Warm Ones — Lena EP

Band: Warm Ones
Album: Lena EP
Release Date: January 6, 2012
Free mp3: “Some People Work Better Alone” (link goes *poof* on January 19!)

Hard to believe — for me, anyway — that I haven’t written much about Tony and his Warm Ones here in quite a bit.

Their last mention on this website, in fact, was the time Tony mic dropped his sweet edition of Waxing Nostalgic for us nine months ago. His write-up, like all Waxing Nostalgics up to now, detailed the albums that inspired him to write and record. He went with The Pod by Ween and Grace by Jeff Buckley.

Since then, I’ve seen him and his band play at least once. The gig that still sticks out in my mind is the one where they headlined at The Abbey Pub in front of what felt like 10 other bands. Fortunately, Tony’s a nice and interesting dude, and we shared some entertaining exchanges that night between the other acts. I remember this coming up, actually.

For whatever reason, I kept that evening of music to myself and didn’t share my thoughts here, so you’d have to go back another few months to late December 2010 to read the one where I named their debut full-length, Sprezzatura, as Chicago’s eighth-best recording of the year. Still stand by that pick, too. It hasn’t left the rotation.

A bigger fan of the album’s first seven songs over its latter seven, I certainly responded to the high level of experimentation that happened on Sprezzatura. It’s a careful mixture of zippy garage rock-pop that somehow enabled tunes like the high energy wailer “Bacteriostatic” and funky two-step “Hot Flash” to cleanly fit on the same release without it feeling weird.

Despite it taking a few spins — true of me, at least — to “get” what they’re doing on Sprezzatura, the disc is a real treat to enthusiasts of impromptu shoulder rock. “Get Shit Set” remains one of my favorite songs of the city to hear live, you know.

With that said, “The Man That Clothes Me” might be an unintended gateway track to help migrate Sprezzatura followers — hell, Warm Ones listeners, et al. — to the new EP.

Of its three songs, ‘The Man” is probably the most Warm Ones-like tune on Lena. It’s the loudest, sure, and also the fuzziest of the three. And Tony, who wears the band’s lead vocals hat among others, sounds like his old self here. Funny, then, that “The Man That Clothes Me” happens to be my least-liked Lena track. Perhaps because it feels so familiar.

For me, the purple star lies with “Some People Work Better Alone,” a fine track I find I’m still having fun picking apart, and the one I decided to offer you free of charge for one week.

The way it moves makes me think of some tactful personality realizing their opposite is actually, well, a thoughtless piece of ugly. That describes, at least, the quite seamless transition of the first half — where much anything out of Tony’s mouth (“you’re not thinking about true love,” “you don’t even know what I’m made of,” etc. etc.) could very well be followed by a diffident “maybe” *shrug of shoulders*, “maybe” *shrug of shoulders*. As if our hero, for now, is running empty on confidence.

Then the second part of “Some People” bumps in, and everything seems declaratory. Tony totally owns what he’s saying here — even though he’s reading a similar script — and a pounding of drums concurs.

The tune that gets Lena going, though, is “Handler,” one of the most assured pieces of the Warm Ones archive I’ve yet heard. It’s tame, but tight and bold, too. It strikes with a pleasant jolt those primed by the ground work laid on Sprezzaura.

Extras:

  • Warm Ones’ Lena release show already happened, and it doesn’t appear like you can secure you’re own copy online yet. Per their website, though, “you can ask [them] very nicely, or like [them] on Facebook, or join the mailing list.” So, shoot an email to Tony and tell him I sent you. | Email
  • Watch Lena EP’s making-of documentary. | Video

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About Eric

Hello there. Email your things to chicagotunes[at]gmail[dot]com.
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