Chicago’s art pop innovators The Curls have embarked upon a post-post-modern world of musical dadaism worthy of universal attention. Embracing the canon of all your heroes, they embrace the nonsensical (or maybe new-sensical if you will) worlds of choogle collaborations that make music that makes for striking sylistic ear-catching textures & tones. Comprised of Anna Holmquist, Mick Fansler, Jenny Marshall, Jay Poyhonen, Rami Atassi & Carl Swoveland; The Curls scheme a blend of brass & bravado that rocks, rattles & rolls with innovation & a true sense of genuine excitement.
Presenting the premiere of the track “i can’t tell u”, The Curls mix riffs, synths, rhythm, horns & Anna’s prosodic & bright vocals to convey new creative dialogues that you can ponder & consider while skipping about on the dance floor. The chorus where the horns, vocals, percussion & everything all align together in unison recalls the Kleenex/LILiPUT canon & all the lesser sung rebels that raged against the male lead punk patriarchy (we’re thinking of you, Poly Styrene & X-Ray Spex). The Curls are curating some of the wildest & most sporadic sounds that are set to decorate the exhibition halls of tomorrow’s modern art museums & centers for the arts.
We talked with Anna Holmquist & Mick Fansler of The Curls via the following interview:
Describe what lead you all to begin The Curls.
Mick: A dangerous lust for creating content. You see, my best associates were all pursuing Phds in caring for slightly underprivileged yuppy children, I proposed becoming a band instead. The rest is history as they say, c’est la vie.
Anna: I joined by some coincidental magic wherein I was at a Curls show, thinking about how fun it would be to sing with the Curls, and after the set, Mick came up to me and asked if I would ever want to sing with the Curls. So I had to say yes, of course. It’s just evolved from there.
Tell us about how the group has expanded toward these experimental & exciting new audio arenas.
Mick: Increased collaboration and a thirst for constant growth, my dear boy.
Anna: Sometimes you jam and it goes to a weird place, man. For real though, I think our influences have become more experimental as our abilities have grown.
Describe for us the feelings, thoughts, inspirations & more that informed the singles “I Can’t Tell U” & “Prickly Feelings”.
Mick: I composed the music for I can’t tell u and the music/verse lyrics for prickly feelings with my songwriting partner and MY WIFE, Janny Marshall. My thought on I can’t tell u was “how many sick af ideas can we fluidly condense into this bad boy” Jan organized it beautifully And Anna did a superb job complimenting those ideas lyrically.
“Prickly Feelings”, Jan came up with these very hypnotic and powerful sax lines and we went from there. I mean 2k16, 2k17, these are truly prickly times, sometimes you have to take break from it all to take a dip in a public pool.
Anna: “I Can’t Tell U”—when I wrote the lyrics, I was thinking about Trump, his devotees, because it truly tends toward a cult-like mindset of blind devotion, liars in general, abusers, people who bend the truth, the culture of alternative facts and choosing whichever truth you prefer. I’m generally a pretty fact-based person, so the idea of people believing outrageous falsehoods despite data proving them wrong really grinds my gears.
“Prickly Feelings”: My pieces of the song are about that prickly feeling you get when you realize things about you are changing that you can’t control, or things around you are changing that you can’t control. The stomach is a metaphor.
What else can you tell us about forthcoming works in progress?
Mick: The content is always flowing around here. We might be writing a new record now, personal working title edaMEME, maybe. My advice to all our net heads is to keep those eyes on the screen at all costs.
Anna: Nothing, they’re top-secret government contracts.
Notes about the synergy dynamics as a group & how you all collectively come together to create such exciting & unexpected pop sounds?
Mick: So glad you asked about synergy. My father Gary, a true man of business, may be able to answer this better. Can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anna: We’re extremely synergistic. Let me work back with the team to get an answer on this one—can probably send you a POV by EOW.
Other local artists & activists that you all would like to acknowledge?
Mick: Our friends joining us for our record release November 30 at Emporium Arcade Bar in Chicago are my current local obsessions: Crown Larks, Malci and Woongi. All have recently put out mind bending recs, all very different experimental styles. Shout out to our upstairs neighbors and my favorite band Tragic Trip, whose lead singer Willy Hulseman produced this upcoming record. Shout out to Michael Mac, who produced part of this rec and a gaggle of other great Chicago recs. Mykele Deville is a remarkable rapper/poet/activist to follow. Shout out to Richard Album putting on the best multimedia show experiences in town. The Chicago Community Bond Fund is a fantastic local org fighting to end outrageous bail fees in Cook County jails. Chicago is truly full of it.
Anna: The excellent Monday night experience Salonathon, which ends its over six year run at Beauty Bar in February, at least, ends this iteration—more to come from them, always. If you haven’t been, you have to go.
Other local Chicago happenings we should know about?
Illinois Democratic State Rep Will Guzzardi is a great dude and we’re doing a fund raiser show for his reelection November 10 at the Hungry Brain in Chicago with Tragic Trip and Fran.
2018 projections, prayers, hopes, etc?
I project Donald trump will clean up his act and pass Universal Healthcare for all before passing away from a Diet Coke overdose. Also, the Golden Girls will be inducted into the rock and roll hall of fame. I PRAY Jared Leto will retire from film and music. I HOPE people vote, and check out our Instagram @thecurls_coolband.
Anna: I am devoid of hope.
Listen to more from The Curls via Soundcloud.