Pinto and the Bean
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Pinto and the Bean

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF

Chicago, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Rock Pop




"Fifteen of my Favorite 2011 Chicago Music Releases"

Damn. At this point the last thing the world needs is another year-end list, but here goes. I tried to resist adding to the mountain of existing roundups, but after seeing so many people write about their favorite releases of 2011 I started to think more about mine and what I might say about them in a sentence or two. In keeping with the spirit of this site all of my picks are releases from Chicago-based artists, some who I previously highlighted as favorites in years past and others who I heard for the first time in 2011. I'm not going to say they're the "best" because of course it's all subjective--I'm sure even my fellow WCR writers would have very different lists--but below are 15 releases that I enjoyed the most, in no particular order.

Company of Thieves--Running From a Gamble: For their second LP, COT managed a bolder, sharper, more memorable set of tunes to create the opposite of a sophomore slump. The crazy-good vocals of frontwoman Genevieve Schatz move effortlessly from sultry to snarling, and so does the guitar.

Pet Lions--Houses: Introducing themselves with straightforward guitar pop on 2009's Soft Right EP, Pet Lions expanded on that foundation with greater depth and more atmosphere on their debut full-length.

The Kickback--Mea Culpa Mea Culpa EP: Four solid tracks of muscular, hooky alt-rock that make me really curious what these guys will come up with on their first full-length, currently in progress. Plus, "Sting's Teacher Years" is quite possibly my favorite song title of the year.

Gypsyblood--Cold in the Guestway: Speaking of alt-rock, there's plenty more high quality, guitar-driven specimens on Gypsyblood's debut, which goes the extra mile by throwing in the occasional curveball like the strangely twangy "Dirty Thieves."

Architecture--When We Were Young EP: Dream pop that’s equal parts sweet and eerie. Sort of like music for a haunted dollhouse, which I can't say about anything else I heard this year.

Smith Westerns--Dye It Blonde: I still can't figure out why Smith Westerns are one of the only current Chicago bands people are willing to give buzz outside our city, but that doesn't take away the fact that this record's exuberant glam pop is worthy of praise.

Village--Local Moves: A great big guitar record loaded with power pop hooks, psychedelic undertones and pure rock 'n' roll energy.

My My My--Wishing You Whatever’s Best EP: One of Chicago's most consistently fun bands returns with more slightly off-kilter singalongs, this time with a dancier, synthier touch.

Pinto & the Bean--The Waiting Place: Electro-tinged pop/rock with a twist of quirkiness and a sound that comes across as much bigger than the product of a duo.

White Mystery--Blood & Venom: Just like you can count on the sun to rise, you can count on White Mystery for some good-time garage rock. Turn on their second album and let the rock and roll party start (there's even a track called "Party" to make sure you know what to do).

Tiny Magnets--Time to Try: This is a release so low-key that last time I checked you couldn't even buy it online (it's totally worth tracking down a hard copy from the band). Power pop jangle meets folky strum meets panoramic indie rock, all tied together with top-notch songwriting.

The Bright White--Until Then EP: Simply well-crafted rock songs that don't need any gimmicks to catch your ear and stay in your head for days.

Save the Clocktower--Carousel: On STC's second release, there are dreamy electro waves galore to grab onto and ride into blissful places.

Bailiff--Red Balloon: Bailiff is another band whose sound evolved in a great way from EP to LP, stretching their original bluesy vibe to something more varied and captivating.

Blah Blah Blah--Thank You Thank You EP: A strong set of charming, slightly melancholy tunes that reference new wave and Britpop. Think the Smiths, but more wide-eyed than cynical. - Windy City Rock

"Pinto and the Bean"

There is usually lots of things to do in Chicago, on any given Saturday night. My friends and I were very excited to attend the Pinto and the Bean’s CD release house party: The Waiting Place. We even searched the local liquor/convenience store for canned pinto beans to bring to the party. However, we were out of luck and the only thing we brought was our enthusiasm and support for the little band with not so little sound.

Pinto and the Bean | CD cover, sticker
The “Hacienda de los Gatos” was the venue for the CD release. There weren’t any cast on sight. However, there was free food, drinks, and delicious cookies -none left after I got there. Everybody was sipping the sangria and we all got to share Ivan’s potato salad and spaghetti. After a couple of beers, I was already socializing with the attendees and even with the band members.

Trying to avoid looking like a crazed drunk fan, I was able to meet the guys and I even managed to get them to sing my CD. It’s so refreshing to meet such talented yet, humble people. We didn’t have a sharpie at hand. However, these guys better be prepared next time because they’re great and I predict panties flying at the stage in their near future!

