Midcentury Llama, from left, Frank O'Meara, Sam Okrent, Eric Gantner and Nick Witek, released their first single in more than a year, "November," on Nov. 17. // Courtesy of Victoria Holda

Midcentury Llama feels grateful to release a new single ‘November’ in time for Thanksgiving

Even before all the Halloween candy is eaten, we’ve been conditioned to move on to Christmas.

Thanksgiving gets the short end of the stick, Northfield native Frank O’Meara thinks. He and his mates in the indie rock band Midcentury Llama seek to rectify that situation musically with the Nov. 17 release of a single, “November.”

O’Meara pitched an idea to vocalist, lyricist and keyboard player Sam Okrent, who generated a wistful yet optimistic homecoming of sorts.

It’s also highly relatable: “We get too caught up in what we do to make a living/I promise you I’m coming home this Thanksgiving,” Okrent sings.

“I kind of proposed this idea to Sam: I think it’s kind of funny how we start hearing those Christmas songs even around October, like there’s nothing before that,” said O’Meara, on guitar and vocals.

“There’s a whole holiday there, and it’s a pretty big one. And the holiday has the makings for a good song. It’s about being with family and friends — a lot of the things Christmas has, just less presents.”

As boys, O’Meara and drummer Eric Gantner grew up playing music together living houses apart on Middlefork Road in Northfield. Both attended New Trier High School. Okrent, a Trevian out of Glencoe, joined the fold, as did Barrington High School graduate Nick Witek on bass and vocals.

They’ve since gravitated to the North Side of Chicago, closer to rooms like The Beat Kitchen, where Midcentury Llama will play a Dec. 15 show with Rainbow James and Everyday Fantastic.

That’s leaning toward Christmas. Midcentury Llama hustled to release “November” before Thanksgiving had come and gone.

“This one felt time-sensitive, so we kind of rushed to get it out,” O’Meara said. “We cut it pretty close. Ideally it would have been out a week or two ago.”

“November” will be part of an upcoming album for Midcentury Llama, an 11-song release with a working title of “No More Bad News.” The second full-length by the band following its October 2021 self-titled debut, Midcentury Llama returned to Uptown Recording on North Clifton Avenue in Chicago to work with engineers and producers Matt Denny and Rob Ruccia.

O’Meara said additional singles from “No More Bad News” may be released in February prior to the album release. They may sound a little different from the band’s debut as these are the first recordings without saxophonist Sam MacDuffie, who returned to his East Coast roots to attend law school at Duke University.

Regardless, for those who appreciate fellow Chicagoans Whitney and New Jersey’s Pinegrove, the engaging “November” should please until “No More Bad News” comes out.

“This is the first little taste of what it’ll be, especially with the album coming out later, and I think even those songs will be different from this one. Yeah, I’m just excited to have it out there,” O’Meara said.

He had one more thing to say. “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody.”

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