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Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Post-punk




"Concert Preview: Nest at Schubas Tavern"

Nest lead vocalist Stephanie Maieritsch walked over to me, wearing the friendliest smile I’ve ever seen, as I waited in the Old Town School of Folk Music lobby at Lincoln Square. She recognized me instantly from my Gmail image alone.

“The rest are kind of shy,” she said of her band mates, adding that they were still setting up their practice room, and that they likely wouldn’t approach me like she had.

Drummer Noah Vandercook, bassist Eric Unger and Maieritsch all work at Old Town School, which is where they met. Guitarist and child psychiatrist Tommy Owley was classmates with Maieritsch in a post-punk rock ensemble class at Old Town School.

I could sense the collective shyness as I walked into the room alongside Maieritsch, interrupting their preparation. But the band’s overall attitude seems content, and that they are doing what’s right for their souls. Old Town School has a beautiful atmosphere, just right for an up-and-coming band like Nest. They have only been touring the city for the past year.

The adjective, “down-to-earth” doesn’t do this band justice, as they are far more than that. They are caring of each other, and as Maieritsch described her band mates, “not jerks.” That’s in reference to the singer’s ex-husband, whose pessimism toward her passion for music and starting a band inspires some of her song lyrics.

While Maieritsch develops the foundation for Nest’s songs, Owley, Vandercook and Unger contribute their visions when the group meets for practice. However, an Oswego, New York native, and only non-Chicago native of the band, Unger explained to me what he loves about Chicago music. Its “subtlety, musicianship and group dynamics” inspire his contributions to Nest songwriting.

“I’ve always been obsessed with music that came out of Chicago and labels” like, “Drag City, Kranky, Touch and Go, Thrill Jockey…when I was in high school, the post-rock scene was coming out of Chicago…with emphasis on instrumentals and not about solos, not about like, kind of bombastic stuff,” said Unger.

That bombastic stuff is what Owley referred to as “noodling around,” which the band replaces with carefully crafted guitar parts, staying true to the pop genre.

The bassist moved to Chicago right after college so he could get a taste for something new, like many new recent graduates do. But, he also wanted to be a part of a friendly, urban environment, a change from the small town in which he was raised and “stuck.”

“My favorite part about Chicago is – there’s egos anywhere you go – but I think that it’s not so hard to do stuff here if you want to – if you want to write music, if you want to be an artist. Everything is kind of treated equally, especially in music,” he said.

Unger speaks to Chicago venues like The Empty Bottle, or the House of Blues, popular for hosting a diverse range of genres of music. The band agreed that Chicago caters to musicians who want to form bands and grow together, without competing against one other.

In fact, the word, “community,” was a prominent theme in my meeting with Nest, and that’s exactly what you will feel at its Schubas Tavern show Wednesday night. You will likely see Maieritsch crack a smile more than once as she sings of triumph, not only from a detrimental past relationship, but of the satisfaction of being in a group with common goals and similar personalities.

That’s just one element I observed when Nest practiced “Bright” and “Uncovered” in front of me. Those are both songs from their forthcoming album, Mother’s Knife. But Maieritsch is most excited to bring you “Lullaby” as it makes its debut at Schubas.

“We’re going to pour our hearts into that one on Wednesday. We can’t wait to hear what happens when we perform it with the immediacy and energy that a live audience brings,” she shared.

Pay attention to the lyrics and the wavy patterns of dynamics Nest presents Wednesday, as the title, Mother’s Knife, connotes empowerment. “It’s cutting away from something that you loved, but sucks you dry…talking about…my marriage and that I was the caretaker in the relationship,” said Maieritsch.

Join the community for free at Schubas Tavern Wednesday at 8 p.m., as 100% Off Bands brings you Nest, Bloom and Impulsive Hearts. - Third Coast Review

"Nest: Adding Strings, Studio Couches and The Smashing Pumpkins"

Nick Digilio welcomes members of the band nest!

In this conversation, they discuss bassist Eric Unger’s progression on stringed instruments, guitarist Thomas Owley’s love for studio couches and The Smashing Pumpkin’s influence on lead singer Stephanie Maieritsch.

The band will be playing songs from their forthcoming LP “Mother’s Knife” at Schuba’s tonight (Wednesday night, August 31st). The 21 and over show begins at 8pm. - WGN Radio


Bands fronted by females have been getting cred from rock fans since Debbie Harry and Chrissie Hynde proved women can skyrocket in the music industry. They made grueling tour schedules, writing, recording, hyping albums, and remained cool throughout it all. Still, leading a group of musicians to success is not easy for even the most liberated women. It was only when Chicago outfit Nest’s lead vocalist Stephanie Maieritsch freed herself from a difficult marriage that she started to see her possibilities as realities.