Pinto and the Bean | Artist signed cover and stikcer

Pinto and the Bean | The Waiting Place CD-Cover
While I’m as much as music critic as an Olympic figure skater, Pinto and the Bean genre is Independent Rock & Roll. The sounds these guys produce gives me chills! Paul Taneja (guitar/keys/vocals) and Ivan Sosa (drums, keys, vocals) formed the band in 2010. They write their own songs and are influenced by other bans such as The Smiths, Smashing Pumpkins, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Yanni, Nada Surf, and Radiohead. Slowly but surely building up a fan base, these guys have performed at venues, festivals, and events such as Double Door, Abbey Pub, Cobra Lounge, Quenchers, Gallery Cabaret, Weeds, Quennect4, and Chicago’s Ribfest.

The two members bounce vocals off each other like boobs in a strip club.

While these guys are very creative and passionate about their music, they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. The best part about their performance was to see how much they enjoyed themselves, putting all the energy, talent, and passion to wow their fans. - A Good One

"Record Review: Pinto & the Bean - 'The Waiting Place'"

There's something strangely satisfying about small bands making big noise. Whenever I come across a musical act with fewer than three members I automatically prepare myself to hear something light and acousticy, so having my ears tricked by a rocking two-piece like Pinto and the Bean is a welcome surprise. On their debut The Waiting Place, Paul Taneja and Ivan Sosa manage to bring a fullness and intensity to their electro-tinged indie rock for an album that packs a lot more punch than what you might expect from a duo.

Opening track "Let's Make Noise" holds true to its title and shows just how much noise these two guys can make together; it's an immediate indie rock anthem loaded with meaty guitar, a shout-along chorus and a dash of angst. Songs like "Rebuild Everything" and "Robot Wars" follow suit with more energy than many bands with three times the members would be able to drum up.

What's most impressive about The Waiting Place is that every song holds its own. The melodies are fleshed-out and memorable, and there's enough stylistic variation to prevent the tracks from running together. "Wake Up" and "Eleazar" are essentially folk songs with a pop sheen, emotionally-driven and bittersweet (the latter is especially affecting with its sadly beautiful melody, reflective lyrics and the ragged desperation of Ivan's lead vocal). Elsewhere, the bouncy "Stray Dog" offers up three minutes of perfect power pop, "Midnight Monsters" combines a mysterious vibe with a '60s-styled guitar strum, and "Night Rider" crunches along with hard rock riffs.

The fact that Ivan and Paul share lead vocal duties also helps the material stand out. Paul brings a confident, more conventional rock voice while Ivan provides a quirkier take with some unique phrasing. This injects extra shots of personality and originality into the songs, and all of it adds up to an album that sounds both accessible and a bit oddball at the same time--there's plenty of pop hooks to grab onto, but things never get run-of-the-mill.

The Waiting Place was named after a line in Dr. Suess’s, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!," and it's somewhere that the duo describe as "the worst place you can possibly end up in life. It's the place of no hopes, no dreams and no ambitions.” But for every bit of weariness on the album, there's just as much hopefulness. "The determined people find a way to break free...nothing great will ever be accomplished while in the waiting place," they say. Based on the ambitious sound of their debut, I doubt Pinto & the Bean will be spending much time there.

The album is available digitally now on Bandcamp, or you can get a hard copy via CDBaby. You can also check out Pinto & the Bean live at Streetside (3201 W. Armitage) on Saturday, November 19th. - Windy City Rock

"24 Sept 11 - Part 1"

24 Sept 11 - Part1

"...I hooked on Pinto & The Bean ...Robot Wars is my favorite song..."
Freddie Wilson, Anthony and Tim

Hey, blogspot readers, it's "3 in 1" night for SouthSide's with some delicious Sangria on the side! That's right, she's attempting to cover three shows at three different locations around town in one night (again). Thank goodness, CTA's running (somewhat) on time. First, she's at a private house party to celebrate with friends, Pinto & The Bean on their record release - The Waiting Place. Then, it's off to Double Door to jam with new friends, The Buddies at their record release show. Lastly, it's off to Elbo Room to party the night away with touring friends, Star Persons under the disco lights. Whew ...what a fun adventure planned.

