People don’t usually think of Rockford, Illinois, when they are talking about the hot music scenes of the Midwest, thinking instead of places like Eau Claire, Minneapolis, or Chicago. But unbeknownst to many, Rockford is turning into a hotbed of quality music.
I saw one such group, Kid You’ll Move Mountains, last weekend, and they did not disappoint. The band has been growing in momentum lately, with a positive review from the Chicago Sun-Times critic Jim DeRogatis capping off a stream of good press from their latest release, “Loomings.” Like any good band, the music is not easily categorized by one or two words, but it is undeniably energetic.
Corey Wills, the lead singer of Inspector Owl, steps back from the microphone in KYMM, instead creating walls of dense, unpredictable sound with multiple effects pedals that form a textured layer that surround and envelops the rest of the band. Lead singer Jim Hanke sings every word like it’s his last, and the rest of the band matches his intensity, including powerful, unorthodox drumming from Nate Lanthrum.
The song structures that KYMM comes up with are the most interesting aspect of the group. They use dynamics to a large degree, forming multiple peaks and valleys within each song, shying away from the “quiet verse-loud chorus” cliché that so many songs fall into. They also excel at the slow-building groove song, dropping out almost everything only to bring it all back in one by one to a most satisfying climax.
The band is not afraid to create walls of noise, which can sometimes be self-indulgent in the hands of other bands, who crouch over their pedals, noodling with various knobs to create subtle changes to already-monotonous drones. But KYMM embraces these experimental sounds, using them to create tension between the more-conventional upbeat sections. They use both experimental and conventional techniques in combination to create a truly unique sound.
KYMM has several shows over the next few weeks, bringing their new tunes to as many people as possible, before playing at Summerfest on June 28, which is a must-see set. The new album “Loomings” is available from their official website.