Remember Kittyhawk? Well, they are back with a 'new' album. The Chicago-based band will be releasing 'Mikey's Favorite Songs' this Friday on Count Your Lucky Stars (pre-order HERE). 'Mikey's Favorite Songs' is a complete collection of all Kittyhawk songs that were not found on the band's full-length 'Hello, Again,' released in 2014 on Count Your Lucky Stars. Recorded by Mikey Crotty (Dowsing) at Gnaria and Owlery in Chicago, IL and spread out over releases that came out from 2012 to 2016.
Featuring members of Dowsing, Pet Symmetry, Joie De Vivre, Mother Evergreen, Kittyhawk sounds like the best parts of all those bands together in one band. Frontwoman Kate Grube anchors the band with strong vocals and charming synth lines that float just above the guitars as the percussion pushes or drags the tempo to match the somber tones each song brings. Kittyhawk are out to prove they are more than just “members of” your favorite band, and one listen tells you they’ve already done it.
We caught up with the band's Mark Jaeschke who was kind enough to walk us through the entire album, which you can stream in its entirety below.
The First One
Mark: Aptly titled, if memory serves me right, this was the first song we completed as a band. I remember writing the little end guitar part as an ode to Dinosaur Jr., I think this song was a great preview of our range of influences popping up on tracks when you least expect it. All the songs on this comp were recorded by one of our best and closest friends and musical allies, Mike(y) Crotty. He put up with me complaining about how hot their old apartment Gnarnia was throughout the recording of our debut EP. Thanks for your patience, my friend!
Older / Wiser
Mark: The origin of Kittyhawk took place at a Halloween show / party at Joie De Vivre's old practice space / DIY venue, The Hipster House. Erik (Czaja) and I were drinking Malort with Brandon (Lutmer) from Joie and at some point, I remember dancing in a circle with Erik and Evan (Loritsch) when we decided we'd start a band. Rainer Maria was one of the bands Erik cited for his vision and I wrote the skeleton of this song a few days later. I love Kate's lyrics and vocal performance on this track, I think I'll always be impressed and enamored by a lyricist who's able to string so many words together and still have them ring out as poetic.
Mark: I'm not sure if this has been said before, but the voice in the background is a toddler Kate and her father playing around with a microphone. If it's been said before, sorry for repeating.
He Travels in a Suit
Mark: A Kittyhawk live staple, this song was written about an absolutely evil person.
Mark: I don't think most of the band cares for this song, as it's definitely another pretty heavy-handed tribute to all of the 90s bands we love. The lyrics again are wonderfully poetic, and as we hit nearly 1 year of COVID, the verses reflection on finding trouble at a bar seems like such a mythic idea at this point.
Mark: We fell in love with creating Brian Wilson-esque vocal beds on this track and revisited the idea on Self Vs. Former Self on the LP.
Mark: A noisy jam. I think this was one of the first songs we wrote that defied classic Nirvana verse chorus verse path. We got better at writing that way as time went on, but being able to listen back to the experiment years later, it's an endearing track.
Mark: While this song runs for less than a minute, sometimes the best ideas don't need much time to shine. Again, a lot of love for The Beach Boys is evident on this one.
Mark: Erik had the idea to write a song with one chord progression, which was initially was balked at. After practicing the song within those constraints, it pushed us into thinking creatively on how to fill up space. We never brought this song to a live setting, but it has some of my favorite lines with visuals of ghosts of people we once knew gathering to eat and share stories. It's a beautiful sentiment. I think Evan recorded the drums in one take.
The Daily Dodger
Mark: Speaking for myself, this is my favorite Kittyhawk track. Written around the same time as Hello, Again, the track didn't make it to the record for reasons I cannot recall. Evan, helped me fill out the instrumental middle section's chord changes when I was unable to find anything besides feedback to carry the song. It was the first time I heard Evan really getting into arrangement, despite having lived with him during the early years of the band, turns out he's very good at that, listen to his project Mother Evergreen for further evidence. Anyway, I remember this being a wonderful collaborative experience and I think the song only has sweetened over the years. For those who haven't had a chance to know our dear friend Andy Hendricks, this song is about his black and white cat, Dodger, who's just shy of 17 years old. We love you, Dodger!
Mark: Another favorite of mine that was originally dampened by a cock-rock guitar lick and piercing organs. The version you're hearing on Mikey's Favorite Songs was remixed by all of us just a few months before the band traveled to Japan and came returned to a country poorly bracing for the oncoming and inevitable pandemic. I'm so glad we got a chance to re-work these tracks, but I firmly believe that Food Fight wins the award for "Most Improved".
Mark: This track was recorded between the hours of around 8 PM and 4 AM on a cool autumn evening, rushing to get it prepped for Sundae Bloody Sundae Fest split. Kate and I ran to get tacos for everyone at a local joint called Arturo's to replenish our morale. The studio version of the song ended up being a little more muscular and fuzzy than when we played it live and it was the last original song that we've recorded as a band.
You Keep Me Hanging On
Mark: I was not involved with the recording of this track, but it appeared on a Motown covers compilation for Artistic Integrity Records. Originally recorded by Diana Ross & The Supremes with an upbeat tempo and fluttery guitar, our version was filled out with darker tonal hues. A somber, but beautiful end to the band's first act.