news roster catalog tours store links contact

(MP3) from Album "Ice Station"

(MP3) from Album "Ice Station"

(MP3 & Stream) from Album "If You Can"
Safe and Sound

(MP3) from Album "If You Can"
Sinking Feeling

(MP3 & Stream) from the "Rose EP"

(MP3) from Album "Perfect Gift"
it looks like a circle but it's really a spiral

(MP3 & Stream) from Album "Perfect Gift"
not like riding a bike

the race myspace

Tag Team Media
Brendan Bourke
brendan [at]

US Radio
Flameshovel Records
Ryan Rafferty
radio [at]
In a roundabout way, the writing of The Race's new album, Ice Station, began even before The Race had recorded their previous album, If You Can. One of the first songs written at that time was "The Shortest Way to China." "I remember really loving that song," says singer/guitarist Craig Klein, "but no one else in the band at the time felt the same way. It was strange because I wrote all the songs for the band and had never had them reject one like that before." There was a record to make, though, and ultimately, when the writing process concluded for If You Can, the band had twenty songs to choose from, so Klein moved on and left the song behind. "In retrospect, I realize that it wouldnÕt have fit on there. That was a completely different kind of record than Ice Station."

That album became the end result of a number of years of Klein and drummer Kevin Duneman trying to get back to where their band had started; the first song they ever wrote was called, "The First Pretty One." It was truly a new direction for a band that had gone through a few different incarnations, mostly centered on ominous and somewhat abrasive music. Full of lush and beautiful arrangements, the band had finally returned home and made an album that, in KleinÕs words, probably should have been called, "The Last Pretty One."

With If You Can completed, The Race finally seemed to be hitting their stride and then promptly went through the stages that many bands go through: 1. Lots of Touring 2. Arguments 3. No Money 4. Trouble at Home 5. Artistic Differences 6. A Sense of Stagnation. The day after George W. Bush was re-elected, The Race suddenly came to a screeching halt.

Klein simply and quietly went back to writing songs, though, and first and foremost finished writing "The Shortest Way to China." Whereas the writing for many of the songs on If You Can began with the piano, Klein found himself returning to the guitar. He would play along to a basic drum machine, turn on his computer and press record. No frills. Then, to write the vocals, Klein sang along to his computer, putting the emphasis on sounds and melodies and not obsessing over words initially. "At first I felt silly doing that until I heard an early demo of Michael Jackson doing 'Billy Jean,'" Klein remembers. "He was sort of just muttering some words to the tune of 'Billy Jean' over this really cool stripped down bass, guitar and drumbeat."

Not having band mates to turn to for the first time in his musical career, Klein turned to his girlfriend Sara O'Neill Kohl for advice on the new material. Naturally she wanted to know what he was singing about, so he asked her to write down what she thought he was saying. "ThatÕs why I credit her with lyric translation," Klein< says. "She knows me so well and knew IÕd become obsessed with Russia Š Siberia in particular. So a lot of the words she wrote down conjured up this image of a kind of dramatic frozen landscape. I really went with that. The next day I went to my job at the Chicago Public Library (Klein works as an Exhibit Preparator in the Special Collections Division) and checked out every book and movie I could find using the search criteria 'Russia - Siberia - History - Travel.' I even incorporated my obsession into work and created an exhibit about the book One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch and Russia's Gulags." Klein's work and research became completely entangled with the new songs and eventually created the story of Ice Station.

The final album was recorded in the summer and fall of 2006 with Josh Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv at his studio in Chicago. The two worked closely and meticulously, recording and playing almost everything themselves while bringing in friends to help as needed. In the end, they created something truly different than either had previously produced or even expected.

Ice Station is a journey into the unknown. ItÕs goal is to take the listener on an imaginary journey, traveling from "Odessa to China and back again." But most importantly, Ice Station tells of the places you see, the things you do and think, the things you miss and the people you meet. On the albumÕs closing track "Wandering Eye," Klein sings about being "lost in time" and ultimately invites the listener to get caught up in his imagination and travel with him.

