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Nelson Algren once wrote that loving Chicago is like loving a woman with a broken nose. So it seems only fitting that a band bearing his namesake would deliver powerful, bone-crushing riffs.
Rock band Algren has hit the Chicago scene and already has developed a steady following.
The group originally formed at Valparaiso University in Indiana under a different name, where fraternity brothers Jason Holly, Jonathan Iseman and Aaron Priest formed a cover band to play local parties. Eventually the group went on to produce its own material and subsequently won the Valparaiso battle of the bands.
After college, the band members went their separate ways. A few years later, the group reformed in Chicago, this time with Ben Brown on drums and with the new name, Algren. It is not a long way from Valparaiso geographically, but to the band members, Chicago offers a different world artistically and musically.
"For a while we were the only fish in a puddle," said singer Priest. "It's actually nice to be a small fish in a big pond now."
Algren's energetic live shows have helped the band increase its local fan base, with guitarist Iseman's onstage enthusiasm and antics often noted by concertgoers.
"No member of Algren falls into the shoe-gazer category [on stage], and we are proud of that," said Holly, the band's bassist. "The live performance is really the nuts and bolts of Algren."
The band has its sights set high and hopes to gain more momentum in its second year.
"We've known each other for seven or eight years," Iseman said. "The band is a great outlet for our friendship and creativity. I tried not playing music for a while. It was really difficult. It feels great to get stuff out there and off your chest."

by Mark Thomton; 2/28/08 - Red Eye


Tracks for streaming are available and ever changing through We have formally released the "Bled" EP and are planning a full album release in early 2009. Radio airplay includes WKQX Q101 and WLUP FM 97.9 the Loop in Chicago IL, and a number of college and Internet radio stations.



Energetic. Raw. Powerful. Melodic. Intense. Rock.

These are words that have been used to describe Algren, a fresh rock band from Chicago that has burst onto the local music scene with their unique blend of introspective lyrics, searing guitar riffs, grooving rhythms and dynamic songwriting.

Algren has hit the ground running, quickly building a repertoire of songs that are difficult to label into one specific genre. Known for their inspiringly energetic sets, Algren has played gigs at numerous Chicagoland bars and clubs, including highlight performances at Double Door, Elbo Room, Cubby Bear, and the Downers Grove Heritage Fest. The band is quickly building up a devoted fan base with the help of various media outlets, such as Q101, 97.9 The Loop, Fearless Radio, the Red Eye, Rock Chicago on CANTV-19, and The Local Tourist. Algren is also a member of Chicago Noise Machine, the consortium of local bands that also includes A Birdsong Valentine, Bullet Called Life, Echoson, Heavy the Fall, Lucid Ground, Reverie, 72 Hours, and Simplistic Urge.

Although just formed in July 2006 the members of Algren bring with them a rich musical history that has aided their rapid development as a band. Vocalist Aaron Priest, Guitarist Jonathan Iseman and Bassist Jason Holly played together for three years in the band Amici, a group out of Valparaiso, Indiana that received numerous accolades and significant regional radio airplay for tracks on the 2003 release, “801 EP�. After a two year musical hiatus, the three friends reconnected in Chicago last year and formed Algren with new drummer Ben Brown.

All four members are dedicated and driven musicians, performers, and promoters looking to make a name for themselves in the regional and national market while performing the music they love. The group just finished recording their first full-length album, "A Wayward Sound Floods the Streets," and will release it in early May 2009 along with a an accompanying graphic novel that expands on the themes of the music.