Rough Gems are those artists that haven't gotten the amount of attention they so shrewdly deserve or those that may be on the verge of making it. With any hope, we can change their fortunes by giving them some exposure. Or, at the very least, marginally improve their fan base.
Although we usually despise bands littering their monikers with punctuation (see: every band formed after 2007 playing dance punk), we'll make an exception with Chicago's Caw! Caw! In fact, the band's avian-themed name is perfect in trying to describe a sound you can't exactly pin down. (Or, pigeonhole. Ha!) But seriously, try shooting this bird; it flies so fast and takes so many left turns that you'll quickly tire of the pursuit, deem the hunt impossible and simply enjoy its splendor.
At one point mathy, with unconventional time signatures and syncopated rhythms, and the next undeniably poppy, Caw! Caw! reminds us most of Born Ruffians, who reminded us last year of early-day Modest Mouse. Singer/guitarist Tim Tsurutani has the perfect yelp to complement the fast moving, high-on-life arrangements behind him, and he effortlessly crams in as many non-sequiturs as he can before catching up with the rest of the band.
Honestly, we're pretty bummed we missed the boat on Wait Outside, the trio's excellent debut EP released last September on Slanty Shanty. It's chock full of quirky, blistering songs like "Organisms", which we're giving you above for free, and the ambient "Escape The Red Giant", on which Tsurutani evokes Billy Corgan and the rest of the band takes similar cues from the Siamese Dream album. Not bad company to have.
So hey guys, we really dig what you're doing. Now go make more music. With any luck, when you come back the whole blog world will be waiting for the result. And we can personally assure you that Caw! Caw! won't just be for the birds.
You can buy the "Wait Outside" EP from Slanty Shanty, iTunes, or InSound. Don't say we didn't warn you.