Neptune’s Core Venture out of the Midwest (3/28 at KFN)

Chicago’s music scene has been making a major splash in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection recently, with acts like Friko, Ratboys, Squirrel Flower, Elizabeth Moen, Dehd,...

Chicago’s music scene has been making a major splash in the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection recently, with acts like Friko, Ratboys, Squirrel Flower, Elizabeth Moen, Dehd, Neal Francis, Macie Stewart (one-half of Finom), and Half Gringa playing some of our favorite shows of recent years.  And I’m guessing we’ll be able to add teenage alt-rock quartet Neptune’s Core (who are actually well acquainted with Friko, Finom, and Dehd… and who contain two sets of actual sisters) to that list after their headlining show this Thursday, March 28th, at Kung Fu Necktie.

This month has seen Neptune’s Core playing their first-ever shows outside of the Midwest (Despite having two LPs and an EP under their belt, they’re all still in high school.), with eight performances at SXSW prior to their current jaunt through the Mid-Atlantic.  “It’s been so fun!  We had a really good time connecting with other bands and other industry people at SXSW,” they tell me during a recent phone chat.  And while they admit that the SXSW schedule was physically draining, it also proved to be exceptionally inspirational: “We came out of those gigs very energized.”

Neptune’s Core is Sofie Richter on vocals/guitar and Hannah Richter on bass, and Jackie Cywinski on guitar/vocals and Kaitlin Cywinski on drums.  During a discussion of the sisters’ favorite sibling acts, Jackie admits that she and Kaitlin learned how sisters could blend their voices together listening to First Aid Kit, and Sofie talks about being inspired by The Everly Brothers’ “Cathy’s Clown” while recording their recent EP.  “Their tones just go so well together,” she tells me of first hearing the song, going on to add that that’s how Neptune’s Core are currently approaching vocals: “That’s what Jackie and I try to do!  And we’re not even real sisters [laughs.]”  Despite the two sets of literal sisters in the band, the girls tell me that they’ve definitely come to consider every member of the band family: “We’re all kind of like sisters at this point.”

Last August Neptune’s Core released the Called Upon EP, via Side Hustle Records, the follow-up to 2021 LP Evolving.  The EP received praise from Chicago Reader and the band’s friends (and ours) Friko, who, in an interview with Alternative Press, stated, “They were already great, but recently they’ve really come into their own on their latest EP, Called Upon.  And I must say we’ve heard some music that is soon to come, and it really rocks.”  It’s likely that at least some of that music includes tracks “Box” and “Anyway,” which dropped earlier this month as a double single (also on Side Hustle Records), which the girls tell me represent the breadth of their musical influences more effectively than any previous releases.

The band’s sound regularly draws comparisons to ‘90s alt-rock, including Sound Opinions calling it, “classic alternative era with delicate fragile quiet moments exploding into loud dynamics.”  But last year the group posted a Spotify playlist of tracks that they dig, which signified something a little different, including tracks from PHILTHY phriends and phavorites Samia, The Beths, Lala Lala, Wednesday, and Blondshell.  However, when I ask them about the music that they’re most into, they tell me it’s somewhat complicated.  “I think a lot of the comparisons just come from the Chicago music scene, with Smashing Pumpkins and Veruca Salt, and then there are the newer bands like us and Horsegirl and Friko…  All of our musical tastes are changing all the time, so just because we put something on a playlist at some point doesn’t necessarily mean it’s what we’re listening to right now.”  “We all listen to a wide variety of genres,” they tell me, before adding, “We listen to all of it and combine it in a way that’s fun for us.”

The girls do, however, admit to being big fans of a number of Chicago acts, including Veruca Salt and, more recently, V.V. Lightbody, Finom, and Twin Peaks, who have become good friends of theirs.  “Everyone in the Chicago music scene is so supportive…  Everyone’s there to support you, not to compete with you,” they explain, adding, “It’s so amazing!  There’s no other place we’d rather be.”  They also tell me that, aside from a few haters who tokenize them because of their age, their youth hasn’t produced any barriers to their inclusion in the scene: “It’s been extremely welcoming, more than we could’ve imagined…  People are interested in young musicians because that’s the future.”

Despite just recently venturing outside of the Midwest to play shows, Neptune’s Core has already played some pretty big and memorable gigs, including more than one at the legendary Metro in Chicago, the first of which they tell me felt like a major milestone: “So many huge musicians have played there.  Prince has played there!  Being backstage and looking at all the posters was just crazy…”  However, they say that that certainly hasn’t spoiled them and that they love playing all kinds of venues, including those like KFN: “I just [like] venues with really good sound systems, not even necessarily huge rooms…  I love a stage that’s easily accessible to a crowd, so we can see the audience and connect with them.”

When I ask what to can be expected of the band’s headlining show this Thursday, they tell me, “A lot of fun, a lot of dancing.  We just like to have fun with it!”  And apparently their 8 performances earlier this month at SXSW have helped them to hone this vibe: “Being at SXSW, our sets got a lot tighter and now we’re able to focus more on the energy.”  They also tell me that they like to keep audiences up to date on whatever their working on and get it into the live show as early as possible, so they usually include a lot of unreleased material.  And when I ask what the future holds for Neptune’s Core, they explain that it’s always just about moving forward and making new music: “We definitely just wanna keep writing and recording and experimenting, maybe releasing something…”

*Get your tickets here.

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During the day Izzy Cihak teaches transgression, subversion, and revolution at Temple University. At night he haunts Philthy's best venues to cover worthwhile acts for Philthy Mag. Morrissey is everything to him and, in their own heads, all of his friends see themselves as Zooey Deschanel.