I think what I liked first about Tiny Magnets was their many allusions to Chicago. I mean write what you know, eh? Having lived in this city for a good five months now, I enjoyed the shout-outs to Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue. Hell, public transit sits front and center on “CTA.”
I like, then, the small-town vibe I pick up from Daughters of the Frontier, even though we’re talking about a city as big as Chicago. You know, the third most populous city in America.
But I’ll begin with “Olivia,” because that, too, is the song Tiny Magnets chose to start things off with. According to the band, the song was inspired by a high schooler standing — where else? — on Lake Shore with a sign reading, “Olivia, will you go to the prom with me?” From there, Tiny Magnets crafted a coming-of-age tune from the boy’s perspective, challenging Olivia to join him.
Take a look:
Don’t cry, Olivia
For all the things you thought you wanted to be
Why don’t you quit your job and sell your things
It’s time to make a scene
So now, Olivia
What’ll it be? Why don’t you talk to me?
We’ve got plenty of roads, plenty of time
As far as the eye can see
The band slows it down for “CTA,” which features Allison Felus on lead vocals. I’m troubled with whether it should be read as somber or uplifting. On the one hand, you’ve got a Chicagoan “walking around without much to do” and that no one seems to notice. Cold lyrics, really.
But as I listened to it more, I was overwhelmed with a sense of happiness. Again, it’s that small-town in a big city at work here. The song’s narrator is making an adventure out of a weekend afternoon, darting around from place to place without compromise. She’s boppin’ around under the radar. And that’s OK, really, when you’re surrounded all the time by sky-high buildings, buses and automobiles and, of course, people.
Anyway, Tiny Magnets in some ways reminds me of Whisker Music. Their sounds are way different — for one, Tiny Magnets’ rock is more uppity — yet what they share is the notion that their tunes don’t need to begin and end so quickly. Instead, Tiny Magnets takes its time in reaching the finish.
Yeah, five of Daughters of the Frontier’s six tracks are at least four minutes. (“405” is a smidge over seven). But it’s bigger than that. It’s the guitar solos, slow jams, “do do dos” and so on.
I like that they’ve got little rush. Kinda like, well, Chicago.
- Tiny Magnets, based in Chicago, is: Brian Cremins, Kevin Henretta, Allison Felus and Jake Montgomery.
- Their EP, Daughters of the Frontier, is available directly from the band.
- Tiny Magnets will play Martyrs’ on Tuesday, November 9 (tickets are $7) and at Lizard’s Liquid Lounge on Thursday, November 18.