Witin the heart of the Ravenswood neighborhood, SouthSide enjoyed a Saturday evening sampling yummy spaghetti (homemade sauce was divine rivaling SouthSide's own secret recipe) and Sangria (or two - not telling). It was more than a celebration of Pinto & The Bean's album release, blogspot readers. This was rather a fun gathering (as well as mingling) of family, friends, and fans under the blue tarp roof in the backyard. Pinto and their house hosts truly know how to make their guests feel so welcome ...and throw a rockin' party. The highlight of the evening was Ivan's display of his cooking abilities and the homemade Sangria in which this reviewer gave two thumbs WAY up. Plus she highly suggests (especially local bands) checking out the husband-wife team of Good Evening Chicago ( As videographers, they, like SouthSide, rock the local scene documenting what's hot, new and more for their YouTube channel. Yet instead of one camera angle, they film with three thus giving bands that rock star video presentation. Also, SouthSide says you should meet and say "hi" to her new road buddies ...a fun trio of gents - Freddie, Anthony and Tim. They kept her feeling so absolutely fabulous and in stitches from laughing so hard ...and of course, they are HUGE Pinto & The Bean fans. Their favorite song - Robot Wars (which you can find on Pinto & The Bean's YouTube page).

Besides the guests of honor rockin' their specially built stage, other musical guests included Bad Bad Meow ( and Hemmingbirds ( - both good friends of Pinto & The Bean. SouthSide highly suggest making your acquaintance with them at their next regularly scheduled local shows. Bad Bad Meow had some truly sharp claws when it came to their opening set, blogspot readers, as an acoustic duo. Alen (on guitar) and Sarah rocked the backyard with an upbeat, foot-tappin' sound yet full of fierce frustration and anger (at times). It was certainly amazing what a couple of PBRs could do to one's drumming throughout the set - not a bad thing ...but it did add a lot of that hidden emotional vibe into Meow's music. SouthSide recommends rockin' to their Touch You Where You Touch Em (fiery yet raw acoustic/alternative sound ...lots of intensity), La La La (more intense music and vocals that's coupled with a crescendo rise ...and surprises) and the Rape song (SouthSide's favorite song by Meow). Then Hemmingbirds featuring Yoo and Timothy acoustically took the energy down a bit but still retained that intense energy which warmed up the audience from Bad Bad Meow's set. SouthSide enjoyed the vivid imagery woven throughout their songs like Mellow Gold Haze and Treetops(this particular song given the reviewer the sense she was flying amongst the trees of the forest). The Hemmingbirds' new song was the highlight of the acoustic set that demonstrated how lyrically emotional Yoo's vocals could get under the right guitar intensity and rhythms. Then finally what everyone was waiting for - Pinto & The Bean ( rockin' out their record release show! Despite some minor technical difficulties, the duo debut the live version of The Waiting Place album in front of their invited guests that included a spectacular surprise - a lit up drum kit during Let's Make Noise. And boy, did they ever make some noise, blogspot readers. SoutSide (before having to dash away to Double Door) stayed long enough to her favorite song, Robot Wars. She also highly suggests listening to Rebuilding Everything, Miss America and Wake Up - which rocked the stage under a Morrissey-like pop alternative sound.

Coming soon - part 2: Double Door and Elbo Room

Until next time, support your local scene,
SouthSide - SouthSide On The Town

"Chi-Tunes: Local Bands to Know"

Chicago rockers Pinto and the Bean answered our Chi-Tunes questionnaire. Do the same and your band could appear in RedEye and Metromix! - RedEye

"Watch: Pinto and the Bean reveal the robots within"

It’s always a nice break to find a band that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Chicago indie rockers Pinto and the Bean decided to have some fun in its new video for “Robot Wars,” where members Paul Taneja and Ivan Sosa wrap themselves in what looks like metallic windshield shades. The song, which will appear on the duo’s forthcoming debut album, is a full-bodied acoustic pop tune with a fiercely catchy chorus that dramatically rises from simple jangly strums to full-on rock explosion. You’d never believe it was only two guys in robot face paint. No word on whether the band drew inspiration for the video from Flight of the Conchord’s attempt at humanoid robots. - Loud Loop Press

"Video Premiere: Pinto and the Bean"

They are funny, cute, hard-working, talented and best of all have some great harmonization. Bands, learn from this. Don't wait too long to release a video. Just do it. We want to see new images to your songs! It doesn't matter if it's just photos as a slide show to an old song. We'd rather see that over forgetting who you are. Next! - Chicago: Music & More

"A Few Spooky Tunes"

Here’s a song from a Chicago independent rock band Pinto and the Bean. This video was shot entirely using an iPhone4. You would’ve never guessed had I never told you. Nevertheless, it’s a pretty spooky video and song. check it out! - All Phun and Games

"28 October - 10 - Video"

Hey, blogspot readers, in the spirit of Halloween, SouthSide asks you to check out this awesomely cool YouTube video by her friend Pinto and the Bean - Midnight Monsters.

