Evidence of a Struggle Drops a Gritty Masterpiece: “Keep It”

Alright, kids, gather around the record player. Just when you thought music was drowning in its own commercial vomit, Evidence of a Struggle, (aka Rev. Billy Simmons), slaps us awake with ‘Keep It’, a record that’s got more soul and grit than a lot of the glitzy tripe out there.  This isn’t your mama’s lullaby. No, this is the sound of Chicago’s underbelly, of nights spent in smoky rooms, of battles against the mundane, and of a cry against everything toxic.

Amplifying this gritty narrative, John Airo, acclaimed for his evocative animation, steps in to provide a visual counterpart to the album. His animations are more than just illustrations; they’re a journey in themselves. With Airo animating, the album isn’t just heard, it’s seen, making it a multi-sensory trip through the streets and sounds of Chicago.

Check out Bassakards by Evidence of a Struggle on Youtube

If your heart beats faster to the likes of Swans and Mogwai, and you’ve spent nights under the spell of Explosions in the Sky, then this album might just be the fix you need. And if you’re into the eclectic sounds of Spiritualized, Yo La Tengo, and the ambient post-rock of God is an Astronaut, then you’re in for a treat. Dive into tracks like ‘Do’Oa’ and ‘Bassakards’, they’re experiences… pure, unadulterated passion bottled up in soundwaves.

Critics are already raving about ‘Keep It’, describing it as “wonderfully cinematic, forward-thinking, open-minded, genre-hopping, rule-breaking… a symphony of sonics, subtlety and suppleness, and of the subverting of expectations.” Big Takeover Magazine called it a “cinematic journey”, and Joyzine likened it to a “relentless prowl”.

These observations resonate deeply. In a musical era often punctuated by formulaic beats and recycled lyrics, ‘Evidence of a Struggle’ emerges as a beacon of originality. It reminds us of music’s intrinsic power to challenge, to innovate, and to defy conventions.  Music has always been about rebellion, about pushing back against the predictable, and ‘Evidence of a Struggle’ is the vanguard of that revolt.  But don’t take their word for it, or even mine. Dive in yourself and get lost in the raw, unfiltered emotion of it all.

Now, if you’re wondering who this mysterious maestro behind the sound is, let’s delve a bit deeper. Hailing from the bustling, beating heart of Chicago, Rev. Billy Simmons is a renegade, a maverick, and a damn talented musician. He’s not just a one-man show; Rev. Billy has collaborated with the likes of David J (Love and Rockets, Bauhaus), David Yow (Scratch Acid, The Jesus Lizard), Sanford Parker (Corrections House, Twilight), and Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Brain Tentacles). Talk about a powerhouse of talent!

Outside of the studio, Rev. Billy is just as active. He owns ‘Rev. Billy’s ChopShop’, an inclusive creative space in Chicago. This is not just any regular gallery; it was declared by Chicago Reader as the city’s best gallery in 2019. A space where new artists showcase their work bi-monthly, it stands as a testament to Billy’s commitment to the arts.

Available for your auditory pleasure on platforms like Bandcamp, Apple Music, and Spotify, the album is a self-released masterpiece, released 24th of August 2023. If you’re still reading this and not already plugged in, what are you waiting for? Let the symphony of soundwaves wash over you.

For those of you who can’t get enough, you can follow ‘Evidence of a Struggle’ on various online platforms, including Instagram. Get to know the man, and immerse yourself in the world he’s created. Dive deep, let go, and remember – in the world of music, sometimes it’s the evidence of a struggle that produces the most beautiful sounds.

Get in touch with the IAMUR team for coverage, reviews and interviews here. Photography Credits: Jeremy Glickstein.

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