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"indieville review"

Where has Sally been all this time?  Seriously.  This CD is a very refreshing taste of modern indie rock, combining a working knowledge of the genre's beginnings with its own inventive style.  The band defines their style as "shoegazer-punk," but more than anything this record is rock, borrowing from sources like Catherine Wheel, Atombombpocketknife, and Nirvana.  There is a bleak overall feel to the songs, but a simple accessibility keeps them from feeling dead or dull.

Some of the better songs on this album are the quiet, toned-down ones - "Sedate Me" and "Racquetball" are notably strong compositions, both sharing a somehow maudlin atmosphere.  On the more energetic rock front, one can't afford to skip "Very Biased Noses" or "Silver, Or Grey", two extremely infectious (albeit dark) songs.  They both share a certain quality with Catherine Wheel's bleaker material.  The processed vocals sound very ABPK-esque, which really works here - though it can be an overused effect.

Bleak, angst-ridden indie rock is particularly accessible to the masses - it has a bemoaning nature that will appeal to teenagers and a hip sound that will impress hipsters as well.  While this may have been more at home in the mid-90s, its dark message (and irresistible catchiness) should also ring true in this day and age. -

"delusions of adequacy review"

It is difficult to separate myth from fact as Sally's bio reads not unlike a dramatic "Behind the Music" segment, which is intriguing, considering the band has just released its first full-length. The Chicago trio's genesis is veiled in a sort of comic fiction. After having a gun to his temple, frontman Charlie Deets intoxicatedly stumbled onto a destined path of making music when coming off of a three-year opiate high. But this decision was long overdue: music had been in Deets' blood since his birth, and just perhaps since his conception. The lineage is like this: Mama Deets, in her heyday, is rumored to have dated rock legends such as Mick Jagger and Paul Simon, so it was only natural that her son would develop a relationship with rock as well. Or so the story goes...

Meanwhile, fellow rockette Melissa Nies put down a bottle of bourbon in exchange for a bass guitar. The incredibly versatile and talented Jeff Shafar, the third member of Sally, was given to Deets as a sort of parting gift from an ex-roommate. And the rest is history still in the making.

The single from the self-titled release, "Watermelon," is an entirely engaging track. These cats solicit eardrums from the get go with an aggressive guitar hook that seamlessly introduces the tune's motivating drum riff. The number also showcases Deets' husky punk tone with an edgy blues attitude. With the perfect balance between repetition for continuity's sake and development to curb wandering minds, Deets crafts an amazingly danceable tune to croon along to.

"Sedate Me," the veritable lifestory of Charlie Deets, begins in the third person, as friends and family discuss Charlie's decomposing mental state. Along the way, Deets interjects his own muted thoughts to deliver the full picture. Melissa Neis provides subtle back up vocals to cadence this minimalist analogue biography.

The closing track, "Run from the Cops," displays the more pensive side of the Chi-town outfit. Skillfully eked out from a simple minor melody, this slow motion sprint set to music perfectly envelops a mental state of a tragically failed love. Deets plaintively intones, "I'm sorry to notice how lovely you are...this is more than I thought I could feel with you, but my time was right." And with that, this album that began with supercharged energy slowly fades from its final lonely minor chord.

After having listened through Sally's debut full-length, I can only say that I am infinitely thankful that the gun was not loaded. -

"Sally's All Grown Up"

If My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth started a band that Billy Corgan produced, you would get Sally. The Chicago-based band started playing together in 2002 and earlier this year released one of the most ambitious albums to come out of the Chicago rock scene.

Sally consists of singer/guitarist Charlie Deeds, guitarist Mark Berlin, bassist Melissa Neis and new drummer Hunter Morris. Six years ago Charlie and Melissa met and began playing in the pop band borderlinejet. After some moderate success down in Bloomington, Illinois, the band broke up after their self-titled debut EP failed to do much. Soon after, Charlie left for Los Angeles.

After working with groups like Bone Thugs and Harmony and being held at gunpoint to play guitar, Charlie had enough as a recording engineer in L.A. and returned back to Chicago. In 2002, Charlie and Melissa began to play again, this time as a two-piece. Going about shows the way most bands begin, at local coffeehouses, the two wrote songs and developed a fan base.

A few months later, they brought in a drummer and began to record their first EP and LP at Gravity Studios (recording home of Smashing Pumpkins, The Sounds and many more). There they met Mark Berlin and since then, the band has played consistently in and around Chicago.

