“Chicago reminds me of In The Night Kitchen,” declares Quay Quinn-Settel during a recent interview, before asking “Is that common?”
Quinn-Settel is the lead singer of Slowdance, a Brooklyn-based band playing a free show at the Empty Bottle next week. And to answer her question, no, in our experience it is not common for people to compare the Windy City to a Maurice Sendak book best known for naked drawings and not being Where the Wild Things Are. Still, we enjoyed her abnormal answer. It gave us just enough cause to theorize her answer was indicative of someone who cares about making original music. (Also, for what it’s worth, she said that during a recent trip to Chicago she enjoyed dining at the Publican and was impressed with the vast amount of bike lanes. Female lead singers from Brooklyn — they’re just like us!)
Quinn-Settel’s voice has often been compared to Blondie’s, although each time we hear the former’s voice in Slowdance’s “Sweetness,” we frequently find ourselves conjuring up images of Nena singing the opening verse of “99 Luft Balloons.” And we mean that with the utmost respect. From what we’ve heard, Slowdance’s sound is moody but not dark, full of synth beats and bass lines and anchored by Quinn-Settel’s vocals, which are soft but slightly haunting. Or you could just go by what she says of the band’s sound, which is, “If you mashup bits and pieces of our mentions at random, you might wind up with ‘ye-ye shoegaze crystalline buzz-pop.’ These words look great!” We can only hope some of the descriptors we’ve used about Slowdance end up in her next mashup.
<a href=”http://slowdancewith.us/track/sweetness” _mce_href=”http://slowdancewith.us/track/sweetness”>Sweetness by Slowdance</a>
<a href=”http://slowdancewith.us/track/spell” _mce_href=”http://slowdancewith.us/track/spell”>Spell by Slowdance</a>
Like many female leads with dreamy bangs and an alluring voice, Quinn-Settel will induce copious crushes. But she points out her male bandmate, synth player Luke Fox, writes most of the lyrics. So to all future fanboys: she’s not singing about you. And at times, many won’t know what she’s singing about all, as she’s known to sing in French. Don’t worry, Quinn-Settel isn’t some indie-rock Parisian poseur. She was born in Santa Monica, Calif., but she attended grade school and middle school in Paris.
While she might be well-traveled, Slowdance is not. When they come to Chicago, the group will be embarking on a tour where they’ll be performing outside of New York City for the first time. “I anticipate some black eyes, some new pet names, too many ‘that’s what she said’s,’ misunderstandings, more black eyes, hugs and high fives, terrible smells, lice, postcards, and beef jerky,” said Quinn-Settel about Slowdance’s first road trip. “I personally am looking forward to driving, to buying fireworks in more permissive states, and to cramming ourselves in shitty little motels in the middle of nowhere.”
Since Slowdance is beginning to get attention — they’ve been featured in Refinery 29, Stereogum and were deemed one of “8 Bands you Need to Hear” by L magazine — this is probably the last time Chicagoans can see them for free. By the time they tour again, Slowdance will likely have upgraded to staying in mediocre hotels, buying better fireworks and charging for tickets. But with any luck, Quinn-Settel will still be providing blithe albeit slightly bemusing answers to the questions of music writers. And she’ll still think of Chicago as a surreal vision of a kitchen from Maurice Sendak. But for now, enjoy them free of charge, an bon appetit.
Slowdance plays a free show at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western Ave., Ukie Village) on Monday, August 1 at 9:oo pm.