Chicago’s very own, Circles, can easily be considered a “supergroup” made up of veteran Chicago rockers, including ex-members of France Has the Bomb, The Ponys, Holy Ghosts, and Radar Eyes. This new project from Ken Coulman, Melissa Elias, and R. Srini, blends a nice mix of Brit-pop, garage pop, and ’90s alternative into something undeniable catchy and danceable.
They’ve put their efforts into a 6 track EP, released last June. “Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You” is a very strong debut for this new group. Having come from some fairly well established Chicago bands, their debut EP has a mature and well-thought out sound to it, as if the group found all the right pieces of the puzzle right off the bat.
Songs like “Constant Party” & “Curses” are instantly enjoyable at first listen. The rest of the EP does not disappoint either.
“Photographs of Naked Ladies (Toy Love)” is quickly becoming my favorite track of the EP, with its rhythmic strumming and toy piano accents, the song is the closest thing to post-punk the band has produced. It’s almost as if Bikini Kill were paying tribute to Bauhaus. Comparisons aside, Ex-Pony’s member, Melissa Elias’ vocal style really shines on this one.
The brooding bass intro of closing track “Black Eyes” builds into a driving punk rock verse, somewhat reminiscent of early Sonic Youth, until the catchy sing-a-long chorus, “Feels so free to be alone” enters and brings you back into the band’s pop sensibilities.
The band has recently expanded to include fellow talented Chicagoans, Anthony Cozzi (Radar Eyes) and Christen Thomas, making this all-star lineup even better.
“Are You Watching the Masters? Because the Masters Are Watching You” is available on bandcamp via the ever popular “name your price” option. These 6 tracks are absolutely worth tossing a few dollars at, seeing as though you will find yourself wanting to hear them over and over again. Keep an eye out for these guys (and girls).