Lamp
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Lamp

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Rock Experimental

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"GETTING UNABASHEDLY EARNEST: TALKING WITH LAMP { Wearing my heart on my sleeve with quintet Lamp's new EP. }"

I was recently doored while biking through the fine, but narrow streets of Chicago, and as I lay on the gurney staring up at the impossibly clear gorgeous expansive Midwest sky all I could think was “fuck this city.” Chicago might not be the largest, tech savviest or even the most derelict but it still pulsates the way a city does, through highs and lows causing moments of pure joy and also straight-up misery in its inhabitants. It seemed fitting that somewhat prior to my moment of wretchedness I had experienced one of elation through a night of local music, something Chicago continually succeeds at.

Showcasing the night had been the quintet Lamp celebrating the release of their self-titled EP off of Chicago label Aerial Ballet. Lamp put on of the most intricate and cohesive live shows I had experienced in sometime, alternating between swirling synths and drums with smartly layered vocals and jazzy bass rifts. I was surprised upon sitting down with the group to find that their current line-up had only existed since January, with the addition of drummer Aaron Cauble, synth/keyboardist Abe Vucekovich, and bassist Maxwell Beckman to singer/guitarist David Curtin and singer/synthist Chris Ash two-piece.

One of the things that jump out about Lamp’s music is the duality of isolation and community focused on in their songs, which creatively displays the mode of life in the 21st century. One precariously balances between overwhelming social outlets and isolation. Keyboardist Vucekovich cites spirituality as one of the driving connections for the group. “We are a very spiritual bunch and really into doing everything, not just music […] It is not about them all the time, it’s about something more. It comes from a very spiritual place and unites us. Getting over and outside of us.” The ability to look outside the band is perhaps why Lamp exudes such an earnest independence to their genre shifting and layering style. While Lamp’s songs emit a looseness they are also carefully controlled as they bring themselves and the audience to a brink while also keeping things from tumbling over into utter nonsense. This loose control could come from how they view the musical project as an outlet but not the be all to end all. Drummer Cauble explains that while they make music a priority it is also held in balance with the rest of their lives and that not solely finding an identity in music allows for a sense of freedom.

Although music is not the only thing that connects or drives the band and their individual lives, it is clear it is something deeply rooted in their identity. “We have to play music, if we don’t we’ll explode or something. It comes from just a love of the music. It kind of intertwines with our beliefs” explains singer/guitarist Curtin. Their feverish earworm “Feel The Ghost” of their EP works as the musical metaphor to this exploding need for music. As sparkling crescendos build and crest over Ash's urgent singing of “Do you feel the Ghost or is he just a concept burning in your mind? I don’t want to be part of what the dead men say falling, falling in the ground.”

Lamp’s sincere lack of forcing creativity extends to group’s outlook on marketing. When asked about the use of social media within the group, a vehicle in which most contemporary bands use to expend their listenership, Ash explained they are not social media moguls in real-life and something they have struggled a bit with. “It kind of is just how the landscape is now but I think it is about finding ways on how to traverse that terrain without feeling like you are using people or doing something that is strange […] I think the media side of social media is cool. We are all into doing some video projects and art.” Curtin further explains their outlook, “I sort of have the belief, I don’t know if it is true, but if you’re music is available in a lot of places, you put it out and it is good enough it will get out.” Some people might view this as an overwhelmingly naïve outlook in a society where product and consumership is continually being poured down individuals throat through the funnel of advertisements in both the real and virtual but Lamp’s earnest wariness of marketing displays a growing trend of DIY creative outlets, be it music, art or film, getting back the source of real connection through balancing how and when to use technology and keeping principle on the front, not back burner.

Bandcamp is the main way the group has found to comfortably balance and traverse the terrain of being a band on the Internet as it allows them to share their music without having to worry about status updates or retweets. “It’s kind of cliché but we want the music to speak for itself.” Vucekovich chimes in with the perfect summation of what Lamp is, a juxtaposition of ardent inventiveness in a overwhelming consumer-driven society.

Lamp's new EP is available for purchase from their bandcamp. See them next at Chicago's Hideout August 15th. - Impose Magazine


"Watch: Lamp – “Feel the Ghost”"

“Feel the Ghost” begins with a watery siren call floating atop a sparkling synth, slowly morphing into a dense pop track reminiscent of Centipede Hz-era Animal Collective. It’s the sixth track from the experimental outfit’s self-titled (extended) extended play, and feels like a triumphant climax wedged among folksier tracks.

