Moving mountains with Rockford bands

Alex Schaaf

People don’t usually think of Rockford, Ill. when they are talking about the hot music scenes of the Midwest, thinking instead of places like Eau Claire, Minneapolis or Chicago. But unbeknownst to many, Rockford is turning into a hotbed of quality music. Last Saturday night saw two bands from that area perform in Riverview Lounge to an enthusiastic crowd.
The night started off with a set from Imaginary Heroes. Lawrence’s own Tom Pilcher handled the drums behind a very impressive group, a self-proclaimed “ska” band, but with leanings that go beyond most people’s less-than-flattering ideas of the genre. Inventive rhythms and song structures led to a very impressive set, especially as they ended with their best song of the night.
Kid You’ll Move Mountains took the stage next, and the band did not disappoint. The band has been growing in momentum lately, with a positive review from Chicago Sun-Times’ critic Jim DeRogatis capping off a stream of good press from their latest release, “Loomings.” Like with any good band, the music is not easily categorized by one or two words, but it is undeniably energetic.
Corey Wills, the lead singer of Inspector Owl – who will be returning to Lawrence next Friday for LU-aroo – steps back from the microphone in KYMM, instead creating walls of dense, unpredictable sound. This sound is created with multiple effects pedals, forming a textured layer that surrounds and envelops the rest of the band. Lead singer Jim Hanke sings every word like it’s his last, and the rest of the band matches his intensity, including Nate Lanthrum and his powerful, unorthodox drumming.
The song structures that KYMM comes up with are the most interesting aspect of the group. The group uses dynamics to a large degree, forming multiple peaks and valleys within each song, shying away from the “quiet verse-loud chorus” cliché that so many songs fall into. The group also excels at the slow-building groove song, dropping out almost everything only to bring it all back in one by one to a most satisfying climax.
The band is not afraid to create walls of noise, which can sometimes be self-indulgent in the hands of other bands, bands who crouch over the pedals, noodling with various knobs to create subtle changes to already-monotonous drones.
But KYMM embraces these experimental sounds, using them to create tension in between the more-conventional upbeat sections. The group uses both experimental and conventional techniques in combination to create a truly unique sound.
KYMM has several shows over the next few weeks, bringing new tunes to as many people as possible before playing at Summerfest June 28, which will be a must-see set. The new album “Loomings” is available from the KYMM official Web site.