Monday, March 18, 2013

Artist Primer: Project Film

I could tell from the first listen that Project Film is the kind of band I could love. You see, I have a weakness for a certain kind of indie rock band that they play to with a vengeance. It’s a sound that I associate with the mid-‘00s, a sort of mid-fi, mid-tempo rock with inventive, guitars that tread that careful line between shimmery and spikey, maybe with some acoustic strumming and keys thrown in for good measure.

Project Film, is comprised of singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Sam McAllister with the assistance of Megan Frestedt (the two also run the band's label, Tandem Records) hit that sweet spot perfectly with their first album, 2010’s Chicago. I love the fact that McAllister apparently recorded the whole thing in his Chicago apartment, save for Frestedt’s vocals because there is a warmth, intimacy and slightly ramshackle quality to whole affair which that origin story would account for perfectly. It was good timing for me because this record worked its way into heavy rotation for me this January and February and it’s great hibernation rock. As a product of Minneapolis and Chicago, McAllister knows a thing or two about surviving a Midwestern winter and it’s no coincidence that a group of songs he holed up in his apartment to creates sound really good while holed up in one’s apartment.

The music is a lovely stroll through the world of bookish indie guitar influences so popular in the last decade such as Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie and the Feelies. Although it’s not a wildly diverse record the band knows its strengths and sticks to them with just enough variation to keep things interesting. From the whispered acoustic numbers (“Sun,” “Kapture”) to bouncy pop (“Cut Outs,” “Motionless”) to textural guitar explorations (“Ink,” “Cool Kids”), Chicago neither lags nor soars in its 40 minute run time but rather coats along with a pleasing consistency that never veers towards monotony. And speaking of charming, how about Frestedt? Her vocal additions, whether it’s simple harmonizing, background humming or upbeat “bop, bop, bah”s never is a consistent pleasure that adds immeasurably the records charm and insouciance.

Apparently hard at work on a follow-up to Chicago, Project Film has been popping up around Chicago every month or so recently. Circumstances keep conspiring against my catching them but I have a high hopes for this Wednesday. Not only are they playing a free show right down the street from me in Logan Square but it’s at the Whistler (so this one's 21 and over, sorry kids_, where I should be able to enjoy some fantastic drinks via their bomb-ass cocktails without violating my “no beer for Lent” vow. See you there?

Take a listen and if you like what you hear, why not give it a buy?

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