Spinning their 2011 self-titled album, one can easily associate the term "gentlemen" with Chicago's The Elements of Style. Vocalist/guitarist Aaron Koss - in the footsteps of literate, yet troubled romantics like Morrissey or The Walkmen's Hamilton Leithauser (and even to a local extent, the Smoking Popes' Josh Caterer) - winds his elongated vowels and book-smart delivery around blissful, jangly indie-pop provided by guitarist Brian Bonenberger and the rhythm section of Chris Bijalba and Jimmy Rhein that is at a constant simmer. These are songs that demand the listener to dream, swoon, take chances or fall in love but they all act as warm invitations rather than authoritative commands. Koss retains the innocence of someone who's still learning about the dichotomy of relationships, but with a voice that calmly reassures himself, and the songs' various protagonists, that he knows more than he's letting on.
But that was last year, and these guys are already eyeing what's next for themselves. Beginning in 2007, The Elements of Style went through several line-up changes and hiatuses before firmly solidifying their current four-piece roster, who are currently at work at a follow-up album, Take Care Always and Have A Night Ahead, which the band describes as a departure from their previous effort. Recording 18 songs for Take Care Always and whittling those down to album-length is a challenging process for a band so obviously bursting with ideas. The Elements of Style have also been trying out some of these tracks live, including the head-bobbing "No One's Ever Going to Notice" and "I Know That I Can Find A Way (To Offend You)," both letting Koss flex his pipes a bit in a higher register, to great response. The band is plotting to have Take Care Always out early next year.
Aaron Koss - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Chris Bijalba - Drums
Brian Bonenberger - Vocals, Guitar
Jimmy Rhein - Bass, organ
"The Elements of Style" (2011)
1. When I Close My Eyes
2. In the City
3. Moving On
4. Where Did All My Friends Go?
5. Morning Chills
7. Between Now and Then
8. Rough Patch
9. Rock & Roll is Dead
"Take Care Always and Have a Night Ahead" (forthcoming 2013)
Daily Diversion – The Elements of Style at Subterranean
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It’s true, The Elements of Style are indeed pretty darn stylish. This local indie rock quartet plays...It’s true, The Elements of Style are indeed pretty darn stylish. This local indie rock quartet plays it very cool with clever guitar work and a clockwork tight rhythm section. Aside from style, there’s obvious Strokes-like elements at play in their music – specifically the punchy guitar production and smooth vocals that seem to gently hover over the music. Although, at times the band offer a bit more of an urgent sonic foundation on their latest LP, a 2011 Carl Saff-mastered self-titled release. Opener “When I Close My Eyes” offers up some poppy bounce, while “Rough Patch” seemingly makes it through one as it evolves from a loose, free-wheeling jam into more pronounced hooks at it’s climax.
The Music Vox: The Elements of Style
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Chicago’s The Elements of Style play what’s been called blissful, jangly indie-pop. Their sounds are...Chicago’s The Elements of Style play what’s been called blissful, jangly indie-pop. Their sounds are introspective and inviting. Tomorrow night the band headlines a show at Chicago’s Sub T. Tonight they are my in studio guests.
Daily Diversion - The Elements of Style at Quenchers
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Three Seriously-Who-Cares-If-Bon-Jovi-AND-Janet-Jackson-Are-In-Town reasons to hit up Quenchers Salo...Three Seriously-Who-Cares-If-Bon-Jovi-AND-Janet-Jackson-Are-In-Town reasons to hit up Quenchers Saloon tonight…
1. Local indie rockers The Elements of Style will fill Quenchers’ backroom with the sounds of gentle garage rock not unlike that of the Walkmen or a more mellow version of the Strokes. Heavily utilizing an organ in addition to more standard instruments gives the quartet an older feel on its new self-titled album. Proving they’re all right guys with a sense of humor, check out the hilarious wording on tonight’s show poster.
2. Also on the bill are Canadian dance/folk/pop rockers Hot Panda. The groovy quartet bounce fast and furiously between genres like my iPod on shuffle mode. Hot Panda has descended from the Great White North to show us Yanks how to get down and also to promote its sophomore record How Come I’m Dead.
3. There may only be two bands sharing the stage, but perhaps the biggest reason of all to attend tonight’s show is the venue itself. Where else can you grab a brew (from a selection of hundreds both local and international), order a gourmet pizza and watch some cool up-and-comers for practically free?
The Week in Chicago Rock
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You shoulda been there. 1. The Elements of Style at Martyr's on Tuesday night. 2. The Downtown F...You shoulda been there.
1. The Elements of Style at Martyr's on Tuesday night.
2. The Downtown Fiction at the House of Blues on Sunday night.
3. Sebadoh at Schuba's on Sunday night.
4. GWAR at the House of Blues on Monday night.
5. Plain White T's at House of Blues on Sunday night.
[Mixtape063] Out Of Socket
"In The City" featured on Chicago Mixtape
[Mixtape089] Twin Gauge
"Moving On" featured on Chicago Mixtape
The Elements of Style on Fearless Radio
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We had The Elements of Style in the studio on October 23, 2012 to play some live music, talk about t...We had The Elements of Style in the studio on October 23, 2012 to play some live music, talk about their pre- and post-show rituals, discuss the recording of their self-titled album, tease their upcoming album, and more.
Second Weekend at IPO
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The Elements of Style mixed shimmering and frenetic guitar playing in melodic songs like “Rock & Rol...The Elements of Style mixed shimmering and frenetic guitar playing in melodic songs like “Rock & Roll Is Dead.” Their music called to mind shoegazer bands like My Bloody Valentine at times, but with more energy (particularly on bass guitar) and a lead vocalist who consistently added an elegant touch.
When I Close My Eyes
In The City
Where Did All My Friends Go
Between Now & Then
Rock & Roll is Dead
I'm Coming Home
I Know That I Can Find A Way (To Offend You)
No One's Ever Going To Notice
Where Did I Go?
Man on a Mission
This Charming Man (The Smiths cover)
No One Else (Weezer cover)
There are no upcoming dates at this time.