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Photography courtesy of The Lemons MUSIC SPOTLIGHT//THE LEMONS THE LEMONS SWEET BUT NEVER SOUR: CHICAGO’S NEWEST DARLING BAND Written by Liz Peterson 58 The Lemons are as local as your favorite coffee shop and have no intention of straying away. Their latest album, “Hello We’re the Lemons”, was released this September and is described on their bandcamp page as “Fourteen pop songs about animals, friends, and foods.” Although the songs blend together into one euphoric dance track (if you were alive and listened to underground punk in the 1960s), no single song on the album exceeds one minute and thirty seconds. Their preference for the short and sweet originates from their days writing jingles for Logan Square Businesses. Small business and indie record labels have allowed The Lemons to find a self-sustaining niche in making music. They’ve released most of their albums on tapes, which is growing to be a good market for local bands because they can sell their albums at a more affordable price while maintaining an analog <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE
sound. Technology in some genres of music tends to futurize the sound and make it sound less genuine. This is the opposite case for The Lemons, who resurface a pleasing grittiness that has since been lost in the era of digital recording and streaming. The tapes have been re-released through Gnar Tapes, an indie label based out of Portland, Oregon. The Gnar crew also have a band called Street Gnar from Lexington, KY who reached out to The Lemons after hearing some of their tracks. Their music can also be found at Tripp Tapes and through Burger Records. Recently recording a jingle for The Pitchfork Review’s quarterly print publication, The Lemons have found a home in creating fun tunes for an audience with a short attention span. The band doesn’t get too fancy when it comes to recording equipment which allows them to release music quickly and get instant feedback from their fans, either on social media or at a local show. Guitar player, singer and songwriter for the band who goes by ‘John Lemon’, said, “Sometimes we record on a 4-track and other times we record on an iPhone.” Their laid back style is refreshing, and even inspiring, to musicians who want their music to be heard but don’t have excessive amounts of money to spend on production. Max’s advice is to record at home using an iPhone and software like GarageBand or any other multi-track recording app. As for analog and tape recording, “For under 100 dollars, get a 4 track Tascam, get a mic, and record,” Lemon states. Photography courtesy of The Lemons <strong>CUSP</strong> MAGAZINE WINTER ’14 ISSUE 59