Color Radio
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Color Radio

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Pop




"Record Review: Color Radio "Architects""

Color Radio make music for people who love a good set of headphones. Strap on a pair of over-ear Sennheisers and delve into the rich sonic tapestries these four have woven.

Architects, the first LP from this Chicago ensemble, stresses minute detail within immense atmosphere. The songs fill space, echoing into the open air, while simultaneously hiding a variety of textures within their depths. Scope never comes at the expense of complexity; these are big songs, but they're filled up with shades, swirls, and patterns that command attentive listening. Like Broken Social Scene, Color Radio understand that dreaminess need not be lackluster.

Instruments twist together naturally and beautifully on Architects. Synths are wielded carefully, padding out smoky guitar licks while avoiding any artificial timbre. The record sustains an organic quality throughout its length. It's filled with sound but never quite gets loud, like the quiet drone of airplane engines humming in the background. Tweedy-esque vocals strain in earnest above the buzz. The occasional orchestral boost breaks through the sleepiness, which at times might be characterized as short-form post-rock.

Layers of finger-picked guitars and uneasy vocal harmonies on "Auto-touch" mimic Grizzly Bear for a shrunken moment before we return to the former expanse. "Marionette" swells to anthemic heights by the finish as marching drums clatter under a celebratory riff. It's a moment, like several on the record, that snags us, gets big, and recedes too quickly. There's a real feeling of wanderlust within Architects, the sense of traversing wide open spaces with often more wonder than focus. We're privy to some spectacular views from the heights we reach, but we're soon moving to the next point of interest.

While occasionally digressive, Architects belies hefty ambition. The group's previous release, Be Safe, Beware, entertained a similar aesthetic on a smaller scale. The four-song EP held sturdy roots in pop that have been mostly pulled up in Architects. Color Radio are less interested now in hooking listeners with immediately satisfying melodies and easy payoffs. Architects takes the slow, reflective quality of Beware and inflates it to a much larger resolution. It's an exploratory turn that's yielded plenty to discover. Take the time to mine the subtleties of this foggy, carefully rendered full-length. - Sasha Geffen (Windy City Rock)

"Hot New Band"

Wow. I was messaged a few days ago from Jonathan from Color Radio asking to check out their music. I figured it would be pretty good, but I was not expecting it to be THIS good.

Sounding like a perfect mix of Aqualung, Coldplay, and Arctic Monkeys, Color Radio could easily be the next hot band in music. Their two songs up "Yellow Jackets" (my favorite) and "While We Wait" are perfect in every way. The beat, the vocals, the lyrics, it all just mixes in and fits wonderfully.

Their first CD is out September 5th, entitled Feeling Like You Used To and I for one, am very excited to hear more from Color Radio.

Check them out, for tour dates and more info on the CD at their myspace - Alors, Vraiment?

"Premium Blend"


When Jonathon Ifergan and Josh Stillman formed a band in high school, they would never have predicted their band would elevate from a group of friends playing at local venues to playing at Columbia’s end of the year festival, Manifest.

Vocalist Ifergan and drummer Stillman met bassist Nicholas Morford after finding Morford’s advertisement on the Internet. After a brief interview, Morford joined the duo, and they set out to find a fourth band member. During the college’s 2007 fall semester, Jonathon Ifergan’s brother Tohm Ifergan began his education at Columbia. Realizing that the young Tohm Ifergan could play keyboards, the trio quickly recruited him to create the band Color Radio last September.

With sounds similar to popular British pop music, the band is now in production of their unnamed debut album that will be released in mid-June. Color Radio is working alongside producer Brian Zieske, who has produced albums for The Academy Is, The Hush Sound and Sars Flannery.

The Chronicle recently spoke with Tohm Ifergan about the band’s style of music, their musical idols and the best and worst times of being a relatively young band.

The Chronicle: What style of music does Color Radio perform?

Tohm Ifergan: We definitely have changed throughout each concert that we have performed. We started off as a poppy, pop-rock band, and then we got into the ambient, new-wave and new-rock genres. We just decided over time that it suited our talents better. Our music is pretty progressive.

What musical influenecs do you draw from to create your own sound?

Everyone here has slightly different taste, but I think the most obvious influence is Radiohead.

How did you come up with the name?

[Josh Stillman’s] grandfather had this running joke that he would always say: “Back in my day we had color radio.” It was a really stupid joke, but we found it interesting. We just wanted something really simple and easy to remember.

What does the band have planned for the future?

