Monday, September 11, 2006

RFC Recommends: Cellmates

Cellmates is a local Chicago act with more heart and texture than most labels have in their entire roster, and yet they are without a record deal themselves. At the center of the band are Mandy Ellis and Erik Osborn, whose musical relationship began in 2002 on a Milwaukee rooftop just hours after they met. The pair eventually relocated to Chicago and formed Cellmates in 2003, adding musician-friends to the lineup as the group progressed. Cellmates creates a lulling brand of string-infused, epic folk, perhaps akin to A Silver Mt Zion but more natural and modest. Allow me to be an elitist music critic and label them the bashful yet surly twins borne from the seeds of Efrim Menuck and Will Oldham. The sound at this group’s core is formed by poignant tunes that are escalated to a level of heroic artistry by the candid drone of Osborne’s voice and the unfurling of acoustic weavings that knit a delicate fabric of understated passion. The music of Cellmates is sincere, at times haunting or affecting, and strikingly beautiful in its lucently-covered nakedness. Cellmates plays with Jump Rope for Heart and Boo Hiss tomorrow night (Tues 9/12) at South Union Arts. Download: Cellmates - "A New Day In War" (MP3)

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