The Kickback
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The Kickback

Chicago, Illinois, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Alternative Rock

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Sep
18
The Kickback @ Del Mar Fairgrounds

Del Mar, CA

Del Mar, CA

Sep
17
The Kickback @ Del Mar Fairgrounds

Del Mar, CA

Del Mar, CA

Sep
16
The Kickback @ Del Mar Fairgrounds

Del Mar, CA

Del Mar, CA

Music

Press


This brainy Chicago band makes old-school indie rock of the best kind. “White Lodge” is a witty, nervy, and melodic dagger that exudes dread without completely giving up on the possibility of transcendence. - Grantland


As our first preview of Sorry All Over the Place, the group’s shared a song called “White Lodge”. Opening with phased effected drums, the track slowly builds with subtle guitar lines. Yost coos quietly before the song shifts from mellow art-rock to mammoth indie rock epic with pummeling drums and massive distortion. It feels like a push and pull between two realities, with Yost caught in the middle, and should serve as a fascinating sonic challenge to listeners’ perceptions. - Consequence of Sound


The Kickback come from the same indie rock vein that birthed bands like COIN and Girls. They offer up simple songs that manage to kick long after you’ve stopped listening. With a lilting acoustic guitar that moves purposefully through the track and builds to a quick but lovely climax, “Leo (The Last Of The Great Bowling Mathematicians)” shows the many different facets of this Chicago group. - The Wild Honey Pie


With a fusion of classic and indie styles, The Kickback pulls off this particular sound that only few can do successfully... If this is The Kickback’s debut, one can’t even imagine what is in store to come after. Sorry All Over the Place is a milestone album of 2015 to me, jam-packed with soul, positivity and originality. - Music Underground


Some bands try really hard to be the one contemporary band featured in a major scene of a Wes Anderson film. Not a bad thing, The Kickback rise to the occasion.


So few bands are able to escape a Hollywood pitch sound e.g. 'it's Bloc Party on their first album meets Bombay Bicycle Club on their latest album meets the guy who invented bedroom 'lectronica Bachrodi.' And yes, Bachrodi exists and is actually super important and unrecognized. But this is about The Kickback.

The Kickback are probably the best operating band out of the Windy City right now. Billy Yost (vocals, guitar), Jonny Ifergan (guitar) and Eamonn Donnelly (bass) all moved to Chicago from South Dakota. Library rock is the best way to describe the band's music meaning it has decibels but with literary lyrics. Their debut Album, Sorry All Over The Place, is a David Foster Wallace Infinite Jest reference which may have you rolling your eyes but deep down you know your more jealous of that play than you are of the totally kind, feminist art director who spends all her time volunteering at the food pantry in her yoga pants.

The Kickback and Bombay Bicycle Club would be the concert Jesus would create if he came back today. And it would have free Allagash Curieux. - Ear Yummy


These brothers and South Dakota transplants (Billy and Danny Yost) found their musical soul mates on Craigslist after moving to Chicago. Now a solid quartet, The Kickback easily conjures up comparisons to Weezer with its sweater vests and self-deprecating humor — the guys will even play a stellar cover of “The Sweater Song.” But it also has plenty of its own material to speak of. Its latest single, “Please Hurt,” is infectious enough to have a completely unfamiliar crowd singing along at the top of its lungs, and singer Billy’s emotionally ridden pipes at the end of its show-closing tune “Violently Carsick” gives us serious goosebumps. We’re fans. Big ones. - Refinery 29


The Kickback are the most punk band in America.

Not smoke-stained leather jackets, liberty spikes and Jack punk, that kind of punk has been dead since the first time Billie Joe Armstrong bought green hair dye. Not even pop-punk or skramz or any other genre of cockatiel-haired 20-somethings in testicle-crushing jeans. The Kickback Consisting of the two Yost brothers and a pair of Craigslist pickups, The Kickback epitomize the cliché “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. The four are amicable (half being Midwesterners), low-alcohol boys to bring home to grandma, soft-spoken and gracious… who also tear the living bejeesus out of everything once the amps are warm and buzzing.

Originating in Vermillion, South Dakota in 2006, The Kickback are a vastly different band then they were in 2010. At a show in September of that year, the then-quintet’s keyboardist was strung out on cough syrup, demanding more and more water until his keyboard was lined with plastic cups. The other four seemed equally inebriated; frontman Billy Yost, who was once out of breath on stage, loudly told dead hooker jokes between songs. At one point Danny switches all drumming to one hand, using the other to flip a cigarette into his mouth and light it. The songs themselves had a harsher bite, Billy Yost’s dry scream more a mainstay and less an ornamentation. At a particularly high climax, the lithe frontman swung his body forward, activating his distortion pedal with his forehead.

After several lineup shifts and ultimately abandoning South Dakota for bigger prospects, the two Yost brothers uprooted in 2009 and replanted in Chicago. Bassist Eamonn Donnelly and guitarist Jonny Ifergan are not original members, but additions garnered from none other than Craigslist (The band’s Facebook page reads ‘Two brothers from South Dakota move to Chicago. Craigslist. Glory.’). Since then the alt rock upstarts have released a smattering of live EPs while touring feverishly, fueled by a die-hard and shameless love for the Muppets. Both Yosts are now married, and neither now drink. Their mother makes brief appearances at shows, and they hold hometown Halloween events inviting everyone to dress as Batman characters. The Yosts joke about how their idea of hanging out with each other is watching the same movie in separate rooms. This chill persona manifests in the band’s new material, which is more intricate, refined, poppier, and less muddled by drunken distortion. The sober Kickback is the more badass, when they aren’t blazing through sets intoxicated, falling over themselves. The frantic energy is still present, but it’s not chemically inspired. Billy still thrashes about, jumps from amps and the drum kit, and stage dives. The band’s Facebook has seen more than one Instagram photo of Billy hospitalized in recent months, including an instance of his stitched lip.

The elder Yost, Danny, sits behind the kit. His drumming is atypical, in a way that’s noticeable but not immediately identifiable. He himself claims it’s based in his experience with melodic instruments. Even when just keeping time, Danny’s drumming shadows and accentuates the melody. His drum fills are just as much a part of the melodic song structure as the guitars; his rute lick in the intro to “Indigenous Newspapermen Circa 1980″ and the boogaloo bounce of “Hate This City” are hooks in themselves. He sits with back straight, all movement isolated to his thick-veined forearms.

Donnelly and Ifergan frame the stage, Eamonn bracing himself with legs spread and knees slightly bent, pelvis pushing bass forward. Jonny bops from foot to foot, with head back and eyes shut, his hefty Gibson pulled up to his clavicles.

Billy Yost is the wonder of the bunch. He is a substitute English teacher in Chicago and if you dress for the job you want, Billy’s looking at a promising career as a grandfather. Onstage he sports his own band’s t-shirt under a Crayola-green cardigan sweater, a crisp pant, and spotless leather shoes probably costing more than the entire suitcase of merch. He leans in a bit too close to the microphone during between- song banter, and speaks in a low apologetic tone, riddled with “um”s and ending every song introduction with a bashful “We hope you like it”. Equally mild in person, his voice maintains a careful softness and gentle lisp. He’s polite, like a sweaty- palmed boy meeting his girlfriend’s father, who he’s just learned owns several firearms way. When he laughs, the corners of his mouth turn up slightly as he gazes at the floor.

But in performance mode it’s an entirely separate dimension. At the hit of a riff, the geeky Billy immediately crumples, doubled over on the balls of his feet with his knees turned in, clawing at his Telecaster and fitfully lurching. His face scrunches in a sort of angry expulsion, sweat sliding down his face, and when he sings he presses his teeth against the microphone, his amiable South Dakota accent and adorable tenor stretch to scratchy screams and high notes that seep from his nostrils as well as his wide-open mouth.

The Kickback’s music operates on a rare scale, the one of “No Bad Songs”. Instead their Memorex CDs in flimsy paper casings leaves their ever-changing song titles (One went from “Death Song” to “Warm Hands (Cryogenic Freezing Hit of the Year”) fuzzy in the memory, resulting in repeated utterances of “Oh I love this one!”.

The Kickback make poppy alt rock sing-a-long songs for grown-ups, unafraid of whoa-ohs and hummable melodies. This said, the songs do burst through with Billy’s ferocity and flaming guitar chords, courtesy of Jonny’s love for flanger pedal and restricting the strings as little as possible. They’re also chockablock full of bells and whistles, courtesy of Billy’s penchant for ornamentation. There’s wavering keys on “Little Teach”, a bell and tambourine bit in “Full Of”. The ticky-ticky-tick of palm-mute in the X-Men-inspired “Alpha Flight” is a minor embellishment, but the song seems empty without it.

For all their catchy charm, The Kickback’s songs are full of coldly angry feelings, as in “Please Hurt” when Billy moans, “I want you to hurt like I do,” or in the less-than-peppy “Scorched Earth (Do-Da): “I will fall apart / You will abandon me now / Nothing can matter / Nothing can matter at all”. Even “Little Teach,” enough a single to merit a music video, has Billy hollering “You don’t belong” with brow furrowed, although it comes out stretched, more like “Yeoh don’t belahng”.

