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SKATERS Roll the New New Wave Into Bottom Lounge March 28

By Jessica Mlinaric in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 23, 2014 7:00PM

Credit: Shane McCauley

Fearsome foursome SKATERS will infiltrate Chicago this week delivering New York’s up-to-the-minute garage punk dispatch. The band’s recently released debut, Manhattan, is a collection of stories set to 70’s punk and new wave influences with a melodic pop glaze. The NYC transplants relay the youthful experiences of their first year in the Big Apple, where they balanced bartending gigs with more creative pursuits.

The band returns to Chicago to play Bottom Lounge Friday, March 28, after an impressive afternoon set at Lollapalooza last summer. “The band started playing live a few months before Lollapalooza, so I think we just get better and better,” drummer Noah Rubin told Chicagoist. “We have more fun every show.”

Manhattan recalls past greats like The Strokes, The Ramones, Television, and, on its dubbier moments, even The Clash. Yet while the musical scene of 70’s New York is extremely relevant, Rubin feels the record's a world away philosophically. “I feel like we have to tell the story of now, but we can use some of the attitudes and musical influence that bands created in the 70’s. We’ll always relate to certain people,” Rubin said.

SKATERS inherits Richard Hell’s aloof scorn, and applies it toward the lack of human connection in the age of communication. The group nonchalantly delivers a wry sequence of narratives centered around debauchery and self-indulgence.

“We’re at a really pivotal period in culture in general. Shit is changing so fast right now in the way that we communicate,” Rubin said. “I don’t want to get to political or philosophical but, we’re born in a world that inundates us. We’re like the most sedated generation. We only want to hear songs about getting fucked up and sleeping around. It’s reflective of the fact that our generation can’t handle anything serious.”

Punctuating this portrait of the artists are conversations from the city itself. The band sampled ambient recordings of a subway announcement, the clicking of train tracks, and the maddening cafĂ© conversation of what sounds like characters from Girls. The snippets add a layer of dialogue to the record that was inspired by sample-heavy hip hop and hardcore records of the band’s youth.

“I think we wanted our record to feel halfway between a movie and that De La Soul record De La Soul Is Dead,” said Rubin. “It adds to the energy and feel of the record and we thought that was important.”

SKATERS is comprised of seasoned musicians, so it was no surprise when they were picked up by Warner Bros. early last year. These days they have major label backing and a packed tour schedule, but the band still makes time to create and distribute their art zine YONKS. “We drink a lot of coffee and we make sure we take advantage of every minute we have.” Rubin said.

Now that their debut is released, the band continues to develop their musical connection “We’re starting to stretch out more at live shows. Soon we’ll be doing extended Phish jams and Grateful Deady vibes,” Rubin threatens.

While SKATERS present a snapshot of New York life right now, their raw delivery resonates everywhere. Their message to Chicago? “Take a chance on us. We’re a really good time show.”

Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 on the day of the show.