Tuesday, September 28, 2010

EP review: Tiny Magnets - 'Daughters of the Frontier'

Posted by Frank

Tiny Magnets (photo: Annie Johnston)
MP3: Tiny Magnets - "Olivia"

If you consider yourself a fan of classic alternative rock and count records from the likes of Pixies and The Jesus and Mary Chain among your most prized, chances are you'll find it hard to resist Chicago band Tiny Magnets and their debut EP, Daughters of the Frontier. In fact, you'll probably be sold before the lead-off track, "Olivia," is halfway over, and after the remaining five tracks you just might christen the quartet one of your newest favorite bands.

The above-mentioned "Olivia" is arguably the star of the show here, offering up the perfect combination of sweetness and rawness, plus hooks that worm their way into your mind and hold on tight. There's a lot to love about this song, from the way the deep, cool vocal delivery from singer/bassist/songwriter Brian Cremins is complemented by Allison Felus's infectious, Kim Deal-esque co-vocal, to the way the lead guitar seems to add a third voice of its own. It would be tough to top this kind of introduction, but the band come damn near close with the rest of the tracks. All of them are solid, but the upbeat, rocking "Gary's Song" (a tribute to the late Gary Rogers, who ran sound at local clubs such as Bottom Lounge and Gunther Murphy's) is especially wonderful, as is the Felus-sung "CTA," a dreamy, spacious song about riding public transportation in the Windy City that somehow sounds as sad and lonely as it does hopeful and optimistic.

After taking a look at the band's past, it becomes less surprising that they  make such a strong showing on their self-produced debut. Guitarist Kevin Henretta has been a member of the Chicago rock scene since the early 90s, playing in bands such as Plastics Hi-Fi, Dead Electric and Ten Hundred. Cremins spent many years playing with Hartford, CT act Confessors, in addition to local bands after moving to Chicago. Drummer Jake Montgomery has played with Dark Country, while Felus has diverse experience both playing and writing about music.

Daughters of the Frontier is simply top-notch rock and roll that's well worth checking out. It's very clear that these four musicians have something very special together, and I'm looking forward to hearing more.

Tiny Magnets are holding an EP release show on Friday, October 8 at Cole's (2338 N. Milwaukee) with Space Mandino and Chew Heart opening, and are also scheduled to play Martyrs on November 9. The EP is also available at Reckless Records, or directly from the band at tinymagnets@yahoo.com.

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