Canasta are a mainstay of the Chicago alternative pop rock music scene. They’ve played shows with everyone from Grizzly Bear to Wilco, been in commercials, and they even tout playing a set for President Obama. Yet Canasta seems to remain slightly unrecognized for despite their masterful construction of hooky songs. Perhaps too polished for the hipster set, or enigmatic with their sporadic release schedule, Canasta holds their own against the big craftsman of the pop bringing Ben Folds Five to mind with their heavy handed piano lines, Cake with their slight quirkiness and multi-instrumentation, and Spoon with their tight energetic rock bursts. All of those comparisons on their own are a stretch at best, but together amalgamate a starting point.

Canasta seems pretty particular with their sound and the songs they write. They played a mix of tracks for us from their two albums dating back to their latest, released in 2010, The Fakeout, the Tease and the Breather and their debut, 2006’s We Were Set Up. Backing Matt Priest’s main vocals were a relatively complex knit of vocal harmonies, multiple keyboards, violin accompanying the typical guitar, bass, drum set rock set up. They ended the set with a fun rendition of “Major Tom (Coming Home)” by Peter Schilling. Despite their complex set arrangements and seemingly particular nature, Canasta were a breeze to work with. They sounded great at saki and the recordings were easy to dial into their finished state.

Check out Canasta’s website here for more tour dates, releases and other news:

Recorded by Justin Sinkovich and Matt Irizarry
Mixed and mastered by Justin Sinkovich