Chicago Singles Club

Chicago Singles Club is an online music publication and record label that, once a month, produces an exclusive, original recording and video interview with a different independent Chicago artist that we love.

to get updates when we post new songs and interviews, and head to our store to purchase our first vinyl compilation of all the A-sides from year one.

September 2014

Bring Your Ray Gun

Dance-rock has a curious history as it fuses two genres that were once posed in vehement opposition: disco and rock. Disco emerged in the early 1970s in reaction to the overwhelming dominance of rock in popular music, the rejection of dance-oriented music in underground scenes, and the straight white men's club that rock music had become. As disco ascended the pop charts, the two cultures clashed in the mainstream (as evidenced locally by the disastrous Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey in 1979), though a few adventurous artists realized the potential of combining the two genres. Post-punk bands like Liquid Liquid, ESG, and Gang of Four took disco’s driving funk rhythms and soul influences and fused them with the aggression and angularity of punk. New Wave embraced its timbres and dance-friendly grooves. Ever since, the hybrid style has been present and evolving, most recently culminating in the dance-punk explosion in the early to mid 2000s. 

As with any other genre that fuses two distinct cultures, dance-rock opened up artists to a slew of new influences as is evidenced in Bring Your Ray Gun’s fun, raw, and dynamic songs. Will Wood’s guitar work jumps from funky comping to spacey, delay-saturated riffs to straight-ahead bombastic punk without skipping a beat. Heather Perry and Carlos Zapata easily rise to the challenge of the genre’s elevated role of drums and bass; their grooves are tight, neatly interwoven, and right at home on the dance floor. The world-influenced auxiliary percussion on Break it Off gives off the party vibe reminiscent of late 70s Marvin Gaye tracks while Heather’s spoken-word vocal counterpoint in What Will Become Of All This sounds like she may have time-traveled straight from an 80’s new wave show to whisper in your ear. Josh Lambert takes on the role of frontman and singer with aplomb - his vocal melodies are catchy and energetic, and his stage persona has all the cocky, brash, raw sexuality that you’d ever want from a lead singer. Synth lines and pads accentuate the densely packed arrangements. 

All of which is to say every Bring Your Ray Gun song is a party. And it’s a party you definitely don’t want to miss out on.

Bring Your Ray Gun is

Josh Lambert
Vocals / Percussion
Will Wood
Guitar
Heather Perry
Bass / Vocals
Carlos Zapata
Drums

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Production Manager Kevin Claxton
  • Photography Kerri Hacker
  • Videography / Interview Iris Lin
  • Video / Editing Cassie Balynas

August 2014

Foul Tip

Two-piece rock bands almost invariably consist of a drummer and a guitarist, one or both of who double as singers - think No Age, the White Stripes, or previous Chicago Singles Club feature White Mystery. Foul Tip defy the formula by pairing drummer Ed Bornstein with bassist Adam Luksetich, giving the duo a powerfully minimalist sound. This arrangement presents a novel set of challenges that they use to create equally unique songs that range from upbeat post-punk to heavy sludge.

The role of Adam's bass in their music is greatly expanded, providing additional melodies, noisy textural riffs, and the songs' harmonic underpinnings - sometimes all at once - and always blasting through a variety of tone-altering pedals and an imposing sixteen-speaker amp setup that borders on overkill.

Of course, Foul Tip isn't defined entirely by their self-imposed limitations. Ed's drumming deserves special note in its jerky precision and tasteful understatement. The two musicians have a hivemind-like connection that shows in their interlocking rhythms and their occasionally contrapuntal dueling lead vocals.

But at their core, they're just two long-time friends that can't take anything too seriously. Madness is full of turns of phrase like "I've got a mouth full of nails / it's a sharp diet", and on guitar overdubs for Strike 1,000 they requested to use "the worst amp you have." Check out the tracks and the interview to see how Foul Tip can't sit still, both figuratively and literally.

Foul Tip is

Ed Bornstein
Drums / Vocals
Adam Luksetich
Bass / Vocals

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Videography / Editing Cassie Balynas
  • Videography / Interview Iris Lin
  • Photography Kerri Hacker
  • Production Assistant Jordan Morrell
  • Production Assistant Ron DeMay

July 2014

Natalie Grace Alford

Natalie Grace Alford is the type of natural performer who is always “on.” She’s a ball of explosive energy onstage with her unrestrained dance moves, larger-than-life persona, and an extraordinarily powerful voice. Offstage, she’s just as extroverted and friendly -- cracking jokes in odd voices and generally giving off good vibes. Beneath the surface, though, is a human being with personal struggles and insecurities just like anyone else.

That juxtaposition parallels Natalie’s music perfectly. The songs are uptempo and fun while their huge pop-soul vocal hooks are infectious. The music, however, belies the deeply personal and often melancholy lyrics. These songs aren’t just Natalie’s compositions: they are the aural extensions of her life.

Natalie performs solo, singing over a dense accompaniment that she builds using a loop station to layer keyboards, backing vocals, and various improvised percussion instruments. You’d be amazed at how a beat that’s played entirely on a tin can and bucket could be so irresistibly booty-shaking. Her keyboard riffs are full of character and provide the perfect gritty contrast to her pop-star voice.

The two tracks we recorded with Natalie in the CSC studio, When You Go and Stop Yelling, are previously unreleased and showcase her incredible songwriting and performing talents. Download them now!

Natalie Grace Alford is

Natalie Grace Alford
Vocals, Loops, Keyboards, Percussion

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Videography / Interview Iris Lin
  • Video / Editing Cassie Balynas
  • Photography Kerri Hacker
  • Production Assistant Kevin Claxton