Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Demo2DeRo: Model N

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"If the Velvet Underground and Uncle Tupelo joined forces in a Chicago garage band, you'd get close to the sound of Model N," guitarist Travis Rejman wrote in his pitch to this column. That's a big boast, but on its first full-length album, the recently released "Correspondence Battleship," the quartet comes close to fulfilling that kind of promise with a dynamic, emotional, sophisticated and multi-layered sound.

There's a bit of old-school Chicago nepotism in this band--Travis' brother Rob is on acoustic bass and his wife Gia Biagi is on vocals and guitar--and those family ties may account for the impressive maturity and focused cohesion of such an otherwise young and under-the-radar combo (it's only been playing with drummer Michael DiMaria since 2007, with one earlier EP to its credit). Simply put, it's as impressive a musical introduction as I've ever received from any bubbling-under Chicago band, and if the group is half as impressive onstage as it is in the studio, it deserves to rise to the top of the local scene.

Model N's debut album is streaming on its Web site at, and the band performs at the Elbo Room, 2871 N. Lincoln, on Thursday [Feb. 4] and at Subterranean, 2011 W. North, on Sunday, Feb. 21.

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You are right on about this bamd. I have witnessed their good work at three shows now. Each time I have seen them its been a new show. Forever rethinking and renewing. That incestuousness you mention breeds an integrated and well-oiled sound. Folks should come out to grab some of thier good energy.

I've had the good luck to see the band live in multiple performances and yes, they are more than 'half as impressive onstage' - in fact, they only benefit from the old-school Chicago nepotism - they come across as having a good time while onstage in an authentic way that only family members could have. That good time is contagious and easy to catch if you happen to be in the audience - go see 'em for yourself . . .

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on January 27, 2010 9:41 AM.

Charlotte Gainsbourg, "IRM" (Because) [3.5 STARS out of 4]; Everybody Was in the French Resistance, "Fixin' the Charts, Vol. 1" (Cooking Vinyl) [3 STARS out of 4] was the previous entry in this blog.

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