When I began talking to the Dust Bunnies, I was new to running a label. They had been recording an album, but the studio caught fire, and all that was left was a bounce of unfinished songs. That was 5 years ago. They started from scratch with Robbie Hamilton at Pieholden Suite Sound to finish the album they always wanted to make, their first LP, Young Chicagoan.
This album has taken me on a mission to discover what inspires Dust Bunnies. The synth and organ tones are dialed-in to frequencies that span generations of rock and roll – 60’s ? and The Mysterians, 70’s Beatles, 80’s Cars, and lo-fi Casio sounds. Guitars ring with the same spirit that drove bands like Butterglory and the early Flying Nun catalog, i.e. the Bats. “Kaleidoscope” even has an air of the Velvet Underground with the incorporated strings and tambourine.
The Dust Bunnies are telling us a story with Young Chicagoan, an immersive and lucid one. In “Kaleidoscope” the band sees the world full of color. Their view or experience is different than any other, but similar in that all views are filled with color. But what happens when views collide? “Arlington/Washington” tells a story of someone listening to the radio in a car and critiquing what they’re hearing while simultaneously realizing that people change, sometimes enough to complicate a relationship. We arrive at “It’s 2AM.” a breathtaking crescendo, both spectacular and sorrowful. “Torch Song” wraps up the album and tells a story of an apparition traveling through all of the places and feelings of life for one last time.
Young Chicagoan leaves me to consider who or what am I still in love with. It’s an album that lands on my turntable whenever friends are over, a favorite jacket, a friend, a lover, the spirit of a city. When I was a child, I heard music on vinyl with headphones for the first time in an apartment in Oak Park, IL. As a teenager I took a photograph of that place. I looked at that photograph decades later, and it looks different. I don’t have to ask where I am because I’m still in all of those places. I can remember what it felt like to fall in love with a place, a person, and with music.