By Vince Chiarelli
When I first heard the name La Historia, I had no idea what to expect. Having learned more about the band members’ rich musical history together, I now think the name is fitting.
Being a part of a handful of bands, the members of La Historia have been playing and recording around Rockford and Chicago for almost a decade and a half, and even did some touring. Three members of the band, Kevin Schwitters, Jesse Carmona and Phil Goudreau, all of Rockford, were part of a fairly successful and productive band called The Braves from 2001 to 2007. In early 2012, unable to resist the chance to play together again, Kevin, Jesse and Phil decided to continue applying their musical vision with another friend and local musician, Luke Kramer of Freeport. And with the release of their debut EP, the results of this project are now coming clearly into focus.
The Awake Enough EP is a solid collection of five well-constructed indie rock songs. The band recorded the EP with Chicago engineer Mike Hagler (Wilco, Neko Case, The Mekons and many more). The production is solid, and if you are a fan of big, driving percussion, varying guitar tones and emotive vocals, then you need to hear this EP.
The band members say their music is informed by the bands that have been inspiring them for the last 25 years — especially the indie rock bands of the ’80s and ’90s — but I think these five songs capture a modern sensibility as well. Some of their root ideas might be reminiscent of other bands, but these guys have clearly been playing together long enough to have developed signature sound and feel.
In an effort to help promote the Awake Enough EP, the band has enlisted Rockford native (and Schwitters’ brother-in-law) Barton Bishoff to help with a music video for the song “Wrong Things Right.” While the video is still in production, you can see a teaser for the video on YouTube or through the La Historia’s Facebook page.
The video was filmed during a practice in La Historia’s old practice space, Pecatonica Hardware. The location is unique, but appropriate seeing that the band wrote much of their material while practicing at the store. If the teaser is any indication, the video will be an impressive accomplice to the band’s EP.
La Historia is off to a good start, with a dynamic debut EP and a video in the works, and are hoping to play out with increasing frequency. They are also hoping to record a full-length album before the end of the year.
If you want to hear the band, the Awake Enough EP is available at iTunes, Amazon, Bandcamp, Spotify and CDBaby. You can also catch up with the band, their EP and their video teaser on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/lahistoriaband, or on their website, http://www.lahistoriaband.com.
From the May 15-21, 2013, issue