Nov 29, 2017

Fresh Blood: Chicago's Slow Thrills

by Robert Dean

There’s a beautiful thing about musicians who aren’t seeking the spotlight: the band is no longer about flare and bravado. The nuclear DNA of the people involved in the project is about the music and nothing but passion for the art. It’s not about chasing money or the biggest rooms, but instead playing shows for like-minded people, or at least to have fun watching weirdoes dance along.

Chicago’s Slow Thrills are a prime example of veteran musicians who aren’t out hunting for a major label to come scoop them up. They’re not making choices based on “impact” but instead are writing the music they want to hear.

Slow Thrills is an amalgamation of musical styles ranging from the Cramp’s spooky surf rock to the lipstick-stained camp found in a John Waters film. The songs feel a little bit Mike Patton, but also there’s a slice of a drug overdose scene straight out of a Quentin Tarantino film.  On their debut E.P. Nachtmusik (editor's note: apparently not yet officially released), Slow Thrills flex an impressive ability to change up their sound and ways to approach the groove that slinks through all of the tracks on the record.

Imagine a vampire rock and roll party filmed inside of Tom Waits’ head. That’s the central thread that runs through the Slow Thrills' DNA. It’s got equal parts lounge, but also a sexy spilled-drink sleaze that’s perfectly palatable. One moment, you’re alone at the bar, with your back to the band, but by the next lick you’re driven off the red-flecked bar stool and commanded toward the sonic hypnotism of Slow Thrills.

The music Slow Thrills play is hard to compare in earnest to other groups because it feels so cinematic, even more so than the Fantomas project from the early 00’s. Nachtmusik plays like a projector flashing images of black and white gunfights, or brazen women misbehaving. This is music to have three fingers of cheap whiskey to, to do terrible things in the shadows of your favorite dive bar.

There’s a unique trait that lives here and the more I listen and try to place my finger what to look for, the further down the rabbit hole I fall.

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