Last Sunday, my favorite concert buddy, Sici, and I took a trip up north to see the up-and-coming shoegaze band, Daundry. I noticed Daundry circling the Chicago music circuit and was eager to catch one of their shows. This was my first time at the DIY venue, Bookclub. The venue space hides in an unassuming building, across the street from a gyro shop. I saw a group of 20-somethings outside of its doors, dressed like Bob Dylan, and knew I must be at the right place. When we stepped into the door, closing the first glimpses of winter behind us, I felt like I was stepping into a collage. The walls on the stairs are smeared with clippings of magazines, art, and posters. Oohs and aahs and little laughs surrounded Sici and me as we slowly made our way up.
After showing the door runner my ID, I got stamped with two little smiley faces. I felt transported back to 13-year-old me who was so excited to get X’s on my hands--for me, that meant everyone the next three days would know I went to a show until my dad inevitably would tell me to wash them off (smiley face remnants are still on my hands two days later). We came just in time to slither our way around bobbing heads and side-to-side sways, catching the end of Necromoon’s set.
Daundry came on after a small “Psycho Killer” music break. They were lit by fairy lights strung along the ceiling and spotlights behind them. Bookclub, as a whole, is so intimate and mirrors all the best parts of the Chicago music scene–tight-knit, cozy, and reminiscent of a college apartment. The DePaul University-rooted band is made up of Ian Kloehn, lead singer and guitarist, Katrina Hildebrandt on the bass, and Sebastian Jones smashing the drums. Ian, Kat, and Sebastian each hold their own on stage, while simultaneously being pulled together through an invisible string. They connect visibly through small glances, gliding through the coolest three-piece dance.
“Pulp” was the opening track. Immediately, I was knocked back with a full sound. I know it’s going to be a good show when I think about how I should probably run to the bathroom and stuff toilet paper in my ears. Daundry is heavy, grungy, melodic, and shoegaze, with a West Coast-influenced sound. Kat and Ian discussed inspirations from The Melvins to Nirvana to Sonic Youth. This energy shows through their style, serious with a goofy edge–I knew they were having a good time up there between sips of PBR and announcements of the next track. The band originally formed with Sebastian and Ian thinking that they wanted, as Ian puts it, “the surf rock thing.” That quickly changed, Ian says, after they found Katrina as their bassist they, “got more of a heavier sound, and we do what we do now, like shoegaze stuff.” Ian’s voice feels like whispers of 90s Seattle grunge backed up by the melodic and intense sounds of Kat’s bass and Sebastian’s drums. Daundry ended the show with one of my favorite tracks of the night, “Farewell.” This song was a band favorite as well, with a killer backstory all stemming from Ian’s parents' bathroom. Ian says, “It was about a breakup–I like that one the most,” while Kat adds, “Farewell is the song that made me want to join this band.”
Our interview took place outside of the venue with Chicago’s fall air biting our faces and fingers, cigarette smoke clouds above us, sounds of ambulances, motorcycles, supporters congratulating them, and the red light of the gyro shop casting a glow onto the street. To me, it was a classic Chicago night–bundled up in scarves and leather jackets while Sici’s mini mic was passed around the band like a hot potato.
The trio’s songs are a mixture of real stories, random moments (including their track “Testicular Torsion”), funny memories, and even a track about a medieval plant (their new single “Shatterkane”). Sebastian explained, “I feel like for the first EP, each song, and the majority of the lyrics were written by Ian. Those were very specific stories, in parts of his life that he was reflecting on.” “I think for the album that we're recording now…some of them have no meaning, some of them are just having a good time, and some of them are very meaningful.”
Daundry reflected a lot on their previous sound and barriers that have come along the way. Kat described a moment when recording their song “Pulp.” She had “an aha moment of ‘oh I belong here and I deserve to be with these people that are really good musicians.’ “I’m a part of something and I deserve to be a part of something.” Above all, Daundry is most excited about their new album and sound. Which the three of them describe as “gross, powerful, loud, and pretty and melodic, and structured, and….” this description was followed by an echo of small giggles. Yet, they take their music seriously, Ian describes the moment they decided what they wanted on the new album and he felt like “this is our new sound and we wanna put this out as soon as possible.”
What is next from Daundry? There’s an album on the way, a demo album, and hopefully a tour with fellow Chicago band, Western Bisexual. Kat says, “We talked about just doing a demo album of songs that we really like playing, but just don’t fit with our album…just not super care about the mix of everything, not having to make everything perfect, which is freeing because we’re trying to make everything perfect for the album.” Before all these upcoming projects, Daundry will be playing the Subterranean on January 5th. If you are in the Chicago area I hope to see you there! The trio that makes up Daundry has an edge of a smirk and a 90s Seattle sound with a modern face behind it. Throw away your classic idea of grunge shoegaze, Daundry smells like 20-something spirit.