Betraying my nerdiness and the latter subject of my double major, Communications and History, I can’t help but love a band that sings about history. The melding of both my love for music and my love for history has been made possible by Chicago’s Bound Stems.
This past Wednesday night following the Ting Tings’ show at Johnny Brenda’s, I popped down the block to the M Room to catch the end of Bound Stems’ set. Though only present for three songs, I walked out impressed by their reverb rich indie alt-pop rife with sweet melodies and complex layers. What most impressed me, however, was a song about a beheading during the French Revolution that woke up my inner history nerd and had me fall hard for Bound Stems.
The following night, Bound Stems played New York City’ Manhattan Room and since I was going to be in town that night anyway, I made sure to stop by and catch the band’s full set. I made no better decision that night than heading to the Mercury Lounge. Bound Stems’ sound is much better suited to the more expansive stage at Mercury Lounge, of which they took full advantage. On top of each other at the M Room, Bound Stems moved freely around the stage and even brought up a guest back up singer for a song.
In New York, the history nerd in me was delighted to find out that the new Bound Stems record has a song called “Winston” about Winston Churchill, which they played that night. Throughout the song, drummer Evan Sult utilized a typewriter, intermittently hitting keys as a percussive sound effect. On the record, a banjo is played during the song as well, a part played by Sult’s father, though missing from the live show. Lack of banjo aside, Bound Stems put on tight and energetic show full of infectious happiness, exemplified by the crowd’s smiles and dances moves.
Look for Bound Stems’ sophomore full-length, The Family Afloat, in stores on September 9th on Flameshovel Records. If you just can’t wait that long (hint: you can’t!), head to a Bound Stems show to pick up a copy on vinyl that comes with a free digital download code.
Aug 08 – The Frequency / Madison, Wi.
Aug 09 – Triple Rock / Minneapolis (21+)
Aug 10 – WestFest / Chicago
Aug 11 – The Bluebird / St. Louis
Aug 12 – Record Bar / Kansas City
Aug 13 – Mojo’s / Columbia, Missouri
Aug 14 – WOXY / Cincinnati
Aug 15 – The Earl / Atlanta
Aug 16 – Northside Tavern / Cincinnati
Aug 17 – Raven Festival / Chicago
01. Taking Tips from the Gallery Gang
02. Happens To Us All Otherwise (download)
03. Passing Bell
04. Palace Flophouse and Grill
05. Clear Water & Concrete
06. Cloak of Blue Sky
07. Only Clementine Knows
09. Crossed Off Together
10. Sugar City Magic