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Chicago, IL | Established. Jan 01, 2015 | SELF

Chicago, IL | SELF
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Rock Alternative




"Breaking Rad: Chicago’s Rakunk Channel Rock Titans On New EP"

Chicago Indie-Rockers Rakunk have only existed since the early portion of 2014, and initially garnered a multitude of attention – and comparisons to Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, and My Bloody Vlaentine – through a series of rough demos registered to SoundCloud…making the outfit’s debut studio collection much anticipated.
Rakunk recently recorded that inaugural release, tapping a production crew that included engineer Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case) before submitting to Steve Fallone (The Strokes, TV on the Radio) for mastering, and dropped it in January, leading with a raucous Pixies-inspired single titled “Banged Up”.
Stream the explosive track below and stay tuned for more on Rakunk. - Speak Into My Good Eye


This Chicago based band have wasted no time messing about in getting themselves together and ready to explode; having only formed in the early period of last year, they’ve just released their exceptionally self-assured, self-titled EP. Not just an EP that exudes confidence beyond that of most bands this new in the game, but one that carries considerable coherence that belies the eclectic influences clearly audible in the band’s sound.

Rakunk are proud to wear their eclectic tastes on their sleeves and it’s clear to hear in their music, shot through as it is with ideas that call to mind any number of genres from synthpop to punk to prog to indie to alt. rock to pop, and more, simultaneously and alternatively. However, this three piece craft their songs in such a way that all these disparate elements work together harmoniously, resulting in easily-digestible, instant anthems. - Cultured Vultures

"Fred Pessaro - Editor in Chief of Noisey/Vice"

"there is some interesting potential here; no one is really doing a 90s britpop revival of this sort. If a few things are tightened up you might have something very very interesting on your hands. Intersted in seeing what comes next." -

"Album Review | Rakunk | Rakunk EP"

Yeah, I know we’ve given you lists and lists of top tips for the new year already, but these guys are so good they deserve their own article. Meet Rakunk, a not quite rock band who claim to be more upfront and aggressive than your average, middle of the road indie group. They’ve had a pretty easy time booking shows, which is unsurprising as they’re incredibly talented. They’ve faced a little friction though, frontman Jonathan McIntire tells me, as they’ve been “sort of neglected” by the more “eclectic” venues. The band thinks this is because they “don’t fit into a particular scene, and probably never will”, and aren’t “defined” easily. This may be true, as Jonathan (guitar, vocals), Tames (McTigue, guitar), Taylor (Briggs, bass), and Thomas (Benko, drums) have declared their intention to make “huge, interesting rock songs with huge hooks”, and break out of the proverbial background.

Jonathan’s written around 2-3 albums worth of songs in the last 2 years, and Rakunk’s self-titled EP is the first we’ll hear of it. The EP was engineered by Mike Hagler (Wilco’s Summerteeth), and mastered by Steve Fallone (Die Antwoord, TV on the Radio, etc.), and is intended to be released on January 27th. I had the privilege thanks to an instagram-based conversation, of receiving the 4 track EP pre-release. Continue reading to see what I thought of it.

Rakunk guitar
Rakunk drums

The EP starts strong with “Writing With a Knife”, a drum-heavy, almost electronic track. Jonathan’s Oklahoma accent peeks through the fairly simplistic but hard-hitting lyrics, with just enough repetition to become easily memorable. Towards the end of the song, the vocals give way to demonstrate the talent of the band’s guitarists with a solo that left my heart pounding, before closing up with the line the title was taken from. One song in and Rakunk have already implanted themselves in my brain, beginning to secure their position as one of the most talented new bands.

Track two, “Wicked Bible”, also kicks off with a sudden drum-beat but this time it’s without the electronic vibe. Classic guitar riffs precede the vocals, generating an almost punk rock vibe through the combination of tradition and grit. Midway through another instrumental interlude occurs, again demonstrating the prowess of the two guitarists. The instrumental ability of every single member of the band is incredible, and “Wicked Bible” is like a throwback to real, harsh rock, but it still manages to retain a more modern flair.

“About to See the Light” begins with nostalgic vocals, instruments creeping in under the constant strength of Jonathan’s voice. Almost ballad like, the track seems at once hopeful and lost before suddenly undergoing a genre switch with the arrival of crashing guitar riffs. Rakunk know how to combine electronic vibes with rock and a little pop, masterfully switching and mixing genres all in under 4 minutes.

The last song of the EP, “Banged Up”, reverts to a drum-based opening, complemented by harsh riffs and half-sung, half-shouted vocals with a slight country bent. Playful, a little dangerous, and ridiculously talented, the quartet pummel yet another mix of styles into a cheery, grimy, sun-filled track. As the song calms a little, fading into a somehow personal ending, suddenly the EP’s over and I’m left feeling a bit cheated. How can you make such excellent music and release only 4 tracks? How? It’s just not fair!