Ready to turn expression into music, and led by her mentor Nathaniel Braddock (Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, Jenny Gillespie, Ancientgreeks), Maieritsch further developed her guitar skills to start arranging songs alongside a second guitarist, Tommy Owley. “Tommy gave me the joy, inspiration, and support to start writing my own songs. I was writing like mad,” she remembers. Playing covers of songs by Sleater-Kinney, The Replacements and The Feelies gave her the sense of composition needed to finish her original demos, and then she went in search of a drummer and bassist.

“Finding a good drummer is funny,” Maieritsch says. “I feel like they are constantly in demand and being asked to join projects – most of which aren’t serious or don’t pan out.” After hearing the demos, drummer Noah Vandercook was ready to commit. Bass player Eric Unger has a background as a singer- songwriter, which Maieritsch saw as an asset. Finally armed with a team of musicians, Nest was born in 2015 and a rigorous practice schedule ensued. In November, they headlined a show at the Hideout and were blown away by the energy between the band and audience – a night that turned out to be a catalyst in recording and perfecting their upcoming album, Mother’s Knife. Working with the incredibly supportive John Abbey at Kingsize Studios, they pushed themselves beyond their limits to record a collection that truly sets Nest apart.

Together, Owley and Maieritsch combine guitar compositions that forge a sound reminiscent of Guided By Voices in their low-fi years, giving the listener a familiar indie 90’s rock feel. Maieritsch belts intimate lyrics with an authenticity that recalls early-era Liz Phair while the band maintains an infectious pop-grunge sound, not distant from that of Veruca Salt and Hole.

Vandercook slays any notion of predictable percussion on the album’s track “Gold,” turning the vulnerability of the first verse into a massive assertion of confidence both musically and lyrically: “See me pained and pinned down/Tied to a woman’s cry/I am not the beautiful girl in black and white/Then you can watch me/Watch me come alive/See me wet, see me untied.”

Unger’s tight bass on “Make Me” establishes the song’s attitude of romance-on- a-whim. Declaring in genuine punk fashion that she’ll love when she feels like it, Maieritsch sings: “I don’t think about you all the time/Just when I want to smile/I don’t think about you day and night/Just when I want to feel good inside/And like I’m new.” But not unlike the band’s innovative chemistry, the romance creeps in later on the track: “There’s a freckle on your wrist where a kiss should be/There’s a heaving in my chest where your hands should be.” - Radio One Chicago

"Chicago’s Nest releases new album “Mother’s Knife”"

Nest is thrilled to announce the release of their debut full-length, Mother’s Knife, out November 4th. The album was recorded and mixed this past summer at Kingsize Sound Labs, mastered at Gravity Studios, and will be released digitally and on vinyl. As the record was approaching its final form, this tuneful and driving four-piece delivered an energetic opening performance at Chicago’s Square Roots Festival.

Just ahead of their well-received festival kickoff, Nest released a video for their ebullient love song “Preserved.” The visuals are a perfect analogue to the band’s sound – gritty yet subtly sweet. This duality is embraced by frontwoman Stephanie Maieritsch, who explains, “So much of my music is about a struggle between two sides. You can’t have a good story without some conflict – whether that conflict is between external forces or internalized – whether it is ultimately resolved, or ongoing.”

Maieritsch reflects the album’s complexity through her dynamic and expressive vocals: soft and sultry on one song, then ascendent and triumphantly melodic on the next. Lead guitarist Tommy Owley’s guitar sound both undergirds and emphasizes the supple singing. With arpeggios that weave in and out of Maieritsch’s insistent rhythm playing, as well as his concise and considered leads, his is a vital contribution steeped in rock lore, yet pining for a coherent and clearheaded present.

Nest’s rhythm section consists of Noah Vandercook on drums, and Eric Unger on bass. On “Gold,” Vandercook slays any notion of predictable percussion, morphing the vulnerability of the first verse into a massive assertion of confidence: “Then you can watch me/Watch me come alive/See me wet, see me untied.” His muscular drumming serves to pulse these words to life.

Unger’s tight bass on “Make Me” establishes the song’s romance-on-a-whim attitude. It is the steady yet mischievous foil to Maieritsch’s vocals. She sings in a heart-on-sleeve punk confession that she’ll love when she feels like it: “I don’t think about you all the time/Just when I want to smile/I don’t think about you day and night/Just when I want to feel good inside/And like I’m new.” As the song progresses, the bass grows more assured, emphasizing the emerging romance seeping into the searching words: “There’s a freckle on your wrist where a kiss should be/There’s a heaving in my chest where your hands should be.”