There are two songs in The Kickback’s currently snack-sized catalog that place them on a whole other tier from every other upstart indie rock band floating around a major city. “Violently Carsick” is a 6-minute re-imagining of the Route 66 theme, a slow highway song based around a simple calm riff, moseying along softly before Billy rises up to his toes, murmuring “En route, en route” over and over literally sounding like a skipping record before doubling over, tearing the same distortion-laden chord ad nauseam, shrieking, “It starts in Chicago / Walks down to L.A. / Don’t you dare forget about / Kansas City, Missouri”. The band are still at the level where they drive a dysfunctional van across the country, new cities and new crowds every night, but The Kickback never fail to thank every tour stop, memorializing each one in a performance shot on Instagram. They’re fiercely loyal to their fanbase, coast to coast. The other song, “Rob My House”, is a beast of its own. The astructural brooding jam is a searing spoken-word seethe in which Billy spews rapid-fire descriptions of a break-in at his apartment over a mess of guitar delay and low-end hum. Free-form and pissed off, the lyrics tumble clumsily from Billy, rising from nervous speed-talking to quivering, spitting rage, and while the story remains the same the lyrics are never identical as Billy rattles away.

With an exception to a 2012 performance, the band’s new incarnation sits around a table, drinking only water from clear plastic cups. Accommodating to a T, the foursome speaks openly but carefully, chewing over their responses and gazing into the swirling water in their cups. Their elusive success and indefatigable persistence is a hot topic, however. The move to Chicago was a power play, meant to garner enough exposure (and greenbacks) to at last record a full-length album. The band churns out EPs and T-shirts willy-nilly in the attempt to become so. They aren’t bitter about it, but lightheartedly frustrated. Billy sums up the issue: “Usually bands have the album recorded before they go to a label… then the label just has to release it.” The band put up a Kickstarter in mid-2013 to fund the recording of their first full-length, Sorry All Over the Place, and tied off the project a few months later. However, Dennis Herring (Modest Mouse, Elvis Costello) baulked at producing, and the release of the record was pushed back to sometime in 2014. The band still assures they are in for the long haul. Billy tells the story of how he and his wife came into the marriage with the understanding that the band was what he wanted to do. Danny, the oldest of the group, cracks jokes about his senior citizen self, the collective nervous tension when he mentions trading his drum stool for a toilet. At this comment, Billy throws his head back and laughs heartily, momentarily bursting his cautious placidity.

His metaphorical shields down, the slightly more relaxed Billy slowly speaks his next sentence, as if tasting how cool it sounds: “We need to get a label to understand,” he says, “that I’m not going to stop…until the world is mine.” - Media Snobs


The Kickback is comprised of brothers Billy and Danny Yost, guitarist Tyler Zee, and bassist Eamonn Donnelly. Following the brothers’ emigration from rural South Dakota to Chicago in late 2009, the group received acclaim from Rolling Stone’s Hype Monitor, Sound Opinion’s Jim Derogatis, and numerous blogs including You Ain’t No Picasso and the Chicago Sun Times for their 2010 and 2011 EP releases, Great Self Love and Mea Culpa Mea Culpa. The group is currently writing and rehearsing what will mark their first full-length release, but is taking a break for a residency at Schubas in Chicago. Each Monday in March The Flavored Players Series ft. The Kickback will take over Schubas at 8PM

Congratulations on the upcoming residency at Schubas in Chicago. Do you have anything special planned for it besides doing what you do best?

We’re still working it out at present, but since we have a tendency to drop a lot of material by the wayside in the name of boredom, we’ve got a hell of a back-catalog that we’re going to try to match up and, in many cases, introduce to an audience for the first time. Every show will be a little bit different, and the last show we’re going to perform our forthcoming LP in its entirety with a Craigslist Orchestra featuring a group of fantastic people who were willing to come and record brass and sax for our LP for nothing more than the joy of doing it. But each night will be something different, and that’s what’s most important to us.

How have your live shows change from say two years ago? For new fans attending not familiar with your originals is there any chance for a cover or two and what you do like to surprise with?

I’m not sure how much the live show has changed, but I guess you could consider our set a little more mature. We take our live performance very seriously, too seriously, and that has meant trying different sets 50 different ways and just when it gets right, you add three new songs and start over again. I typically play as if I’m fleeing creditors, and I don’t think that has changed much. As far as covers go, we inevitably wind up picking songs two people are very excited about and the general population would prefer to have never heard in the first place, so I’m not sure if we’ll be trying our luck. Of course we will.

Tells us a little a bit about your band history to us national readers who haven’t heard about The Kickback yet…. How did the band come together, were there any seminal things that made you guys want to pursue this further?

It’s much too convoluted to make interesting, so the short story goes I started the band in college in South Dakota as a logical response to having a band in high school. A year into college, I decided that it was what I wanted to do at any cost, so I got my teaching degree, moved here with my brother who felt likewise, became a substitute teacher, posted extremely detailed Craigslist ads, found the boys of my dreams, and here we be. I attribute any minor success of the band and the music to a paralyzing fear of my own mortality, some incredibly talented friends and musicians, the tireless efforts of our manager, Brian, and-what I hope will become musician shorthand-Randy Newman changes.


#45 The Kickback: Scorched Earth (Do-Da) from Love Drunk on Vimeo.


Your new record is said to be a lot rawer and ambitious than your first two EPs – how would you best describe the sounds you’re putting together and what creatively influenced this creative leap?

Unlike any of our previous studio experiences, we have actually had time to work with sounds on the LP. This is because we’re doing pretty much everything ourselves and while it leaves a lot to be desired in terms of comfort and sexual prowess, it has afforded us the opportunity to see just how weird one can get with a bass harmonica or, more importantly, what it takes to not make something sound necessarily “right” but interesting. The music and arrangements are more ambitious simply because there are more of them. I’ve always had ideas but never the time or ability. Now we have the time, though I’m still waiting on some of the ability.

The record will be rawer in terms of subject matter, I think. The death thing has played a big part. Then trying to find a way to match up lyrics about being terrified with uptempo stuff. I always hear Tom Hanks in That Thing You Do. “I want something snappy!” But imagine if The Wonders didn’t do the key change and instead the guy starts screaming about cryogenic freezing or home invasion. And with harpsichord.

I found it interesting that you marked David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest as an influence. Can you elaborate on that more and let us know how something so complex can be funneled into your music?

Every time a band mentions a dead author I imagine that author rolling around in his or her grave begging not to be connected to a bunch of idiots. That said, the LP will be called Sorry All Over The Place and is ta - Glide Magazine


The guys in the Kickback have been acting up in class. As you can see in their latest video for their track "Little Teach," they've been forced to stay late and write lines on the chalkboard--specifically, lines reading "I don't care if this is Best New Music" (hey, detention is as good a time as any to make a little P4k jab). Aside from that, the live video--released with Love Drunk Studios and filmed in one take at DP Muller Photography in Omaha--features the band performing the song with their usual fieriness, which you'd be able to pick up on even with the sound off by looking at frontman Billy Yost's intense facial expressions (but it's probably better to listen with the sound, because the sound is good).

"Little Teach" is off the Kickback's recent EP Kill Fee, which includes a mix of live takes and studio recordings. The band is currently on a multi-state tour, and will be back for a hometown show on November 9th at Schubas. For now, take a look at the video:
- Windy City Rock


The Band: The Kickback

The Buzz: High drama Chicago-based rock band (with at least one very rabid fan) conjures the very best parts of the Veils and the Walkmen and the Killers, writing lean, nervy songs that snarl and snap. Guitarist Billy Yost has a marvelously agonized voice and he wrenches notes from his larynx, hurling himself against the songs’ propulsive rhythms.

Listen If: You’ve got a thing for high drama, or you like songs that move fast and singers that collapse faster.

Key Track: The sneering “Roman Regret,” a song boasting a guitar line that snaps and crackles like a cut electrical wire and Yost at his worked-up, Pentecostal best. - Rollingstone.com


The Kickback are squashing the notion that nothing truly good comes from a Craigslist ad. You see, if brothers Billy [vocals, guitar] and Danny [drums] Yost had never posted an ad in search of bandmates on the site, they may have never joined forces with Eamonn Donnelly [bass] and Jonny Ifergan [guitar], moved to Chicago, and begun the band whose new song, "Sting's Teacher Years," you're spinning now. But enough of the "what ifs." This song begs us to focus on the good that has come of the quartet's shiny melodies and dreamy, riff-loving instrumentals. With layered instrumentals, raw yet melodic vocals, shimmering percussion, and slightest hint of surf-rock undertones, this is a song that bends the mold of indie-rock in opposite directions, yet manages to bring it all full-circle by song's end.

The track comes off their new EP, Kill Fee, out now. Spin the song's premiere and then head here to grab the album for your collection. You can also catch them on tour this fall. Dates and details are below.

October 19: Champaign, IL @ Cowboy Monkey
October 20: St Louis, MO @ The Duck Room
October 21: Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
October 22: Cincinnati, OH @ Motr Pub
October 23: Nashville, TN @ The National Underground
October 25: Oxford, MS @ Proud Larrys
October 26: Baton Rouge, LA @ Louisiana State University
October 27: Dallas, TX @ The Prophet Bar
October 28: Austin, TX @ Mohawk
October 29: Tulsa, OK @ Sound Pony
October 30: Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
October 31: Vermillion, SD @ Eagle's Club (Gotham City Halloween)
November 1: Lincoln, NE @ Duffy's Tavern
November 2: Omaha, NE @ O'Leaver's Pub
November 3: Maquoketa, IA @ Basementstormer
November 4: Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
November 9: Chicago, IL @ Schubas

- Pure Volume


The Kickback are squashing the notion that nothing truly good comes from a Craigslist ad. You see, if brothers Billy [vocals, guitar] and Danny [drums] Yost had never posted an ad in search of bandmates on the site, they may have never joined forces with Eamonn Donnelly [bass] and Jonny Ifergan [guitar], moved to Chicago, and begun the band whose new song, "Sting's Teacher Years," you're spinning now. But enough of the "what ifs." This song begs us to focus on the good that has come of the quartet's shiny melodies and dreamy, riff-loving instrumentals. With layered instrumentals, raw yet melodic vocals, shimmering percussion, and slightest hint of surf-rock undertones, this is a song that bends the mold of indie-rock in opposite directions, yet manages to bring it all full-circle by song's end.

