Posts Tagged ‘Eric McGrady’

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“Flower of Devotion”, recorded in Chicago in April and August of 2019 (their acclaimed sophomore album “Water” was released that May), and produced by Jason Balla, wastes no time in blossoming. Its first two tracks, the sunny and lovesick “Desire,” followed by antisocial lead single “Loner,” showcase Dehd’s surging dynamism by way of layered arrangements that swirl around conflicted feelings, as conveyed via Emily Kempf and Balla’s complex vocal interplay. “Desire” finds the duo debilitated by romantic longing (“When will this hoping feel like a wing? / For now I’m soaking, weak in my knees”), swapping bittersweet lyrics over warm, washed-out guitar chords, thrumming bass and Eric McGrady’s insistent beat, which hammers like a heart racing as the song crescendos. “Desire, let me out,” Kempf and Balla beg in unison at its apex, their voices multiplying along with their helplessness to resist that eponymous emotion, even in light of its high price. 

From Dehd’s new album “Flower of Devotion” out July 17th on Fire Talk Records.

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Chicago group Dehd have released a new music video for their “Flower of Devotion” track “Haha.” The summer camp–themed visual stars performer Alex Grelle as duelling camp counsellors, as well as the band’s Emily Kempf and Jason Balla. Check out the colourful clip below. In 2019, The Chicago indie rock trio Dehd released the sparse and scrappy album “Water”, with songs informed by the romantic breakup of bassist Emily Kempf and guitarist Jason Balla, accompanied by Eric McGrady’s one-tom, one-snare minimalism. For their exquisite follow-up Flower of Devotion, Dehd upgraded to a proper studio, refining their gritty alchemy without scrubbing it too clean. Kempf and Balla trade yearning, hiccupy vocals across riffs that reverberate like heat waves off asphalt, as McGrady thuds away through the humid air. “If this is all that we get, so be it,” Kempf insists, a bit of wistful resignation that doubles as a mission statement for their proudly stripped-down approach.

“‘Haha’ is about finding humour in impossible situations—sometimes you just gotta laugh it off,” Emily Kempf said in a press release. “The video is led by our favourite Chicago star, Alex Grelle, playing both lead roles. Becky and Gary, two head counsellors at the illustrious and wholesome Camp HaHa, are constantly in competition with each other. Here’s the wacky TWIST—only one knows about it! Oh Gary, when will you ever learn! Becky will always be No1!”.

Dehd issued “Flower of Devotion” in July, out now on Fire Talk following their 2019 LP Water.


Love is everyday magic. That’s the impression you get listening to “Water”, the new album by Chicago trio Dehd. Veterans of Chicago’s increasingly fruitful DIY scene Jason Balla ( Ne-Hi and Earring) Emily Kempf (Vail and formerly with Lala Lala) and drummer Eric McGrady share a strange and inexplicable chemistry. Love rises up into the atmosphere like steam off a summer sidewalk and makes you wild. Love breaks your heart and you consider yourself lucky for it. Like water itself, it surrounds us, it supports us; it’s what we’re made of. It takes the shape of its container.

The music is hazy and reverb-drenched, a scuzzy and hyped-up take on surf rock that could only come from the Third Coast. It’s all animated by the red-lining feel-good spirit of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded and the breezy melodicism of C86-era indie rock, with a dash of the Cramps’ spooky-hop bop courtesy of McGrady’s locomotive drumming. It’s a clear-eyed look at the wild nature of everyday life that’s been spun up in sugary sweet melodies and scratched-crystal sounds. More than anything, it’s the embodiment of Dehd’s m.o. from the start:

As Kempf puts it, “Work with what you have and make it magical.”

From Dehd’s sophomore LP ‘Water’ out May 10th on Fire Talk.