July Talk

Kickstand Productions Presents

July Talk

Mona, Little Junior

Fri, February 17, 2017

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

Subterranean

$12.00 - $14.00

Sold Out

This event is 17 and over

**Moved from Nov. 9th - All Previously Purchased Tickets Will Be Honored**

July Talk
July Talk
With their sleek yet gritty brand of alt-bluesy garage rock, Toronto-based five-piece July Talk create rock & roll that’s both boldly intimate and wildly confrontational. Each track in the band’s repertoire is a conversation in song form, with singers Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay trading lines in a lyrical face-off that’s at turns hot-tempered and tender, reckless and poetic. Onstage that conversation warps into beautiful chaos, thanks to the band’s joyfully unhinged, spontaneity-fueled live performance. And in their music—including the five songs that grace their Island Records debut EP Guns + Ammunition—July Talk piece together supremely heavy riffs, infectious beats, and snakey grooves in a sound that’s savage but seductive.

“With the name of the band, the word ‘talk’ refers to the whole idea of our songs being a conversation, and ‘July’ is about that thing that happens in the summertime when you’re young—how you can meet someone and fall in love and party your face off and then fall out of love and have the happiest and saddest time in your life, all in about three months,” explains Dreimanis, who founded July Talk in 2012 with Fay and fellow guitarist Ian Docherty, bassist Josh Warburton, and drummer Danny Miles. And while Dreimanis’s initial vision for the project centered on that tag-team vocal exchange, Fay notes that July Talk’s emotionally intricate, contradiction-driven dynamic results largely from the band’s raw authenticity. “I think it comes naturally from us living out our intention of being an honest rock band, whether it’s quiet-loud or male-female, or whatever else comes up as we’re expressing what we need to express,” she says.

Even July Talk’s two lead voices are constantly clashing forces, with Dreimanis’s raspy growl scraping up against Fay’s graceful sing-song. On Guns + Ammunition July Talk use those vocals to channel their pure and brutal emotionalism into wickedly sharp and sardonic lyrics. On “Paper Girl,” for instance, Dreimanis attempts to destroy an ex-love with jabs like “You don’t look pretty when you smile/So don’t smile at all” before Fay steps in and serenades him with the sweetly devastating chorus (“And if you want money in your coffee/If you want secrets in your tea/Keep your paper heart away from me”). With its swinging rhythm and sludgy guitar, “Summer Dress” touches on the possible futility of looking for love in the city (“The girls are young, a little dumb/And they’re going it alone”), while the twangy, tough-talking “Garden” is a close-up glimpse at mental unraveling (“I’ve got thoughts that ain’t my own/I’m talking black souls dressed in red/And things that I never shoulda known”). And on the quietly brooding “I’ve Rationed Well” (a song about “creating an idealized version of someone and being nostalgic when they’re gone—basically missing someone who doesn’t exist,” according to Dreimanis), Fay’s hushed vocals entwine with Dreimanis’s stark spoken-word to deliver lines like “We’ll survive by telling lies/We’ve rationed well” to haunting effect.

True to their name, July Talk was born in the summertime, at a Toronto bar lit solely by candlelight in recognition of the anniversary of the 2003 blackout. “There was an acoustic guitar getting passed around and Leah was playing and singing as I came in, and I was just blown away by her,” recalls Dreimanis, who’d recently parted ways with his former band and written a batch of songs intended for dual vocalists. Though the two didn’t connect that night, Dreimanis soon tracked Fay down and sent her a handful of songs he’d recorded in his bedroom. “We were from such different places and going through such different things, it almost felt like it shouldn’t have worked,” says Fay, who previously played in a band/performance-art project called Mothers of Brides (who, as she explains, “tried to distract from the sincerity of our songs by doing things like banging on books with hammers and having people play Jenga onstage during our sets”). Rounding out the lineup with Docherty, Warburton, and Miles (all of whom were former bandmates of Dreimanis), July Talk soon began playing together and expanding the songs Dreimanis had newly developed. “The bands I’d played in before had a Replacements-y sort of influence, very loud and high-energy rock & roll mixed with intoxication, so I wanted to take the manic chaos of that and turn it into something more intimate,” Dreimanis points out.