Admittedly both “folk” and “pop” are terrible – and yet somewhat necessary – terms to describe Lamp. There’s a certain folk sentiment and electro-pop timbre, sure, but they sound equally ethereal and spiritual. Both “Feel the Ghost” and its visuals are unabashedly surreal and endearing with grown men donning sheets like Charlie Brown on Halloween and going about their daily routine.

The band plans on dropping a single within the upcoming weeks, with a new full length due mid-summer. - Local Loop Chicago


"Track: Lamp – “Phases”"

Lamp’s self-titled EP featured a selection of oddball pop tracks with an earwormish quality. With it dense and gritty production, “Feel the Ghost” spread itself wide, but not thin; it pushed forward and grew with an anxious hyperness.

But their latest single “Phases” sees the group bending their neo-psych basis into a new, but not entirely unforeseen direction. Over its (seven minute!) course, “Phases” lays back into an alien jam sesh, and as its apt title suggests, coagulate and reshapes itself, pairing rough-edged guitar lines with bleep-bloop synth trails. Releasing a single of such a length is gutsy, and though at face value it might seems like “Phases” would be better suited for a mid-album intermission, Lamp has duly prepped us for the spacey goodies to come. - Local Loop Chicago


"Lamp at Schuba's Tavern"

It wasn’t for Lamp that people were turning up at Schuba’s on Wednesday night. Finley Knight was headlining that night, and a handful of the music-faithful had come to see what the local sensation was made of. Before they took the stage, though, another ensemble of local talent treated the audience to a set of their own eclectic synth-rock. For those who were fortunate enough to be part of that earlier crowd, opening act Lamp might have just stolen the show.

From what I’d heard of Lamp via other music outlets, I was expecting something a bit more synth-heavy, experimental, and potentially over my head. What the band delivered, though, was a surprisingly approachable sound that blended their more experimental synth wave recording practices with mellowed indie rock stylings and the occasional funk twist. The band arced their way around the stage, folding in back behind a row of electronic equipment that had breaks enough to catch glimpses of a few still-shining guitars, bass and drums to follow in the rear. The ensemble was a bit crowded on the Schuba’s stage, but a five-piece electro-rock band wouldn’t easily fit into most smaller venue spaces.

Lamp took the stage without much hype or pretense, really with no introduction at all. The group just started playing, letting their music speak for itself from the get-go. Most if not all of the songs they performed began with a very different sound at their start than they would ultimately finish with. The first took on a funk-influenced bassline in the beginning, merging cleverly with less steady electronic scrawls as it progressed. This sort of transformative song progression made for smooth, clean transitions such that it was sometimes difficult to tell when one piece became the next. Intentional or not, it was a rather clever way of engaging audience attention and drawing them into the life of the music.

With only an EP to their name, much of what they played wasn’t something the audience would recognize, even if they had previous familiarity with the group. A good portion of the audience trickled in from the bar in front simply because they seemed to like what they were hearing through closed doors, so for many of those in attendance, it was a show with an element of collective discovery to it, with rolling percussion giving way to slight but punchy chord progressions and hollow, resonate synth bouncing out from either side of the stage. For as low-key as the show was, Lamp brought a sound that at the very least made some weekday bar-goers curious, and they certainly left more than one audience member cheering for more.

As for showmanship, the band wasn’t much for spectacle, not that the stage left much room for it to begin with. They seemed much more comfortable behind their instruments, the center member even enjoying socks-and-no-shoes, and playing as if they were putting their heart and soul into the sounds they were making, rather than show they were performing. They were unquestionably into what they were doing, bobbing heads, bending knees and bleating their lungs out, but that seemed more a way for them to engage with their music than with the audience. Far from isolating, though, their engagement in their own practice was a rather refreshing reminder of the way in which a group can play together simply for the love of the music they make. - Violent Success


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Lamp is an experimental rock group from Chicago that combines electronics with oversized guitar sounds and frenetic vocal work. What began as a home studio collaboration between David Curtin and Chris Ash has quickly flourished into a five-piece band, including Aaron Cauble, Maxwell Beckman and Abe Vucekovich. Their self-titled EP is the first studio work from the band to document their new sound, and they will be returning to the studio to record a new full-length in the summer of 2014.

Band Members