Chicago trio Facs arose almost seven years ago out of the hiatus-turned-breakup of Disappears. Bassist and singer Brian Case, guitarist Jonathan van Herik, and drummer Noah Leger stretched the icy, brittle sounds of classic postpunk over gangly new skeletons to create their minimalist dirges.
Van Herik left in late 2017, after the recording of Facs’ debut album, Negative Houses. Bassist Alianna Kalaba replaced him in January 2018, and Case switched to guitar. Kalaba preferred a growling tone and a riffier bass style, and with her aboard, the band grew heavier, darker, and more abstract, pairing ruthlessly precise grooves with alien textures.
Kalaba has appeared on every Facs release since, including the new Still Life in Decay (due this week via local label Trouble in Mind), but she parted ways with the group after the sessions for that record. Van Herik returned in summer 2022 to fill the vacant spot. “When I offered to play bass, it was from the viewpoint of a fan more than an ex-member,” he says. “They had grown into themselves so much as a band that I felt like I was stepping into a ready aesthetic that I could understand and respond to immediately.”
Because of the communication that connects his bandmates to one another and to their listeners, van Herik explains, making music is “enriching and meaningful in a society that can feel so isolating and commercialized.” And that’s not all: “It’s fun, too.”
Facs play record-release parties at the Empty Bottle on Friday, April 7, and Saturday, April 8.
Jonathan van Herik didn’t play on Still Life in Decay, but he’ll perform with the band at record-release parties this weekend.
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