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.

February 2016

Ace da Vinci

Ace Da Vinci is a little bit of everything: MC, producer, activist, and founder of the SmartMouf collective of artists. His energy and passion for his craft comes through in everything he does.

As a vocalist, Ace deftly switches between rapping verses and singing hooks. His flow can be aggressive or laid-back, and his lyrics are largely politically-charged or deeply personal anthems of self-empowerment, often both at the same time.

His talents as a producer cover a lot of ground. Moments, the A-side of his CSC single, revolves around a tastefully jazz inflected piano riff, largely percussion-less save for a snap here and a sampled "yep" there. The heart of Lighthouse is a fiery choral sample that floats ethereally while Ace's vocals build in intensity, peaking as he brings in the song's hook and anchors the choir with an 808-like beat.

For the CSC session, Ace brought in three instrumentalists to breathe some unique vibes into the music; Sam Veren on trumpet, Austen Goebel on bass, and Windy Indie on violin. Their on-the-spot writing enhanced Ace's beats with some organic variations and intensified the vibes already present.

Ace da Vinci is

Ace da Vinci
Vocals / Producer
Sam Veren
Trumpet
Austen Goebel
Bass
Windy Indie
Violin

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Assistant Engineer Kevin Claxton
  • Photographer Kerri Hacker
  • Director / Interviewer Iris Lin
  • Camera Operator Kelsie Hardison

December 2015

Crown Larks

Crown Larks' art-rock experiments cover a wide swath of ground, often dealing in sharp contrasts. They can be delicate, dissonant, tuneful, atonal, loose, and precise - sometimes all within the same song. Those contrasts are particularly exemplified in the tracks the band recorded for Chicago Singles Club. Satrap is a ripping psych-rock firestorm, with chaotic improvised horn lines propelling the track in and out of fuzz guitar explosions. Compare that with Fog, Doves, which starts off with a quiet jazz-inflected rubato that drifts in and out of a downtempo bass groove, occasionally interrupted with brief percussive bursts from the ensemble. It's in the latter track that the band seems to be exceptionally in tune with each other as collective improvisers, a rare and admirable trait that was honed in the impressive 85 shows they've played this year. Though the band is relatively new on the scene with their first recording released just two years ago, they exist in the overlapping boundaries of two long-standing Chicago traditions; namely, free-jazz influenced improvised experimental rock and the more straightforward extensions of 60's psych.

Presented here as a quintet, their lineup has shifted around a core trio consisting of Lorraine Bailey on keys, vocals, and saxophone; Jack Bouboushian on guitar and vocals; and Bill Miller on drums. Their most recent incarnation includes Matt Puhr on bass and Peter Gillette on trumpet.

Crown Larks is

Lorraine Bailey
Vocals / Keys / Saxophone
Jack Bouboushian
Vocals / Synths / Guitar
Bill Miller
Drums
Matt Puhr
Bass
Peter Gillette
Trumpet

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Assistant Engineer Kevin Claxton
  • Photographer Kerri Hacker
  • Director / Camera Operator Iris Lin
  • Editor / Interviewer Kelsie Hardison
  • Camera Operator Steven Jackson

November 2015

The Cell Phones

Minimalist Motown metal. Or maybe post-punk pop. It's difficult to affix a label to The Cell Phones - while they have created a singular sound in their six years of playing together, they defy categorization. Maybe if E.S.G. reformed to collaborate with Napalm Death, you'd have an approximation of what The Cell Phones are doing.

But the simplest way to describe their sound is LOUD. The music’s foundation comes from bassist Ryan Szeszycki, who runs an acoustic-electric through heavily distorted guitar and bass cabs, switching between and combining them to create novel textures that range from abrasive fuzzy leads to crushingly heavy chords. His omnipresent, propulsive and surprisingly lyrical counter-melodies are the glue between Lindsey Charles' classic pop vocals and drummer Justin Purcell's technical rhythms. Besides the massive walls of distortion, Justin's drumming is where the Cell Phones are at their most metal; his beats are polyrhythmic and precise, and punctuated on occasion with blast beats - speedy bursts of rhythm originating in virtuoso jazz drumming that were picked up by grindcore bands in the 80s to maximize their sonic impact.

The element of the trio that makes the band truly unique, however, is the vocals. Completely forgoing the growling extended techniques of other bands of comparable heaviness, Lindsey's powerfully melodic singing is practically a master class in pop; as indebted to doo-wop as it is to contemporary indie rock. Her well-crafted hooks work to draw listeners into the band’s uncompromising sound, providing an oasis amidst her bandmates’ chaos. This improbable combination tempers the heavy whirlwind of their music, making it more fun and danceable.

The Cell Phones is

Lindsey Charles
Vocals
Justin Purcell
Drums
Ryan Szeszycki
Bass

Exclusive CSC Single

Download MP3s

Video Interview

Contributors
  • Engineer Jeff Kelley
  • Assistant Engineer Kevin Claxton
  • Photographer Kerri Hacker
  • Director / Interviewer Iris Lin
  • Editor / Camera Operator Kelsie Hardison