Fort Frances - "Take the Wheel" (audio) (premiere)

by Sarah Zupko

3 March 2016

Chicago's Fort Frances have come a long way in just a few years as they have greatly expanded their sound from their indie rock roots
Photo: Chris Hiltz 

Chicago’s Fort Frances have come a long way in just a few years as they have greatly expanded their sound from their indie rock roots and scored major success in Lithuania, of all places, for their take on the hip-hop classic “Summertime”. That song got the group on Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, as well as giving them the chance to play a major rock festival in Lithuania. Following the international experience, the band has been growing their sound with every new song and that new material will see the light of day when Fort Frances releases their new album, Alio, on April 22th. By way of preview, “Take the Wheel” is their latest single and it features a soulful, groovy form of indie rock that shows how the ever fertile neo soul scene is making inroads into rock music, which is a very good thing.
David McMillin tells PopMatters that “making this record included some completely new and uncomfortable approaches to songwriting. The typical process involves me demoing ideas on guitar or piano, maybe experimenting with some rough production ideas and sending along to the band to figure out how to arrange it and bring the song to life.

“With ‘Take the Wheel’, though, I wanted to stretch into some different territory. I had been listening to a lot of Spoon and TV on the Radio, and I spent a week messing around with drum samples to start with something other than a melody or lyrics. I wanted to channel a more rhythm-first approach. And it really helped open up the creative space to to find this bed of guitar-monies that didn’t feel like anything we’ve ever done.”

Friday, 3/11 - Naperville, IL
Saturday, 3/12 - Cedarburg, WI
Wednesday, 3/16 - Greencastle, IN (David solo)
Friday, 3/18 - New York, NY (David solo)
Saturday, 3/19 - Boston, MA (David solo)
Monday, 3/21 - Vienna, VA (David solo)
Thursday, 4/21 - Chicago, IL
Friday, 4/22 - Indianapolis, IN
Saturday, 4/23 - Jackson, MI
Monday, 4/25 - New York, NY
Wednesday, 4/27 - Philadelphia, PA
Thursday, 4/28 - Charlotte, NC

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