The track comes off their new EP, Kill Fee, out now. Spin the song's premiere and then head here to grab the album for your collection. You can also catch them on tour this fall. Dates and details are below.

October 19: Champaign, IL @ Cowboy Monkey
October 20: St Louis, MO @ The Duck Room
October 21: Bloomington, IN @ The Bishop
October 22: Cincinnati, OH @ Motr Pub
October 23: Nashville, TN @ The National Underground
October 25: Oxford, MS @ Proud Larrys
October 26: Baton Rouge, LA @ Louisiana State University
October 27: Dallas, TX @ The Prophet Bar
October 28: Austin, TX @ Mohawk
October 29: Tulsa, OK @ Sound Pony
October 30: Lawrence, KS @ Jackpot Music Hall
October 31: Vermillion, SD @ Eagle's Club (Gotham City Halloween)
November 1: Lincoln, NE @ Duffy's Tavern
November 2: Omaha, NE @ O'Leaver's Pub
November 3: Maquoketa, IA @ Basementstormer
November 4: Iowa City, IA @ The Mill
November 9: Chicago, IL @ Schubas

- Pure Volume


The Kickback may be the closest thing Lincoln has to an honorary band.
The rock four-piece, which hails from Vermillion, S.D., by way of Chicago, will play its second Lincoln show in less than a month when they take the stage with The Renfields at Duffy’s Tavern Thursday night.
On Oct. 24, the band debuted their third live one-take video produced by Nebraska’s Love Drunk mobile studio. The recording of “Little Teach” was picked up later that day by Paste Magazine. Following the conclusion of their North American tour this winter, The Kickback will take their shimmering rock music into the studio to work on their first full-length album with producer Dennis Herring of Modest Mouse and Elvis Costello production fame.
The Kickback’s lead singer, Billy Yost, spoke with The Daily Nebraskan from Chicago via phone, recapping the band’s Lincoln Calling performance, detailing the in-studio highs and lows leading to the band’s forthcoming LP and discussing the personal anxiety that shadows honesty in songwriting.
Daily Nebraskan: You said on stage at your Lincoln Calling set that (your drummer and brother) Danny (Yost) was really sick. How was he doing after the show?
Billy Yost: He went straight to bed but, honestly, we had such a good time, the adrenaline rush takes over, and you’re good to go for a couple hours. But he then crashed pretty hard.
DN: Did you have to talk him into playing that night, or is it always “never say die” with you guys?
BY: No, he had been sick all week, so he basically rationed cigarettes and Mountain Dew in a way that wouldn’t have impacted him too much for the show on Friday. He tried to cut down … so that was probably half a 12-pack and half a pack of cigarettes.
DN: Hey, that’s good. You have to exercise some restraint.
BY: (Laughs) I miss Lincoln Calling. We missed it last year because our van exploded about a week before we were supposed to make it out, so nothing could’ve kept us away this year.
DN: I think a lot of Lincolnites’ first exposure to you guys, mine at least, was through a very early Love Drunk video where you played “Sting’s Teacher Years” on top of Sandy’s. How did the ongoing connection between The Kickback, Love Drunk and HearNebraska form?
BY: Originally it was all facilitated by Jeremy “Dub” Wardlaw, who is kind of a powerhouse in the Lincoln music scene and one of the people who helps to keep the Lincoln music scene fresh and amazing for us, at any rate. He hooked us up with Django (Greenblatt-Seay) who does Love Drunk.
DN: And that’s a good working relationship, it seems.
BY: Django and I are both cut-to-the-chase sort of people. Neither of us drinks, and we both swear an awful lot. So we’ll do videos with those guys until the proverbial cows come home.
DN: You guys are in Lincoln quite a bit.
BY: Well, saturation is our game.
DN: (Laughs) Sure. You want everyone to get tired of you and then surprise them.
BY: Right, and then we won’t be back for two years and act slighted and broken-hearted. We’re trying to be like abusive boyfriends. First we shower you with too much praise, and then we accuse you for a while and then we have a loving reunion because you keep coming back.
That was the dumbest analogy I ever could have made.
DN: (Laughs) I understand. Do you think the relationship between The Kickback – with homebase in Chicago – and Nebraska is a unique one, or is the music community in the Midwest smaller than people realize?
BY: I think it’s both. Lincoln reminds Danny and I a lot of the town where the band started. It’s like a bigger version of Vermillion. We’ll be unloading equipment, and we’ll immediately recognize someone we know. It’s like a giant little town, if that makes sense.
But, also, the music scene in the Midwest is also a lot smaller than people give it credit for. It’s fun to play kind of across the plains and pull up to a bar and see posters for other bands and think, “Oh, I know those guys. We played with those guys. And we had to sleep next to those guys one night and their drummer tried to touch me in ways I’d like to forget.” I like that about it.
DN: With The Kickback podcasts, your work with Love Drunk and your use of social media, you guys seem pretty comfortable in your skin as a 21st century band. In 2012, is that by choice or is that a necessity for bands like you guys to embrace technology?
BY: I don’t know if we have any choice. Honestly the things I love – like Batman and comic books and Muppets – I have such a problem keeping that to myself anyway. Things like our podcasts and our Facebook page have been another way for me to force those things on other people. And people seem receptive to it, but for better or worse we are kind of relentless that way.
DN: Sure, but as a supplement for you guys as a touring band, is it a benefit? Do situations arise where you get to a gig and someone feels like they know you or something about you because or what you post on Facebook?
BY: That’s kind of the biggest deal - The Daily Nebraskan


I love it when a band comes to the stage with all cylinders firing right from the start and that’s exactly what Chicago-based band The Kickback did on Saturday night, October 27th at The Prophet Bar in Deep Ellum (Dallas, TX). Kicking off with “Sting’s Teacher Years” from their latest EP of live and studio tracks, Kill Fee, the energy of the band was full on despite lead singer Billy Yost mentioning that the band had just finished a 9-hour drive from their last show in New Orleans. That level of engagement continued through their 55-minute set, including a blistering performance of an unrecorded song with the tentative title, “Rob My House” (request it when you see them live). While I’ve had the opportunity to interview the band last year, it was great to see them in action. Here are just a few of the upcoming tour dates to catch them live.
And for those who are interested, the pics of the band were taken with a Galaxy Nexus phone using the Little Orange Box camera app (Retro Camera).


Oct 28: Mohawk
Austin, TX

Oct 29: Sound Pony
Tulsa, OK

Oct 30: Jackpot Music Hall
Lawrence, KS

Oct 31: Eagle’s Club (Gotham City Halloween)
Vermillion, SD


Nov 01: Duffy’s Tavern
Lincoln, NE

Nov 02: O’Leaver’s Pub
Omaha, NE

Nov 03: Basementstormer
Maquoketa, IA

Nov 04: The Mill
Iowa City, IA - Groove Loves Melody


Your Mortality is Reality: The Kickback Graces the Bishop
by BFINKEL on Oct 24, 2012 • 11:45 am No Comments

By: Rose Harding

First Impression: I walked into a dark room with red walls and a black ceiling. The room was lined with instruments; I spot a tuba, a guitar in a tiger print case, a glittering blue drum set, and a set of bright red amps. A group of hipsters was clustered in the middle of the room.

Before The Kickback played, Mid-American and BRAINSTORM gave us a show that was like dancing in the woods with a gypsy band that had married Fleet Foxes and Radiohead’s In Rainbows, then taking a Volkswagen Bus to a beach party with Vampire Weekends island twin. It was fantastic and I highly suggest giving their albums Mid-American and Heat Waves a listen. Mid-American offered percussive and ethereal sound and BRAINSTORM was a perfect complement with upbeat and somewhat stuttered melodies.

Following these stellar acts, The Kickback gave an unforgettable show. When they play, their presence on stage is propulsive and as described by band member Eamonn Donnelly, “an exorcism of boredom and frustration.” Donnelly says that he wants their music to make you, “at least bob your head, while being very aware of your mortal existence.” Overall, their music puts a major emphasis upon the impermanent nature of life. When asked what they want to convey through their music, band member Billy Yost says, “We’re trying to get people to dance to the most uncomfortable topics we possibly can — the more depressing the issue the more upbeat we try to make it.” I was blown away by the energy and passion they bring when they play. Donnelly describes life as, “just trying to find that balance between just being a responsible human being, adult” and, Yost added, “pursuing a career that’s the absolute abandonment of any responsibility.” This idea is apparent on stage as the band creates their own world of anger and frustration when they play, releasing it all in explosions of song.

In closing, Billy Yost leaves you with these words, “We’ll be back so please come see us, and you’re going to die and there’s really nothing you can do about it, so you should think about it a lot.”

He’s right, you’re going to die, so carpe diem and go see The Kickback, you won’t regret it.

PS: Despite being morbidly aware of their imminent demise, The Kickback also has a love for all things Batman, Randy Newman, and The Muppets.

PPS: When asked to describe their band as an animal Yost said, “It would be a very fat orangutan in a batman costume. But like really happy, like a big bellied one, that you just want to scratch and likes to cuddle, that’s important.”

Also, check out their recent EP Kill Fee and their podcast Diary of a Disas-tour. Links to their awesome below:

http://thekickbackband.tumblr.com/music

http://thekickback.podbean.com/ - WIUX


Chicago band The Kickback has just released a video with Love Drunk Studios for the track “Little Teach.”

