Unlike many other genres and music communities, the indie/alt culture appreciates new and rising artists that create diversity and new insights within the genre.
Every week we feature a notable rising artist on the verge of success. This week we visit Joel Ebner in Chicago to experience his experimental project, City States.
"It’s easy to start a band. It’s easy to call some friends, bang out some songs, and set up some shows in some dingy neighborhood loft. It’s easy to put on a pair of sunglasses and stand in front of a camera for some hot press photos. It’s easy to pay some PR agent to call you the next big thing. Starting a band is easy, and it happens all the time. Being in a band, however, that’s the hard part. Managing personalities, scheduling time, dedicating oneself to one’s craft, pressing on when no one seems to care—that’s hard. Most groups simply dissolve when someone realizes that being in a rock group is a lot tougher than it sounds."—via official bio
How does City States do it? Dedication, perseverance and pure passion for the art.
Just as one of Joel Ebner’s musical influences, St. Vincent, City States is not really a solo project, nor is it a band. It lies in the gray middle ground, where artists take on a new moniker with the help and council of others, yet they still remain a one man project. City States is 34-year-old Joel Ebner with the help of his long time friend Steve Lund, who serves as the co-producer and editor of the project.
Ebner created the project in 2008, which “initially started out of a desire to break free from the “four musicians in a room” sound of Ebner’s earlier band experiences, gravitating instead toward studio-centric projects like The Notwist and Sea & Cake.” It has taken him all of those 6 years to finally finish his debut-LP, Geography.
"Ira Glass has said that he’s never met anyone who took longer to find his voice than himself—Ebner may just be giving Glass a run for his money."
You can hear the iconic styles of many of his musical influences in every one of songs on City State’s Resolutions EP: Radiohead, St. Vincent, Brian Eno, Death Cab, Talking Heads, Bowie. The EP is very atmospheric, yet also electronic and experimental. Ebner’s subtle voice against the his very addicting, manipulated instrumental sounds is genius. Due to their thought-provoking nature, you can get lost in one of his songs, but end up coming out of them renewed at the end of it. Resolutions is almost a religious experience: a gateway to the church of Avant-Garde Experimental Art Music.
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