In the many years of doing this column, I have written on all styles of music, but had never focused my attention on the genre of “scum pop.”
The flattering term was recently coined by region quintet Shilo who headline a multi-band 9 p.m. show tonight at The Beat Kitchen (2100 West Belmont) in Chicago. Open to a 17 and older audience, the bill also features the bands More Gorgeous, Departures and The Flips. Cost: $10.
“People kept calling us things we didn't feel we were, and we'd rather box ourselves in than let someone else do it,” explained guitarist/vocalist Alex Reindl on the “scum pop” tag which the band feels encompasses the folk, pop, punk and grunge elements found on Shilo’s two full length Shilo CDs – 2011’s “All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers” and the new “Mrs.”
“Lyrically, this last record has some pretty scummy themes; drug addiction, kids selling plasma…,” commented guitarist/vocalist Ryan Ensley about the “scum pop” label. “We’re just observing things that are real in the lives of people we’ve met. Aside from the lyrics, the sonic form of ‘scum pop’ can be really fuzzy guitars with super heavy drums, but then we add in three-part harmonies and really beautiful pianos.”
Terminology aside, Shilo wants the world to hear their music and have been beating around Chicago clubs like The Beat Kitchen, The Double Door, Bottom Lounge, Subterranean and Lincoln Hall since coming together in early 2011.
Friends since their teens Reindl and Ensley, both of Highland, began co-writing songs six years ago and with drummer Calvin Schaller of Hammond, put together what Ensley calls “a weird, experimental thrash band” that was short-lived. After Ensley ventured to New Orleans for awhile he returned to re-team with Reindl. The two relocated to Chicago and inspired by the likes of early Weezer, Wilco, The Replacements, and Pavement, put together the first incarnation of Shilo.
“It’s changed pretty drastically since then,” said Ensley of the band’s line-up, “but what we have now is pretty impenetrable.” Back on drums is Schaller (still a Hammond resident), along with bassist Tommy Noir and keyboardist Will Wholesome (also of Teenage Rage), both of Chicago.
Although Reindl and Ensley write most Shilo songs, Ensley said Wholesome is a strong writer and all members have input to the group’s songs and sound.
There has been a real growth process in the short time Shilo has been together. “We’ve become a LOT tighter as a band overall in the last year,” said Schaller. “We’ve put out two full lengths in a year and a half and still have enough material for at least a few more,” added Ensley on their songwriting process. More: shilohchicago.bandcamp.com or facebook.com/shilohchicago.
• Condolences to the family of Lewis Sheffield of Gary, who passed away on May 25, age 65, after a long battle with cancer. Mr. Sheffield was a friend to many in the region music scene. Not only connected to local music through his guitarist son Mike Sheffield (of Gravelbone fame), Lewis was also a principle part of Sheffield Recording Studio in Hammond which, during the late 1990s and early 2000s, was the studio of choice for heavy metal and hard rock bands in Chicagoland.
• Tune in to 89.1FM-The Lakeshore at 6 p.m. tonight for a special edition of “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” featuring guitarist James J.Y. Young, a co-founder of the famous Chicago band STYX. The program streams live online at: www.lakeshorepublicmedia.org/radio.
• Singer/songwriter Jim Peterik of Ides of March and Survivor fame will bring his “Storytellers” solo show to The Acorn Theatre in Three Oaks, Michigan tonight for an 8 p.m. (Michigan time) performance. The show will be recorded for a DVD that will accompany Peterik’s forthcoming, career-spanning biography, “Through The Eye Of The Tiger,” due out later this year. Then on Saturday, Peterik will perform with the full Ides of March band at the Acorn for the taping of a new Ides concert DVD for commercial release. More: jimpeterik.com