This week we’ve dubbed the Bears our BTR Artists Of The Week. Craig, Charlie, Patrick, Devon and Sean have been creating their whimsical folk-rock since 2005. It all began when Charlie returned home to Chicago from college to work with Craig on a musical project that has become a rising star in the indie scene, and what Charlie referred to as ‘magical.’ They’ve received quite a lot of praise for their recently released, Simple Machinery (August, 13 2008) and the attention keeps growing. For this and other albums, the Bears have proudly partnered with Kate Pugsley, an artist responsible for the complete visual aesthetic of the group. The natural style and folkiness in her work reflects the innocence and honesty inherent in the Bears’ music.
Luckily we were able to track down Charlie for a bit of insight into their musical world. ‘I play guitar and sing in the live band, and I share writing and recording duties with Craig. Craig plays keys and sings in the live band. Devon plays bells, keys and backing vocals. Sean plays bass and has recently started doing some vocals in the live show, and Pat plays drums,’ he explained.
As for the scene that supported them, Charlie found it unexpected – ‘We have been very pleasantly surprised at how responsive people in Cleveland have been ever since the first album came out in 2006. We didn’t really expect much at first, but we’ve met a lot of great people because of the band, and I think it’s been a positive thing for all of us.’ But they have come far in only two years and Simple Machinery can show you how. Formerly the group would write and record songs as time went on, but as Charlie explained, ‘For the new one, we went in with about 25 songs that were already written and started recording them all at once. It was certainly a different process for us, but I think it forced us to pick the best songs from the original group of 25 and figure out where we wanted to take them.’
After taking a couple months to complete, the group according to Charlie is satisfied with the result. Hopefully this optimism will translate to any future project they may consider. ‘We’ll be working on some new music to release in a while,’ Charlie said, ‘and we are hoping to do some more touring. Ideally we will be able to go on the road with another band and make it out to the west coast again.’ In addition, they are preparing to press a ten inch vinyl EP off of Pink Teeth Records titled Shortest Day of the Year. ‘That will most likely be out in late October or early November. And we also plan to release Simple Machinery on vinyl in the near future, too!’ With so much in the works, it is almost impossible to keep up, but a week of dedication at Breakthru Radio should help listeners maintain a solid connection.