With a sound that is heavily influenced by shoe gazer punk but one that could only hail from the Windy City, Sally has the potential to be your new favorite band.

“We were born of airs and dews of greater times,” said Charlie.
With “Clarke’s” the band starts out with a slow march and slowly progresses into a flurry of guitar distortion, sing/scream/hum vocals, thick bass and a drumbeat that is simple yet effective. “Candy” takes an alternate route and features only keyboard and vocals.
If you hear a Sally song in the background, you’ll probably think you just heard a Joy Division song followed by something from the Smiths. Sally’s songs are layered and complicated. It’s up to you how much you take away from the band.

You can visit Sally at You can hear Sally on every Sunday through Thursday night from 6 to 7 p.m. -

"Sally Spotlight"

Sally is a band that both The DePaulia and Radio DePaul have been championing for quite some time. Since the release of their self-titled debut, we’ve been waiting for the next new sounds from the band. This May, they’re releasing their new e.p., “the attrition e.p.” The DePaulia recently sat down with singer/guitarist Charlie Deets and guitarist Mark Berlin.

DePaulia: Describe the new EP. Mark: It’s fiery. Charlie: It’s a fiery pit of evil. I spend a lot of time studying pandas in the months prior to writing the songs and I found relationships between the pandas … wait, this is coming across all wrong.

DePaulia: What are the songs about?
Mark: Orange.
Charlie: Mark’s beard. He keeps shaving it.
Mark: Purple.
Charlie: Everything I do is really a reflection.

DePaulia: Reflection or a reflection?
Charlie: A reflection!

DePaulia: What’s wrong with you?
Charlie: I haven’t drank alcohol in the past eight months and I’m going to start again. We definitely do not do cocaine. But we think it rules.

Hey there this is Charlie, I took over the keyboard from Brandon. I am gonna write some of the article now. Brandon and mark are arguing about what you can print in the paper. Brandon is saying we can’t advocate drug use. I agree, we can’t! I’m gonna give the article back him now.

DePaulia: When are you releasing the EP?
Charlie: We’re not going to be releasing it to anyone except reviewers.

Charlie again. Mark is concerned we are fabricating this article. I feel that is false. We are clearly just blurring the lines. Well that sounds pretentious doesn’t it?
Brandon has now left the room. He became upset with us and had to go smoke. Although, we are not advocating smoking at all. Especially “Mr. Careful.”
I wish it was always this easy to hijack and interview. Let me tell you the truth. We haven’t even released the E.P. yet, so I haven’t a clue why we are even being interviewed.
P.S. our name is ‘sally’ not ‘Sally.’ Why am I so full of attitude? Cause I am. And Sally is a name, and sally is band …. get it straight.
- The Depaulia

"absolute punk review"

It's a rare occasion when you find a band that can hold its own in the music scene by sounding completely unique and original. Perhaps I am not well versed enough in the musical world to pull comparisons, but Sally are able to combine pop, alternative, acoustics, and a hint of raw rock in such a way that I have yet to see duplicated.

The album is without a doubt an interesting disc. Full of contemplative lyrics, electronic pops and beats, mixed with other sounds. The bratty vocals strain to every curve of every beat to fill out the unique music. It reminds me a little of the latest Phantom Planet album, with a hint of some old 70s music and the grunge sound of the punk pioneers. For those looking for something that doesn't fit any stereotypes, or formulas - you will probably find this album to be genius, and should check this band out.

"Picardy Third review"

Taking equal turns at beauty and brutality, sally wrap all their enigmas in gloriously jagged indie rock. The dynamics shift between hazy melody and chaotic bombast on “You Want The Guac” and the slow-burning grooves of later Fugazi on “Nothing Turns Me On.” This makes The Picardy Third E.P. (Paribus) a concise, four-song document of brilliantly twisted rock noise. - Illinois Entertainer

"March 2006 @ Schubas"

The best local indie-rock band most people have never heard of, sally plays propulsive, unsettling songs constructed around thick-sounding guitars and a tight rhythm section. The vaguely psychedelic dynamics are reminiscent of ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, though Charlie Deets' insightful, sarcastic lyrics make sally a bit more engaging. The group has an EP and a full-length under its belt, and it will release a new disc, The Picardy Third EP, at this show. - The Onion

"Newcity Chicago"

