Hemmingbirds Flutter Into Rozz Tox and Daytrotter
Chicago’s Hemmingbirds are hovering into town for two gigs this weekend. They’ll be at Rozz-Tox on Thursday (http://www.rozztox.com/) and on Friday they’ll be recording their second Daytrotter session. (Their first, from 2013, is at http://www.daytrotter.com/hemmingbirds/futureappletree-august-16-2013.html.) The band was born as a solo project, through a scattered collection of songs by Yoo Soo Kim.
Navigating relationships and the uncertain future, he bunkered down in the echo chamber that was his basement and hashed out ten recordings that became Hemmingbirds’ debut, Death Wave. Described by TimeOut Chicago as “a pleasant surprise,” the album is expansive with guitars, bass, drums, strings, and choral arrangements. Zach Benkowski and Tim Cap joined Kim to bring those recordings to life.
“The band started as a solo project more out of necessity than anything else, it was just me bringing in people to play when I needed them to,” Kim said. “But we’ve been a band for the last six years now and it’s really cool being a part of that dynamic, as a songwriter and a musician building that band together, and also just in building those friendships. I feel really good about it. I feel like we’ve evolved a lot and gotten better as a band and we’ve made a lot of upward progress.” Together, they created Hemmingbirds’ second record, The Vines of Age. The album is conceptual, as it unfolds with a narrator awoken by the sounds of howling spirits from his dream world. Internally, he comes to battle his personal demons, his future self, and triumphs by crashing through the ether back to reality. Carrying on with heir chamber pop arrangements, the band carried the concept both upward and downward with soaring melodies and string arrangements that created an all-around sound that was heavier, noisier, and more soulful.
Hemmingbirds most recent release, 2015’s Half a Second EP, is a more upbeat collection, following the evolution of Kim as a songwriter and in his personal life.
“The previous record was very noisy and dark and I wanted to get away from that and do something brighter,” Kim said. “That, and me, personally, I’m at a pretty good place in my life and the songwriting reflects that.
“I feel really good about the four songs on the EP, we spent a lot of time working on it, we really labored and labored on getting everything exactly right and the way we wanted it, and knowing that we put that much work into it to do the best we could makes me really proud and happy to play the songs for people,” Kim said.
The EP has drawn praise from press worldwide and the band has been featured in/on/at Alternative Press, NPR, CMJ’s Top 200, Indie Rock Café, Q101 and Consequence of Sound. You can stream it at https://soundcloud.com/hemmingbirds/sets/half-a-second and http://hemmingbirds.com/.
And, of course, you can hear it live when the group comes to town and plays at Daytrotter.
“We’re really looking forward to getting back to Daytrotter again, it’s awesome,” Kim said. “I’m not really familiar with the new location but it’s nice to go back because you know everything is going to be super high quality and that it’s going to be a lot of fun.”