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Stephen Paul Smoker Serves Up Ripe Fruit

By Sarah Cobarrubias in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 29, 2012 3:20PM

2012_03_29_stephenpaulsmoker.jpg Stephen Paul Smoker is the mastermind behind his band by the same name, a six-piece psych-rock act out of Pilsen. The act has only one EP and a 7-inch vinyl under its belt, but it’s already made a name for itself with its dreamy and affecting grooves. And things are really starting to take shape for the group this spring, particularly with the release of a debut full-length album, Ripe Fruit.

The new album may be simply described as a blend of somber psychedelia and dreamy pop, but each song has its own distinct character. Take, for example, the album’s opening track “In Cairo,” which makes you feel like you’re moving frantically through the streets of a distant city, while “I Gotta Try” takes a turn for the upbeat (think inspiring lyrics and a harmonic chorus).

We found ourselves returning repeatedly to “I Dreamed I Was," a warm and steady number comprised of acoustic guitar, Smoker’s world-weary vocals and touchingly introspective lyrics like “I dreamed I was the snake/I swam in the seven seas/tilled I swallowed just about everything/in my own selfishness and greed.” You can listen to the album in full over at Stephen Paul Smoker’s website.

Smoker is waiting a few weeks to officially celebrate the new album--he’ll play a record release show April 27 at the Empty Bottle, at which you can pick up a vinyl copy. Did we mention this show is free with RSVP? Just email by midnight the day before the show with "Stephen Paul Smoker" in the subject line and your full name in the body, then wait for a confirmation email.

So what else is in the future for Smoker? He tells ChicagoVerseUnited that videos have already been filmed for “Green City” and “In Cairo,” and the band is just waiting for the right time to release them. Oh, and Smoker is working on a war musical?! You can also look forward to more material in the not-so-distant future, seeing as he says he has more than two albums worth of songs already written and will start recording again in June.

Stephen Paul Smoker plays Friday, April 27 at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western, 10 p.m., free with RSVP or $8, 21+