Premiere: ‘Australian Alien’ solidifies Jonfin on Chicago’s indie rock scene
Jonfin’s “Australian Alien” came to be during a self-proclaimed “weird time” in the band’s life.
The new EP uses “Grapevine,” a powerful indictment of hearsay and relationships, as a launching pad into five songs dripping with indie rock flair. At the band’s core, Westmont’s Jonathan Wilson and Colin Supple of Clarendon Hills steer the ship on a trajectory that passes through garage rock and modern rock influences without leaning too heavily into them. The result is a collection of songs that may feel comfortably familiar while retaining complex and rewarding experimental structures.
Despite having played together for just a few months when the EP was being written, Wilson and Supple create a surprisingly strong songwriting team. What’s to that?
“We both have moustaches,” Wilson joked.
“And we have an understanding of the roles certain instruments play within a song,” Supple added. “We both have this natural feeling of where the song is going to go, so we can pick up on the progression. We kind of know what’s going to happen, where the other person is going to go. We never talk about it, but we just know.”
While the EP — and Jonfin in general — were still in a formative time, the young rockers found themselves facing a major lineup change.
The student visa of Australian native Drew Garnaut, one of the band’s founding members, expired, and he was hitting speed bumps getting approved for a work visa. His move up to Canada to continue his attempts at documentation left the band in flux. The band hooked on that uncertainty for the EP’s title, “Australian Alien.”
“Drew contributed, he wrote all the songs with us, he tracked all the songs with us,” Supple said. “In terms of the EP, he’s as full-time of a member as he can be.”
“When we found out Drew was leaving, we tried to rush a bunch of stuff, tracking songs and filming a bunch of videos like ‘Old Ways’ and ‘Attitude,’” Wilson said. “Looking back on it, I’m really happy that we did. Since Drew was such a big part of the writing and recording process, I’m so happy he got to be part of the video process, too.”
“We would love if he was still in the band,” Supple added. “We still love Drew, we still wish he was in the band. And he wants to play with us, but the law is standing in our way, and we can’t really get around the U.S. government.”
READ MORE: Jonfin’s new ‘Old Ways’
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Jonfin, Boye, Lunar Hotel, Division Point
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11
Where: Subterranean Downstairs, 2011 W. North Ave, Chicago.
Tickets: $10; subt.net.