It’s no secret that I would love to move to Chicago. I’ve been “hinting” at it for years, and the yearning increases every time I make the not-quite-two-hour trek westward.
While there are countless reasons why I wish to reside there — or really any major metropolis for that matter — the overriding factor is the quantity and quality of live music available on any given night.
When I was in my peak concert-going mode a few years ago, I was attending 1-2 shows a month — many of them in the Windy City. Nowadays, I only see a few a year, so I’m much more selective when it comes to the shows I choose to see.
One of my good friends, however, doesn’t have that issue. Living in the city, he can go to a show pretty much any time he wants. And rather than only honing in on a specific band or show to see, he’s been able to put his faith in the booking agent at some of his favorite clubs and see bands he has little or no previous knowledge of.
Just last year, he discovered Little Green Cars when one of his friends suggested they go together. And more recently, he went to a Smith Westerns show and saw Wampire as the opener. Both groups were among his biggest finds of 2013.
As for me, I didn’t catch on to Wampire until the last few weeks when I heard them on a college radio station. And having since listened to more of their music, I have become a believer.
Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps have been making music together since 2001, but they officially formed Wampire in 2007. Having been known for enlivening house parties around Portland with their EDM-tinged sounds, the duo changed direction. And the end result was Curiosity, their debut album that came out in May 2013.
The above song, “The Hearse”, is the opening track, and it gives listeners a pretty good idea of what’s in store — a surprisingly tight mixture of lo-fi electronica, garage psychedelia and jazzy surf-rock.
Some contemporaries that come to mind include MGMT, Of Montreal and Peter Bjorn & John.