Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
Depending on where you call home, you're stuck navigating down icy roads, careful not to slide through intersections or coast right into the mean side of a telephone pole. You could very well be digging yourself out of a huge, inconvenient pile of fucking snow, yes, you curse, as it's the kindest greeting you can give the fluffy stuff every time you see it for the first time, this part of the year - as the Indian summer has frantically dissolved into the white, frozen-toed abyss that is a cruel winter.
Depending on where you are right now, you're cold and you're bundled up tight, with a scarf and a stocking hat and a coat that makes you look pregnant - man, woman or child. It's miserable, though we do tend to drink more wine to heat our gizzards this time of year and that's an alright compromise. We think about the sun we're lacking. We think about the fire hydrants that aren't being opened up in the inner city streets to give the neighborhood kids some time to splash around and cool off. We think about how we've already forgotten what it feels like to go out of our homes with nothing but bare skin between our forearms, mid-biceps and the sky. It's just some gloriously fuzzy piece of history. We're stuck in this frosty quagmire and yet, we have outs.
We have bands like Unicycle Loves You, a group painfully familiar with the merciless and conniving ways of Midwestern wintertime. The Chicago three-piece makes special use of residual feelings of summer-ish weather and channels them into music that reminds us of the kinds of effervescent treadmill and dance routine videos that OK Go makes. They remind us of the euphoric feeling of a confetti canon going off in an enclosed environment. They tend to remind us of sprinklers and sparklers and the thrill of temporary romances, even if they are going to be ending come September. Jim Carroll and Nicole Vitale, who share and take turns on lead vocal duties, work with drummer JT Baker to create a mood that hinges on one principle and that is: this can all come crashing down if we mess it up. This can end. One of the snippets of lyric that Carroll sings, "The best part's starting all over again," in the wonderful song, "Hawaii." It comes after a checklist of where certain kisses would land, with a brewing excitement that had little to do with sexual energy and more to do with the momentous feeling of uncontrollable happiness. It's something that we tend to associate with those summer months - sometimes of yore, when they were actually something and not just other days - that come and go without us even knowing it.
*Essay originally published December, 2010