Midwesterners often feel obligated to apologize for/complain about their landscape. Chicago’s Light Pollution does not. The contrasting feelings of wonderment and isolation evoked by the frozen Midwestern plains deeply pervade their sound.
23-year-old songwriter James Cicero grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, the son of Italian and Spanish Catholics. His grandfather was a poor trumpet player, and his father a strict military man. As a result, when Cicero bought his first guitar at the age of seventeen, his father took to locking it in the attic. Cicero left for college in Dekalb, IL, met drummer Matt Evert, obsessively wrote songs in class, and soon dropped out. Over the following years, the two honed their skills and sensibilities, eventually acquiring Nick Sherman and Jed Robertson; evolving into what is now Light Pollution.
Cicero wrote the album over the course of a long, stoned, agoraphobic winter spent isolated in a heatless warehouse west of Chicago. In a piss-poor living environment, filled with anxiety, he removed himself from the outside world and sought spirituality in seclusion. Lyrical themes developed within the warehouse walls. Various apparitions were translated into long ambient tape and synth drones. Dreams of the Virgin Mary resulted in late night sessions on an old church organ.
These strange happenings resulted in Light Pollution’s devestatingly beautiful and spiritually heavy debut album, “Apparitions.” Swirling analog synths, shimmering arpeggios, and washed out tape noise are embedded into combinations of 90’s shoegaze, chill-wave and vocal psych-pop. Thanks to a unique blend of hi-fi and lo-fi tracking and their Midwestern demeanor, they are able to create hazy, psychedelic, layered sounds that set them apart from recent waves of lo-fi pop bands.
Light Pollution released Apparitions on 6/8 via Carpark Records. The band has been on tour recently with Phantogram, A Place To Bury Strangers, and Memoryhouse, as well as various dates supporting the likes of Deerhunter, Best Coast, and Mike Snow. Light Pollution will play Forecastle Festival (featuring the Flaming Lips, Massive Attack, Spoon, Devo, etc.) as well as upcoming shows with Small Black, Glasser, and Delorean.