Big Buildings
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Big Buildings


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"Chicago Reader Critics Choice"

Water Everywhere is my favorite local rock record of a young 2006--and I think it'll stay that way well into the fall at least. I've compared their studied sloppiness to Exile on Main Street in the past, but I'm going to have to add some other markers: a wired-up Grateful Dead, a hippified Loaded-era Velvets (say, if Lou Reed had left and Sterling Morrison had taken the reins), and a puppyish R.E.M. around the time of their 1981 Athens bootlegs. (Maybe some of those Peter Buck-Keith Streng collaborations too.) They have an absolutely joyous infatuation with their own grainy lo-fi ululations throughout Water Everywhere.

Monica Kendrick, Chicago Reader - Monica Kendrick

"St Louis Post Dispatch"

If you think two guitars, bass and drums are about all that's necessary for great rock 'n' roll, you might like Big Buildings -- especially if you agree that virtuoso chops, pitch-perfect vocals and clean engineering are, well, nice but not necessary.

Big Buildings is a four-man group of twentysomethings from Chicago whose first full-length CD is a lo-fi blast of energy that plays out over 18 tracks, a third of which are under two minutes long -- some under a minute.

They wail and bash, channeling Bo Diddley and the Rolling Stones ("We Are Steamships," "Streetlights"). They unplug and go near-country ("Big Dave," "Peaceful Man at Odds"). They split the difference, like the Kinks meeting Uncle Tupelo ("Skinny Women Shaking").

One track is a distorted, short rant ("I Will Own a Gunrack") followed by a song of relative sonic polish ("Trash Out"). Someone coughed during the intro to "Quiet Landmine"? So what! Leave it in!

"Hang Together for All Time" sometimes sounds like it won't hang together for the CD's 51 minutes, but that's part of its charm. It rocks, it's infectious, it's the sound of a band that loves to play and will try anything more than once. Its heroes are the Replacements and Neil Young, which explains a lot.

"Hang Together for All Time" is a lot of fun to listen to. And why not; it sounds like it was a lot of fun to make. . - Barry Gilbert

"Glorious Noise"

There's a lot of stuff going on here that reminds me why I fell in love with music in the first place. At most times loud, sloppy, stupid, and scratchy, it always comes across as heart-felt and sincere. Once you give this band a shot I bet you'll find yourself pulling for them. You'll see, it's sort of like the kick you got from listening to early Replacements, Sebadoh, or GBV while driving around your shit home town in your beat-up piece of crap car as a teenager looking to run away from something, but not exactly knowing where you'll go. Big Buildings is asking us out for another joyride to nowhere in particular, but with lots of fun to be had. With Hang Together For All Time, sloppy sure does sound good to me. - Vitas Zebraitis

"Chicago Reader"

Big Buildings full length debut, after last year's ragged-but-right This Is the Bricks EP, is a sprawling 18-song set that frequently sounds like the record Uncle Tupelo never made - or maybe the album Wilco might've cut between A.M. and Being There. The band also takes stabs at modern southern rock a la the Drive By Truckers ("Block by Block"), the dystopian country of Crazy Horse ("Words Can Paint a Picture"), and the power trash of the Replacements ("Uh Oh"). There's even a lo-fi pop snippet that'd make Bob Pollard proud ("Smash the Alarm Clock"). - Bob Mehr

"Chi-Town Daily News"

by Brandon Forbes

Numbers mean a lot to bands. Numbers like 20 CDs sold at the merch table, 75 requests to hear their record on the radio, or 1,000,000 dollars in a signing bonus for scoring a deal with a major label. While I can't vouch that any of these numbers have or will be a part of Chicago's Big Buildings past or future (though I can hope for their sake that the latter will occur), I can safely say that the number 100 will be in their sights Friday night at the Empty Bottle. 100 is the number of shows Big Buildings has played to date, and it is certainly a milestone many independent artists never reach.

While their website proclaims that cake may be served as a possible festive marker, another not so distant milestone is also cause for celebration. Water Everywhere, Big Buildings' second full-length, came out at the end of April this year, and marks a definite change in production for the band. Where 2003's EP This is Bricks and 2004's Hang Together For All Time crafted rootsy rock over minimalistic production (think early Guided By Voices), Water Everywhere lifts the vocals cleanly over still prominent drums and jangle-to-explosion guitars.

Whereas the grittier, genre-bending stuff of the first two releases recall the punky side of Uncle Tupelo or the Athens sound of early REM, the newer record glides into place beside Drive-By Truckers, The Replacements or the better parts of Wilco's AM or Being There. "Who Makes the Rules" should be the roots-rock anthem of the summer, while the infectious bass hook of "Saskatchewan" shores up the distorted wanderlust of the vocal and guitar melodies. "Tuck the Nuts" and "Middleground" sound like B-sides from REM's Chronic Town EP, producing rapid-fire guitar grind and Peter Buck approved hook-burn. Big Buildings also prove they can relax the pace with the no depression overture "Mountainsides" and the Califone-inspired "Invisible Republic." While their first two releases were solid in their own right, there is no doubt Water Everywhere establishes Big Buildings as a sure bet to last at least 100 more shows.

Catch the cenntenial performance of Big Buildings tomorrow night, Friday July 7, at Empty Bottle as they open for West Coast '50s mock-rockers The Woggles.

Also out there is a video for "PDR," from Big Buildings second record Hang Together for All Time, which showcases the fact that Matt, Matty, Michael, and Adam can channel the spirit of John McEnroe just as easily as Keith Richards. Also, you can stream Water Everywhere here at CDBaby.

- Brandon Forbes


Water Everywhere LP 2006
Hang Together For All Time LP 2004
This Is The Bricks EP 2003

MP3's available at

Radio airplay in Chicago on WXRT, Q101, WLUW. Also, airplay at KCRW, KEXP, WFMU, WRVU, KDHX, WPGU



Big Buildings' second full-length release "Water Everywhere" was recorded late in 2005 by Big Buildings and Jason Ward at the band's former home The Sweatbox. Ten of the twelve tracks here were recorded live in the living room, with subsequent mixing and finishing done at Ward's Prole Arts Studio.

After a quick-and-dirty EP release (This Is The Bricks) and the sprawling, off-kilter 19-song Hang Together For All Time, Water Everywhere finds Big Buildings in a rare comfort zone, sashaying with ease among the ancient ruins of rock: "Submarine" is chiming and obscure, reminiscent of the glory-days of 80s Athens and Hoboken; "Grease Fire" is a Stonesy slab of weary roots. "Do You Lack Imagination?" is a fitful punky rave-up; "Invisible Republic" is a mystical 4-track hallucination.

"Saskatchewan" and "Tuck the Nuts" represent stylistic leaps sideways into the upper atmosphere for Big Buildings. The usual homespun, midwestern pop torment is interwoven with a blend of ambiguous lyrical darkness and proto-punk attack.
These songs exemplify the flavor of the songwriting on Water Everywhere: infectious and familiar, yet mystical and inscrutable at once.

Though the basic input/output schema remains forever intact- beers in, guitars left/right and bass/drums out, Big Buildings called on some local notables this time around to play different things and create some mischief: David Callahan (the Drovers, Stroby Alliance), Amy Malick (Telenovela), John Roeser (Hot Dog City, Fast Product), Anna Liljas (Stroby Alliance) and Jason Ward all commit instruments to tape on this one.

Water Everywhere comes out on Stars/No Stars Records in Chicago. Big Buildings will be supporting the release with shows across Chicago, the Midwest, and east coast.