Kris Racer
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Kris Racer


Band Alternative Acoustic


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Portland Mercury"

It's always a good bet that a stage name such as Kris Racer substitutes for a Scrabbletastic surname that would clutter a marquee. In this case, the Kris in question also answers to Narunatvanich. But it's fitting that someone with songs this immediately accessible would want to keep things simple. Like Chris Carabba, this former Tagline frontman made the move from punkier sounds to acoustic weepers, finding paradise by the Dashboard lite. As an added bonus, the shaggy-haired, bespectacled beanpole Racer sports neither a fauxhawk nor tattoos, allowing him to maintain his Napoleon Dynamite-style underdog appeal. - Portland Mercury

"Illinois Entertainer"

Armed with just his acoustic guitar and voice, Kris Racer (aka Kris Narunatvanich) pushes the limits of coffeehouse pop on Time Spent On Airplanes (Adobo). "Hudson River Parkway" is a glowing slice of reminiscence with crisp finger-picking layered with chordal strumming. "Ual 7278" has a dusky, melancholy edge. The occasional off-key vocal notes add an endearing touch of authenticity and accent the fine performance. - Illinois Entertainer


Psych-pop noodles its way inside to this indie pop cleverly written composition. Tagged and dotted with songs about career life and ho-hum relationships, “...Has a Banner Year” is an ambitious self-look deep inside that is both inviting and encouraging. -

"Onion A.V Club"

Kris Racer plays sweet acoustic pop, the type of heartfelt music embraced by sensitive boys with shaky voices around the world. - Onion A.V Club


"Sweet, shaky vocals and delicate acoustics define Racer's release, which will appeal to fans of early Built to Spill, Halo Benders, and, incidentally, dozens of other bands that play this type of purposefully off-kilter indie pop. Racer is perfect mixtape material for beginning an imperfect courtship: tender lyrics, sensitive (but mostly out of tune) harmonies, casual screw-ups and an alluring sort of underdog vibe leave their stamp boldly throughout all the songs." -

"Space City Rock"

"The songs have a seriously Posies/Elliott Smith-ish pop bent, all jangly and nicely polished and slathered with beautiful harmonies, and Racer's voice meanders gently in and out of the guitar lines, mostly steady and calm but occasionally working up to a barely-concealed bit of bitter anger. Tracks like "Sharper Than Knives," with the delicate guitars and sweeping vocals, the minimalist, Sebadoh-ish "This Is Your Emergency," and "Lesser Ways of an Office," with it's somewhat speedier, countryish tone, amble into the room with a soft smile and a shrug and just do their thing, and for the most part, they do it right." - Space City Rock

"Culture Bunker"

"Kris Racer plays a tasteful singer-songwriter stew of modern life filtered through the rubbish of office work and discontent. On this sleight album of six songs, we find a protagonist who is numbed and calloused from the unfulfilled romances and the soul-sucking drudgery of his job. These lyrics are sung in an unadorned straightforward manner, giving the words themselves more authenticity than if the singer's voice had been prettied up and triple-tracked and made to seem like a stadium filling crooner. Racer is more confessional and intimate than that....Kris Racer shows a rich uniqueness with lyrical content and an interesting take on the modern singer-songwriter genre." - Culture Bunker

" interview"

Kris Racer left the punk scene to do some solo soul searching. The former frontman for Ohio based Tagline is being taken very seriously by critics, with an acoustic presence comparable to Elliot Smith and Dashboard Confessional's Chris Carabba. He sings with sincerity, speaking to the twenty-somethings across the country about work, relationships, and the future. But Kris isn’t just another moody musician. There’s a nerdy quirkiness that separates him from the rest, and that makes his music all the more real. He’ll be opening up the DAM! Fest show at The Red & The Black Friday night w/ The Subjects, Casper & the Cookies, and Hallelujah the Hills. Before you head down to H Street, check out our interview with Kris where we uncovered his stint with a girl-garage band and his secret job with the CIA.

How would you personally describe your sound?

Overly self-involved singer-songwriter with a big ego who beats the 1 6m 4 5 chord progression to death. haahahaa. No no, WAIT... I mean the opposite. I hate the term "singer-songwriter," because it often pigeonholes a musician into the "la la la la la" mewling category. I prefer "post-pop-punkband-guitarist-songwriter who happens to sing." I'm in love with catchy guitar parts - in fact, at shows, I often end up focusing on them and watching fingerboards to pick out intricacies. And oh, for this reason, I've built in a fair share of looping into my songs - I guess I just can't enough. Just can't get enough. (c)David Gahan

Why did you make the switch from punk to acoustic pop?

