Indie-rocker Bands to Emote Friday at the ’Sco
by Kate Antognini

Two well-known indie-rock acts, The Owls and 90 Day Men, will be featured tonight in a concert at the ’Sco. Both are respected bands willing to experiment outside the parameters of popular musical taste to achieve their own artistic goals.
The Owls, a Chicago based band with a large fan following, has been particularly influential on the college-radio circuit. Formed in 1989 by a bunch of suburban kids under the name Cap’n Jazz, the group reunited several months ago after a five-year split with a new name. Cap’n Jazz was known for creating the pop-inflected “emo” sound that paved the way for many copycat indie acts. After their sound was beginning to gain cult status, the group split into a number of spin-offs and solo acts, such as Joan of Arc and American Football.
Some critics and fans complained that success had gone to the group’s heads and that their new efforts, many of which featured computers and synthesizers, were more pretentious than musically honest and intuitive. Fans were overjoyed this year when the group announced it was reforming with all its original members except for Davey von Bohlem. But on their self-titled album the Owls proved that they had matured past their early beginnings in more ways than the name. Flirting with a variety of styles and genres, the group displays a new interest in sound experimentation.
In a recent interview with, the group members all expressed deep satisfaction with their new effort. “As far as music goes, we think it’s the best music any of us have made,” said bassist Sam Zurich. “I hope people aren’t expecting us to sound like Cap’n Jazz,” he added. “We’re not going to be caught in that scene [anymore]…we’re not stuck in that sound.”
Inevitably, the group has alienated some of its fans, but most are surprisingly enthusiastic about the shift in their music.
90 Day Men, which formed in St. Louis in 1995, are heavily influenced by British New Wave and New York’s late ’70s New Wave scene. For five years the trio strived to gain recognition for their unique style. Soon after forming, the band relocated to Chicago to better their chances of landing a good record deal. They immediately booked their first east coast tour with the guidance of the Cap’n Jazz’s old tour journal. Within a year the band was opening for well-known acts, such as Blonde Redhead and Fugazi, and as a result was discovered by the now defunct Action Boy Records.
In the three years following, the group released one single, a five song EP and toured the country. Finally, in 1998 90 Day Men landed a stable deal with Southern Records, Inc. The group quickly made its long awaited full length album with engineer Greg Norman, adding keyboardist Andy Lansangan to their ensemble.
“(It (Is) It” critical band was highly praised by critics and has given the group some much needed publicity and was hailed by Spin magazine as #19 in the Top 20 Albums of 2000.
A lesser-known group called The Race will also be briefly playing at tonight’s concert. The duo, which formed in 1995, has two CDs under its belt.
The concert will be at the ’Sco at 10 p.m. Admission is $5 with OCID and $8 for non-students.

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