Listen: Jon Drake and The Shakes

An eight-piece ensemble making music? Sounds almost like a post rock band…

Jon Drake and The Shakes, although not post rockers, can whip up a mean folk song in a snap. The Chicago band considers themselves a sonic carnival and utilizes almost every classic instrument, from organs and glockenspiels, to trumpets and trombones.  They keep the rock vibe alive by playing electric and acoustic guitars, but it’s everything else that makes them so unique.  The music is also very unique in itself: think a quick folky waltz while listening to Modest Mouse.  The group uses the pop genre to help describe their music, but I feel it’s something different all together.

The group has only been together for about a year, and first came together when Drake posted ads on Craigslist searching for musicians to help bring his songs to life. He knew that the normal rock instruments would not allow for the sound he was trying to achieve, so he set out to find musicians of all instrumental prowess. What formed was a menagerie of sorts. Now, the definition of a menagerie tells us that it’s essentially a farm with an array of animals on it; sounds similar to this folk-pop ensemble. Although not smelly farm animals, Jon Drake and his newly formed band of gypsies travel from venue to venue playing shows for people who have never heard the music before, and winning them over instantaneously. The whole farm part comes into play when trying to squeeze all of the musicians on stage at once. Menagerie is the perfect description for all of the shenanigans brought about by this group of eclectic musicians.

Jon Drake doesn’t have the want to record anything at the moment, though. The Shakes have one EP, entitled Side A. Their main focus right now is touring and working on finding the perfect sound to represent all of the different personalities within the group. As I have been following the music being created, I sense a major southern air about it all.  The music is, at times, folky and almost pop-like, but the main feel is a sort of southern tone.  It’s slow and filled with life and seems to be constantly getting better. The southern twang is undeniable, and I feel it’s time for them to start thinking about settling down and writing out a full blown album. Success should come for them quick.


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