Chicago’s Carbon Tigers: A local band to watch

Living life as a touring band can be a strangely lopsided experience. One night you can be playing to a lively crowd in one city only to travel to another the next night and take the stage in front of a few people in a high school gym. The real rewards don’t always come in the form of a check, but making new fans and meeting new people. While the members of Chicago’s Carbon Tigers are certainly a band with ample talent and ambition, they haven’t strayed far from their roots as friends making music and having fun.

Formerly a five-piece, Carbon Tigers boast a new lineup to take them into what will be their fourth year as a band. Chris Wienke on vocals recently linked up with Nick Cudone, Aaron Sweatt and Darien Williams to create the current iteration of Carbon Tigers. The way the band came together _㐠by hanging out and playing basement shows around Chicago _㐠resembles their songwriting and performances in a way: organic, natural and without anything in excess. These factors all combine to make Carbon Tigers a group to look out in the Chicago music scene.

Their latest release, an EP titled “The Wars at Home,” brings together a diverse mix of sonic influences to create five very strong tracks. The sound of the EP runs the gamut from slow burners to full-throttle shred sessions, with each track possessing a unique texture. The EP’s opener, “Everybody Else,” starts things off with a slow burn, eventually escalating into a full-blown demolition with the final track, “The Harvest.” Wienke stressed that the album came into fruition through jamming and melding pieces together, incorporating riffs they liked or melodies they stumbled upon in the process into the recordings. The EP doesn’t have a disparate sound, though, rather becoming cohesive through experimentation.

Everything in between provides a great amount of balance and contrast, and their live performance remains true to this aesthetic. From the first song at their show December 13 at The Beat Kitchen, the equilibrium between each instrument was impeccable; Wienke and Sweatt traded bass duties while Cudone’s lush Gibson distortion shone through. On drums, Williams was relentless, driving the band forward with fills that might have actually destroyed a kit built for anyone less capable. These contrasting textures, not just instrumental but musical as well, made each song captivating and emotional.

In talking to the band before the show, it’s clear that between four individual personalities, they each share a common goal of making quality music and putting on a good show. Having just released “The Wars at Home” nearly a month ago, they are already anxious to get back in the studio, and even have big plans ahead that they couldn’t disclose just yet. With that said, Carbon Tigers are certainly one local band to watch coming into the new year.