With a couple of EPs recently released, local four-piece Sally seems ready to put on the indie-rock crown, as it's one of the better, straightforward rock groups in the city. "The Picardy Third EP," the band¹s four-song collection on Paribus Records, boasts tank-heavy guitars and bass, along with Charlie Deets' distorted vocals. It's heavier than you¹d expect, and live, the volume raises eyebrows as the force of the band endlessly surprises. Positively infectious, Sally fuses space-rock elements with witty lyricism, like on the closer, "The Inaccurate Conception of Our Child," which is also, melodically, the best song on the record. - Tom Lynch

"Chicago's Sally Turns Anxiety Into Art"

Chicago's Sally turns anxiety into art
Posted Thursday, June 14, 2007

Raw nerves ignite the most compelling rock music. In the most familiar case, Pink Floyd would never have become what it did without Syd Barrett. It usually takes one person to instigate a mood, a chemistry to gel, and, from there, creativity flows and the music takes shape.

So it is with Sally, a relatively recent addition to Chicago's rock scene. This week the four-member band is celebrating the release of "Long Live the New Flesh" (Paribus), a debut album they'll perform Thursday at the Empty Bottle. It is the result of a band that took its sweet time to commit to recording. The music is not as skittish - the songs translate their complex emotions through bold guitar moves, unpredictable time shifts and volume that always aims for the red side of the dial.

Just like the ingredients that went into forming Sally - a history that includes a battle with tranquilizers, a relationship that hit its stride long after it dissolved, a flirtation with Los Angeles, a frustrating rotation of drummers and a shared sense of anxiety - the album never smoothes out its rough edges but instead crests through them.

Lead singer and guitarist Charlie Deets, 28, admits that despite thinking of himself as the band's primary songwriter in the beginning, the band eventually took over that role combined. Now, song ideas that start "soft and calm" in his demo stage, scale epic heights after the band joins in the process.

"Everyone else in the band is pretty anxious, too. When we get together, everyone gets excited so the songs become excited," he said. "Our music is from the city. It is changing constantly and spastic. It feels like where we live."

"Long Live the New Flesh" is a refreshing alternative to the garage rock, roots music and chamber pop that dominates current Chicago music. Harkening back to the shoegazer era of the late 1980s and early 1990s when bands like the Verve, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Dinosaur Jr. demonstrated how volume, distortion and walls of guitars create a hypnotic effect on the listener, Sally's music is just as visceral, if not unsettling. The songs have a strong emotional drive, explaining the mood-enhancing corners they take, including grinding guitar breakouts, squalls of noise and playful guitar interplay between Deets and fellow guitarist Mark Berlin. Not since the Smashing Pumpkins debut "Gish" has a Chicago band had the imagination to think on such large-scale terms, taking a child's sense of wonder and building it to psychedelic heights.

Sally originated at Illinois Wesleyan University where Deets, who grew up in LaGrange, met Missy Neis, an aspiring visual artist from Crystal Lake. They dated, but after a year, Deets quit school and moved to Los Angeles where he enrolled in recording engineering classes and earning an internship at a recording studio frequented by a rotating door of wannabe rap moguls, including gangsta Grammy winner Krayzie Bone. After a series of bizarre experiences that included a police raid and the frequency of guns, Deets bee-lined back to Chicago feeling "pretty hopeless."

He returned having to face an addiction to Xanax, the tranquilizer a L.A. doctor had prescribed him for a childhood history of extreme anxiety. "He kept increasing it, and it wasn't helping. I was getting more and more out of it. I figured out there was something weird about the whole situation ... I was like, 'Oh my god, this guy is a pusher'," he said. Deets remembers at the time carrying 20 to 30 pills in his pocket over the course of a day, waiting 30 minutes before his next dose.

"It kind of took over his life where other things weren't that important," said Neis, 26. "I was happy he came back, but couldn't predict anything he did. One day he would be my boyfriend and the next day he hated me and didn't want to talk with me. I didn't know what was going on with him."

They stopped talking. It took almost three years and behavioral therapy for Deets to escape the habit and function normally. He was writing songs in the meantime, imagining having a band to back him up. After agreeing to learn bass, Neis stepped in.

"I've never met anybody like Charlie in my life. He can be really intense sometimes, but it's a beautiful thing and he forces you to be honest with yourself in a way maybe you're not comfortable with," she said. "As friends and as bandmates, we definitely communicate without conflict."

