Who? In 2002, singer/guitarist Sam Axelrod was working at Chicago’s Reckless Records when he met bassist James Barron. They added singer/guitarist Jesse Woghin and drummer Nate Heneghan for their scrappy debut EP, Youth City Fire. After a rotating cast of drummers sat in on 2007’s All That to the Wall, Heneghan was replaced by Kevin Vlack.
What’s the Deal? None of them have Chicago roots, but the Narrator adopt the cherished qualities of their hometown with nimble, guitar-based post rock, underdog diligence, and an affinity for processed meats. On All That to the Wall, the band’s self-consciousness smirk shows up in titles like “Breaking the Turtle” or verse about Gen Y malaise, but the hollered choruses demonstrate a lionhearted sincerity. Squint your ears and you might hear Modest Mouse, but when they cover Dylan, all bets are off.
Fun Fact: The band’s first gig was an open mic where Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen and Smashing Pumpkins’ singer Billy Corgan also played. While backstage, Corgan was accidentally poked in the eye with one of the band’s guitar strings and griped about it during his set. NATE CAVALIERI
Now Hear This: The Narrator – “SurfJew” DOWNLOAD MP3
Now Watch This: The Narrator – “Breaking the Turtle”
Talk: Narrate this: is you had five minutes backstage with Billy Corgan would you rather smooch his cue ball, or poke him in the eye?
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