Some say that recent years have been hard for rock fans, but it's been a lot easier if you happen to live in Chicago. While hip-hop is the dominant wave, Chicago's rock roots run deep and the beat continues today in the form of a variety of scenes, as well as bands that are making it for themselves on the national level. Although, that may be the wrong perspective to look at it from; really, things are mixing together at this point, and a loose understanding of genre has helped keep Chicago bands alive and kicking like a drum. One of many bands exemplifying this musical stew attitude, and as such becoming one of the city's best up-and-comers in the rock lane, are Evanston jammers Manwolves.
The six-piece band has been playing together since they met in middle school in Evanston, Illinois. Less than a year upon graduating high school, the band has survived the teenage marathon and have since evolved into full time musicians. The band is composed of trumpet, guitar, bass, keys, drums and some quality emceeing from vocalist Jamie McNear. They're quick to describe their start as "jamming in basements, garage-band type shit", and while Manwolves' product definitely has that vibe, their casual nature is belied by a thread of tight musicianship running through all their music. Fresh-faced they may be, but the long time they've spent jamming together comes off clear on track. Says Manwolves, "we started the band when we were young, and as far as our musicianship we've all grown together over the years"
Musically a soup of styles and influences, Manwolves main M.O. is to not have an MO. Notably, they're quick to bless the Chicago music of recent years as their high school soundtrack. Citing their biggest inspirations Kids These Days, Chance The Rapper, and the Oh My's specifically. Good company to keep, and all examples of artists who saw genres as ingredients, not boxes. The lessons they took were clear, and "what we learned from them is to incorporate as many sounds and styles as we can...that's the most consistent part of our sound start to finish, that balance of multiple genres." When it comes to Manwolves, the end-result is rock with a little bit of everything. In their words, it's "six musicians with completely different musical backgrounds, coming together to create one piece of work." It's worth emphasizing, this is feel-good music perfect for a summer day, or alternatively, a winter one where you're low on Vitamin C.
2017 will represent Manwolves first full year out of high school, with an exclusive focus on music, and the sky seems to be the limit. In the first week of January, the band already had a song make the Spotify Viral Top 50 list with their 2014 track "You", a good sign regarding the bands staying power. They have a debut album in the works, and a gang of track to drop leading up to it's release, as well as videos ("Sauce" video in the near future). New content! But what they'd argue to be most important is a continued emphasis on live performance this year, stating that "to us, I think that's everything right now - I don't think you've heard us the right way until you've come to see us live." They've got headlining shows in Chicago booked and are currently working on a Midwest tour. There should be plenty of opportunities to catch a crazy night while the moon is out.