I've got a whole city to hold down

February 04, 2004

Young rock gets the sniff test

It’s been a while since Chicago cranked out a crackerjack new band that really rocks. We never bought the whole OKGO thing (too cute). Then we put our chips down on Mansion/the Boas, but the band split before beginning to realize its potential. Now buzz is building on a couple of comers, the Redwalls and the M’s—but we’re skeptical.

The Redwalls are the much-discussed teenaged suburbanites now signed to Capitol. We liked what we heard on WLUW last summer (back when they were known as the Pages), but their record-release gig at the Subterranean in October left us cold. Terri Hemmert must love these guys, but we found ourselves waiting for Ed Sullivan to bring out one of those plate-spinner dudes. The band’s debut, “Universal Blues”—which we admittedly haven’t heard—came out on Undertow a few months back, and its major-label bow is slated for fall. The Redwalls play Feb. 15 at Metro.

The vibe we’re getting from the first M’s EP—available from Brilliante—is almost as derivative. Only difference is they’re Kinksy and glam, not Fab. The tide of favorable ink they’ve had lately is too much too soon, and we can’t help but wonder if the difference in local press treatment of the two bands has something to do with the divergent paths they’re perceived to be traveling: M’s are the cool indie guys, Redwalls are the careerist climbers. Our POV: Maybe they’re both just acts in need of a new idea?

Sometimes, though, and especially with developing bands, the proof is in the onstage pudding, not the embryonic discs. The M’s have another shot to impress us in that forum this Friday at Schubas. We'd like to be swayed.