HOMECOMING KINGS: It’s been nearly half a year since the lads of oso (myspace.com/thebandoso) hit the road for a little musical soul-searching, Euro-style. Over the course of the past five months, the members of the art rockin’ foursome have traveled through the majority of Europe, picking up plenty more stories, songs, and worldly insights along the way. And while a lucky few of us got to stand shoulder-to-shoulder amidst a crowd of crazy this past weekend while the guys rocked (in costume, of course) a Halloween house party on the Westside, everyone agrees that it’s about time for the rest of S.B to see what the band as been up to.

I caught up with frontman (and avid unicyclist) Phil Taylor and drummer/accordion player Tim Beutler around the time they hit Prague back in September. Based on their experiences (and their killer first post-trip performance), I think it’s safe to say that they’ve returned louder, better, and perhaps a bit more world weary than many of us might remember them.

Known almost as well for their on- (and off-) stage antics as they are for their high-energy tunes, it came as no surprise that the folks the band encountered on the road were a bit mystified by the sight of a guitarist on a unicycle. “The general response from people is always at least to turn their heads to watch him go by,” explained Beutler of his pedaling frontman. “And most people actually stop to watch. It’s definitely not something they see every day, probably.” “[It] seems to generate something,” added Taylor. “A wave of smiles, disdain, but [it’s] probably hard to ignore. Which brings up the question of safety. It looks dangerous? It certainly is. I’ve dropped the amp three times on this trip, once destroying the speaker in Berlin. [I sprained] my wrist in London. So the system is far from perfect, but the best we’ve come up with so far.”

Technical and medical snafus aside, the friends have returned (more or less) in one piece, and they are as pumped as ever to be playing to the hometown crowd again. “We have a new album, kuno esama, that we finished in May, just before we left, that hardly no one has heard,” said Taylor, when asked about his much-anticipated homecoming. Added Beutler, “I think ultimately [this trip] makes me want to travel more. We made so many good friends and contacts in so many cities, it seems like it would be possible to travel and play more.”

So before the foursome gets snatched up by some avant-garde label and starts jet setting instead of hitchhiking, I recommend you catch them live and in person. Now for the plug. This Friday, November 7, oso will take over Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) for a night of raucous, forward thinking, art rock jams. The show starts at 8 p.m. For more information, call 966-9328 or visit myspace.com/muddycafesb.

NORTHWARD BOUND: For more sonically out-there show-going fodder, may I draw your attention to Chicago’s own Pit Er Pat (piterpat.com). Aside from having one of the better band names I’ve heard in recent months, these Windy City natives craft some truly amazing tunes. Mixing hushed-but-deadly drum tracks with space age samples, pulsing bass beats, trombone and flute solos, dance-inducing melodies, and vocals that range from warbling to chanting, the threesome is unabashed about their love of the eclectic-and it works. Currently, the band is signed to the notoriously killer Thrill Jockey Records (thrilljockey.com), which lays claim to such well-known eccentrics as David Byrne and Califone. The band is now touring in support of their recently released LP, High Time, which hit stores on October 21. They’ll be stopping by for a very special performance at Isla Vista’s Biko Garage Co-Op on Wednesday, November 12, with Los Angeles’s Hecuba (myspace.com/hecubahecuba) and Lucky Dragons (myspace.com/luckydragons). For more information, visit myspace.com/kcsb or myspace.com/piterpat.


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