Nest’s guitar sound is often said to evoke a 90’s indie rock feel. There is also a definite affinity for frontwoman and songwriter forebears such as Stevie Nicks and Chrissie Hynde clearly at play. Yet it is the lyrics and how they’re sung that root the band’s sonic signature firmly in the moment at hand.

In a musical landscape that sees increasing focus on the one-off single or EP, this swiftly rising band has put together a fully realized collection that feels fresh and hooky, front to back.

The release will be celebrated on November 12th at the Beat Kitchen in Chicago. - Radio One Chicago

"Nest makes a new sound from a fresh start"

Second chances are possible.

Just ask Stephanie Maieritsch, lead singer and primary songwriter for Nest, who found her second chance (or fresh start) when she started the group. Before that Maieritsch had done a handful of demos but wasn't sure what to do with them. She had never been in a band before and although she took guitar lessons as a teenager at the Old Town School of Folk Music, it took a number of years into adulthood for her to come back to making music.

And just like her earliest experiences learning the guitar, the Old Town School proved the perfect jumping off point for her new music. It was there that Maieritsch met Eric Unger who, like her, worked at the school and performance venue. Maieritsch asked Unger if he knew anyone who played bass and Eric took on the challenge, despite his limited knowledge of the instrument. Nest's additional members (Tommy Owley and Noah Vandercook) joined soon after.

The band's formation came at an important moment in Maieritsch's life. She had recently left a bad marriage and the band proved to be a strong outlet for her reflections on the end of the relationship.

"When I finally got out of that (marriage) and got divorced, I just had a creative reawakening," she said. "I picked the guitar back up and started writing all of these songs." And as the frontwoman and primary songwriter for the group, the band's first album, "Mother's Knife," was a potent reflection of the inner workings of Maieritsch's life.

"When I started writing, (my songs) were about starting a new life," she said. "I had been married and had friends and suddenly that was all gone. I wrote a lot of songs about dealing with that, about thinking of yourself one way and then suddenly you have to reinvent yourself as a different person."

Consider the album closer "Uncovered," two minutes and 46 seconds of full-throttle drumming and upbeat guitars mixed with introspective lyrics. "I was complicit, controlled by the other / I was a cold case, even to myself," Maieritsch sings in the second verse of the track. It's a sly trick to mask the dark and uncomfortable with pop hooks and jangly guitars, but Nest pulls it off well. None of the group's efforts feel too heavy-handed. Many of the remaining tracks on the album follow a similar pattern: deep lyrics and tightly-constructed instrumentation packed into a few minutes.

And in the end, the group is not interested in masking the depths of Maieritsch's lyrics, but rather blending a number of different stylistic elements – from the pleasantness of an aural ear worm to frank discussions of Maieritsch's personal life – as equal parts of a complete whole. On the band's website you can listen to all of the tracks and read the lyrics. One element does not seem to be more important than the other.

Nest's second album, which the band is currently working on, will see a slight departure from the original formula. Where most of the tracks for "Mother's Knife" were crafted originally as demos by Maieritsch, the new music is created in a more collaborative songwriting process.

"I also think sonically, our individual instruments and the way we shape our tone and sound has gotten more refined," Unger said. Maieritsch also welcomes the change.

"I've always had a kind of desire to not do just one type of song," she offered. "I like to write sad songs, happy songs, upbeat songs, slower songs. I've always done that on my own but I think that now that we're writing songs more collaboratively, it's definitely helping that." - Chicago Tribune



Nest is NoahEricStephanieTommy. Pop-grunge indie rock out of Chicago.

Nest creates finely-crafted pieces that combine assured pop instincts with a true rock grit. The sometimes soft, sometimes fierce vocals of frontwoman Stephanie Maieritsch impart an unapologetic intimacy reminiscent of Chrissie Hyde or early-era Liz Phair.

The band met in early 2015, and quickly released an EP before heading into Chicago’s Kingsize Studios to record their first LP Mother’s Knife, which they released on beautiful blue vinyl in November 2016.  A new single and Midwest tour are in the works for May of 2017.

Nest has played at historic Chicago venues including The Hideout, Schubas, and The Empty Bottle, and opened up the the Square Roots Festival in the summer of 2016. Grounded in Chicago’s rich indie rock past, they’re intently focused on bringing their twist on the Chicago sound out to the world.

Band Members