Regardless of the brevity of the EP, I’m filled with a huge amount of hope for Rakunk. The mix of genres they’ve created is no mean feat, and I expect that the other 2 years worth of songwriting we have left to hear will produce songs that are just as spectacular. I see great, great things on the horizon for Rakunk, I just hope they release a full album soon so I have a little more to write about. - http://www.musicblogged.com/


Just goes to show how much the fronts flail around Chicago as Rakunk is a back to back review of bands from The Windy City. Not that I am complaining and hopefully you won’t be either. The quartet offer a completely different vortex of sounds as they deliver a knife slicing across the room that locks sharply to the plaster.

A tempestuous reflective of swarming guitars that remind of red-ants on the move usher the compositions around the ears, whilst percussion stands guard to pick up stray embers as the bass spearheads the sounds. A vocal triumphantly strides across the torn landscape as Rakunk sheers the ears.

The confident delivery allows the listener to become transfixed by the shifting soundscape of discovery that the quartet offer with tracks that blend progressive rock with fidget to provide the ears with music that transcends geo-political boundaries. A tumultuous beginning saw Rakunk with a line-up change in the middle of last year, that they have been able to absorb with maturity of bands far older.

Having had the opportunity to hear the début eponymously named four track EP set for release on the 27th – I would certainly recommend you grab hold of it when it surfaces.

I look forward to writing more about Rakunk over the coming years as, if they are able to maintain momentum – they are a quartet to get to know now before you and I baulk at the ticket prices. - Emerging Indie Bands

"EP Review: Rakunk (Self-Titled)"

If American garage rock quartet Rakunk have somewhat escaped your notice these past few months, you’ll certainly be clued in after listening to their debut self-titled EP. Hailing from Chicago, Illinois, the band has churned out an eclectic range of tunes that ooze a confidence well beyond their years.

First track to assault the senses is ‘Writing with a Knife’. The drum heavy, electronic based anthem is a sturdy opener filled with raucous instrumentation, including an arresting guitar solo showcasing their guitarists’ prowess. Frontman Jonathan McIntire’s simple but hard-hitting lyrics are brought to life by grunge infused vocals that leave no doubt as to the genre you’re listening to.

Following in its wake is ‘Wicked Bible’, giving off a dangerous yet utterly satisfying modern twist to traditional rock ‘n’ roll. Its classic guitar riffs and heavyweight percussion bring up angsty teenage feels augmented by lyrics that speak of death, praying to a “wicked god” and finding “our beat again”. Unlike its predecessor, ‘Banged Up’ is a cheery sun-filled tune with the potential to find itself on your current summer playlist. The track is all positive vibes drawing you in with its catchy beats, despite its harsh riffs and half-shouted vocals. It’s a perfect example of how the band dances on that fine line between danger and playfulness.

Giving in to another change of pace is final track ‘About to See the Light’, an almost ballad-like arrangement with a dependably strummed guitar and electronic undertones. There’s a nostalgic tinge present in McIntire’s vocals that is both promising and lost, accompanied by an ever-building composition of noise. Crashing guitar riffs give us a swift reminder that this is still garage rock, and Rakunk manage to effortlessly navigate through the genre switch.

In its entirety, the record is an impressive collection of tracks easily digested by the listener, and gives hope for Rakunk’s future sound. With a few more years of songwriting under their belts, the boys could be a force to be reckoned with. Here’s hoping they serve up a full-length album as quickly as they released this EP. - The Indiependent

"Bob Lugowe 'Wicked Bible' Take"

I really enjoyed this eclectic track and would predict that the band gets signed within the very near future. I was immediately hit by the fantastic production and the seamless blend of styles kept my interest throughout the track. The vocals were catchy and had elements of pop but still possessed a certain edge. The drums were thunderous and the guitars offered some surprises, especially the fast melodic leads towards the end. From a promo side of things, I would suggest hiring a reputable PR company that has worked with artists within your same wheelhouse. Having the immediate name recognition like someone gets from seeing the people associated with the engineering and mastering of this EP makes it all the more likely for them to hit play. If it gets a solid response, this can lead to a label picking up the next album or giving the EP an official release. If you have the means, press a limited amount on vinyl and work hard to sell it out in order to develop even more of a buzz. One other note is that you should update your press photos on all of your sites. I was a bit confused by seeing two members in most of the pics but some new pics on Facebook and four members listed on your sites. I will definitely be checking out the whole EP after hearing this. Keep up the great work! -

