The beauty of Chicago band Bound Stems’ “Appreciation Night”—which has its official release tonight—is its inventiveness, as the band shifts gears multiple times within each of the record’s fifteen tracks, sharply shifting melodies, keys, tempos and all, making multi-layered songs that are wonderfully exhausting on the mind and body. They use endless samples—recordings each band member schemed just walking the streets of Chicago, including sounds from trains, taxi-drivers, random announcements—to proclaim their love for the city. It’s a love letter of the highest regard, one that doesn’t have personal interpretation—it just delivers the city as it is, dirty, diverse, beautiful and big. Songs like “Andover,” “Western Biographic” and “Excellent News, Colonel” succeed on the indie-pop front, but also pack in a world of imagination. Live, the band’s might is infectious, delivering on every turn. It’s joyous, celebratory and intensely intelligent, songwriting for a new year, a new job, a new life. (Tom Lynch)
September 22 at Schubas.