The band has been busy touring in support of their recent EP, Kill Fee, which features the track “Little Teach.” The video is a simple performance video that allows the song to speak for itself.

The Kickback will headlining a North American tour this year. Check out the video for “Little Teach” below as well as the band’s tour dates this fall.



The Kickback Tour Dates

October
25 - Oxford, Miss. @ Proud Larrys
26 - Baton Rouge, La. @ Louisiana State University
27 - Dallas, Texas @ The Prophet Bar
28 - Austin, Texas @ Mohawk
29 - Tulsa, Olka. @ Sound Pony
30 - Lawrence, Kan. @ Jackpot Music Hall
31 - Vermillion, S.D. @ Eagles Club (Gotham City Halloween)
November
1 - Lincoln, Neb. @ Duffy’s Tarven
2 - Omaha, Neb. @ O’Leaver’s Pub
3 - Maquoketa, Iowa @ Basementstormer
4 - Iowa City, Iowa @ The Mill
9 - Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas - Paste Magazine


Chicago band The Kickback has just released a video with Love Drunk Studios for the track “Little Teach.”

The band has been busy touring in support of their recent EP, Kill Fee, which features the track “Little Teach.” The video is a simple performance video that allows the song to speak for itself.

The Kickback will headlining a North American tour this year. Check out the video for “Little Teach” below as well as the band’s tour dates this fall.



The Kickback Tour Dates

October
25 - Oxford, Miss. @ Proud Larrys
26 - Baton Rouge, La. @ Louisiana State University
27 - Dallas, Texas @ The Prophet Bar
28 - Austin, Texas @ Mohawk
29 - Tulsa, Olka. @ Sound Pony
30 - Lawrence, Kan. @ Jackpot Music Hall
31 - Vermillion, S.D. @ Eagles Club (Gotham City Halloween)
November
1 - Lincoln, Neb. @ Duffy’s Tarven
2 - Omaha, Neb. @ O’Leaver’s Pub
3 - Maquoketa, Iowa @ Basementstormer
4 - Iowa City, Iowa @ The Mill
9 - Chicago, Ill. @ Schubas - Paste Magazine


I’m afraid to interview musicians. Not because a lot of them smell weird. Because of all the rules. I’ve mentioned before how when my sister was ten she told me Green Day had sold out. Actually, she sang the words to the tune of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” a move both snotty and in-the-know. Though eight years her senior, I thought maybe Green Day were the ones fronted by the guy with the giant bald head and I couldn’t figure why success was a bad thing.

It’s not that I don’t believe in rules. Once my Significant Other claimed that for a book, painting or film to have artistic worth, only ONE person must enjoy it. First I asked her, “what if that person is Aaron Spelling?” And then I stopped talking to her until I couldn’t find my favorite pair of shoes at which point I had to talk to her but just to ask if she’d seen them.

In my view, to create quality art, one must learn the rules if only to break from them. But when it comes to music, the rules seem somehow arbitrary. I don’t understand what makes something “good.”

Here’s what I like: passion, intelligence and drums.
Here’s what I hate: 80’s saxophone solos, the word “shawty” and Maroon Five.

The Kickback has all of the former and none of the latter plus Rolling Stone says they “conjure the very best parts of the Veils and the Walkmen and the Killers, writing lean, nervy songs that snarl and snap.”

I don’t know who any of those people are, but I interviewed The Kickback guitarist Billy Yost and he smells just fine!

Our Town How would you describe your sound?
Billy Yost I use [this] as something to aspire to: the Zombies listening to Jeff Buckley listening to a moderately-talented church choir listening to The Beatles in the “back to basics” stage of their career who would stay together long enough to be influenced by the Sales brothers who wound up backing Iggy Pop in the “Berlin era.” Our tunes wouldn’t express that at all, at the moment, however. So, I guess you can consider this an opportunity to get in on the ground level. I sound like Bernie Madoff.

OT Who are your influences?
BY Randy Newman, music from "classic period" Muppet film and television, David Foster Wallace, Iggy Pop, unresolved Catholicism, 1989's Batman, a lot of older brothers, people who use harmony well.

OT How did growing up in South Dakota inform your music?
BY My main connection to music for the first decade or so of my life was mostly informed by drives to Sioux Falls from Beresford and back--a 30-mile trip each way. My mom would have the radio tuned almost exclusively to '50s and '60s oldies. That's where I learned about harmony and developed a love for melody. I think [South Dakota] also rooted us with a healthy Midwestern guilt that tends to set off warning bells when I find myself using phrases like "our aesthetic" or "sushi."

OT Your brother Danny is part of the band. What’s it like to work so closely with a sibling?
BY Pros- He gets it already. Cons- That doesn't mean he has to like it and then you're dealing with 25 years of subtle jabbing, from the hair-pulling incident at Mt. Rushmore (age 7) to present day.


OT What’s the story behind the David Foster Wallace quote?
BY Our impending debut LP is titled Sorry All Over The Place which is a fictional unfinished film in a fictional filmography in a fictional footnote in Wallace's novel, Infinite Jest. The book took me three months to read and as much as a piece of literature can change you and reformat some of your more fleeting emotions, it did. It's one of the best things that has ever happened to me. The adultery and hope and trust and fear and sadness have really informed the record and so it felt only right to acknowledge that. That and when I first read the filmography, I nearly dropped the book in the bath tub because I was laughing so hard. There's something so funny about it to me. I don't know. I also feel it's important to point out that bringing Wallace's name into this is probably a disgrace to his estate and is completely unfair considering he's not alive to distance himself from any of this, God rest him. I have dreams about him coming to see us live and actually spitting on the ground.

OT Does the band write collaboratively or do you divvy it up?
BY I tend to write the song to completion and then bring it in to get chopped up and worked over. It's a double-edged face-slapper really, as if I don't bring in most of a whole song, we usually don't get anywhere. But that means my feelings about messing with written parts tend to be a little rawer.

OT What concert would you attend if you knew you could never see live music again?
BY I'd like to see Randy Newman one more time. To be frank, if I wasn't allowed to go see concerts anymore, I don't think that would be a serious inconvenience. I spent my junior high and high school years memorizing hours and hours of downloaded video of bands that I loved. That's my preferred way to see a band. On my computer w - Chicago Sun Times


I’m afraid to interview musicians. Not because a lot of them smell weird. Because of all the rules. I’ve mentioned before how when my sister was ten she told me Green Day had sold out. Actually, she sang the words to the tune of “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life),” a move both snotty and in-the-know. Though eight years her senior, I thought maybe Green Day were the ones fronted by the guy with the giant bald head and I couldn’t figure why success was a bad thing.

It’s not that I don’t believe in rules. Once my Significant Other claimed that for a book, painting or film to have artistic worth, only ONE person must enjoy it. First I asked her, “what if that person is Aaron Spelling?” And then I stopped talking to her until I couldn’t find my favorite pair of shoes at which point I had to talk to her but just to ask if she’d seen them.

In my view, to create quality art, one must learn the rules if only to break from them. But when it comes to music, the rules seem somehow arbitrary. I don’t understand what makes something “good.”

Here’s what I like: passion, intelligence and drums.
Here’s what I hate: 80’s saxophone solos, the word “shawty” and Maroon Five.

The Kickback has all of the former and none of the latter plus Rolling Stone says they “conjure the very best parts of the Veils and the Walkmen and the Killers, writing lean, nervy songs that snarl and snap.”

I don’t know who any of those people are, but I interviewed The Kickback guitarist Billy Yost and he smells just fine!

Our Town How would you describe your sound?
Billy Yost I use [this] as something to aspire to: the Zombies listening to Jeff Buckley listening to a moderately-talented church choir listening to The Beatles in the “back to basics” stage of their career who would stay together long enough to be influenced by the Sales brothers who wound up backing Iggy Pop in the “Berlin era.” Our tunes wouldn’t express that at all, at the moment, however. So, I guess you can consider this an opportunity to get in on the ground level. I sound like Bernie Madoff.

OT Who are your influences?
BY Randy Newman, music from "classic period" Muppet film and television, David Foster Wallace, Iggy Pop, unresolved Catholicism, 1989's Batman, a lot of older brothers, people who use harmony well.

OT How did growing up in South Dakota inform your music?
BY My main connection to music for the first decade or so of my life was mostly informed by drives to Sioux Falls from Beresford and back--a 30-mile trip each way. My mom would have the radio tuned almost exclusively to '50s and '60s oldies. That's where I learned about harmony and developed a love for melody. I think [South Dakota] also rooted us with a healthy Midwestern guilt that tends to set off warning bells when I find myself using phrases like "our aesthetic" or "sushi."

OT Your brother Danny is part of the band. What’s it like to work so closely with a sibling?
BY Pros- He gets it already. Cons- That doesn't mean he has to like it and then you're dealing with 25 years of subtle jabbing, from the hair-pulling incident at Mt. Rushmore (age 7) to present day.


OT What’s the story behind the David Foster Wallace quote?
BY Our impending debut LP is titled Sorry All Over The Place which is a fictional unfinished film in a fictional filmography in a fictional footnote in Wallace's novel, Infinite Jest. The book took me three months to read and as much as a piece of literature can change you and reformat some of your more fleeting emotions, it did. It's one of the best things that has ever happened to me. The adultery and hope and trust and fear and sadness have really informed the record and so it felt only right to acknowledge that. That and when I first read the filmography, I nearly dropped the book in the bath tub because I was laughing so hard. There's something so funny about it to me. I don't know. I also feel it's important to point out that bringing Wallace's name into this is probably a disgrace to his estate and is completely unfair considering he's not alive to distance himself from any of this, God rest him. I have dreams about him coming to see us live and actually spitting on the ground.

