Press: Kathryn Musilek at Shark Party Media
The Laureates’ sound came together over a two-year span beginning in late 2005 after Chad Preston (vocals, guitar) had written and recorded a self-produced, lo-fi album throughout that year. Knowing that being in a band is always more fun, he went out to find people to play live and record some songs. He first found Crawfie Ward (bass) and Pete Gray (drums) who had played together previously in other projects. Adam Penly joined in early 2007 just in time to help support the release of the band’s first record, a self-titled 7” EP, released on its own label, Funambulist Recording Company.
After a number of local Chicago shows, the band recorded their first full-length album, There Are No More Gentlemen with Mike Lust at his Phantom Manor studio, and released it at the end of 2008, again on Funambulist. The songs on the record recall traces of childhoods spent listening to the underground rock of the ‘80s and ‘90s, and classic rock and roll heard on the radio in dad’s car, as if the band was pretending that Pixies and Pavement were contemporaries of The Beatles or The Who. The record’s modern approach to vintage rock and roll/pop songs (“equal parts paisley and punk” – Chicagoist) garnered positive reviews from around the blogosphere, with writers comparing the band’s music to Guided by Voices, Spoon, Interpol, The Jam, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. The album saw some college radio play, charting on the CMJ 200.
Their third record, No Kontrol, was released digitally in February, 2010, via Funambulist Recording Company/Candy Dinner. The EP was recorded by Johnathan Crawford (Paul Cary, The Runnies, Tiger Bones, France Has the Bomb) in Chicago in the summer of 2009 at Leroy Bach’s home studio and at Clown Town. No Kontrol slightly tweaked the sound of There Are No More Gentlemen by adding a touch of lo-fi noise and reverb-ed abandon.
In April 2011, Chicago rockers, THE LAUREATES announced that their second full-length album, Spells, will hit the streets June 28, 2011 on 12” vinyl on the band’s own imprint, Funambulist Recording Company. In 2010, while the band recorded and released a cover every month as part of their “Year of The Covers” experiment, they also wrote and recorded another 10 original tracks with all the passion and grit expected of these Chicago favorites. Spells’ basic tracks were recorded by Johnathan Crawford on an 8-track tape machine at Catalyst in Chicago, and finished at Clown Town during the summer and fall.
The songs on Spells combine the crystalline, modern-pop sensibilities of their first album, There Are No More Gentlemen with the more echoed, vintage analog acoustics of the No Kontrol EP, producing an electrifying amalgam of the energies of their previous recordings. The new album finds the band straying from the 3-minute pop song formula on tracks such as “Life of Leisure” and “Moon Bitch,” the former starting out as a bouncy strut of sunshine-y pop before veering into darker psychedelic noise, and the latter closing out the album as a slow-burn vamp that brings to mind a marriage of Ziggy Stardust and Doolittle. The narrator on the menacing track, “Robbers” slips in and out of paranoid nightmares of both the sleeping and sleep-walking varieties while the drums shuffle along in concert with a Velvets-inspired guitar riff. But the record still retains The Laureates’ signature blasts of pop on songs like the anthemic “Changes, Etc.”, the angular “Don’t Lose Your Cool”, and the weary but bright-eyed “Oh, Delusion.”