Arclight brings a dreamy debut to summer’s end

Arclight is a new Chicago band that just released it’s first EP and is starting to air it out around town. Recently they played Schuba’s, which is always a good sign for the future of a new band.

Arclight is Amith Bokka (vox/guitar/keys), Jim Tashjian (guitar), Charles Williams (vox/bass), and Pete Tashjian (drums). The official description is “Alternative Rock.” But I think that’s a bit too boxy for what they really are.

That sound is… dreamy. Relaxing, sometimes, and a bit unsettling at others. Remember when the mid to late 90’s produced those peaceful yet dark tones—like The Smashing Pumpkins’ overlooked album, Adore? Arclight makes me think of those days. A little psychedelic, a little pop, and a bunch of deep undertones that weave together to make song transitions often indistinguishable. I mean that in a good way.

You’ll hear the peaceful part in “Songbird”, embedded below. Dig into the EP and you’ll come across “Jester” which ventures into more sinister territory (but with a redeeming finish). What I’m really excited about for Arclight is the direction they are going. It’s not typical of what we’ve been hearing lately.

Overall, it’s a very promising debut for Arclight, and a welcome curveball to the Chicago music scene. I’m looking forward to seeing how they grow. You can see them August 27 at the Estate block party, 1177 N Elston Ave.

Jenny Dragon: Chicago’s Gypsy-Jazz, Folk-ish Band

Jenny Dragon recorded their debut album, A Fair Souvenir, at Hi-Style Recording Studio in Chicago on vintage gear dating from the 1940s-1960s. Plenty of information alone to give it a full spin, in my book. But I’ll give you more reasons.

All native Chicagoans, they are not. Just one. And maybe that’s why the blues are just a newt’s eye in the brew. No, The Dragons come from all over the place–California, Virginia, Kansas City, Iowa. The singing duo of Jodi Jean Amble and Sarah Goldstein started in college, in Wisconsin, back in 1997. They formed a sister-like bond. Now, a remarkable part of Jenny Dragon’s story continues down that path–and you can read more about it here. And today, they’ve settled in our fair city. But let’s get back to that brew, yes?

jenny dragon chicago band1 part bossa nova.
2 parts gypsy-jazz.
1 part latin, 1 part blues.
2 parts folk
1 part doo-wop.
A pinch of hula (you’ll find it)

Shake it up and you get a self-described “heavy whimsy”. And unlike most selfies (does that work in this context?), it’s pretty accurate. Take, for example, the heavy subject of America’s history with nuclear testing (heavy), and write some lyrics then put it to a song that’s a little sultry, a little

Jenny Dragon is a new band, but they are not newbies. They are a coming together of veteran musicians. So you get a sophisticated sound that’s not real easy to pin down. When we asked guitarist Brian Sharpe about how they arrived in this unique place, he said, “I think our natural individual musical inclinations and aesthetic started leading us in this direction and we didn’t fight it.” Right. On. Would love to see these guys at the Green Mill on a non-shushing night.

It’s that time to turn it over to you. Bend an ear on “Boom Boom”, below. It’s the whimsical atomic bomb song. And hear more at the Jenny Dragon website.