OT Does the band write collaboratively or do you divvy it up?
BY I tend to write the song to completion and then bring it in to get chopped up and worked over. It's a double-edged face-slapper really, as if I don't bring in most of a whole song, we usually don't get anywhere. But that means my feelings about messing with written parts tend to be a little rawer.

OT What concert would you attend if you knew you could never see live music again?
BY I'd like to see Randy Newman one more time. To be frank, if I wasn't allowed to go see concerts anymore, I don't think that would be a serious inconvenience. I spent my junior high and high school years memorizing hours and hours of downloaded video of bands that I loved. That's my preferred way to see a band. On my computer w - Chicago Sun Times


Nice guys finish last. If the saying is true, Billy Yost will likely be at the end of the line. Modest, serious and unshakably polite, the Kickback vocalist/guitarist got an education degree so he could keep a day job as a substitute teacher with the knowledge that succeeding as a band would involve myriad hardships. Having released two strong EPs, the quartet is readying its full-length debut.

The ensemble comes from South Dakota. Think fields of corn and wheat, not clubs and late-night downtowns. The newly married Yost spoke about how (and why) their upbringing prepared them for music-related realities and led them here.

Q: Moving from South Dakota to Chicago seems ripe for culture shock.

A: I come from a place where 30 miles meant 30 minutes. You're used to knowing everybody and them knowing all of your business. So anonymity was interesting to experience when I came here. But I'm really happy we came from where we did. It inevitably grounds you and gives you a perspective that doesn't allow you to become megalomaniacal. It teaches you to be a decent person and involves not talking down to people.

Q: Many music fans know of the Dakotas' cultural environment only via Chuck Klosterman's book "Fargo Rock City." What music influenced you?

A: We didn't have an alternative radio station where we were growing up. I traveled a lot with my mom, and all we really listened to was radio from 1950s, '60s and early '70s. No matter what we do, there will always be strong elements of harmony and melody. If it's not in the service of discernible melody, what's the point? It's hard for me to want to make music to which you cannot sing a cappella in some sort of capacity. I think there are worse obsessions. If we had a bagpipe fetish, for example, it wouldn't go over as well.

Q: Why relocate to Chicago when Minneapolis is the nearest big city?

A: My girlfriend at the time got a job here. There's also this attitude in Minneapolis. We played there enough and I don't think we would have fit well. Many bands move to Brooklyn or Portland, but I think our Midwestern grounding prevented that. We wanted to be around more Midwestern folk, which is hilarious, but they have a pull-yourself-up-from-the-bootstraps attitude I really get behind.

Q: In other words, you're ready for struggles that accompany being in a fledgling group.

A: We hemorrhage money on a weekly basis. That's what it means to be in a band. You either do it because you love it or you get out really quick. Our intentions are to be able to pay our rent with income we get from being a band. If that happens, we'll feel we established something. It's easy to let the daydreams take hold, and yes, we need constant reassurance, but the main reason for pursuing the band is that we can't imagine doing anything else.

Q: You can detect the determination in your singing, which possesses an angular, post-punk quality.

A: Julian Casablancas has one of my favorite voices. Also, it's embarrassing, but I have a pretty noticeable lisp when I talk. So finding a way to mask that by delivering more muted lends to a slurred vocal approach.

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Q: By the time March ends, the Kickback will have played four dates at Schubas. What do you hope to accomplish?

A: I just want people to see us. This sounds arrogant, but I feel if you give the band a chance, you will like us. - Chicago Tribune


Billy Yost has a lot to live for, but he sure thinks about death a lot.

His band, the Kickback, has been toughing it out on Chicago’s scene for a few years now, earning word-of-mouth raves and landing at least one worthwhile prize: On Monday the Kickback starts a monthlong, weekly Practice Space residency at Schubas. The gigs will serve as something of a honeymoon — two days before the residency begins, Yost is getting married.

Yost, however, talks like the Woody Allen of Chicago indie rock.

“I was in the shower one day and I just had the realization that I was going to die,” Yost says. “I watched Warren Zevon on David Letterman’s show talking about how he was going to die when he had cancer, and something just clicked — these waves of massive panic. I don’t want to not be alive. It seems hilarious to bring up in polite conversation. I haven’t been able to find a way to deal with that. It’s definitely informed the music of late.”

Issues of mortality (a song currently in development has the working title “When I Die”), the purpose of an individual life, plus detours into Sting’s pre-music past and discussions of French Canadian separatism — these can all be found in the Kickback’s songs. Yost takes songwriting seriously (surprise), comparing the process to “a prolonged illness.”

But this music doesn’t sound like Bauhaus. The Kickback’s darkest spot on a Venn diagram includes shades of current indie rock, vintage alt-rock and a lot of classic power pop. Yost described the sound to another interviewer as “the Zombies listening to Jeff Buckley listening to a moderately talented church choir listening to the Beatles in the ‘back to basics’ stage of their career who would stay together long enough to be influenced by the Sales brothers who wound up backing Iggy Pop in the ‘Berlin era.’ ”

Rolling Stone took note of the band in 2010, describing the Kickback in its Hype Monitor column as having “lean, nervy songs that snarl and snap” and noting Yost’s “marvelously agonized voice.”

“If you’re going to be miserable about something, you might as well make it sound nice,” Yost says. “We subscribe to the Randy Newman theory of taking something you hate or are afraid of and giving it a nice four-beat.”

Part of the word of mouth about the Kickback is that the performances are usually, to say the least, explosive.

“People who know me and see the band tend to express worry afterward, not in a joking way, because of the way I play on stage,” Yost says.

This, too, is fueled by the existential crisis. “Right before we play, this absolute panic and fear takes hold and doesn’t subside until we’re done.”

Does music and performance ease the life-is-short panic?

“No,” Yost answers immediately. A beat later, he adds, “But it’s a wonderful Band-Aid.”

Off stage, Yost is a kind, mild-mannered, lanky chap — a substitute English teacher at Lane Tech College Prep High School. He claims no ambition to progress up the ladder to full-time teaching. Professional substitute is fine by him.

“The joke is, ‘Billy’s become all he aspires to be,’ ” he says. Son of a college professor and a school principal, Yost’s professional life was more than suggested to him. The flexibility of subbing, though, is best for the band’s erratic fortunes.

Yost formed the Kickback in his native South Dakota with Danny Yost, his brother, on drums. The two relocated to Chicago in 2009 and added bassist Eamonn Donnelly and guitarist Tyler Zee via “Craigslist ads with a lot of criteria.”

Being in a band with a sibling has its advantages. Billy lauds Danny’s “superior music skills” and says the two are able to communicate ideas quickly via a brotherly “optical shorthand.”

That supports the Kickback’s intense work ethic. The band has released four EPs; a debut full-length album, “Sorry All Over the Place” (an allusion to some David Foster Wallace minutiae) is planned for a July release. Yost says the band’s been at work on this recording for - Chicago Sun Times


ombine Mitch Hedberg and Napoleon Dynamite then give it a can of Red Bull and watch what happens. The ridiculous scene transpiring in your head right now is only marginally as awesome as what it’s like to see The Kickback live.

Live, they’re the best bits of every alternative band you ever listened to when you were growing up (assuming you were born some time in the 80s). Songs can have the stereotypically alternative style that drops from full on jam session to intimate conversation with lead singer and acoustic guitar then closes out with a guitar solo that can really only be described as shredding. They take those familiar formulas and start doing their own abstract musical math with saucier cadences, a much more energetic stage show and just enough electronics and twang to keep it interesting without being overwhelming. The end product that gets delightfully pounded into your brain is a mix of indelible hooks and catchy beats that you’ll be singing and/or humming for the rest of the day.

The true magic of The Kickback is that they do all of this while making it look completely effortless. It doesn’t seem like it’s something they spent years developing (even though they did); it seems like they were all just born with this innate talent. I’ve been to good shows, and I’ve been to great shows. I’ve been disappointed at shows and completely blown away at shows. But I can honestly say that I’ve never been as shocked and awed by a band I’d never heard of as I was by The Kickback. If you can find a band that can switch between a lilting two-part vocal cadence, a guitar solo and also find the time to inquire about cryogenic freezing (seriously.) without missing a beat, let me know. Up until I saw The Kickback I wasn’t sure a band this simultaneously talented and entertaining existed. I guess what I’m saying is, The Kickback is like getting rick-rolled by every awesome alternative band ever, but better… and with comedic support.

[Note: This show is part of a three part series featuring artists from Left Field Management. Thanks to everyone from Left Field Management and Lincoln Hall for putting on a great night of music.]








- Lost in Concert


The first time I saw this Chicago band, I was blown away at their energy, showmanship and quality of rock songs. But they are so much better now. They replaced their rather awkward keyboardist with drummer Danny Yost's wife Noemie (Mue Sephei), a welcome addition whose voice provides a perfect contrast to frontman Billy Yost's clean growl. It was the second time I'd seen them perform with bassist, Zach Verdoorn, who had been touring with Oh My God when they came through last fall. He's so damn good — constantly moving, he provides full-on energy, a trusty, traveling low end and an impressive voice that reaches high registers on some well-assembled harmonies. Guitarist Tyler Zee seems more confident in his role in the band, too, adding some nice vocal fills. And Billy Yost remains one of the best rock frontman I've seen in years.

“If you're in the record industry and want a hot record to put out,” Yost said while tuning between songs, “boy would we like to talk to you.”


It wouldn't surprise me if industry folk lined up to talk to them after this absolutely epic set, punctuated by a song about French Canadians that isn't anything but punk rock, and a driving, garage-rock snarler called “Rob a House.”

A blonde-haired man wearing a designer leather jacket leaned to his friend and threw his right hand down like he was dropping dice, saying, “these guys kick ass.”

If the point of playing SXSW is to make an impression. The Kickback threw 11. - Hear Nebraska


The Kickback: Guitarist-singer Billy Yost quipped between songs, "If you work in the entertainment industry and would like a hot record to put out, boy would we like to talk to you!" Here's hoping they had their chat. Chicago's the Kickback is a fierce power trio within a quintet -- Yost, his brother Danny Yost on drums and bassist Zach Verdoorn. Tighter than a flea's undies, these three plow through every dynamic, from sweetly tuneful to apoplectic fury, buttressed by Billy Yost's apparent natural edginess (his stage banter was taut, nervous, like he was spoiling for a dust-up) and a vein in his neck that bulged whenever things got really good and really loud. It was almost like seeing David Garza at SXSW all those years ago. - Chicago Sun Times


On the night of February 3rd, two Chicago rock bands — Jonny Rumble and The Kickback — led the way in escaping from the Great Blizzard of 2011. It was an unexpected journey filled with pain, pleasure, humor and vulnerability. This is a three-part open letter to the bands telling you the story of how it all happened.

Dear Members of The Kickback,



First, I want to thank you for telling us why you love playing live. It was a pleasure seeing you perform at the Hideout. You succeeded in taken my mind off the terrible weather and the horrible blizzard that buried Chicago.

I especially enjoyed your song about someone breaking into your car and violating you. That song (the name escapes me) was one of my favorite moments of the night because it was raw, palpable and told a wonderfully complex and genuinely emotive story of anger, loss and redemption.

As captured in the video below, I loved how lead singer Billy Yost, vulnerably prefaced the new track “Ma Pa” by sharing that his parents had just filed for divorce and they he was now a child of a broken home.

And like the other fans around me who collectively sighed and emphatically awed in unison, I too could relate. And by choosing to share such personal information with us, you took the performance to a very deep and intimate level.

From that moment on, the show reminded me of our Bonnie Raitt experiment, where we explored grief, joy and community in the live music experience.

Ever since that moment, I’ve wished and hoped more performers knew how to express themselves so openly and honestly during a concert, without making it awkward or taking away from the show.

Besides the lyrical storytelling of the songs, I really dug and got lost in watching your rhythm section of Danny Yost (drums) and Zachariah Verdoorn (bass) as they coalesced and drove the set forward. The collective whole was soulful, explosive, joyful and sophisticated.

At several points during the show, I felt like I was watching and listening to a swift, melodic and furious freight train that sped up and slowed down at all the right stops along the way. It was quite a ride!

Oh, and it was very insightful to see how you guys mysteriously appeared as the opening band Winter Sounds to prepare for your set. Didn’t expect that at all. And I wonder if you’ve done that before, or if that musical side project has influenced your forthcoming EP Mea Culpa. - Live Fix


Let’s run down a few of the things that The Kickback list as influences: “Hunter S. Thompson, English majors, post-post modernism, fast and old things, legal pads, inflated sense of self-importance, large families, undergrads, landline telephones, The Wire, big sounds then quiet sounds, David Lynch, harmonies, Muppets, entitlement.” Actually, that’s all the things they list – none of which are expressly musical, but all of which convey a certain indescribable feeling. Is it expressly American? Is it a hearkening back to something more simple? I’m not sure if it’s either or both or something different altogether. Regardless, I like what effect those listed influences have on their music.

The Kickback call Chicago home now, but their roots stretch much further westward, into South Dakota. That Midwestern sensibility is evident in their music. The band employs a no frills approach; there’s nothing used to detract from the song itself. And as a result their new four-song EP, entitled Mea Culpa Mea Culpa, is a fantastic seventeen minutes of Walkmen-esque rock. I don’t know what mistakes the band has made to name their EP as such – and I don’t know what would make them feel like they need to admit it twice – but it’s certainly not evident on this release.

The Kickback is gearing up for a venture to SXSW next month, with a few Midwestern dates lined up before then. Maybe they’ll start to get the recognition that such a solid release warrants. - Tympanogram


I didn’t really plan it this way, but this was a great show to have as my first of 2011 and my first in over a month. I knew almost nothing about the Kickback before the show, but quickly fell in love. Live, the Kickback are like a younger, more reckless version of the Walkmen. There’s energy being thrown at the audience nonstop — so much so that it made me sad to see that almost no one came within 10 feet of the stage.

There were one or two songs that really bowled me over, but unfortunately I’m a little light on their song titles. The one that really rocked me had a sharp, stabbing chorus that sounded like “Rob a house! Rob it!” but most likely wasn’t. It was a standout track in a powerful set.

Oh, and I’d be a failure of a nerd if I didn’t mention how great the lead singer’s Alpha Flight shirt was. Obviously I had to get a photo. Turns out that the band also has a song called “Alpha Flight,” so bonus points for that. - You Ain't No Picasso


It's quite long. Click the link, please. - LiveFix


Every time I go to a music festival, I invariably run across a band about which I know little to nothing, maybe having heard a song or two and then after about two songs live, it's ‘wow, these guys are great.'
For me at Lincoln Callng 2010, that band is The Kickback, who've been coming to Lincoln regularly for a couple years, but I'd never seen before I caught their set at Duffy's Tavern Saturday night.
The Kickback actually had me on the first song. They won some kind of contest that required them to learn the classic warhorse, "Route 66." But instead of trying to channel Nat King Cole, they do the song ala The Velvet Underground doing "Heroin." Totally unexpected, totally unrecognizable, totally cool.
Then they kicked into a set that was engaging and entertaining, full of fun and dynamic music. The Kickback knows its way around a pop song and frontman Billy Yost has it -- slamming around with his guitar, throwing in a perfectly timed scream or two and delivering the songs with passionate intensity.
The show was great even though The Kickback was playing minus its bass player, who's touring with oh my god. I thought the two guitar/keyboards/drums lineup was intentional and it sounded just fine. Shows what I know.
The Kickback played Duffy's a couple weeks ago and shot a video for the song "Sting's Teacher Years" on the rooftop of Sandy's. They were happy to be back in Lincoln Saturday, especially when Lincoln Calling brought in a bigger crowd, which the band had dancing along early.
"We're originally from Vermillion, South Dakota then we moved to Chicago," Yost said. "It sort of sucks there. That's why we're here so much."
Well, guys, move on down to Lincoln. The local music scene can always use another great band.
I'll have some final thoughts about Lincoln Calling on Monday. But, to sum up in a sentence -- it was bigger than ever and lived up to the promise of being better than ever. I'm already looking forward to the 2011 festival. - Lincoln Journal Star


Sibling-led bands have a special kind of intensity, as proven countless times throughout rock history, from the brothers to Davies in the Kinks to those battling Gallaghers in Oasis.

If your only exposure to the Kickback is via its recordings, including a dynamic, well-recorded, exquisitely arranged and very dramatic new disc called the "Great Self Love" EP currently streaming on its Myspace page, you might think that guitarist-vocalist Billy Yost and his drummer brother Danny have escaped the usual sibling drama. But since the group, which is completed by guitarist Tyler Zee and bassist Zachariah Verdoorn, immigrated here from South Dakota last summer, the stories have begun to spread about its explosive live performances, with the members cheerfully owning up to the occasional broken chairs and bloody knuckles.

You can sample the Kickback's aggressive but melodic and sometimes glammy roots-rock at www.myspace.com/thekickback. Or you can see if the band lives up to its feisty reputation onstage when it performs at the Bottom Lounge, 1375 W Lake St., on Friday, Jan. 22. - Jim DeRogatis


The Kickback’s newest EP, Great Self Love, begs through sonic versatility and smart composition to be taken seriously. On the national level, bands like The National and The Walkmen wear the gentlemen of indie rock badge, but it sounds as if Chicago’s the Kickback want in on the action. Great Self Love is an impressive sophomore release filled melancholy, hook-filled anthems brimming with a sense of importance.


While the EP’s title, Great Self Love, could be seen as a funny euphemism, the Kickback’s music is no joke. The band plays with precision and purpose on the brief 17-minute EP. The Chicago via South Dakota indie rockers stretch the musical gamut on most of their songs skipping seamlessly between straight up indie rock, alt-blues antics and big power-pop codas. But through all this genre-hopping, the Kickback’s the music oozes a rock elder statesmen sensibility.

Great Self Love opener, “Indigenous Newspapermen Circa 1980?, is an excellent choice for an introduction to the rest of the EP as the track rumbles on with a thick tribal beat courtesy of drummer Danny Yost over quasi-surf pop riffage. It’s catchy. It’s emotionally driven. But most importantly, it feels real. Kickback front man Billy Yost, whose vocals have an uncanny resemblance to Silverchair’s Daniel Johns at times, shows no sign of strain as his “Whoa-oh” uber-croon becomes the backbone to the track that’s part early-1990’s alt-rock nation blended with a helping of Tears For Fears guitar sweeps.

“Counselor”, the most rocking track the bunch, opens with beefy riffage from guitarists Tyler Zee and Billy Yost but gives way to a pop-filled bridge that builds perfectly from hand-clap hymnal to massive piano eruption. The reverb-heavy, aptly named “Burner (Things I Know Nothing About)” crawls along with lush guitar lines and soaring vocal lines.

The absolute highlight of Great Self Love, however, is “Rough City”. A three and a half minute pure pop song that opens with another Tears For Fears swirling guitar riff over a bouncy yet delicate bass line from Zach Verdoorn until it breaks into a big U2-esque chorus. The result is a track that sounds like a B-side from Silverchair’s Diorama, which is arguably their best effort.

While Great Self Love showcases the band’s strengths, there are a few weaknesses. The band has the ability to cover a large musical ground, and do so most of the time, even in a single song. Occasionally, this approach can come off as somewhat unfocused. The result is that the EP really never establishes a complete theme -- something that’s probably not necessary on a record this short, but it can help guide for the listener if they’re lost.

But in the end, maybe it’s good a band so young not be holed down with a precise sound too early in their career. The last thing a new act wants to do is get themselves typecast as having a particular sound when the new “radical” movement in indie rock is evolution. This being the case, The Kickback will be fine. A record as mature sounding and well produced as Great Self Love simply can’t go unnoticed. - Loud Loop Press


The Kickback’s newest EP, Great Self Love, begs through sonic versatility and smart composition to be taken seriously. On the national level, bands like The National and The Walkmen wear the gentlemen of indie rock badge, but it sounds as if Chicago’s the Kickback want in on the action. Great Self Love is an impressive sophomore release filled melancholy, hook-filled anthems brimming with a sense of importance.


While the EP’s title, Great Self Love, could be seen as a funny euphemism, the Kickback’s music is no joke. The band plays with precision and purpose on the brief 17-minute EP. The Chicago via South Dakota indie rockers stretch the musical gamut on most of their songs skipping seamlessly between straight up indie rock, alt-blues antics and big power-pop codas. But through all this genre-hopping, the Kickback’s the music oozes a rock elder statesmen sensibility.

Great Self Love opener, “Indigenous Newspapermen Circa 1980?, is an excellent choice for an introduction to the rest of the EP as the track rumbles on with a thick tribal beat courtesy of drummer Danny Yost over quasi-surf pop riffage. It’s catchy. It’s emotionally driven. But most importantly, it feels real. Kickback front man Billy Yost, whose vocals have an uncanny resemblance to Silverchair’s Daniel Johns at times, shows no sign of strain as his “Whoa-oh” uber-croon becomes the backbone to the track that’s part early-1990’s alt-rock nation blended with a helping of Tears For Fears guitar sweeps.

“Counselor”, the most rocking track the bunch, opens with beefy riffage from guitarists Tyler Zee and Billy Yost but gives way to a pop-filled bridge that builds perfectly from hand-clap hymnal to massive piano eruption. The reverb-heavy, aptly named “Burner (Things I Know Nothing About)” crawls along with lush guitar lines and soaring vocal lines.

The absolute highlight of Great Self Love, however, is “Rough City”. A three and a half minute pure pop song that opens with another Tears For Fears swirling guitar riff over a bouncy yet delicate bass line from Zach Verdoorn until it breaks into a big U2-esque chorus. The result is a track that sounds like a B-side from Silverchair’s Diorama, which is arguably their best effort.

While Great Self Love showcases the band’s strengths, there are a few weaknesses. The band has the ability to cover a large musical ground, and do so most of the time, even in a single song. Occasionally, this approach can come off as somewhat unfocused. The result is that the EP really never establishes a complete theme -- something that’s probably not necessary on a record this short, but it can help guide for the listener if they’re lost.

But in the end, maybe it’s good a band so young not be holed down with a precise sound too early in their career. The last thing a new act wants to do is get themselves typecast as having a particular sound when the new “radical” movement in indie rock is evolution. This being the case, The Kickback will be fine. A record as mature sounding and well produced as Great Self Love simply can’t go unnoticed. - Loud Loop Press


This EP made it into my inbox recently and it’s been kicking shit outta there ever since! Sorry other mp3s, The Kickback is making room for itself and it’s not taking prisioners! This band grabbed me right from the start. Their EP, Great Self Love, is a sweet little collection of four songs that evoke a bit of that Scottish sound (Glasvegas, We Were Promised Jetpacks, etc.) and map it right onto a solid Midwestern base. What you end up with is strong songwriting that showcases Billy Yost’s rich vocals and well-placed lyrics. It doesn’t hurt that The Kickback’s backup vocals punctuate perfectly, melodies that stick in your head for days. These songs don’t exactly have a hook. They’re full of hooks, one right after the other, not in a cheesy way but in four tracks, this band has filled my brain with ten or so pleasantly, memorable refrains.

I think you’ll find “Indigenous Newspaper Men circa 1980? is one to sing along to, as well as a great start to an EP. It’s been on repeat for the past few days here. “Rough City” has a melancholy feel to it that I’m guessing is going to be chilling in a live context. It’s also a good example of some thrifty songwriting, a little goes a long way here. A noticeable change in pace hits you a bit hard on “Counselor” and I like it that way. This one has a nice twist to it and might be the catchiest of the bunch. And then they take you home with a six minute track, “Burner (Things I Know Nothing About).” They ease you into it, and then The Kickback give you a nice noisy finish, sprinkled with some reverb. Great Self Love is the handjob you saved up for, trust me. You can catch them tonight at the Empty Bottle - Loveshackbaby.net


This EP made it into my inbox recently and it’s been kicking shit outta there ever since! Sorry other mp3s, The Kickback is making room for itself and it’s not taking prisioners! This band grabbed me right from the start. Their EP, Great Self Love, is a sweet little collection of four songs that evoke a bit of that Scottish sound (Glasvegas, We Were Promised Jetpacks, etc.) and map it right onto a solid Midwestern base. What you end up with is strong songwriting that showcases Billy Yost’s rich vocals and well-placed lyrics. It doesn’t hurt that The Kickback’s backup vocals punctuate perfectly, melodies that stick in your head for days. These songs don’t exactly have a hook. They’re full of hooks, one right after the other, not in a cheesy way but in four tracks, this band has filled my brain with ten or so pleasantly, memorable refrains.

I think you’ll find “Indigenous Newspaper Men circa 1980? is one to sing along to, as well as a great start to an EP. It’s been on repeat for the past few days here. “Rough City” has a melancholy feel to it that I’m guessing is going to be chilling in a live context. It’s also a good example of some thrifty songwriting, a little goes a long way here. A noticeable change in pace hits you a bit hard on “Counselor” and I like it that way. This one has a nice twist to it and might be the catchiest of the bunch. And then they take you home with a six minute track, “Burner (Things I Know Nothing About).” They ease you into it, and then The Kickback give you a nice noisy finish, sprinkled with some reverb. Great Self Love is the handjob you saved up for, trust me. You can catch them tonight at the Empty Bottle - Loveshackbaby.net


The Kickback: Exclusive previews

By Sam Burrish
Journal multimedia producer

Today The Journal’s Heard Mentality blog publishes two videos of The Kickback performing live, uncut versions of upcoming studio tracks.

Talks about a final Sioux City media appearance before the move led to a collaboration with the band and The Journal’s multimedia producer.

The idea was simple: An amped-up version of the Heard Mentality blog’s popular performance videos.

The live session highlight burns with “Snuff Film Credits.”

The song presents a vacuous soundscape deep with sonic voices conversing into a growing, undulating cadence that scratches the ceiling.

The song is “not literally about the act. Just a mental reel of things a man is thinking who is completely capable of something that harsh and sadistic,” Yost said. “The charming, terrifying last words he’s thinking he would like to say.

I read that the market for fake snuff films is off the charts in Japan. That was bizarre enough in itself to call for a song.”

The bony keys at first contrast damp, seductive vocals. And bass and kick drum eventually fill in the bottom.

The masterfully-layered song is highlighted by the antagonizing restraint of vocalist, Yost, who, along with old school keys, adds a tense under-wire that arches even the electronic chaos of the song’s robust climaxes and barren lows. - Siouxcityjournal.com


The Kickback, an eclectic indie four-piece that recently relocated to Chicago from South Dakota, will play the Bottom Lounge this Thursday, September 3 with Caw! Caw! and I am a Nation (8 p.m., 21 and over, tix here).

The band has already brought their self-described version of "alternative rock with granulated elements of eletronica, hard beats and whatever else they’ve been listening to that week" to a considerable audience with opening slots for the likes of mewithoutYou, Shiny Toy Guns, Fishbone, and Plain White T’s, and are now working hard to make their mark on the Windy City. For a taste, check out this free download:

Download mp3: The Kickback - "Roman Regret"

To get readers further up to speed before this week's show, guitarist and vocalist Billy Yost took time out to answer some questions about the band:

What’s the story behind the Kickback? How did the band decide to come to Chicago?

The Kickback started at the University of South Dakota in Vermilion, South Dakota. After I graduated with my teaching degree in December, we decided to move to Chicago to try to keep building what we started. Tyler, the other guitarist, recently joined the band, so we can claim at least 25% city blood. The three of us from SD have been playing/touring/recording with the group for the past two years and really needed to relocate to a city, but a city where the people aren’t drunk off their own city-ness. Chicago fits us really well, I think.

What sound or style does the band try to create? What can people expect if they want to check out your music?

This changes a lot. Live, I would really like people to leave feeling like they’d been to a tent revival. I guess a lot of bands wish that. Just tired and changed for the hour or so it takes you to realize it was just music and you actually have things to do and work tomorrow. My current working philosophy for our music is that I want to be the Zombies listening to Jeff Buckley listening to a moderately-talented church choir listening to The Beatles in the “back to basics” stage of their career who would stay together long enough to be influenced by the Sales brothers who wound up backing Iggy Pop in the “Berlin era.” Our tunes wouldn’t express that at all, at the moment, however. So, I guess you can consider this an opportunity to get in on the ground level. I sound like Bernie Madoff.

Has the band released any music yet? Are there any upcoming releases planned?

In the past year we released an EP, A New History, and a single called Alliteration, Etc. with two songs on it. We’ll be back in the studio before snow’s on the ground.