After inviting Berlin to join and undergoing a series of drummers (a position now occupied by Nick Smalkowski), Sally (the name chosen because, as a verb, it means a cunning attack) recorded two EPs before heading into Steve Albini's Electrical Audio studio to record the new album. Up to that point, it took a busy touring schedule for the band to realize their focal point was volume. "In general bands are too afraid to make bold music. Our thing has always been we like guitars, we like them really loud in the mix," said Deets. "It comes from me and Missy liking the Verve's early stuff a lot."

Under headphones, "Long Live the New Flesh" surfaces as one long stretch of music, rather than individual songs, a feat most bands have forgotten about in the iPod era. Yet the same album is receiving a non-traditional release: Under Paribus, Deets' label that includes eight other bands, it can be purchased either digitally or through mail order.

If Sally's music sounds like anything specific, it's the ebb and flow between panic attacks, the revolving process of fear, danger and eventually release that accompanies the entire experience. Deets plans to return to his medical history next year when he pursues an MFA in art photography at UIC through projects that interweave text and images.

"It's something I'm always going to have all my life. Before a show I feel like I'm going to get sick and die," he said before laughing: "At the same time, I feel that way most of the day."

Sally with LMNOP

Where: Empty Bottle,

1035 N. Western Ave., Chicago

When: 9:30 p.m.Thursday

Tickets: $7. (773) 276-3600 - Daily Herald

"When Harry Met…"

Very rarely does a music release cross my path that leaves me speechless in its wake. Only a couple times a year. Looking back on the 2005 I can say that it’s now happened twice this year.

Chicago’s Sally first crossed my path the same way many bands at the time were making themselves known to me. They sent their CD to the radio show I was hosting. Unfortunately at the same time there was a minor war raging between myself and my co-host that lead to a 3 month format change, and as a result I never got to spend much time with Sally’s debut full length. After spending the past week with The Attrition E.P. I can promise you that it’ll be one of the first that I pop in once I get my music unpacked sometime this upcoming weekend.

I almost don’t want to say what I am going to say next, because I could imagine some of you being turned off by it, but there’s no denying the fact that singer Charlie Deets has an uncanny semblance to another, much more well known, Chicago song-writer, Billy Corgan. It’s quite obvious in the vocals (especially on the CD’s second track, “Teach Me”) and there to a lesser degree in the song composition. It’s the mix that solidifies it though. Vocals that remain passionate and airy, even while Charlie is screaming at the top of his lungs, mixed with layers of guitar that just plain rock in their reverb -laden beauty.

This is a self-released EP from the band, so I worry that it’ll slip under most of your radars. Don’t let it happen. Stop by the band’s site and pick up a copy. You won’t be disappointed. Then get yourself ready, because the band just got back from tour (where I completely fucked up and missed them in NYC) and are already working on another E.P. -


sally (LP, 2004)

the snow e.p. (EP, 2004)

the attrition e.p. (EP, 2005)

the picardy third e.p. (EP, 2006)

long live the new flesh (LP, 2007)



sally began in much the same manner they have lived throughout their 3 year existence - hectically.

In the spring of 2004 Charlie Deets had just kicked his long time addiction to prescription tranquilizers and was determined to start a band. He enlisted a group of musicians who had no experience, but obviously shared a passion attuned to his. Missy Neis, whom Charlie had recently broke up with, was recruited as well as childhood friend Jeff Schaffer. Neither had ever played their respective instruments, bass and drums, but their natural musical sense helped them quickly develop their own unique approach. After recording a schizophrenic demo, Charlie would eventually go on to replace Jeff with Hunter Morris, and enlist local recording engineer Mark Berlin to play guitar.

Over the next few years, sally made a pair of hastily produced EP's. The second one of the series, The Picardy Third EP, was recorded in a frenzy after Hunter informed the band he was moving to England. The result was sally's most concise recording to date. It earned them praise from press throughout Chicago and national radio airplay, as well as an invite to the CMJ Music Marathon.

After playing CMJ, the band holed itself up in their rehearsal space for four months, furiously writing and rehearsing material for their new full-length. Now finally with a permanent drummer, Nick Smalkowski, the band was able to refine their mix of song, psychedelia, and dissonance. They entered Chicago's Electrical Audio to record with Greg Norman to 2" analog tape, a rarity in the modern world of computer recording, but perfect for band more concerned with feel than perfection and ornamentation.

The record, titled Long Live The New Flesh, is playful but still intense, resolute but moody. It showcases Deets’ charming lyricism with a sense both literate and cryptic. Sometimes abrasive, and sometimes infectious, Long Live The New Flesh is a complex statement from band who revels in their contradictions.