After finding a manager and setting to work on their debut (a self-titled album released in Canada in autumn 2012), July Talk quickly threw themselves into a frantic touring schedule that’s gone a long way in shaping the sound and soul of the band. “Starting right from when the record came out we were on the road about 90 percent of the time, which we really love,” says Dreimanis. “The stage is where this band lives, and we’ve written our songs in a way that they can change every night and turn into something completely different when we play them live.” When it comes to writing, July Talk tend to retreat to remote and quiet spaces (such as a friend’s house in the woods, where they set up camp last January) and dedicate entire days to working on songs. “All five of us get together and bring ideas to the table and deconstruct them and fight over them and eventually love them, and then Leah and I will work on the lyrics,” says Dreimanis. In that lyric-writing, July Talk aim first and foremost for a certain frankness and uncompromising honesty. “It’s really important to us that we fully illustrate the subject we’re trying to get at in the song, which a lot of the time has to do with what it’s like to be 25 and confused or pissed off or whatever it is that we are,” says Dreimanis. “We try to have the guts to say the kinds of things that most people would hold themselves back from saying.”

Also intensely devoted to the visual element of the band, July Talk have put out a series of self-produced videos directed by Warburton and shot in black and white to mimic their music’s spirit of contrast. According to Fay, that what-you-see-is-what-you-get aesthetic has much to do with “trying to make something people can connect with in a real and direct way.” With recent outings including a spring tour of Europe and stops at summer festivals like the Isle of Wight, connection through live performance is also paramount to the band. “It’s an amazing thing to experience people through rock & roll,” says Fay. “I feel like I’m learning so much by being onstage and getting to look hundreds of different people in the eyes.” And in making those connections, the band members endlessly play off the give-and-take dynamic that stands at the heart of July Talk. “We always see how far we can push each other past our boundaries, figuratively and literally,” says Dreimanis. “Quite early on we realized the audience was totally on board with that, so now how we measure a show is whether we’re able to lose all touch with reality, and create something special that goes way past what anyone’s expectations of us might be.”
Mona
Mona
Upon leaving the Midwest for Nashville, MONA quickly captured the attention of audiences and critics with driving, post-indie rock delivered with a rebellious energy. Looking back, singer and songwriter Nick Brown describes the band's vibe with a string of adjectives and nouns: fist pumping, white t-shirts, Marlon Brando, James Dean, sex and God. It all led to a major-label overtures and eventually a deal with Island Def Jam.

As Brown tells it, he and his bandmates were more than happy to embrace the narrative as they were swept along through green rooms, VIP tents, label offices, television studios and the world's largest festivals. But in the end, major-label life wasn't the right fit for a band that had approached songwriting, recording and live performance in their own way from day one.

"As much fun as it all was most of the time, we wanted to be more than a trend," says Brown. "We're in this to connect with other humans."

For Brown and his bandmates, it had always been about connection. The son of a Pentecostal preacher, Brown snuck in rock riffs and built up swagger between Sunday services, well aware of the faith tradition he shared with greats like Johnny Cash, Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. In fact, he named the band after this grandmother Mona, a nod to heritage and a bygone era.

"I came from a background of seeing music matter to people," he says. "I learned early that where people came together for music, there was power."

Mona got a taste of that power when their self-titled debut was nominated for the BBC Sound of 2011 award and won MTV's Brand New for 2011. They found themselves playing Later With Jools Holland, Conan and Leno, as well as being named to NME's Best New Bands. Supporting gigs for Noel Gallagher, Kings Of Leon and other large acts followed, as did appearances at some of the world's biggest festivals, including Glastonbury, Reading/Leeds, Coachella, Lollapalooza, Splendour in the Grass and more.

They built on that momentum with a second album, "Torches & Pitchforks", which showcased the band's seemingly endless reserve of creative energy, and brought focus to their signature sound. The sophomore effort again earned praise from fans and critics worldwide.

Today, on the eve of their third album, the Nashville rockers find themselves brimming with energy and confidence. They're also now a five-piece, with Zach Lindsay on bass, his brother Alex on guitar, Jordan Young on guitar, and Justin Wilson on drums. They've seen a lot in just a few years and have emerged with a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh and vibrant set of newly penned songs that may well be the best of their career. Brown and his bandmates joke about creating a new genre: romantic ambient grunge alt.

With a new label, a new team and an extraordinary new batch of songs, Brown says he's more proud than ever of the band and the work they are doing. "We have always been a tight knit group, but the vibe is the best's it's been and we are looking forward to bringing these songs to the public. Very few things matter in this world, and we think music is one of them."
Little Junior
Little Junior are a punk band that can't help but write pop songs. They met in middle school and still haven't outgrown their teenage angst. Their music is sarcastic and self-deprecating; Little Junior often sound like brats but at least they know it.
Venue Information:
Subterranean
2011 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL, 60647
http://subt.net/