HearYa Session 6: Cracklin Moth, One of Chicago’s Best Unsigned Bands

by That Guy on July 24, 2007

Cracklin Moth

The HearYa Nation is in for a big treat this week – the venerable Cracklin Moth. Before you read any further, do yourself a favor. Scroll to the bottom of this article, click on “Eulogy for Bashu”, and prepare to listen to one of the best tracks I’ve heard all year. I simply can’t let you read any further without a little mood music. Feel free to take your pants off – the song is that good.


My non-sexual crush on Cracklin Moth began when Oz gave me a copy of their Redbird EP right before he moved to the Bay Area. I texted Oz a few months later and the exchange went something like this:

DB: Wow – Cracklin Moth is awesome
Oz: Who is this?
DB: Bo Diaz

I’m sure, until now, Oz has been wondering “Who is this Bo Diaz and how did he get my cell phone number?”


Anyway, flash forward to last Monday night. I walked into the hallway of Shirk’s studio to find lead singer Matt Ammerman smoking a duster and knocking back a Fat Tire. I liked this guy already. We exchanged pleasantries as the rest of the band filed in with their gear. As they warmed up in the studio, I knew we were in for something special.

Cracklin Moth are five musicians that unite to form a magical sound all their own – Matt Ammerman’s one-in-a-million voice and melodic guitar, Shawn Rios’ varied arsenal of percussive beats, Griff Baron’s trotting basslines, Drew Lindsey’s whimsical keys, and the pedal steel guitar of Rocco Labriola that gives the band its signature sound.


After several savory heaters out on the fire escape, Cracklin Moth settled in and started playing the type of music that makes you thirsty. It was a Monday night, but the beers were flowing for all. They started things off with “My Suicide”, the first of five previously unreleased tracks that the band played. As mentioned earlier, the crown jewel of the night for me was “Eulogy for Bashu”. The rest of the tracks are exceptional, as well. Take note of the bass-percussion interplay that starts off “Walking the Cow” (another favorite), the fuzzy guitars on “Extragalactic”, and the landscape that the pedal steel guitar creates on “My Suicide”. Almost the antithesis of the Steve Miller Band, each song Cracklin Moth played was uniquely different and uniquely good.


Cracklin Moth is a band that’s sure to be reckoned with in the Chicago music scene and beyond. Be sure to check out their upcoming My Heart is Leaking EP release party at Subterranean in Chicago on July 26th. They’re also rumored to be teaming up with another HearYa favorite (and the other best unsigned Chicago band), The Record Low, at the Metro in August. Look for me at both shows – I’ll buy you a Stone Cold Steveweiser.

Matt 2

Exclusive downloads were all recorded live in downtown Chicago at Shirk’s Studio:

Exclusive: Cracklin Moth – Eulogy for Bashu

Exclusive: Cracklin Moth – My Suicide

Exclusive: Cracklin Moth – Walking the Cow

Exclusive: Cracklin Moth – Extragalactic

Previous Sessions:

The Morning Pages


Buffalo Killers

The Record Low

The Antiques

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Crack Rock July 24, 2007 at 10:07 am

This was a pleasure. Thanks guys. It should be noted:

-Walking the Cow is a Daniel Johnston cover.
-Everyone should watch the documentary The Devil in Daniel Johnston … twice.
-The Metro show with The Record Low (8/17) was confirmed yesterday.

Woody July 24, 2007 at 11:08 am

I have to admit I have never been a huge fan of Cracklin Moth but that all changed after listening to these songs. These are awesome. Even the woman I work with at my office commented how good they were.

Woody July 24, 2007 at 2:37 pm

DB, Did you go to the same photography school as Oz?

oz July 24, 2007 at 9:19 pm

I loved catching these guys at Schubas when I was living in Chicago and everyone I recommend them to becomes a huge fan. Their latest EP keeps getting better and better the more I listen.

Rocco (pedal steel) is the man. If I were in the studio I would have thrown my panties at him. Matt’s voice is also unique and addicting.

For the record, I like Drinking Buddy’s pics. I’ve never seen a band perform in a dark room. It must have been convenient to develop your pictures while you listen to the session.

man of the twang July 25, 2007 at 11:13 am

never heard of these guys until today, but I love the sound. are they touring outside of IL?

Drinking Buddy July 25, 2007 at 4:10 pm

Twangman – as of right now they just have IL dates posted on their site. You might want to drop them a line and see if you can talk them into heading your way.

Brother July 25, 2007 at 5:32 pm

I love the Cracklin Moth as well. I was hoping for a live version of “Special”, which is on the Redbird EP, but each of these are outstanding.

Also, love the extremely obscure Bo Diaz reference. Here he is for those (all) of you who are not familiar with him:

Darren Daulton July 26, 2007 at 8:00 pm

This is one of the best bands I’ve heard on HearYa. I think I might have to make a trip to Chicago for their show with the Record Low. Its a HearYa special….

Leave a Comment

{ 9 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post: