By Eric Hughes
Editor in Chief
One set at The Whistler is all it took. I’m going to make every effort to see Dan Schneider of The Singleman Affair whenever he plays Chicago.
His music is a storybook, an unpredictable journey through moody folk. You can’t anticipate where it’s going to go — unless, of course, you know every Singleman Affair song by heart. (A feat I wouldn’t mind stabbing). And that, to me, is exciting stuff.
I don’t know track names or anything like that. Frankly, I know very little about The Singleman Affair, even if they’ve toured the country with The Autumn Defense and played some dates in Europe. I can’t drop anything SA fans probably already know; I’m simply catching up on one of the city’s finest acts. And yes, one of the city’s finest acts plays free shows at The Whistler.
So what do I like about The Singleman Affair? Well, for one, I like the idea of a guy who jams with a rotating group of friends. I don’t know how frequently the line-up gets reworked — for every show? for every couple of shows? — but whatever the case, you may see The Singleman Affair one time and then wonder where everybody went the next. The only constant, from year to year, is the band’s founder, Dan Schneider, who does lead vocals and guitar. I admire the setup.
From there, I think Dan, brother of Darling’s Jeff Schneider, is a natural on stage. He plays with as much assurance as anyone I’ve seen here. I’m especially a fan of his winces, I’ll call them. Evident from Thursday’s show, the man has a tendency to twist his face at apparently nothing at all, as if he’s spotted a yuppie whose made a poor choice of fashion and then grimaces in disapproval. When this happens on stage in between guitar parts, he elicits a certain emphasis to his tunes that probably wouldn’t be there otherwise.
Finally, the guy’s music is just wonderful. It’s dark, but in the best possible way. It moves and flows in ways you can only keep up with, not lead. And yeah, it’s just good music that I responded to way positively.
- The Singleman Affair released a new album, Silhouettes At Dawn, in February. Buy it on Cardboard Sangria’s website for $10 (mp3/cd) or $15 (vinyl).
- My friend Susan recorded an interview with Dan for her blog, Indiesomnia. Check it out to listen to Dan talk about his music and hear him perform exclusive tracks acoustically.
Surprisingly very few videos of The Singleman Affair have made their way onto YouTube. I’ll try correcting that the next time I see them. In the meantime, a video of Dan playing The Hideout in May 2008: