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QUICK SPINS: Cooler By The Lake, The Bounds

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 5, 2014 9:05PM

Cooler By The Lake, photo by Patrick Houdek

This week we're looking at two Chicago bands—one still alive and kicking, the other who has seen digital resurrection via a just-released recording from the mid-aughts.

Cooler By The Lake
Summer's Over

2014_09_cooler_summers_over.jpg Rory Lake, like Elvis, seems to be everywhere. Many folks probably know him from his popular karaoke events, but he also performs as a solo musician and with his full band, Cooler By The Lake. Cooler By The Lake hasn't released a great amount of recorded output and after listening to their new album, Summer's Over, it's easy to see why. These songs, performed by a 9-person ensemble, are ambitious aims at arena rock while striving for the intricacy of your finely nuanced stereo headphone listening pleasure. It's a combination of Bruce Springsteen and Jim Steinman that explodes out of the speakers when you drop the needle to record here. Live, Lake and his cohorts often adopt a goofy and over-the-top visual look to accompany their performance, but at its heart there's nothing silly about the music at all. In the end Summer's Over is an honest attempt at building rock and roll anthems and we're not going to snicker at that, especially since it succeeds in achieving that goal.

Cooler by the Lake plays Sunday, Sept. 7, at the Sixth Annual Booster Block Party at American Legion Post 923, 1824 W. Cortland St

The Bounds
Art Ain't Rock

2014_09_the_bounds.jpg The Bounds is actually a project that only exists within the confines of this album. In 2007 Plane released their album I See Love In The Future, marking their first album without Ed Anderson, who provided the counterpoint both vocally and musically to the band's founder, Edgars Legzdins. What we didn't know at the time was that I See Love In The Future was actually not the album Plane intended to release. Instead, there was an alternate version that included Anderson's contributions that had to be scrapped when he decided to leave the band to form The 1900s.

We really liked I See Love In The Future, so when we learned Anderson and Legzdins had agreed to finally release the original album under the name The Bounds we were pretty excited. Art Ain't Rock is not vastly different than the album that was released in its stead, but there is a more delicate quality and balance to the songwriting. While hints of the more driving, krautrock direction Plane would eventually pursue are here, there's still a pastoral gentility that creates a nice tension, adding color to the darker moments on the album.

Art Ain't Rock isn't so much a historical artifact as it is a glimpse into an alternate future, and it's a vision we're glad we got to partake in.