Audiotree describes their Far Out series as a, "series where we step outside our studio to record artists in unusual environments." Far Out serves as their artsier outlet, where bands perform in unique locations around Chicago (where Audiotree is based), shot in rich colors and in one continuous shot, taking full advantage of the space. With one band performing two songs, it's a great way to get introduced to new music or to see your favorite band in a whole new light. Listed below are a few of my favorites, which is by no means exhaustive, and I would encourage anyone to check out the series to find their own favorites.
Palm makes music that could only come from this decade, rigging their guitars and drums to MIDI controllers to create strange tropical tunes that evade a clear rhythm or melody. Couple that with the fact that they're all self–taught musicians, it becomes clear how they settled on their sound. Their session takes place at Jolly Inn Restaurant & Banquet Hall, a setting cut straight out of a Wes Anderson movie. With just a hint of haze throughout the banquet hall, green lights accenting the scene, the Philly band performs "Dog Milk" off 2018's Rock Island. Kasra Kurt takes lead vocals, while Eve Alpert sings backup, both voices heavily distorted over their steel drum guitars.
Cloud Nothings—"So Right So Clean"
Performed at Brooklyn Boulders Climbing Gym, Cloud Nothings feels like appropriate music to climb to. With their dark, tempestuous guitars rattling while frontman Dylan Baldi growls into his mic, they sound like the struggle and fury behind trying to make one's way out of a valley. "You never mind the ones who got left behind," Baldi screams as climbers scale the walls behind him, which feels a bit literal. "I wish I could believe in your dream."
Camp Cope—"The Face of God"
At the center of an idyllic lake (Palmisano Park in Bridgeport), Camp Cope performed "The Face of God" off their 2018 album How to Socialise and Make Friends. One of their slower songs, it talks about sexual assault in the music industry, such as in the line "Could it be true? You don't seem like that kind of guy/ Not you, you've got that one song that I like," mocking the apologists who defend abusers. Surrounded by water, there's a sense of cleansing and openness around the scene.
Given the ir name, it's fitting LVL UP would perform at Emporium Arcade for their Far Out session. With the fog injected into the air, the dim sunlight draining through, and the blinking lights of the arcade games behind the group, there's strong Stranger Things vibes throughout this whole video. LVL UP broke up in 2018, and "Orchard" was the last song they released as a group. The band all split into different projects, but this video serves as memorabilia for their time.
Slaughter Beach, Dog—"Acolyte"
For a more intimate Far Out session, Jake Ewald (formerly of Modern Baseball) performs solo at Connie's Cleaners. Performing "Acolyte," Ewald's sweet voice sings of taking risks in love, while cars pass behind him and wooden chairs creak. Ewald has a skill for painting a scene with just a few words, like when he sings, "Man, it cuts like a dull knife/ When you're young and you're told/ 'Makes sense when you're older'/ Darling, let's get old." It feels incredibly cozy, between the warm and inviting interior and the rain outside.
Lala Lala—"Siren 042"
Lillie West fronts Lala Lala with understated vocals and a hearty guitar that bounces from bright riffs to steady rhythmic chords, peppering samples throughout her songs. In contrast to the daytime climbing gym of Cloud Nothing's performance, Lala Lala opts to film theirs during the night hours, a mellow lighting over everything as they play "Siren 042," a chill track from their 2018 album The Lamb. The song feels childishly remorseful as West sings, "And I'm sorry I was evil, I'm in trouble from before."
Whereas Palm's Far Out session felt like a Wes Anderson movie, Boy Harsher's feels more Wes Craven. The horror of the scene is built up with shots of a car racing down a tunnel, shadows moving in slow motion, and blood washing down a sink. The darkwave duo take full advantage of the moody Silent Funny Art Space with intense lighting and fog to immerse the viewer in the shroud their brand of electronic dance music forms. So immersed one might not even notice that shape in the background. What's it holding?
Following the cinematic theme, Hatchie wraps up the list on a lighter note with a Far Out session that feels like the ideal final scene from an 80s movie. Performing at the center of The Rink, roller skaters encircle them throughout the video, looking like they were ripped straight out of a John Hughes flick. Hatchie's "Sure" complements perfectly, with shiny synths and jangly guitars that are sure to burrow their way into the back of your mind. If you can watch this without feeling anything, you might want to prescribe yourself a heavy dose of The Breakfast Club.