The Gold Standard (Foxhall Records)

Contact Jessica Linker about Marrow

The great institution that is “the Chicago music scene” has a new sound from some hometown faces. Over the last two years, Marrow has been searching in the studio and at many local Chicago venues for a sound they could call home. What stuck to the wall was a dynamic, honest and musically joyous interpretation of some rock songs. Sturdy, powerful lead vocals hailing from Macie Stewart (singer/songwriter/keyboardist) and Liam Kazar (singer/songwriter/guitarist) live at the center of every song; the frolicking yet frightful keys, industrious guitar, and impenetrable groove of bassist Lane Beckstrom and drummer Matt Carroll give these songs an impressively large sonic playground to gambol in.


Although a baby band full of young musicians (most members are 22), Marrow’s combined musical experience is extraordinary and wide-reaching. All hail from a jazz and classical background. Macie, Liam, and Lane spent four years touring the country and recording with the now defunct hip-hop outfit, Kids These Days, which fellow members included Vic Mensa and Donnie Trumpet. Macie toured with Chance The Rapper in 2014 and all four members of Marrow were featured on Surf, the new album from Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment. Liam spent the last year touring all over the U.S. and Europe with Tweedy, as well as performing on a slew of late night and daytime television programs: The Tonight Show, The Colbert Report, Conan, Austin City Limits, and CBS This Morning: Saturday.


In late 2013, Marrow released their debut, two-song EP, “TWO.” It was recorded in Lane’s basement just a few months after the band’s formation. The first song, “She Chose You,” shows someone wrestling with the torment and guilt that can sometimes consume a relationship and how that can both be sad and life-affirming — “she’s wrong it’s true, it’s not so bad.” In the second song, “Mother of Maladies,” we’re reminded of those great moments when you really don’t want to be around anyone else besides your lover — “Every night I am with you I feel it, every night’s not every night enough.”


Following the release of “TWO,” Marrow ventured into Liam’s brand new, never-before-used studio, Foxhall. It was a “learn as you go” process as the band made their first record in a studio’s maiden voyage – they grabbed all the foam or insulation they could find, scrapping together amplifiers, guitars and keyboards to try to find new sounds. What culminated, after a years worth of recording, experimentation and discovery, was the debut album from Marrow — The Gold Standard — a thoughtful, tender, rambunctious record.


Debut single “Paulson” is as fast-paced and fun as it is loud and energetic. “We won’t leave you feeling a certain way for very long,” says Liam. “At times you’ll want to curl into a ball or sit solemnly with headphones on like Lou Reed always wished we did when we listened to The Velvet Underground. Other times you’ll hear a song that just might make the next road trip playlist or maybe, just maybe, make you want to dance like no one’s watching.” As “Paulson” jumps of the cliff, it lands in the luscious, vast soundscape of the title track, “The Gold Standard,” the records most intense, daunting moment. Afterwards, the record continues to trot along with “Ocean of Glory” — “I am looking to see you at midnight, we don’t talk that much in the daylight. You could make love to me when I’m older, you’re a bootstrap I’m pulling closer.”  


After “Ocean of Glory” finishes in its blitzed out frenzy of multiple drumsets, unified guitar and bass, and arpeggiating synthesizers, the record finds more sensitive moments with “Leave It On The Side,” “Leave Grounds Stay,” and “Cities.” In “Cities,” Macie sings, “our cities were built to be destroyed, otherwise we’d call them home.” Haunting strings performed by Macie give the record one of its most melancholic moments; a scary nightmare of what it would be like if our home was taken away from us.


The home stretch is hopeful and a suggestion of what is to come. With “Corsicana” we cleanse ourselves of the past and move on towards greener pastures. “I pack my bags, they barely closed, I’m on my way, we’ll see where I go…because nothing’s ever lost when your on own.” The record then comes to a close with “Quarter to Three,” the records most epic tune. Performing the song as it was intended — floating tempos and psychedelic jams for undisclosed periods of time. It’s the sound of four musicians and high school friends playing in a room together amidst the traditions bestowed upon them by the city of Chicago and it’s musical realm.