Omni

Omni

The Funs, Lala Lala

Sat, July 29, 2017

9:00 pm

The Hideout

Chicago, IL

$10.00

Tickets at the Door

Omni
Omni
Omni - the band, not the hotel - are from the former home of the Braves: Atlanta. Playing lo-fi pop that channels the spectre of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, Omni brings you back to an era where any sane person was reeling from the unfulfilled promise of the Space Age and Age of Aquarius bleeding into the looming threat of "Morning in America.” Omni distills the buzz and grit that snakes through the best of Television, Devo, and Pylon into surprisingly danceable, hook-laden slabs of raw, angular, sonic bliss. It’s still the summer of '78, and pushing the roots of rock & roll to its limits remains in vogue. "Deluxe" serves as a fresh reminder that rock music can work outside of blues rooted, formulaic progressions without playing it safe behind a wall of effects. Arty enough to impress record enthusiasts, yet melodically attractive enough to transcend to those who’ve never asked: “’Sister Midnight’ or ‘Red Money’?”
The Funs
The Funs
Genres extract music and artists' work from the direct, immediate experience of music. Instead of describing sounds, genres often connect to fashion movements (punk), derogatory journalistic slogans (shoegaze, rhythm and blues), or confusing statements about distribution ("commercial pop," "indie rock"). When we're writing about music, we can insert these types of abstract categories into our work, but they often have the effect of separating an artist's album from their habitat, leaving much unsaid about what we experience when we are listening.

The Funs provide an exceptional challenge to the music writer. First and foremost, since the band rose through the ranks of Chicago's illegal and underground venues, the simple fact is that experiencing the band's recordings separates the listener from the band's "natural" environment. Secondly, like most independent, outsider pop bands in recent years, The Funs' music is really without genre. You could call them a punk band, but that's not quite right – their songs are often chugging, slow, and tempo-shifting. Yet, the band isn't really noisy or crazy, either — they don't mash effects pedals, they don't play with signal noise, they don't manipulate tape, etc. And, as muddy the band might sound, this certainly isn't what you'd recognize as grunge. So you see, we have a full gamut of ill-fitting categories for The Funs.

The seemingly omnipresent Manic Static released The Funs' self-titled début on cassette in 2012, and the limited edition vinyl version has hit the streets just in time for summer 2013. Throughout this album the duo streamlines their arrangements to the barest of elements. There's hardly a fuzz pedal on this one, as a guitar and booming drums propel each hazy song into its neighbor.

I've never seen The Funs live. Beyond their song-writing and recording aesthetic, that seems to be the most relevant fact of my review, so it is biased from the outset. I can crank my stereo as loud as possible, dump out all the beer I own onto the floor, and roll around in dirty laundry, and I still won't be able to accurately report the feeling of this band. There's a disconnect between reports about their shows and their recordings — this isn't a bad thing, it's simply a matter of whether or not one has the necessary trappings to enable them to touch the music. How does one appreciate party music outside of a party?

Midrange celebrations abound on The Funs. Aside from any genre signifier, the sound of the band falls squarely into the middle of the sonic spectrum. One might say that the recording is lo-fidelity, but that's not really true: individual elements are perfectly clear, it is simply that their range converges. For example, this influences the guitars, which sound clean enough taken on their own terms but bleed together with the drums so profusely as to form a heavy layer of sonic grit.

Without crazy effects or tape manipulation, Jessee Rose Crane and Philip Jerome Lesicko use tempo shifts and dynamic responses between their guitars and drums to build textures and accompany their chugging chord structures. On "Reality," the outcome of a slithering arpeggio is dirty hypnosis, and steady, thwacking drums on "Dead Days" slice right through a jangling chord sequence.

Whether pieced or sequenced together, The Funs reaches a level of intensity through its changes of pace. "Moon" is strangely similar to "Dead Days," for example, but after the slower "Dead Days," The Funs immediately kick- start a series of blissful, driving sequences to build the plot of the release. Abrupt stops or endpoints characterize the songs: suddenly, "Moon" just ends, there is a palpable silence… then "Memory" resumes at an even slower pace. Back and forth, these changes become entrancing.

In the end, pop music endures through the beauty and power of its experiences. The Funs' début ultimately supports the argument against genres and classification, instead preferring straightforward statements. If you've seen The Funs live, this review probably does little justice to their approach to pop music; if you're like me and you can't see them live, their recordings showcase simple sounds suitable for basements, bars, and illegal venues. From their midrange haze, the group hypnotizes their listener while hiding nothing in their sleeves.
Lala Lala
Lala Lala
Lala Lala is a three piece baby deer band from Chicago. Described by the Chicago Reader as "ragged, minimal postpunk," they have frequently toured the U.S. since forming two years ago. Abby, Lillie, & Karla like skating, sleeping, and discos. Their debut full length Sleepyhead was released digitally earlier this year and is being released on cassette via the label Manic Static this March.

Facebook comments:

Venue Information:
The Hideout
1354 W. Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL, 60642
http://www.hideoutchicago.com