No Friends Like Netherfriends

Barry and Sherry – Out Now!
Emergency Umbrella

Only those who are looking- or lucky can find the hidden treasures of the Second City. The best basement vintage stores in Wicker Park, the bro-less bars in Lakeview and those “opening acts” that give the headliner a run for their money. So, when you see Netherfriends… Take my word, come running.

Netherfriends‘ live show in June at Lincoln Hall was my first introduction into the psychedelic work of Columbia College graduate, Shawn Rosenblatt & friends. The crowd shuffled in and shuffled along to Rosenblatt and his hired hands in the early parts of the night. The band stuck to steadily playing instead of chatting up the energetic youngsters in the front row. With limited time, Netherfriends cranked out new and old tunes trying to find a happy medium between lo-fi looped aesthetics and stoner surfer rock. Pretty soon, all of the groundllings were fans, singing along to songs like “Friends With Lofts.”

The local artist inconsistently adds free album downloads via his blog. Rosenblatt, more focused on promoting music than making money, actually encouraged the lincoln Hall audience to find his music for free elsewhere. While there is nothing free at this time, Rosenblatt is in the midst of a “50 Songs in 50 States” tour, travelling all over the United States to write, perform and crash on couches. You have to respect an artist that gives his blood, sweat and tears away for free- even if only temporary.

One of his earlier EPs (Calling You Out) has more catchy pop influences tripping alongside wavering synths and the choral sounds of whomever feels like singing at the time. A quick listen to “Mom Cop” from the album will remind you of Modest Mouse’s “Float On” chorus, but that’s neither here nor there. Surely bands are going to sound similar at some point. Although I will admit to comparing the semi-solo singer to Animal Collective (via recordings) and Vampire Weekend (via live shows) more often than not.

His recent Barry and Sherry LP (cleverly titled after his own mother and father) was unleashed within last month. The record is readily available through the artist for less than you’d think. $6.50. The 9 track album is probably funding his “50 Songs in 50 States” tour, so be a sweetheart and donate. You really don’t want that cheeseburger. The Netherfriends will need that. In Alaska.

Bottom line: Netherfriends are a spectacular local Chicago band worth supporting. Although I cannot promise he won’t use the money for beer.

BONUS TRACK: (Nunya (beeswax) – Netherfriends)
Photos: McKenzie Gilliam

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