The music of Mayor Daley is most likely what would be broadcast out of failing loudspeakers in a post-apocalyptic city, where the dilapidated streets are overrun by cyborg bounty hunters and the word “government” is only used as a punch line. The band has a flair for sludgy noise punk and capricious song arrangements that can at once inspire veneration and hyperventilation. It’s the kind of unsympathetic music that can’t be understood rationally, it just needs to be.
The anarchical nature of Mayor Daley’s sound is an ironic juxtaposition to what the band’s name evokes, although that wasn’t necessarily what the group was aiming for.
“The idea of Mayor Daley, whether it’s the former one or the current one, is like a presence that just drapes over Chicago in general,” says drummer Paul Erschen. “So whether you find that a negative name or a positive one, it’s a marker of that place.”
It’s doubtful that the real Mayor would have Mayor Daley on his iPod, but it’s tickling to imagine his reaction if he stumbled across the band.
Take the song “CHOICES,” which displays the band’s phobia for a consistent tempo. Beginning with a doomy bass riff and a hellish, yet surprisingly catchy vocal melody, the instruments quickly transition into arena-rock-like chord changes, almost reminiscent of a mid-seventies Who song. But before the listener can get too comfortable, the song takes a sharp u-turn, segueing into an atonal guitar and bass orgy.
But while Mayor Daley’s songs appear as chaotic as a derailing freight train carrying liquid nitrogen, the band members are meticulous writers and performers.
“Our biggest challenge has been making sure that people can hear our music the way it’s meant to be heard,” says bassist and vocalist Dewayne Slightweight. “It’s been hard to make recordings that actually sound good because we’re so loud and heavy, but pretty intricate as well.”
This specific sound quality is sometimes difficult to convey to a live audience.
“We play places like the Empty Bottle where the sound is really good and you can hear all the instruments,” Slightweight says, “and we also play house shows and basement shows which are really fun, but often you just can’t hear all the individual elements and instruments. Our ideal recording is one that sort of retains the energy of the live show but still has all of the intricacy intact.”
That ideal recording will hopefully materialize on the band’s first Vinyl recording, titled “Facial Expressions,” which will be released in August.
“The one that’s going to be out on vinyl sounds really good and really true to the way we want it to sound,” Slightweight says. (Josh Kraus)
Mayor Daley plays August 2 at Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, (773)276-3600