It’s 2016 and Bucks County (PA) natives, Illinois, continue to share their vast genre-spanning, part indie-folk rock, part pop-rock music. A style that when it all comes together Illinois label it as “suburban soul music”. Last December saw Illinois’ release of ‘Summer EP’ a follow-up to their early 2015 full-length release ‘Shine’.
Illinois was formed in 2004 when childhood friends Chris Archibald (singer-songwriter, guitar, banjo, keys), Martin Hoeger (bass, vocals), and JohnPaul Kuyper (drums) got together to play and showcase Archibald’s prolific song catalog. With time came several lineup changes over the years but Archibald, Hoeger and Kuyper remain as the founding members with the seemingly permanent addition of Jason Buzolits (synthesizer, guitar, vocals), Matt Thieroff (guitar, percussions), and the return of Andrew Lee (guitar, vocals) giving the band cohesion and constructing Illinois’ live performances with an impermeable wall of sound.
“Combining their trademark jangle with a renewed sense of urgency and electronic flourishes, Shine is 3 years in the making and worth the wait.” – Philly.com (Kate Bracaglia)
“Very few bands are equally comfortable with a banjo and a beat box as Illinois, …stylistic schizophrenia…”— SPIN (Peter Gaston)
The band released their first EP ‘Revenge of Some Kid’ in 2006 and it caused quite a buzz in the industry. After signing with Ace Fu the band released the EP ‘What The Hell Do I Know’ to critical acclaim. Ace Fu and Illinois followed that release up with a single “We Were Wrong” in 2008. As the industry crumbled so did many labels including Ace Fu. Illinois found a home at +1 Records and set to release their first LP ‘The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe’ in 2009. It was an auspicious effort that started with digital downloads of 3 songs released in monthly chapters and a short movie accompanied each chapter. After the six-month long affair all the chapters came together for the full release. In 2011 Illinois self-released their fourth album ‘Lemonade Stand’ a retrospective album featuring several demos from the hundreds written from 2004 to 2010.
The new year kicks off with more shows allowing Illinois to be in the live music world where they thrive. As Illinois explains it “with everything the industry is going through there is really no reason to give up control of our art. There is really no telling where Illinois will go next, we just know—we can’t stop.”