Editor’s note: Over the next week, we take a look at some of the bands who jumped out at us in 2019. Leading up to that, we asked some friends and scene contributors for their picks, too. Adela Skowronski, Elmhurst College student, musician and part of The Underbelly Hours duo on WRSE 88.7-FM and the AUX Podcast Network, shares her favorite discovery of this year.
Like a morning cup of coffee, the first warm day of spring, or a big, welcoming hug, some rituals never cease to make us happy – no matter how often they may occur. Among these happy combinations lies the musical pairing of acoustic guitar and voice: it’s a tradition that never fails to stir the soul.
In my humble opinion, it is also this timeless, homely and self-aware nature that makes new Chicago duo, The Bellow and the Whale so captivating to the ear. Bianca brings the pair’s rich, soulful sound, capable of both great power and intimate, quiet intricacies: Julia harbors the lighter complement, with whimsy, flourishes and the song-building skills of a multi-instrumentalist. With a simple guitar and two combined voices, they create songs that tell stories of home, love and loss in a manner both original and strangely familiar. They also reach far beyond the bounds of their acoustic confines when crafting studio works: though just completing their first year as a group, they’ve released four full-band singles, as a well as multiple live acoustic videos. My favorite so far has to be “Paperback” — the imagery is simply wonderful. As someone who’s also had the privilege to sit in on a few of their unreleased works, I can also say with confidence that 2020 will have The Bellow and The Whale exploring into EVEN MORE creative sounds and genres … including a tune that doesn’t sound like it’d be out of place in a Cirque du Soleil soundtrack!
And please, please, please … don’t let the fact that these gals are acoustic, or singer songwriters, turn you away from checking out their tunes. There’s a reason why people who see them perform are drawn to their light. With just the right blend of voices & creative sparks, this simple start is truly laying the foundation for something magical and new to appear.
The Underbelly Hours