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Cartridge B-Sides

Air Date: 06-04-14

Although rather new upon Chicago's bustling indie-rock scene, area quintet Cartridge B-Sides are already bringing their A game. Positive press from the local taste-makers at Gapers Block and kinetic performances at some of the city's top venues - Reggie's, Subterranean and Red Line Tap among them - have given the group a solid head-start in delivering their brand of youthful, yet introspective tunes to a wide audience.

Their story starts this past December, and it's almost entirely a family affair: Brothers Josh and Justin Roman handle guitars and vocals, while uncle Adrian Guerrero adds a pristine keys and cousin Chim-Chim Guerrero pounds away on drums. Close family friend Eric Piceno rounds out the fivesome on bass, and the group officially began performing for crowds in January of 2014.

Josh points to his uncle as the main source of the band's introduction to music in the first place. "We started doing cover songs then slowly added our songs. Now our whole set is made up of originals, maybe one or two covers," he mentions. While their influences tend to be those with a detached aura of cool (The Strokes, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon, Interpol), there is warm flesh and blood throughout their songcraft. The driving "Honey" benefits from some echo-laden, surf-like guitar and thick, propulsive drums while the head-bobbing "Bittersweet Girl" bounces on a memorable bass line before devolving into sporadic bursts of noise, recalling early 90's masters like Sonic Youth or Mudhoney. Their take on Kings of Leon's "Charmer" is a real attention-getter as well, finding the band at their most aggressive. High-pitched howls begin each set of verses, and the band lets loose throughout, while still finding time for some magnificent call-and-response guitar and bass about midway in. There are both subtle touches and brash excitement in these early cuts, not unlike hearing The Pixies for the first time.

"We try to play music that is simple, up beat and catchy," says Josh. "We all pitch in when it comes to writing music. I wouldn't say there is a leader; we work as a group and somehow that works. We love what we do and playing out. We don't care too much for the money, usually last thing on our mind. We do it just because we love it."

Download: Cartridge B-Sides