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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Castevet’s Nick Wakim on five bands to watch

Illustration for article titled Castevet’s Nick Wakim on five bands to watch

A local band on the rise, emo quartet Castevet has garnered acclaim from punk music tastemakers like AbsolutePunk and Alternative Press. That’s because its newest record, The Echo & The Light, culls inspiration from Chicago’s punk past and present to create a sincere, visceral album.

Needless to say, the guys in Castevet know a thing or two about Chicago punk. So, before the group plays Beat Kitchen on Nov. 27, The A.V. Club asked Castevet frontman Nick Wakim to pick five up-and-coming local punk acts everyone needs to hear now.

Cloud Mouth
Nick Wakim: Here’s a band that’s doing everything right: Cloud Mouth assimilates the Dischord sound into a Midwest frame of reference, playing with the perfect combination of intensity and talent. The guitar and bass swirl around each other in an interplay that finds dissonant notes strung over thunderous bass, as the instruments come together and fall away. This exchange is anchored by complex drumming, which is comprised of equal parts power and finesse. Call and response vocals complete the package, adding urgency and emotion to the mix. The resulting songs are angular and jarring, yet full of heavy grooves.


These guys put absolutely everything they have into their set, and it’s this genuine passion that sets them apart. Cloud Mouth’s sincerity is echoed in their actions and contributions to DIY in Chicago, so it’s really no surprise that the music they make is this outstanding considering where their hearts are.

Socially Retarded
NW: These dudes are totally punishing. Super fast riffs speed ahead and crash into slower versions that pummel you into submission. Before you even realize it, the song is over but the pause is brief. The noise that provided a textured soundscape during the background of that last song now serves as a bridge into the next. The drumming is ultra-fast and super loud, advancing the dirging bass and distorted guitar. Pissed off, sneering vocals fight for your attention against the electronics, alternating between piercing feedback and rumbling fuzz. Whether it’s fast and heavy or slow and heavy, it’s always loud.

NW: These guys are pretty much writing the soundtrack to every fun time you’ve ever had. Intertwining, melodic guitar parts shuffle alongside bass progressions that serve to hold those intricate guitars together with the ever-evolving drum beats. Three sets of sung and shouted vocals provide endless sing-a-long opportunities. Their upbeat jams are loose and jangly, stop-and-start, and undeniably catchy. Definitely grab the Lawndale cassette and burn through it as many times as possible, grasping onto every last shred of fall as winter approaches.

Like Rats
NW: Simple formula: Fast and crusty d-beat parts mingle with mid-tempo jams and slower metallic beat-downs. This is metal with punk leanings done right. Lyrics question any and all facets of humanity and civilization, screamed in perfect cadence over buzzing guitar, heavy bass, and big drums. On their new 7”, the recording is just the right amount of raw but with enough clarity to discern all of the parts. This record rips, but it’s the lumbering “Fathers” that stands out.

NW: Elegant and flowing guitar melodies stream forward in an almost perfectly linear structure, as it seems like the band has just too many good ideas to go back and repeat parts. While the bass strays just enough to strike out its own unique contribution to the twinkling guitar floating over it, sophisticated timings twist into more straight-ahead grooves. The drumming is impressive and precise, with mathematic syncopation advancing to become a heavy backbeat. Layers of both female and male vocals combine to create harmonies complimentary to the tangle of uplifting and catchy progressions beneath them.

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