Well, I grew up attending pop-punk shows. I'd never seen such a combination of sweat and energy (uhh, this was before compulsory conditioning and endurance running from my high school tennis team); so of course, I got an an electric guitar for my 16th birthday and played the hell outta that thing. Call it teenage angst; call it cliche; but, I'd found my outlet. Fast forward --> --> college punk band in cleveland + engineering degree (yea, I was on the math team in high school - this was the logical choice) --> --> after college, for some reason, I got swept up into the rush of applying for jobs. Something about the competition seemed fun - at the time, I was still sporting big-ass skater jeans and really awful hairstyles. Long story long, some IT company hired me and I moved to Chicago. The band dissolved for logistical reasons and during that transition ( i.e. absence of current musical influences), I started listening to more indie rock and gravitated towards my mom's old records: Herman's Hermits, The Hollies, etc... It was a common progression: boy feels lost, boy finds energy in music, boy's life shifts, boy copes via broader outlets, boy determines next move..

You sing a lot about work. What is it exactly that you do... besides music?

Hahaha, this is a secret. My roommates think I work for the CIA as a spy since I spent '05 working for the government... and moreover, since towards the year's end I disappeared for two months into southeast Asia. But seriously, have you ever seen the tv show, "The Office" (British & American!) or the movie, "Office Space?" My character would be the unfortunate spawn of Tim/Jim and the "Bobs" -- luckily, I don't have to wear a tie, but I still have to tuck in my shirt. What a drag. Geez ya know, I would quit if I had to wear a tie... cause then, the metaphoric strangling would become all the more real. Heehaw. On a plus note, I travel weekly on business trips which lets me take advantage of booking different cities on the company dime, so to speak. It takes a bit of planning - I don't sleep much - but it's all worth it.

What is the Universe Society? How many bands are you/have you been in?

Universe Society is a 4-guy, 2-girl psychedelic indie-pop band conceived by my friend (and band leader), Primo Mendoza. He writes amazing songs that range from saccharine ooh & ahhh ditties to the most melancholy tearjerkers... or should I say songs that make you sigh? Yeah, that's better. I play lead guitar and keys - and oh, everybody in the band has a few lead songs. Primo enforces equal opportunity. The music is heavily influenced by rad 60's bands like The Association, Harper's Bizarre, Rotary Connection, The 5th Dimension, The Beatles (uh huh), etc. I really dig harmonies, especially the non-traditional parts like 2nds and 6ths vs. the typical pop 3rds and 5ths. Aside from US, I played guitar and sang in that pop-punk band, Tagline and played a short stint as a bassist in a girl-garage band called the A-lines (btw, I think there are dozens of bands by that name).

You mentioned a previous life in Arlington, how would you compare
the DC music scene to Chicago's?

Ignoring the oft-used Dischord moniker tied to DC's scene, I would say that both are similar in terms of venues and playing out. There's an equal share of tiered venues and DIY spaces; however, I definitely noticed that the # of raw/gritty DC bands parallels the # of pop bands in Chicago. I suppose each city continues to carry its own sound, but in my opinion, once you step into any metropolitan scene (excluding the behemoth of N.Y. and L.A.), you'll find the same clubs and spattering of bands. I would like to think that the inherent nature of a band (or musician) stems more from past experience, than geography... but perhaps, I'm a bit naive.

Who are a few of your favorite artists?

Is this where I insert obscure band names to seem well-listened? Well, I admit it! I'm always 2 years behind on music. As for favorites, my tastes come in waves and true to my OCD nature, they must be categorized. Pop-Punk: anything on Lookout Records (like the Mr. T Experience) FatWreckChords (like Face to Face). Japanese Punk: Husking Bee, Eastern Youth, Hi-Standard Oldies: Simon & Garfunkel, Herman's Hermits, The Association. 80's: New Order, Anything Box, Erasure (oh my gosh, I didn't just write this... please don't hold it against me) Solo Acts: Elvis Costello, Kind of Like Spitting, Damien Jurado, Pedro the Lion. And of course, I like those "popular" indie bands too. hahah

Have you been having a "banner year?"

Yes I have! Actually 2006 was the banner year in which I recorded my latest EP. It basically came together in pieces whenever I had time. My friend, Nick Kraska (New Black, Bang!Bang!) tracked all of the instruments and did a great job of capturing the guitar sound I wanted: not too jangling, not too abrasive, but definitely true to the sound of the instrument. I finished up the vocals at a labelmate's, Zaid Maxwell (May or May Not, Ozark Cousins) home studio and was glad to have the environment to play with harmonies. Aside from the sciatica, which has developed as a result of my desk job, 2007 has been pretty swell. Now how about some worker's comp?!? -


Time Spent on Airplanes - 2004
Has a Banner Year - 2007



Between indie pop and acoustic/folk, Kris Racer found a comfortable place, tucked away from the dress shirts and slacks that accompanied the drudgery of his 9 AM - 9 PM corporate consulting job. Initially reared on SoCal punk acts like Face to Face and Bad Religion, Kris Racer (despite the stage name - a spliced AOL username suggestion of "Ski Racer" made in '91 when finding that "Kris" had been taken) slowed down a notch to broaden his sound with guitar/vocal loops (all recorded and performed live) and The Association-style ooh's and aah's (studio recorded).

And while this sound has hooked fans of both influences, his stage show has remained consistent, hearkening to his earlier days of entertaining sets and constant movement. Video clip -