Cover of “Airbag” by daysee.

Daysee’s “Airbag”: Expand Your Mind with Experimental Sonic Sprawl

The Chicago DIY group transcends the usual garage rock fare with their debut LP

by Katie Ingegneri

First off, we’re going to pretend daysee is an entirely new band that just appeared out of thin air. It’s not really true, and I am usually a huge proponent of tracing lineages and histories, so this is a struggle for me! (I totally didn’t publish an article about some of the people in the band before…) But in the case of Chicago DIY life, they might as well be all-new— people play in multiple bands, some dissolve, some last a few months or keep trucking on. The average shelf life of a rock band in the scene is roughly akin to the shelf life of a DIY venue — and when it’s over, it’s over, damn whatever sentimental feelings you may have about it. While I still like the previous music that we’re pretending doesn’t exist, daysee is the here and the now. And they have a full self-released LP out called “Airbag,” which is an exciting sonic collage of rock-influenced experimentalism, blending psychedelia, pop, and noisy sprawl into a compelling debut.

Esteban, Nick, Eric & Zak — Photo from daysee’s Bandcamp

I’m also not supposed to call them “shoegaze,” which is probably for the best as I’m not well-versed in what that genre specifically entails. But at any rate, they call themselves “experimental,” which fits easily, albeit generally —so far the best description I can come up with is that they’re like if Sonic Youth took a bunch of acid. They also remind me of experimental musician Julian Lynch, synthesizing world music, bedroom DIY pop, and a combination of machine loops and live music into a multi-layered wave of sound. I like them because their take on psychedelia is in the vein of George Harrison circa ’68, heavy on the pop melodies, meeting a 90s-era vibe of noise, vocal harmonies, and grunge styles.

But let’s not forget that these are still pretty young dudes — when I was trying to book them for a bar show in the past year, not all members of the band had turned 21 yet. But now they are all of legal drinking age, so daysee ended up playing at my 30th birthday party / magazine showcase in December at Cole’s Bar, at which one of my fellow concert-going music enthusiasts told me he became a fan on the spot. Precociously good sound, myriad musical influences, and that always key element of good bands — energy — all combine in daysee, a group you should definitely be keeping your eye on.

Nick Van Horn and Eric Schuh of daysee at Cole’s Bar, December 2017. Photo by Katie Ingegneri.

Between their great EP “Splash” and now “Airbag,” there’s plenty to explore and keep on repeat. “Airbag” keeps you on your toes from start to finish, from the Sgt. Pepper-esque melodies in lead single “Indigo,” and the world music vibes of “Bali,” to the waves of energy in “Dizzy,” where dissonance and distortion build up into dramatic pauses before pummeling you with sound, and the more vocal-centric “I Am” and “You Decide” — it’s a tasty sonic collage for your ears that will keep those winter blues at bay.

Be sure to check out daysee whenever they’re playing shows around Chicago and beyond, and stay tuned for wherever this crew takes their sound next — I can’t wait to see how it develops.

Follow daysee on Bandcamp and Facebook.

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