“Les Racquet was founded on the idea that it was about less racket, less noise in the music industry, less bullshit, and more just overall good music no matter what kind of genre it comes from or who it odes to as far as the great people that came before us. We want to be able to do all kinds of different music.”
Three laid back New Yorkers dropped by Logan Square on Monday to hype their new album and support independent radio in the process.
Since 2010 Patrick Carroll, Kenny Murphy, and Daniel Malone have been creating music together as Les Racquet (pronounced “less racket”), and though they’re a young band they have mastered quite the eclectic rock n’ roll sound. Their newest album, 2013’s Whale Hail, is representative of that. From a Kenny Loggins cover of “Lady Luck” to the funky and primarily instrumental sound of “Zumi” the album is truly a hybrid breed. That being said, it’s also what brought them to The Whistler where they performed Monday as part of CHIRP night (Chicago Independent Radio Project).
With Carroll on guitar, Murphy on bass and Malone on the drums, Les Racquet took the stage shortly after Chicago band Hemmingbirds did a killer job of warming it up. The Whistler is already an intimate space, but add unique cocktails like the Bodega Buck or Old Salt, along with tons of music lovers and you get a place brimming with energy and good vibrations.
Much like the album, while watching these guys perform live there is never a boring moment. They were interactive with their audience, used entertaining transitions like the theme song from Nickelodeon’s Doug, and toward the end they each made sure to dazzle us with several raw solos. There were also a few killer covers including Gorillaz track “Clint Eastwood” and the Beatles’ “She’s So Heavy,” which definitely kept the crowd on their feet.
A few days prior to the show I had the pleasure of speaking with Carroll on the phone, and discussing his love of tacos, The Hobbit and all things music. I wanted to get a sense of who Les Racquet is and what distinguishes them amongst the numerous indie rock bands out there.
In a nutshell, the age of Les Racquet dawned when Carroll and Murphy packed up their 2003 Town & Country minivan and left Massachusetts for New York City in pursuit of a life filled with making music. After getting a job at a pizza place to pay the bills, the two rented a practice space and began their quest for a drummer.
“Mutual friends of Daniel’s recommended him, he was the first one we actually played with and it was great…[He] was looking for this type of band and he was looking to go for it, not wait, not waste anytime, and take it right on the road. Take it seriously and make it professional.”
One of the craziest things that I learned about Les Racquet is that these guys have been steadily on the road for about a year and half, to the point where they’ve been subletting their NYC apartment and damn near living in that same Town & Country minivan. Of course they had to make a pit stop in Austin for SXSW, where the band got to perform, meet Kenny Loggins, and according to him, Patrick ate 10 tacos in 9 minutes.
Knowing already how hyped they were to come to Chicago I wanted to know what they’re looking forward to as the tour takes them out west. Though the boys are of course excited to hit Las Vegas for their first time, the most insightful thing that Patrick said to me was about the journey.
“The thought process for me changes a lot when I get out there, so even if it’s not 100% productive every show everywhere for me it’s really refreshing to get out there. I’m excited for the long drives where you can look out and see for miles and so your thoughts actually kind of trail along with you out on the mountain range. It’s good for writing, it’s good for keeping diaries, also making enough connections on the West Coast that will hopefully turn into a fan base.”
But what makes Les Racquet different from other indie rock bands? For me, it was realizing that it’s not about their status or being labeled by any one thing. Talking with Patrick made me realize how much this trio is in it for artistic and creative potential as opposed to commercial gain or recognition.
“Les Racquet was founded on the idea that it was about less racket, less noise in the music industry, less bullshit, and more just overall good music no matter what kind of genre it comes from or who it odes to as far as the great people that came before us. We want to be able to do all kinds of different music,” Patrick said.
Overall, these boys travel and tour so much out of a genuine desire to live and breathe music. At the end of the day, I truly think that they make music in an effort to contribute to the world around us. In some ways they’ve certainly put all of their eggs in one basket, but considering that their ultimate goal is the continuous creation of new and original sound…I’m in.
“If I was to share something with the world,” he said “ it would be that we’re super excited to finally be sharing our full length album, Whale Hail, it took us a long time to record and we’re really proud of it…so go listen to it, sit down with it, and see what we did for 14 songs…an emotional rollercoaster.”
For those of you who missed them at The Whistler or who didn’t get enough the first time around, Les Racquet will be back in Chicago on Friday, May 17th at Moe’s Tavern.