B-sides: “The Symposium” by The Symposium

A series highlighting up-and-coming artists that are worth checking out

Each week reporter Jessica Myers finds rising artists that students might want to tune in to.

Who they are:

The Chicago-based band The Symposium have been making music since 2013, hinting at slightly psychedelic vibes, with a popular alternative rock feel. The band is known to be heavily influenced by indie rock bands like The Strokes and The Unicorns. 

They’re a part of the Chicago music scene, having played with larger-known local bands like The Orwells and Twin Peaks. 

The Symposium’s 2017 self-titled album is their second album. It embodies that garage indie-rock feeling alternative music lovers adore. Their music is a dreamy daze and evokes feelings of endless opportunity — their music's a soundtrack to adventure and chaotic good.

The album:

“The Symposium” was released last year on 4/20. The album fills listeners’ minds with dreamy guitar sounds, reminiscent of psychedelic rock bands like old Tame Impala or Temples. This is an album for all moods, and its versatility makes the album that much better. 

The first song on the album, “Streems,” erupts into a repetitive guitar, drums and bass trio and floats into mumbling, dreamy vocals. The song sounds like the soundtrack to a movie where characters are driving down the highway in a convertible, with scarves flailing in the air and the sun reflecting off their big sunglasses. The repetition of the line “Word on the street that there’s something really happening” is reminiscent of change and growth. The vocals and lyrics are slightly haunting, in a good way. This chilled-out tune is their most popular on Spotify at the moment.

 “A.C.L.” follows popular song “Streems” and contrasts the lighter sound with lo-fi vocals and a rough guitar track. The lyrics exemplify a relatable angst and rely heavily on a strong drum base. Nearing the end of the track, the sound melts into a malfunctioning sound and slowly builds back together, starting with light drums. As more of the instruments start to pick up again, the track speeds up, sounding like a shrilly dream, just to slow down while sluggishly fading out. The song feels like a journey of figuring life out, being angry and then realizing, “Oh well, c'est la vie.”

The album fluctuates between lighter and darker sounds, heavily relying on vocal effects for these transitions. Tracks like “Soft Love,” “Creeper” and “Synth Song” take advantage of garage-type, AM radio-esque vocals that indie-rock music lovers hold onto. Tracks like “Based” and “Red River” have more lucid vocals that highly resemble those of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. These foot-tapping jams have an indie-rock feel that is simple and mellow.

The 10th and last song on the album, “Starfall,” manifests that hazy feeling of falling over rambling words and thoughts. The words in this track flow one after another, like never-ending contemplations that twist onto one another to the point where nothing makes sense anymore. The lyrics in this song seem irrational, just like drunken thoughts, and capture a moment of impaired judgment almost perfectly with the repeated phrase, “I get lonely when you don’t talk to me, it’s the words that I crave so irrationally. Oh wait a minute, lemme think, I’ll sit down and have a drink, maybe one or maybe seven, maybe three…”

Favorite song:

“The Physical Attractions” is a sweet psych rock ode to, well, to say it nicely, impaired judgement. It wasn’t the lyrics that drew my attention immediately — it was the way the song made me feel. The psychedelic sound draws listeners in and feels like a foggy memory. The vocals clumsily bounce from one word to another. The high pitched guitar sounds throughout the track screech their way into listeners’ souls, grabbing their attention and saying, “Here: listen and feel something.”


The album is a dreamlike experience, with sounds that represent endless wonder and nostalgia. 

Upcoming shows:

Summer Salt with Hot Flash Heat Wave, The Symposium

The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix

Friday, Aug. 17 at 7:30 pm

Reach the reporter at jlmyer10@asu.edu or follow @jessiemy94 on Twitter. 

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