Chicago Indie Rock Duo Ohmme Join Soften for Free Cincinnati Show This Weekend

Ohmme — who play MOTR Pub Saturday with Soften — just announced that they'll be releasing their third album, 'Fantasize Your Ghost,' in June. Check out the music video for “3 2 4 3," the album's first single.

click to enlarge Ohmme - Photo: Ash Dye
Photo: Ash Dye
The best installments in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series are the sets that defy their cramped space, not merely stripping down the artists’ studio sound, but opening up new avenues of sound. In Ohmme’s case, though, the inverse is true. Armed with two electric guitars and a drummer, the Chicago-based duo of Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham re-create the cavernous, surreal atmosphere of their sophomore record Parts with a precision you’d never think was possible.

There are the dueling vocal leads on “Water,” rapidly ping-ponging from mic to mic without missing a note; the murmuring guitaristry on “Parts,” which resembles a gathering storm; the squealing solo midway through “Grandmother.” Ohmme seems to be able to conjure any texture or color from their sonic palette at will, even when confined to their guitars.

What sounds like studio trickery on the duo’s records is actually classically-trained talent put into practice. Outside of their wonky Post Punk collaborations, Stewart and Cunningham have built an impressive résumé, working with artists like Chance the Rapper and Whitney while performing in avant-garde Jazz bands.

“We rarely saw people like us on stage, which was an impetus for starting this band,” Stewart told the Chicago Tribune in 2018. “We wanted to improvise with guitar but didn’t know how to ingrain ourselves into the scene. So we started on our own in Sima’s basement.”

It’s the interplay between Ohmme’s fine-tuned precision and their raw, Garage Rock impulses that makes their music so compelling — chaotic at first glance, but intricately composed on closer inspection.

Ohmme just announced that they'll release their third album, Fantasize Your Ghost, through Joyful Noise Recordings on June 5. They also shared the music video for “3 2 4 3," the album's first single.

Ohmme plays a free show with Soften and Michael Andrew on Saturday, March 7 at MOTR Pub.

Scroll to read more Live Music articles


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.