"Rakunk, Chicago's Wall of Sound"

Formed early last year by key members Jonathan McIntire (Vocals/Guitar) and Tames McTigue (Guitar). Later joined by Thomas Benko (Drums) and Taylor Briggs (Bass). Their brand new 4-track debut EP is about big rock. Opener ‘Writing With A Knife‘ (definitely not about a picnic by the river) is dominated by burning guitars, hammering drums and highly intense vocals. A wall of sound. An avalanche of riffs and hooks. Jumbo ! But it’s not only noise. The infectiously bouncing melody line and the anthemic chorus are proof of skilled songwriting. This high quality level is maintained throughout the whole EP (Bandcamp link beneath). Towering debut ! - See more at: http://www.50thirdand3rd.com/rakunk-chicagos-wall-sound/#sthash.FJrygXmj.dpuf - 50Thirdand3rd

"Rakunk Live On RadioOne Chicago 88.7"

Audio - WLUW Radio One

"Local Anesthetic - Rakunk"

http://wxrt.cbslocal.com/2015/02/03/local-anesthetic-playlist-for-sunday-feb-1-2015-playlist-free-download/ - Local Anesthetic

"Rakunk – Kalalau"

This song is epic! Post-Rock at its finest. Rakunk articulately constructs an upbeat guitar riff that will win over anyone with ears and a heart. Even though this song has no bass and no drum section, it is still very rhythmic given its post rock nature. Given the nature of modern music, I think it’s important to step back and appreciate the treble. - Casablanca Sunset


Looking for a band to play your summer festival? Rakunk has that college rock sound that you know and love from your youth (ok the late 90's and early 2000's, but still).

When you hear it...you'll know what I mean.

These guys rock. Fun stuff. - A Little Bit of Sol

"Rakunk, “Banged Up”"

“Banged Up” from Chicago alt-rock band Rakunk starts off like with a punk-ish feel before blasting into a rock refrain and then transitioning into a melodic rocker. It’s like three songs in one. The single is from their debut EP, which you can hear on their Soundcloud page. The track is on our Weekend Showcase for February 13, a playlist showcasing some great tracks of the not-so-distant-past. - The Revue

"Recommended Chicago Reader Event"

http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/rakunk-vigil-and-thieves-lever/Event?oid=22351566 - Chicago Reader

"Rakunk – Turn the Power On – Audio"

Electronics feature far more heavily in more recent material which is still a contagion of scurrying dropped string bass and flustered guitar with skins now being replaced by drum pads and loops which gives the output the feeling of Dijon Mustard to the tongue – at once enticingly familiar whilst simultaneously always surprising for its tartness.

The most recent track Turn the Power On is a fusillade betwixt electrodynamics resulting in a soldering of soft links that melts into the mind. - emergingindiebands.com


Rakunk share pounding new electro rock single, 'Trillionaire'.
Formed in Chicago early last year, Rakunk make some amazing sounds. Almost like they've been a band for years. The track 'Trillionaire' has the feel of an absolute summer banger, this will make it into my summer driving playlist for sure!

Great duelling guitar sounds towards the end add a complexity often overlooked by other bands. They have a very Australian feel with me, something not too out of place on a Triple J. On a side note, I'm worried about "what's coming up through the floor..." - When The Horn Blows

"Who said rock was dead?"

For those of you who steer towards the edgier, more ‘raw’ forms of music, the single Trillionaire by Rakunk is bound to make you rejoice with glee. Indeed, if you believed that rock was lost in the golden age of the 60s, think again.

Using strong vocals against a backdrop of prominent bass and guitar riffs, the track reflects the golden age of rock and roll. However, it’s not too heavy a nostalgia trip. Electronic sounds firmly place Rabunk in the 21st century, while the use of extravagant guitar solos is able to elevate the single technically, producing an anthemic beat and hook that is worthy of nothing less than moshing, or at the very least, head banging. A little action never hurt everyone, especially when it comes to a rock revival – and that’s exactly what we have here. - Fresh Beats 365


Rakunk EP



Nearing the end of 2014, a song demo titled “Writing With A Knife” appeared on Rakunk’sSoundCloud page, a 4-piece alternative rock band from Chicago. The song was described by Izzi Scheyd, from Music Blogged, as a “drum-heavy, almost electronic track…with a guitar solo that left [her] heart pounding.” Once the self-titled album released in 2015, Rakunk found themselves with much deserved attention from new listeners, music blogs, concert venues and major recordlabels. They are currently working on their second EP, planning to release it in the later part of this year. Two singles ‘Trillionaire’ and ‘Turn the Power On’ have already been released and had significant airplay and received media attention from music blogs.

Band Members