Right now we are working on designing our own merchandise to sell at our concerts. We are getting some shirts in, and we are going to get some photographers to create posters for us. We are actually scouting for a booking agent right now. Once we have the agent we are going to try and tour outside Chicago in hopes of expanding. - Columbia Chronicle


Color Radio’s Feeling Like You Used To is an EP made of five brilliant songs that don’t scream at you and at the same time don’t put you to sleep. Reminiscent of Snow Patrol and Coldplay these Chicago boys have a gift for ambient pop rock that I hear so many U.S. bands attempt over and over again to no avail. Their melodic vocals match well with the moody atmospheric music that hooks you in as they crescendo and decrescendo in and out of each song. “While We Wait” is one of my favorite tracks that I find myself singing along to while I’m walking down Western Ave in Chicago and letting Autumn fall into the year. (Though I guess I fit in right along with the rest of the crazies singing “…answers for our suffering…” outloud to music no one but I can hear.)

I highly recommend Color Radio’s Feeling Like You Used To for those music lovers of melodic pop rock. It definitely has stolen a spot in my personal library and I can’t wait to hear where these boys are headed next.

- One Kind Radio

"Take Sleeping Lessons"

This past January I was lucky enough to discover a very unique venue tucked in among buildings of Halstead in the UIC area called the E.P. Theater. Part show venue and part professionally working theater, the E.P was decorated in a vintage mish mash of creativity that just felt fresh comfortable. It seems entirely appropriate now that this venue should also be the place I discover a band called Color Radio.
Playing to us out of Chicago, this scruffy faced foursome combines spacey guitars, keys, and vocals slightly reminiscent of Silver Chair and Muse, to bring a sound that is inviting and entirely soothing. Percussion that’s rhythmic and smooth though a little understated, add to the ambience brought on by Color Radio.
In 2008 they released the EP Feeling Like You Used To, recorded with Brain Zieske (Sars Flannery, The Hush Sound) and since then has been working tirelessly to get themselves heard. Short but sweet, the EP and their live set gives a sound similar to Coldplay, As Tall As Lions, and Death Cab For Cutie. The Death Cab similarity is limited to the instrumentals of the band, some of which sound like they could have been pulled right out of DCFC’s last release Narrow Stairs. Beyond that Color Radio’s individuality comes from their combination of atmospheric sound and the quality of their vocalist’s timbre.
I recently saw Color Radio play at the Subterranean ( along with Damiera and the much adored, Lovedrug. Initially the room wasn’t packed, maybe a crowd of 40-50, most hanging back by the bar or in the balcony and chatting as Color Radio opened. The band didn’t delve into any show boat-y bravado and just dove into their opening song, something that I appreciate being done by any band. As the song progressed the crowd slowly but surely came up to the stage, and as it came to a close I’m pretty sure they had most everyone’s attention. Performance wise this band is pretty mellow, with out much movement save for the bounces and leaps coming from front man Jonathan Ifergan. That’s not to say their performance is boring, it just seems to hold more focus than showmanship. Jonathan obviously knows the talent he’s working with- the control and use of his voice live is absolutely impeccable.
Despite a few hiccups (a melodic fill for Ifergan’s guitar switch that didn’t go so smoothly, a slight loss of synchronicity in their last song) this band plays extremely polished and professionally. They seem to have big plans for 2009, and I would suggest anyone who appreciates ambient indie to look out for them. - Sam Gordon

"FLYUT EP Review"

Before U2 reached the top of the mountain, Bono and Edge opined that their music was too, too big for club stages. Wait 'till they hear the mighty Color Radio. This all-too-short EP Feeling Like You Used To lives up to its name and then some. The Chicago based quartet has mastered the craft of writing and playing for the masses. Vocalist Jonathan Ifergan has a range and timbre that matches such present day icons as Chris Martin, Jimi Goodwin (The Doves), Simon Fowler (Ocean Colour Scene) and ye olde Michael Stipe. The other three band members - Josh Stillman, Nicholas Morford, Tohm Ifergan have an identifiable and dramatic din all their own - a crucial element which makes for great rock 'n' roll. Every track has a melody to latch on to, whether they're thumping a military beat ("Yellow Jackets") or reaching for the sky with anthemic fervor ("The Fixer," "Sleep With The Lights On") or paying homage to big hair Brit-pop funk ("While We Wait"). Who can recall the last time a ballad ("Run, She Said") was rendered in an absolutely reckless odd time signature? This is the band to watch out for in 2009. - Tom Semioli - Amplifier magazine

"Chitunes- Color Radio",0,3026697.htmlstory

Color Radio knows how to succeed as an independent band in Chicago.

Beyond tirelessly promoting themselves, the band members carefully craft their music to fit a turbulent music business.

"We realize in this age it's really all about the live performance," said pianist Tohm Ifergan. "So we really made sure every song we write comes out really clean on stage."

In the studio, where Color Radio spent most of the summer, the band worked extensively with producer Brian Zieske (The Academy Is, The Hush Sound) to craft songs that would work well on stage.

The product is "Feeling Like You Used To," the group's second EP and a representation of Color Radio's indie-minded attitude.

