While Thrill Jockey has long been known as Chicago's bastion of post-rock, it's also released a string of amazing albums in genres that might surprise you. Alongside all those Tortoise records sit a handful of country albums from the likes of Freakwater, sun-baked Southwestern lo-fi by Howe Gelb, a David Byrne film-score (from the Scottish indie hit "Young Adam") and even some agro-joke rock by Trans-Am. And alongside Thrill Jockey's other new signs, Pit er Pat, stand The Zincs.
Fronted by British transplant Jim Ellington, the Zincs are a band with a staple of poppy hooks that avoid the saccharine aftertaste of the top 40 mainstays they resemble in song structure and subject matter. But unlike the latest band whose song was featured on "Dawson's Creek" or "The OC," the Zincs actually know what they want to say, and how to say it effectively.
Elkington's lyrics are subtle and intelligent, and the songs have the same kind of catchy appeal as a Pernice Brothers release, only you won't feel quite as ready to end it all when the record is over. This is a guilty pleasure you can feel guilt-free about. Put it on, your 14-year-old sister will like it. But beware, because your 55-year-old mum might like it, too.
Elkington is a relative newcomer to the Chicago area, and with his current release on Thrill Jockey, his band is set to play quite a bit around the city in the upcoming year. So keep your eyes open for upcoming shows. But before you go out and see them, take this into account:
Tell me who you are: "I am a surly Englishman who moved to Chicago with a vague plan to start up my own band. The Zincs' first album ("Moth & Marriage") came out in 2001 but was a solo effort; now I have a fulltime band and we're currently on tour."
Baby's first steps: "When the first album came out I formed a band with the intention of doing a couple of shows just test to the water. It's almost exactly the same band that is now on the new album and on his tour. Our first show was at the Hideout, where all first shows should be."
Here I amórock you like: "David Bowie with a hangover."
Coming soon to a dive bar near you: Schubas on July 12 with Nicolai Dunger, though right now we're on tour with Monade.
Fresh from the woodshop: "Dimmer" LP on Thrill Jockey.
What's cool in your neck of the woods: I'm in Reckless Records about twice a week and just moved to Lincoln Square, which has enough stuff going on to stop me from going downtown.
This band blew my hair back: US Maple is just about my favorite band in town so I go to every show I can.
Read more about The Zincs, compliments of Thrill Jockey.