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Down With Liberty... Up With Chains!

Chain & The Gang

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Album Review

An incestuous affair even for K Records, Chain and the Gang boast an indie all-star lineup with members of Old Time Relijun, Desolation Wilderness, Dub Narcotic Sound System, Finally Punk, the Curious Mystery, Hornet Leg, the Vibrarians, and K-Records' head honcho himself, Calvin Johnson. In all, 14 people back Nation of Ulysses/Make-Up vocalist Ian Svenonius, who effortlessly and haphazardly drizzles his words over the lo-fi collective's minimal slop. With an elitist hipster charisma, Svenonius sounds like a cross between Alan Vega and Jim Carroll (in other words, a curt but affable loud-spoken New Yorker type) as he lectures in loose rhymes over simple song structures. Guitar, drums, fuzz bass, organ, some sax, and percussion (including claps) push the girl group sha na nas and railroad work songs on Down with Liberty...Up with Chains! into art punk territory, that, in typical K fashion, was recorded in an always raw, basement recording style. A few songs miss the mark and sound like unrehearsed jams, but at the album's middle, things get soaring and peak with the highlights "What Is a Dollar?," "Interview with the Chain Gang," and "Deathbed Confession" — three thoughtful songs that poke jabs at "a society rotten with fascists," as Svenonius might say, while staying true to their lax, clownish roots.

Customer Reviews

Great Arrangements

I did sound for this band about a month ago, i thought it was pretty good, then the next day i realized i remembered almost every song from the set, so now i'm here buying "cemetery map", "deathbed confession", "trash talk" and "what is a dollar?" This band is great because they dont play all over each other. I didnt up-star the album cuz im only buying a few tracks.

Automatically neat

I found out about this band through the stranger in Seattle, and glad I did. This is original and fun music. I like their message.

Biography

Formed: 2008 in Washington DC

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Offering a funky, stripped-down fusion of indie pop, funk, garage punk, and lo-fi experimentalism, Chain & the Gang are a vehicle for the thoughts and talents of Ian Svenonius — musician, author, actor, Internet talk show host, and frontman with the groups Nation of Ulysses, the Make-Up, Scene Creamers, and Weird War. Like many of Svenonius' earlier projects, Chain & the Gang are a band with an overriding philosophy; as Svenonius sees it, freedom and liberty have been used by the lazy...
Full Bio
Down With Liberty... Up With Chains!, Chain & The Gang
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