"For local bands, it doesn't make sense to go out and record a full-length album and expect people to pay $10. We decided we're going to focus on writing and releasing singles and EPs through this year and the next," said Ifergan.

Music-wise, Color Radio picks up comparisons to Coldplay, Travis and Radiohead due to their melodic instrumentals and vocalist Johnathon Ifergan's brit-pop influences. But what sets them apart is their attention to dynamics.

"Music today tends to be kind of flat and all the levels are pushed up really loud like a TV commercial. We didn't want that. We wanted something like a live show," explained Ifergan. "With varying dynamics, music feels more like a journey."


"Color Radio partly a band of brothers."

Rock music is filled with stories of brothers (and sisters) who start bands, rise to prominence, and then, weakened by sibling rivalry, split like a tree struck by lightning.

The Ifergan brothers of the band Color Radio don't anticipate their ending being so dramatic.

"You hear things about Oasis, things about how the brothers fight constantly and there's always this craziness," says older brother and lead vocalist Jonathan. "We've kept our brotherly arguments out of the practice room."

A pop outfit, with a down tempo sound laced with introspective lyricism, Color Radio has definite British pop influences. But Jonathan says the band's influences range from tabla music to Radiohead. Jonathan and Thom's father is from Casablanca, and their mother is from Mexico. They moved to the United States when Jonathan was 4 and Thom was only 3 months old.

"My first words in English were, 'What's up, dude?'" Jonathan said.

The brothers' path to music came when their family moved to Lincolnshire and Jonathan became friends with Buffalo Grove's Josh Stillman. They met at a Phish concert while they were still students at Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Liquid assets
Their jam sessions at the Stillman home in Buffalo Grove led to the creation of Liquid Moon, which had some success, especially for a high school band, playing spots like House of Blues and Durty Nellie's, and being featured on ABC's "190 North" TV show.

But that was when they were younger, before Jonathan was ready to have his little brother in his band.

"There were so many times that I have tried to be part of one of his bands, but he would look at me as the annoying little brother," said Thom, Color Radio's pianist and synth player.

Despite Liquid Moon's success, both Jonathan and Stillman wanted to go to college. So the band disintegrated. Jonathan went to Columbia College in Chicago, Stillman went to the University of Kansas. Then, the Ifergan family relocated to Miami.

Jonathan and Stillman kept in touch, and as they were finishing college, they decided to give playing together another go. Eventually, they moved into a place in Chicago.

They also decided to give Thom a shot, knowing he'd definitely add some flavor to the band.

Dress code
"As kids, my mom would dress me and I'd come home and say, 'Mom, why did you make me wear red socks? Everyone wears white socks,'" Jonathan remembered. "My brother would come home wearing red socks and say, 'Mom, I think I'm the only kid in school who knows how to dress.'"

Thom was surprised about being asked to join the band. "I didn't believe him," he confessed. "But I knew that if I ever got back to Chicago it was something I wanted to do."

With those three onboard, the team hit the Internet looking for a bass player. Their only response came from Nick Morford, who happened to live in Thom's dorm building at Columbia.

Having a solid core of musicians immediately revealed its benefits. "When we started off, I provided most of the material and we jammed off it," Jonathan said. "Ever since then, it's been real democratic."

Color Radio hopes to record an EP in the spring.
- David Jakubiak - Pioneer Press

"Color Radio"

Very much in keeping with Top 40 radio today. Well done -

"Jim DeRogatis"

Celebrating the recent release of an EP entitled "Be Safe, Beware," the Chicago quartet Color Radio has been turning heads with a sophisticated sound that belies the band's young age: It only came into its own in late 2008, when Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan, two brothers who relocated from Mexico City, joined forces with Matt Thomas and Joel Chasco. The four are dedicated to exploring a subtle, nuanced, introspective and alternately uplifting and haunting sound that evokes national indie acts such as the Appleseed Cast and the Album Leaf as well as Chicago underground heroes such as the Aluminum Group, and songs like "Newest News" and the title track prove they're worthy of being considered in that kind of company.
- Chicago Sun Times

""Jeff Tweedy has a posse""

