Hyde Park band does They Might Be Giants-like clever silliness. After two cassette-only full-lengths, they've finally made their first CD this year, Lipchitz, which features Poi Dog Pondering's Dave Crawford, violinist Susan Voelz, Coctails' John Upturch on horns, and Pete Weiss (keyboards and Mellotron).
The record is one of the better rock albums to come out of the Windy City in recent memory. If you can imagine a band like They Might Be Giants but with a bit more musical talent and a stronger intellectual bent to the lyrics, you'd have something close to the JHMC. Lipchitz is one of the few local rock albums that will stay in my collection (and get listened to frequently) for years to come...
You can buy the record yourself at CD Baby.
Regular members include J Niimi (drums), bassist John Greenfield, and guitarist John Huss. You can email John, call: 773-FAIR-ODE, or mail them at: 5621 South University Ave, Chicago, IL 60637.
What other people say:
"John Huss has a Master's Degree in Geology and a Ph.D. in Rock. Result: acoustic power pop with lyrics like 'I met your father, he was such a hayseed he makes Howdy Doody look like Lou Reed.'"
- 1997 Chicago's New Music Festival program guide.
"literate, driving pop"
- Richard Challen, Option, in his review of 100 Watts: Songs From WHPK's Pure Hype
"John Huss, leader of the John Huss Moderate Combo, has one of the most non-singerly singing voices on the planet -- on the band's Braying Mantis 7" (It Won't Go Flat), he sounds like he should be badgering the teller at the booth next to yours instead of fronting a rock band. As a songwriter, though, he puts the words first -- his lyrics are always at least mildly witty, and sometimes more so (as when he's dissing Delaware: 'I come from New Jersey/Our Newark is better than yours'). So he sticks his voice right smack on top of the mix, and guess what? It works perfectly fine. Best joke: 'National Anthem,' a hit and run ditty about hating people produced to sound like it's being sung to start a ball game."
- Douglas Wolk, CMJ
"Chicago's own endearing/witty/clumsy solo troubadour, singing tales of tire tools, snorkeling for golf balls and much more, all in his Al Franken-with-a-guitar style. 14 songs in all, and if you're like us you'll play them over and over."
- Ajax Records_ catalogue description of the John Huss cassette-album "Pie Aren't Squared"
"the lyrics stand out like stratocasters and hair extensions at a Woody Guthrie tribute"
- David Rothschild, New City, 1992 review of cassette album "Folk 'n' Roll."
"Where most rock music is fueled by booze, drugs and a cranky dissatisfaction, the John Huss Moderate Combo's tunes are propelled by pure logophilia. Clever, playful and indefatigable, Huss' wordplay dominates his songs with unexpected rhymes and kaleidoscopic imagery. The only downer is that the lyrics can overshadow the music, which hops across the stylistic spectrum with a light, unerring tunefulness."
- Rick Reger, Chicago Tribune
For more information, visit their website: http://www.cdbaby.com/huss
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