young Enough. The group infuse record with a ton of 90’s charm, resulting in a record full of emotional rock sing-alongs.



Combo Chimbita - Ahomale - ANTI-

Combo Chimbita is comprised of first generation New Yorkers from Colombia, helmed by powerful singer Carolina Oliveros. Ahomale, their sophomore record, takes the Afro-Latinx psych-rock (what they call “Tropical Futurism”) of their first record and cranks it up to 11.



Craig Finn - I Need a New War - Partisan Records

Hold Steady singer Craig Finn returns for his fourth solo effort with I Need a New War. I Need a New War is a competent exercise in Americana songwriting, and Finn’s well-worn voice plugs perfectly into the formula.



Dehd - Water - Fire Talk

Local Chicago punk trio Dehd started boiling up hype with their 2016 self-titled debut. Now they aim to once again lit up the local DIY scene with the release of their sophomore record Water. Check out their video for “Lucky” filmed in Chicago’s own Hideout Inn.



Esperanza Spalding - 12 Little Spells - Concord

Grammy-awarded singer and bassist Esperanza Spalding continues to push contemporary jazz into bolder directions with her latest full-length 12 Little Spells. The record is at times spacy and serene at at other times pulsing and groovy.



Greys - Age Hasn’t Spoiled You - Carpark Records

On their latest full-length, Age Hasn’t Spoiled You, Toronto rock four piece Greys work in a lot of dark ambience and dissonance, creating a very distinct mood similar to that of Have a Nice Life’s music. They are some more mellow tracks too which balance out the tracklisting, making for a well-paced record.



MorMor - Some Place Else - Don’t Guess Inc

Following up on his debut EP from last year, Ontario singer-songwriter MorMor (Seth Nyquist) returns with his second EP, Some Place Else. MorMor proves himself able to tackle different genres in the same recording, playing with elements of Surf-rock, R&B, and even psychedelic, MorMor blends them all with such ease. All that we need now is a full-length record.



The Mystery Lights - Too Much Tension! - Wick Records

California-based rock outfit The Mystery Lights follow up their 2016 self-titled debut with Too Much Tension!. Going for a nostalgic sound, the Too Much Tension! blends elements of classic rock, psychedelic, and krautrock.



NOTS - 3 - Goner Records

On their aptly titled third record 3, self-described “weird punk” band NOTS, based in Memphis, sound as if they’re playing from inside a haunted cave. The mix sounds distant and ghostly, but the spirits haunting the instruments have a ton of attitude and skill!



Pile - Green and Grey - Exploding in Sound

Pile seem to grow more aggressive with each subsequent record release. Pile’s seventh full-length Green and Grey follows in this trend, but it also proves they’ve become no less refined. Pile play the Subterranean at the end of this month on May 31st.



Protomartyr - No Passion All Technique - Domino

Detroit post-punk band Protomartyr revisit their often overlooked debut record No Passion All Technique 7 years after its original release with a crisp new reissue, including four previously unreleased tracks. No Passion All Technique continues to be one of the group’s most energetic records, and now it sounds brighter than ever.



Second Still - Violet Phase - Fabrika Records

LA dark wave outfit Second Still return for their second full-length with Violet Phase. Violet Phase goes from moody to groovy to dreamy while staying within the gothic framework the band constructs.



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