Amidst a highly saturated market, The Gnar Wave Rangers are able to sonically distinguish themselves by a large margin through creating a nexus of clear musical skill and zaniness that is welcomely reminiscent of the work of Frank Zappa. Their music contains an exploratory nature that yields a massive payoff in the sense that they are able to conjure and combine different musical nuances that they find a way to make fit cohesively. Their inventive nature makes their work more than merely just music – it’s the most delightfully dizzying art that is truly their own.
It all began at Chicago’s Treehouse Records.
“All the boys came together while Treehouse Records was newly formed on Irving Park Road, where it used to be more about partying than recording,” the band said. “Michael [Russell] was recording tracks with Bluom (which was a two piece with original drummer Barrett). Meanwhile, Chris [Kulwin] and Cody [Carpenter] were in Temporary Pharaohs. The boys got together to make a party rock / grunk folk album after a long discussion about the final artistic genius: Spike Jones. What came out was “#GetNastyAndRich” by The Gnar Wave Rangers.”
The Gnar Wave Rangers have only continued to artistically evolve since their inaugural release, but always maintained their ability to smartly integrate their own artistic flair and uniqueness into their music.
“#GetNastyAndRich” was a sloshed caricature of everything that was going on around us in Chicago. It was recorded hard, fast and sloppy in a damp basement and also an office building in Hermosa,” the band said. “Our second LP “Big Joe King” was a journey inward. A magnum opus of sorts; recorded in a professional studio over two years. We threw everything but the kitchen sink on to each track. Think Pet Sounds meets Pantera. We’ve since been reborn after many deaths as Constant Cosmic Shape Shifters of Space, Time & Love. Once again, we have re-imagined ourselves as the funky fun band we started out as.”
It is undeniably worth mentioning that no two songs by The Gnar Wave Rangers sound alike – a large testimony to the band’s ability to sonically diversify each track within their existing discography. Each and every song they have released is effortlessly commanding of the ear and mind alike, and that simply cannot be said about the work of every artist.
Due to the fact that the music of The Gnar Wave Rangers is perpetually overflowing with its own palpable, electric energy, it comes as no surprise that the band prides themselves on delivering equally as energetic live performances – something the quality of their music lends itself to the band being able to excel at. The innately exciting nature of the band’s music makes it so very easy for listeners to lose themselves within a world of their creation, and, at times, this has lent itself to some unusual occurrences materializing in the crowd.
When asked if they had a favorite memory from any of these live performances, the band’s reply was straightforward yet simultaneously unforgettable:” The time at [DIY venue] Young Camelot when the guy had sex with the cake.”
Chicago’s creative community is innately distinctive, with a flourishing DIY culture that serves as a vehicle for many local musicians to showcase their work and bring it to fruition in front of audiences. This largely fueled by the network of venues that host performances of this nature, the previously mentioned Young Camelot among them. The city’s creative community strongly exudes its own positive potency, as The Gnar Wave Rangers cite “All the great DIY spots” as being among the facets of Chicago’s music scene they find to be the most unique.
Another hallmark of the close ties that are formed within the city’s DIY-centric creative community materializes when local artists often cite other local artists as being impactful to them in one form or another. To no exception is The Gnar Wave Rangers, who, when asked to name artists that have been of importance to them both as musicians and individuals, listed local rock acts The Evening Attraction, Bloom, The Walters, and The Lemons in their response.
As an entity, The Gnar Wave Rangers are strikingly sensational. Their music is loaded with its own specialized kind of kinetic energy that is ever present within every second of every song. It is adrenalized to the point of sheer euphoria; to a point where listeners surrender their senses to the world of their music. The music of The Gnar Wave Rangers is innovative, skillful, brimming with electricity, and just plain fun – it’s the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll cocktail.
Coming up next for The Gnar Wave Rangers is an unreleased LP entitled “Stranger Angels.” Given the band’s knack for creating finely calibrated songs that are strong in sonic addictiveness and creativity, it’s sure to be fantastic.