Listings are in the opposite order of appearance: headliner is listed at the top, next is the support band(s), and the last band listed is the opener.
8:00PM doors -- music at 8:30PM
••• ALL AGES
$12 in advance / $14 at the door
Noise Pop presents...
alternative pop art rock
Nap Rock indie folk
-from Chicago, IL
-There's an obvious chemistry emanating throughout Ohmme's music that's so tangible it can only come from a decades-spanning friendship. Songwriters Sima Cunnningham and Macie Stewart formed their unbreakable bond performing throughout the fringes of Chicago's many interlocking communities, collaborating with titans from the city's indie rock, hip-hop, and improvised worlds. But together, along with drummer Matt Carroll, they've stretched the boundaries of what guitar music can do starting with the band's experimental 2016 self-titled EP and their adventurous debut 2018 LP Parts. Now their longstanding partnership culminates with the stunning and muscular follow-up Fantasize Your Ghost.
Ohmme formed in 2014 as an outlet for Cunningham and Stewart to explore an unconventional approach to their instruments. "That's the whole genesis of the band: us walking up to our guitars and saying, 'how can we make this noisemaker do something different?'" says Cunningham. But as their musical collaboration strengthened, bringing Parts and intensive tours with acts like Wilco, Iron & Wine, Twin Peaks, and more, the band's scope and focus has also broadened. Fantasize Your Ghost is the direct result of the band spending more time on the road than in Chicago, a record deeply concerned with questions of the self, the future, and what home means when you're traveling all the time.
"Grinding on tour last year for so long, it can alter your mental state where you have to think about your life in a different way than you would if you're home. A lot of the songs stemmed from just thinking about all of the possibilities that life could be and could take," says Stewart. The commanding single "3 2 4 3" tackles the terrifying realization of needing to make a change. The song opens with the two singing in transfixing harmony, "Looked in the mirror the other day / Caught my reflection / My mouth had moved a different way / The muscles were straining." Their deft scene-setting and the way their disparate voices blend together heightens the song's inherent anxiety. Later, they sing, "Filling the holes to make amends / Tearing them up to start again." These moments of emotional clarity fill Fantasize Your Ghost.
Written across 2019, early sketches of the album's track list were demoed at Sam Evian's Flying Cloud Studios in upstate New York. "That's where we really started to see the record come together," says Cunningham. The sessions were intensely collaborative and open, the product of long, existential conversations between Stewart and Cunningham in the van about their lives and how to channel the anger they were feeling about the state of the world. Tracks like the driving opener "Flood Your Gut" underwent several revisions with Ohmme uncovering several new directions the song could go before finishing it. The refrain "your whole vision's not enough" is a call to action, says Cunningham. "Do you want to be someone who can disconnect or someone who is hyper-engaged and present?"
Fantasize Your Ghost was recorded over a six day session in August when the band decamped to the Post Farm in southern Wisconsin, where Cunningham runs a yearly DIY music festival. With indie rock journeyman producer Chris Cohen and the idyllic setting just outside Chicago, the songs came to vibrant life. Though Parts showcased their wildly burgeoning influences and talents, Fantasize Your Ghost captures the astounding magnetism and ferocity of their live show. "Selling Candy" is the perfect example. It's a small snapshot of childhood complete with nostalgic references to summertime hot dogs and wandering the city but set to an explosive, stadium-ready fuzzed-out arrangement. Elsewhere, songs like the dystopian dance rocker "The Limit" further stretch their already dynamic palette.
Fantasize Your Ghost encapsulates the thrilling and sometimes terrifying joy of moving forward even if you don't know where you're going. It's an album that asks necessary questions: When life demands a crossroads, what version of yourself are you going to pursue? What part of yourself will you feed and let flourish and what do you have to let go of? When they sing, "Just walk out the door and / Don’t tell them goodbye" it's drastic but also exhilaratingly hopeful. This is a record of strength, of best friends believing in each other. Unapologetic and brave, Ohmme are ready to figure it all out together.
-from Chicago, IL
-What does belonging to yourself look and sound like in 2020? For Chicago’s V.V. Lightbody, it’s following her 2018 debut “Bathing Peach,” with a break-up and breakthrough sophomore LP “Make a Shrine or Burn It” – a masterclass in self-reflection and female autonomy. Produced herself, the album finds the singer/songwriter folding her oceanic, nap rock sound into the musical kaleidoscope of Laurel Canyon folk-pop and floaty, improvisational psychedelia; inviting the listener into the complex yet controlled chaos of it all.
An album of lingering farewells and cautiously optimistic beginnings punctuated by a deceptive wit, Lightbody - a.k.a. Vivian McConnell - turns her attention inward, exploring what it means to be with yourself after being with another; trading abstract, third-party narratives for those more poignant and conversational. With the June 2019 release of lead single “Car Alarm,” a siren song jokingly prophesizing death and legacy under the guise of horniness, it was apparent that McConnell was in the midst of transformation. Her lower register taking on a smoky, growl-like quality, she sounded ready to pounce; her warbly guitar swirling into a slick, bluesy solo as opposed to more languid, previous singles.
“I wasn't necessarily trying to be comedic, but more direct...and being direct can highlight the funny bits of life in a way,” she says of her approach to composing the album. “I was tired of writing in metaphors and wanted to be more blunt, and people seem to be connecting to the lyrics more. This also fell in line with not taking myself so seriously all the time. ‘Car Alarm’ is on the extreme side of that where I'm almost making fun of myself.”
Though she’s been known to wade in melancholic waters, tracks like the swagger-exuding, hooky standout “Horse on Fire” – a post-split warning simmering with sensuality - and sarcastic framing of longing for domesticity with a partner on “Split the Rent” nod toward a matured confidence and understanding. Apparent from album opener “If it’s Not Me,” a song not so much for an ex-boyfriend, but his next partner, she sings of a new standard: “I never want to hate another woman, just because she’s out there livin.’”
“‘If it’s Not Me’ was the last song I wrote for this record and in a way, it does sort of act as a thesis; ‘here are some things that I learned and here are 8 more songs that helped me get to this point,’” McConnell says. “The song would have been great as a closer, but it was too much of a slammer to put last.”
Recorded at noted Chicago recording studios including Decade Studios, Public House and Pallet Sound, as well as in her own bedroom (extremely true to form), McConnell produced the album herself and teamed up with the city’s go-to engineer Dave Vettraino (Lala Lala, Makaya McCraven, Deeper, Melkbelly). Building upon lush harmonies and textured rhythms - featuring Ohmme’s Sima Cunningham on vocals and Macie Stewart on violin, and saxman Wills Mckenna among others – “Make a Shrine or Burn It” is an adventurous uptick in the dreamy, signature V.V. Lightbody soundscape.
Her woozy romanticism a bit rougher around the edges, she’s found a new freedom in impermanence, lessons in mistakes and power in not making the same ones twice. With the climactic exhale “Offers,” she delivers a sweeping admonishment of gendered expectations and contortion of the female form. Culminating in the shadowy, stripped, cliff-hanger closer “USPS” – she dares to ask the question she can only hope to receive an answer to. At its end, “Make a Shrine or Burn It” soundtracks a journey of accepting where one chapter ends, and another begins – whether one’s ready or not. - Jessi Roti