An independent, unsigned, band with retro and modern tendencies striving to be heard. It's nothing new, right? Yet somehow, the boys of Chicago's The Its! make it all fresh and exciting again. And that's worthy of a listen
Channeling retrofitted rock, syrupy riffs and a backbeat that launches hips into orbit, The Its!' sound is like a Polaroid album of timeless rock, while remaining eminently fresh and inventive. Perhaps it'sthe band's four distinct personalities—Maciej (vocals/guitar), Patrick (drums), Nicko (bass/vocals) and Eric (guitar/keys/vocals)—that contributes to its frenzy of modern influences and classic styles
Their self-titled debut, released on Chicago's own PWMD Records in 2005, helped familiarize a new generation of attentive listeners to the band's tornado of sound. The Chicago Sun-Times regaled, "Cheery and cheeky, The Its! recall early Squeeze in their tunefulness…[and] their rascally spunk. In the circus of this music—sometimes Clash-y in its ska rhythms, other times Camper Van Beethoven-ish in its cleansing of ethnic genres—it's just…adorable." Illinois Entertainer proclaimed, "The Its!…capture the essence of working class U.K. bands… Lead vocalist Maciej serves as a likable everyman while searching for love, employment or some fun on the weekend." And 93.1WXRT's Local Anesthetic host Richard Milne declared the band's music "melodies that linger.
This summer, The Its! return to form with Mistakes. The new album capitalizes on the band's frenetic, addictive groundwork while showing its collective and cohesive growth and reach. Overall, Mistakes has a thicker sound; the songs are edgier, fuller, with beautiful melodies and big harmonies. Lyrically, Mistakes finds The Its! taking a longer, deeper look at their surroundings and, with the help of heavy rhythm and knife-edged guitar riffs, echoing them back
The Its! have been finalists in a handful of songwriting contests, most notably the Billboard Magazine-tapped DiscMakers Independent World Series. They've played festivals, including South by Southwest and MOBfest. They've shared the stage with bands such as the Hot Hot Heat, The Bravery, Field Music and Asobi Seksu. But perhaps more importantly than a certificate or a co-bill is the impression their shows have left on audiences
The Its! live show is filled with infectious energy. The band's highly danceable music, combined with its members' wide smiles and obvious enjoyment in performing, engages the crowd the way few independent bands do. As for The Its!, well, they're not afraid to jump right in as well—sometimes all too literally. Last year saw Eric getting so involved in the band's appearance at Chicago's famed Metro that he ended up with a torn ACL, surgery and months of physical therapy
Full-speed ahead, The Its! path is clear: "My parents have always encouraged me to do my best, don't step on people's feet, do what no one else will do to have what no one else will have," says Eric. "Never give up on your dreams; anything can be accomplished with willingness.
Classic words, handed down—and yet, they've never sounded fresher or truer. The Its! have something to say; just listen.