If someone unfamiliar with the Kickback wanted to check out one song, which one would you recommend and why?

That’s tough. A joke among the group is, “Like that last song? Then you’re going to hate this!” We keep changing things, which I contend is a good thing. Right now, our song called “The Wheelers” probably sums us up pretty well. Dynamics and lots of little parts put together to make a bigger picture. And lyrics where a woman ends up begging her husband to beat her just to show her that he still has some feeling towards her. Good Midwestern stuff.

What do you think the Kickback can offer to the Chicago music scene that sets you apart from other bands?

Melody. Harmonies. A continually evolving sound. Function over fashion albeit we may be wearing tight pants but it doesn’t play an integral role in our music. That sounded a lot more prophetic in my head. In closing: A strong sense of family values and a moral compass for a generation in need.

What can people expect from a Kickback live show?

We all really enjoy playing live. That sort of comes out in us differently. Danny gets really focused. I start throwing things. Zach unfortunately spends a lot of the set dodging my headstock. He’s a trooper. Tyler just shakes his head a lot. Disapprovingly.

Who would you most like to play a show with, local or beyond?

Zach introduced me to the band Baby Teeth from here and I really like their stuff. I would love to play a show with them at some point. Down the line, I would sell a kidney to share a stage with Jonny Greenwood and Julian Casablancas. Perfection for a night, dialysis for a lifetime.

What’s next for the band?

We’ll be spending the next few months working on our new record. Our newer stuff requires three-part harmony, so we’ll be spending a lot of collective time in the shower. A big shower, I guess. We’ve got a good string of dates for late 2009 and early 2010. Until then, we’ll be mostly working on the new stuff and trying to get our name out and about.
- Examiner.com


As a former resident, I can say with confidence that southeast South Dakota can often be an incredibly boring and desolate place. That said, this Sioux Falls ex-patriot was most delighted to hear that current SoDak-resident indie rockers The Kickback are building their own fun-filled oasis for all who care to enjoy it with them.

“A New History” begins with a background pulse of a slowly accelerating train. Thick vibrato guitars and emotive vocal patterns join to emit a slow longing not unlike that of one found trapped in a barren landscape. Vocalist Billy Yost apologetically croons he’ll “only say goodbye” and wastes no time doing it. Within a minute and 20 seconds the listener finds themselves in the throws of a roller coaster who’s destination is only the ride of one’s life.

The following five tracks of this EP brought a wealth of notes to my scratch pad: “drums pushing an anxious attention”, “intuitive dynamics”, and “actually intelligent smart-pop harmonies” are a few of the most notable ones. The guitars often channel high-energy acts like The Hives, The Vines and the White Stripes with regard to accessibility, all the while paying tribute to the more complex syncopations of prog-rockers past. To put it a different way, the EP’s stand out track “We All We Know” takes a new twist on that first chord progression every guitarist learns during their third week of lessons and makes it seem downright innovative. Also, it’s important to note that not often can a band announce “We always say we’ve got it all” and not be considered liars because of it.

The Crackup, their most ambitious of the record, was the only track that lent negative notes to the pad. While they continue to bring a danceability infectious even to the lowest looking of shoegazers, the rhythms miss a beat during the chorus when all instruments fall into a play anything free-for-all. It’s as if the song was composed as a mish-mash of licks and riffs linked only by the click-track. Points are most certainly awarded for their extension of abilities, yet for future explorations of this nature, some additional grease may be needed for the wheels.

Still, The Kickback steps back on track with Crawl, Crawl and Game Theory, the latter of which found me frantically scribbling the following: “Reminiscent of a high-speed trek west on I-90 through flat grassland with outstretched airplane hands stopping for a brief break at the Corn Palace which reminds one they should have never stopped there in the first place… ends with a grand view of Black Hills and Badlands” and also “It’s because of songs like this one that Debbie Gibson danced the way she did”.

At this point, even I’ve forgotten what those last two notes actually mean. Yet, I’m about to listen to “A New History” a second time in order to find out. I highly recommend the reader do the same.

4 of 5 stars. - Sianetradio.com


The Kickback are a Chicago-based rock band that have clearly studied their indie rock history. Their extremely competent, catchy debut effort, Sorry All Over The Place (the catchphrase of my life) belies how nimbly the group is able to transition from ballad, to Smashing Pumpkins-esque rock outbursts, to extended instrumental jams. They are all over the place, sure, but they don’t need to apologize.

Stream The Kickback’s album above and see if you can piece together all the multifarious influences that the group so clearly has. If you hear some traces of Spoon throughout the record, you might attribute that to the Austin band’s drummer Jim Eno helming the production here. After sending some demos to the Spoon member on a whim, he decided to take the up-and-comers under his wing. That initiative paid off in spades–the album turns sharp corners–and while this might be a trap for new bands, the production remains consistently tight and consistent, despite changes in tone.

As a huge Twin Peaks fan, my favorite cut on here is “White Lodge”, which is chiefly about Agent Cooper trying to navigate the sordid mystical realm of the Black Lodge. Burrowed deep under harrowing, nerve fraying guitar phrases, frontman Billy Yost sounds like he is also descending into Lynchian madness, yawping in the hope that someone sane hears him.

If you like what you hear, be sure to pick up Sorry All Over The Place when it hits digital and physical retailers on September 18 via Jullian Records. - Nerdist


Discography

  • Sorry All Over The Place LP (Jullian Records, 2015)
  • Please Hurt 7-inch (In-Store Recordings, 2013)
  • Mea Culpa Mea Culpa EP (Self, 2011)
  • Great Self Love EP (Self, 2010)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

The Kickback’s debut, Sorry All Over The Place (Jullian Records), is an invigorating 10-song collection that fuses ‘60s bubblegum sentimentality with modern indie rock’s quirky confessionals and wiry musicality. 

The album also represents vocalist/guitarist Billy Yost’s seven-year odyssey, as he shifted from being a small town songwriter living with his parents to writing music on his own terms, putting together an acclaimed band, and earning the respect of one of his primary influences.

The story begins in 2009 when Billy, a recent college graduate, decided to leave his rural South Dakota home and move to Chicago. “I was terrified about making the move,” Billy confides. “I loved where I grew up. I spent a lot of time there writing songs for this record, and figuring out what I had to offer.  But I needed a bigger pool of musicians who I had things in common with musically.”

The Kickback have released a clutch of EPs and singles and have garnered praise from Rolling Stone, esteemed tastemaker Jim DeRogatis (Sound Opinions, SPIN, Chicago Sun Times), You Ain’t No Picasso, the Chicago Tribune, among many other outlets. The Chicago-based quartet has built a robust and respected live profile through incendiary gigs and tours with artists such as White Rabbits, Smith Westerns, Here We Go Magic, Tapes ‘n Tapes, and Telekinesis. 

The band furthered their reach and appeal with their podcast DISASTOUR, which, with barbed wit, self-deprecating candor, and warmth, peels back the shiny veneer of the rock n’ roll life, revealing the humor and struggles of what it means to be a contemporary musician. Since 2010, the group has aired over 100 episodes of the popular series. 

The Kickback, composed of Billy Yost (vocals, guitar), Daniel Leu (bass), Jonny Ifergan (guitar), and Ryan Farnham (drums), is influenced by a broad array of irreverent, cerebral, and sometimes outlandish, cultural references. They cite Hunter S. Thompson, post-post-modernism, an inflated sense of self-importance, large families, David Foster Wallace, The Wire, big sounds and then quiet sounds, David Lynch, harmonies, Michael Keaton, and entitlement, as their conceptual inspirations. 

Upon arriving in Chicago, Billy assembled the band through Craigslist ads, weathering a series of changes until the band solidified with the current lineup. Despite Billy’s status as the founding member and primary songwriter, The Kickback is a truly collaborative effort built around each member’s artistic vision.

A milestone moment came when the band, with humor and bravado, sent their demos to Jim Eno from Spoon (one of Billy’s primary modern artistic inspirations). Jim responded favorably and got in touch with the band. “I remember I was standing in a friend’s kitchen when I got his message,” Billy recalls, laughing. “I called him and I was breathing so heavy, and I talked at him for 10 minutes about every song he’s done. He mercifully let me finish my diatribe before asking about my music.”

To record Sorry All Over The Place, the four-piece decamped to Jim Eno’s studio, Public Hi-Fi, in Austin, Texas. “We spent three weeks sleeping body to body to body to body. It was like trauma bonding,” Billy says laughing good-naturedly. “We bonded together through making a lot of sacrifices, working hard, and navigating everyone’s feelings to make something we all feel really good about.” 

The Kickback’s debut album is named after a fictional footnote in David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. In a similar spirit to Wallace’s multi-layered literary tour de force (which includes 388 endnotes), Sorry All Over The Place is rife with a fascinating array of references and revelations. “I like the idea of contrasts. Like with David Letterman you had a late night personality that seemed unhappy to be there, or with the Muppets—they can warm your heart as puppets or terrify a child as monsters,” Billy explains. 

The new-wavey “Sting’s Teacher Years” sonically alludes to The Police and Sting’s former life as a teacher, while more directly citing Billy’s prior path as a college graduate with a teacher’s degree confronting the next era of his life. “It’s a scary time after you graduate and it took me a long time to learn ‘normal people’ adult things,” Billy says candidly. 

The song epitomizes the band’s journey from South Dakota to the driven days in Chicago. “I’m really grateful for how everything has turned out. I’ve never felt stronger about a batch of songs I’ve written. We felt so strongly about sharing this music that we were going to hand out albums on street corners. I'm glad it didn't come to that,” Billy says laughing.

Band Members