Check it out here:

Want to know something - it was shot using a iPhone on a dollar store budget! How creative is that, blogspot readers?

Until next time, support your local scene,
- Southside on the Town

"A Few Chicago Music News Bites"

Chicago indie duo Pinto and the Bean have gotten into the Halloween spirit by creating a ghostly video (floating heads!) for their tune “Midnight Monsters.” - Windy City Rock

"Pinto and the Beans' Midnight Monsters"

It's incredible what you can do with an iPhone 4. Pinto and The Bean are a duo that like to record in their living room and make videos in their Kitchen. - The Deli Magazine

"Halloween Comes But Once a Year"

"This video for the song ‘Midnight Monsters’ by the band Pinto and the Bean was filmed entirely on the iPhone 4 in band member Paul’s kitchen- and it came out shockingly well."
- The Music Slut

"Pinto and the Bean at the Mutiny"

"sit back, relax, and watch a kind of creepy video for Pinto and the Bean’s very 80's broken heart movie montage song “Midnight Monsters”." - Loud Loop Press


The Waiting Place (September 2011)



Pinto and the Bean is a little electro-pop band in Chicago in which an acoustic guitar sometimes sounds like a music monster, and a drum set is an alien hybrid of electronic & organic sounds. The two members bounce vocals off each other like boobs in a strip club, all while a spaced out LED light system attached to their instruments adds a dramatic element to the show unlike anything you’ve seen before. People have raved about the raw energy of their live shows and have been dumbfounded by the little band’s huge sound. Influenced by artists such as The Smiths, Nada Surf, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and too many more to name, Paul Taneja (guitar/keys/vocals) and Ivan Sosa (drums/keys/vocals) formed the songwriting team Pinto and the Bean in 2010.

They've been featured in several interviews and podcasts - most recently, Live From Studio 10 on Chicago Public Radio's - 89.5 FM; the show has also featured national acts such Smoking Popes, Company of Thieves, Gold Motel, Empires, White Mystery, Scattered Trees, and many others. P&B have been featured twice as musical guests on The Paper Machete, which was named the best live comedy variety show of 2011 by the Chicago Reader. The band has performed at Chicago’s Ribfest which brings out 50,000 people each year. Pinto and the Bean’s quirky music videos have been acknowledged in several music publications and have been widely shared among social networks such as facebook and twitter.

RECENT NEWS: The band has teamed up with BlueLine Booking which will assist in reaching fans beyond the boundaries of Chicago; P&B has also joined forces with POC Media, a firm which will be working to get the band's music placed on several sports networks, including FOX Sports, NFL Network, ESPN, NBC Sports, NASCAR Productions, and many more.

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THESE TWO LADS: In his previous adventures, prior to Pinto and the Bean, Ivan’s songs reached the top of the radio charts; he has toured extensively and shared the stage with bands such as Peter Bjorn & John, Cake, Blue October, and Ra Ra Riot. Paul’s songs have been featured on several television shows such as L.A. Ink, The Real World, Road Rules, and Cribs; in December of 2010, his song City Lights broke the iTunes top 100 charts in Norway due to its placement on the final season of Smallville; it became one of the most sought after songs to ever be featured on the show.


Loyola Radio 88.7
Chicago Public Radio Vocalo 89.5
Fearless Radio
UIC Radio
The Bull Pit
Indie Music Sampler
La Stream
How B Grade Movies Saved My Life


Empty Bottle (Chicago, IL)
Double Door (Chicago, IL)
Gallery Cabaret (Chicago, IL)
Quennect 4 (Chicago, IL)
Cobra Lounge (Chicago, IL)
Weeds (Chicago, IL)
Quenchers (Chicago, IL)
Abbey Pub (Chicago, IL)
Cole’s (Chicago, IL)
Beat Kitchen (Chicago, IL)
Streetside (Chicago, IL)
The Horseshoe (Chicago, IL)
Mexican American Social Club (Chicago, IL)
Lincoln Tap Room (Chicago, IL)
The Mutiny (Chicago, IL)
Otto’s (DeKalb, IL)
City Tavern (Kankakee, IL)
The Spot (Bourbonnais, IL)
Acorn Theater (Three Oaks, MI)
Beloit College (Beloit, WI)
House Parties (various cities)


The Red Eye
Loud Loop Press
Windy City Rock
The Deli Magazine
Badass Bands Blog
Chicago: Music & More
All Phun and Games
The Music Slut
Southside on the Town
A Good One
CWs Place