Fatty_Jubbo on 12/17/2010 at 05:28AM
Velcro Lewis AKA Andy Slater has been a constant in the Chicago music scene for the past fifteen years, experimenting with different genres. As an undergrad at the School of the Art Institute, he delved into its unique sound program that emphasizes experimentation. Initially creating Bruce Haack/Roger Roger-type high weirdness under the name Sinewaves, the project eventually drifted towards a more electronic soundscape direction. Being legally blind and growing less comfortable with visual work, these pieces were Velcro's audio paintings of imaginary spaces.
The Sinewaves work led Velcro into his second project, Behold! The Living Corpse, a metal band that focused on timbre and mood, using two bass guitars, noise and synthesizers. It took a while for Behold! to find their footing but they started to break barriers when producer Sanford Parker joined the band. Sanford added synths and noise to the foreboding mix as well as making their recordings sound grinding, crushing and brutal. Starting in 1999, the band was ahead of their time, presaging the current avant-doom metal trend. The core of the band called it quits but Velcro continued on with another incarnation, corralling various people from the Chicago noise scene to create a more atmospheric but no less dread-filled dirge.
But most people know Velcro from his Psychedelic/Garage/Soul band The Velcro Lewis Group where he caterwauls through whiskey soaked jams while armed with a mountain of cowbells. It's an interesting progression for Velcro but the band is a refinement of all his past experiments, making it all go down easy while Velcro creates a party atmosphere. The band fuses a vast range of styles to create a unique sound, making it hard to lump them into a generic genre...their bluesy pop gems incorporate gospel, garage and psychedelic through racous call and response sessions between Velcro and drummer Hark Colman, electric washboard (!) playing from Lawrence Peters, excellent guitar work from Phil Hunger and a mighty low-end from Jeff Hanson.