The latest four-song EP from Color Radio, while over too soon, exhibits exquisite attention to detail. Be Safe, Beware delivers solid hooks amidst airy production. This is definitely a “headphones” record, and one warranting many repeat listens. If you only grant it one go-through, you might not notice all the bells and glockenspiels that creep in under the catchy-as-hell guitar riffs and refrains. Its cranial infiltration is a stealth mission, however, you will not know the songs are catchy until four hours later when the title track is still looping through your brain without inten- tion to stop. Wilco once used similar tactics on Summerteeth, and Color Radio seem to owe much to their fellow Chicago natives. They have the same tendency to philosophize off-handedly over solid rock progressions and swirling ambiance, though the lead guitar riffs would be likelier found on a Cold War Kids track. Poignant closer “Curds and Whey” reaches the same affective heights that Jeff Tweedy is capable of, though Color Radio avoids lyrical enigmas in favor of frank and simple narrative. Be Safe, Beware certainly embodies “qual- ity over quantity,” but it leaves us wondering why we can’t have both, already. Color Radio has demonstrated here that they have the range and capability to tackle a full-length. While the EP maintains tonal consistency, each song distin- guishes itself considerably from the rest and each is strong enough to be a single in its own right. At
this point, it’s likely just a waiting game for the LP. - Sasha Geffen - Sasha Geffen


6/14/11 - "Architects" LP. Produced by Color Radio. Mixed by dave Vettraino at Mahern Audio, Bloomington, IN. Recorded by Jamie Carter at CarterCo Recording Studio in Chicago, IL. Mastered by Carl Saff at Saff Mastering in Chicago, IL. Additional recordings at Studio Chicago with
Music Industry Workshop.

9/2/09 - "Be Safe, Beware" EP. First EP to include current members and also produced by Brian Zieske.

5/5/09 - "Newest News" Single streaming at all the sites mentioned below.

9/9/08 - "Feeling Like You Used To" EP.

All Discography streaming at:
Last.FM, Facebook, MySpace

Also available on iTunes, Big Cartel, CD Baby, Rhapsody, Amazon, lala, and Napster.



RIYL: Cold War Kids, Asobi Seksu, Blonde Redhead, & Here We Go Magic

Jonathan and Tohm Ifergan’s childhood began in Mexico City before moving to the states as kids. Following the musical footsteps of their father, who played in several bands in France, Jonathan picked up his older brother’s guitar and fell in love. And Tohm wasn’t far behind, experimenting with the guitar, bass and drums before finding his groove with the keys and synthesizer.

After years of trying to play with his older brother, Tohm finally got a chance when Jonathan’s band, Color Radio, was in need of a keyboardist. After two members left, the search began to make Color Radio whole again. Work friend, and classically trained pianist, Matt Thomas added ambient textures and effects while Joel Chasco added progressive bass to an underlying pop backbone. The initial connection of the four required Tohm to switch from keys to drums, and the transition was complete.

Acquiring stardom began when the group released their EP, Be Safe, Beware, in September of 2009 which gained a respective amount of attention in the Chicago music scene. Since then, the quartet has matured their dreamy pop sound by adding atmospheric riffs and psychedelic rhythms in their debut LP, Architects.

Recently, Joel Chasco has mutually left the band to pursue other endeavors. After countless searching, the band found Andrew Manktelow, who was coincidentally at one of their shows and recently moved from North Bay, Ontario Canada. He has joined the ranks since then.

The Chicago outfit has already played all Chicago’s legendary venues (Metro, Schubas, Empty Bottle, Lincoln Hall, Subterranean, Beat Kitchen, etc.) and with national acts such as The Appleseed Cast, Gold Motel, and Lovedrug at regional showcases.

The band plans on touring regionally, hitting the east/west coast, SXSW, and putting out another recording this year.

They have regionally performed at Arlene's Grocery (Manhattan), Southpaw (Brooklyn), Cranky's Manatee Club (Cleveland, OH), Glasslands (Brooklyn), Skully's (Columbus, OH), BBC/The Rave in Milwaukee, The Frequency (WI), Vaudeville Mews (IA), Cowboy Monkey in Champaign, Beer Belly's/Pizza Works (Peoria), The House Cafe (DeKalb), Valparaiso University (IN), and many more.


In the fall of '09, Color Radio's song "The Fixer" was featured on MTV - Paris Hilton's My New BFF. In the summer of '10, "Newest News" was featured on Vh1 - The T.O. Show.

The track "Hangover" from their first EP was a semi finalist in the 2007 International Songwriting Competition and was included in many other compilations.

They also won an opening spot for the MTV Choose or Loose tour with Locksley at the Vaudeville Mews (IA) and were featured on E>N>E: Chicago Rocks Chicago local access TV Show in early '09.

National Acts Color Radio has performed with:

Gold Motel
Sleeping At Last
Longwave (Original Signal)
People in Planes (Wind-up Records)
Lovedrug (The Militia Group)
The Appleseed Cast (The Militia Group)
Carolina Liar (Atlantic Records)
Damiera (Equal Vision)
Dear and the Headlights (Equal Vision)
Now, Now Every Children (Afternoon Records)
Bad Veins (Dangerbird Records)
The Silent Years (Defend Music)
Princeton (Kanine Records)
The Academy Is...(Fueled By Ramen)
We The Kings (S-Curve Records)
Giants (Cavity Records)
The Hymns (Blackland Records)
and many more.