"I'm Hannah, but I don't drink coffee," I said. He gave me a quizzical smile and nodded. Later, I would come to count myself among their rapidly growing crowd of admirers and further attention to the debut effort, Mayday, Roger The Radio, would reveal the rest of that particular lyric: "And a bump of pure Colombian cocaine." Oh, wait ... but I didn't mean -- oh, never mind.
That said, I implore you to pay special attention to Chaselounge's sophomore release, Black Plastic Ordinary, not simply because you could, unbeknownst to you, be the namesake of a drug addict, but also because the disc is beyond topnotch listening.
Consider this "The Official Guide to Experiencing Chaselounge," if you will. There are some very important things you need to know.
First, at a live show, either your lips or your hips (even a startling combination of the two) are going to move with or without your consent.
Most of the songs rely heavily on that 6/8 guitar change that births a swingy retro groove, so if you start to feel as if you've stepped into a sock-hop wherein Jimmy Eat World is playing Buddy Holly covers, just relax -- it's part of the plan. The lyrics of these songs read like a sneak peek into Paul Anka's little black book -- they're about girls. Lots of girls. Girls who wait tables, girls from sitcoms and occasionally girls' mothers.
"It's quirky," the rest of the group concurs. Rounded out by Adam Eilers (drums), Chris Lambert (backup vocals, guitar) and Aaron Scott (backup vocals, bass), the crew happily subscribes to Shawny's innovative brainchild, dubbed "Doo-Rock" for its nod to 1950s Rock & Roll.
They describe the sound as "catchy, a lot of fun, and often goofy ... like us."
Moving right along to tip No. 2, let's be clear that by "goofy" we aren't referencing immaturity or carelessness. Here's the part where, if you haven't heard about Erwin Musper, it's time you did. The Dutch production guru credited with tweaking the sounds of Def Leppard, David Bowie and Elton John has currently done his part to de-bumpkin-ize the Midwest by moving his recording studios from Hollywood to Highland Heights, Ky. He stepped onto the scene in late 2004, taking an immediate liking to Chaselounge's signature style. While initially hesitant, the band feels that their recent signing of a potential three-album deal was the right move.
"(Musper) impressed us immediately by backing up all of his initial offers -- he's insanely professional," Scott says. "He also allowed us to take some creative risks on the new album when his first instinct was telling him to re-create Mayday song for song. " What resulted was a sort of audio timeline of the band's progress -- a 10-song disc featuring six remixed tracks and four completely new ones.
That proverbial "test of time" propels this chat directly into point No. 3. Are four highly dedicated members with a unique shtick and a boatload of talent enough to rise above Cincinnati ranks? A quick glance at Scott's patented tuxedo-shirt-and-crazy-necktie combo might prompt a naysayer to deem Chaselounge "just fun for now," but the group has already reached a pretty chill pinnacle (or what Scott refers to as "musical puberty") in Cincinnati, in the sense that they are playing to an audience of instant devotees, no matter the geography. The band currently endeavors to expand its regional push of Black Plastic into a national market, with their sights set on touring the D.C. and NYC circuits.
The overall sense of purpose in their music and their attitudes is inarguable, and it's this utterly different brand of infectious energy that allows Chaselounge's music to transcend a target demographic.
"We were playing a little hole-in-the wall in Louisville a few weekends ago," recalls Scott. "The bands opening up for us were Metal, so we thought no one would dig our stuff. But by the end of the set, the crowd was really into it -- it felt great to get that kind of reaction."
CHASELOUNGE (chaseloungemusic.com) celebrates their new album release with a show at The Mad Hatter in Covington Friday.