Current line up of The Race (as described by Craig Klein): Craig Klein - vocals, guitar: See above. Alfredo Nogueira - guitar, vocals: From New Orleans, LA. (Al)Fredo moved here after the hurricane. He has a band called Endian, recently did a soundtrack for the film Low and Behold, plays with all sorts of people in Chicago and might be the greatest chef in the world of rock and roll. Joshua Eustis - keyboard, vocals: Also from New Orleans. One half of Telefon Tel Aviv, Recording Engineer, Producer of all kind of projects, DJ and tech support. Josh is also a master of impressions. ItÕs uncanny. Jeremy Parker - bass: From Chicago. One of my oldest friends. He showed me my first guitar chord way back when and has played with me for several years now. Kevin Duneman - drums: The pride and joy of Waverly, Iowa. Kevin has played on many records and toured with a lot of bands - L'altra, Telefon Tel Aviv, Slicker, Early Day Miners and Ativin to name a few. Most people know Kevin is a great dancer, but they donÕt know he was the winner of dance-off at a place called the UNI Dome.
7.5 out of 10 "Throughout Ice Station, the sense of cinema is palpable; Klein and Eustis' music seems designed to aurally evoke elements David Lean's panoramic stoicism, the glimmering dystopia of Blade Runner, and Robert Flaherty's lonesome minutae.... It’s best quality is Klein's ability to make restraint sound fresh and vibrant, and it offers evidence that his own isolation, digging through stacks of dusty reference books, helped immeasurably to create Ice Station's ingratiating sense of frozen solitude."

8 out of 10 "Because of the nature of their work, the Race do not always give the listener easy reference points. There is definite difficulty in attempting to impose classification or the constraints of genre; trying to say the Race sound like this or that band ultimately proves futile. The Race seem to have achieved their artistic end (pushing the bounds of what one is used to hearing in a pop song) through unconventional means (tweaking sonic elements and layering various sounds in certain patterns without breaking apart existing ideas about song structures or forms). Ultimately, the steps which produced Ice Station result in a truly rewarding musical journey with much sonic scenery to experience along the way. One might hope the road between this and the band’s next project might be a bit smoother though no less colorful."

CMJ New Music Monthly
"What separates this band from the pretenders is that they haven't forgotten the danger in Radiohead's molting futurism. And there is plenty of danger in the glacial landscapes of frontman Craig Klein's theme record about the Soviet Union—Siberia, in particular. The album journeys through the Ukraine ('Odessa'), all the way across the Eurasian continent ('The Shortest Way to China'), and though the often spacey overdubs on the vocals make it hard to discern every detail of the arduous trip, the chilly story is best gleaned from the accompanying music's hard and wintry grain."

Chicago Social
"Ice Station brings together new-wave revival, electronic beats and more traditional alt-rock cues. It's an instantly accessible record in this post-Interpol era. Put title-track 'Ice Station' on your next party play list and 'Feathers' on a mix for your special someone."

Beautiful Decay
"Chicago has produced a lot of great music over the past few years and another band that will make the city proud is The Race. Their new album, Ice Station, is packed full of music that will entertain your mind, body, and soul. It has a very sensual, relaxing feel, with many of the lyrics creating the sense that they are being spoken, telling a different tale with each track. A standout is 'Shortest Way to China,' featuring a swelling chorus-'You went over the wall'-that begs to be replayed, not unlike the rest of the album."

Impose Magazine
"The Race naturally transition between arrangement approaches throughout each song so seamlessly. Their level of musicianship serves to tastefully give each song its own space while also retaining a cohesive feel throughout the album. The dissonant guitar lines on 'Feathers' get subverted by a strong back-beat and vocal lines that build beautifully around the straightforward, sincere, and hearfelt lyrics. The title track weaves glowing vocal reverb over a bed of insistent rhythmic guitars and drums, giving it a darker and more menacing feel. The Race sure are into birds and the metaphors surrounding them. 'Evil Dove' mellows out over the hypnotic line, 'You spread your wings.' The music builds from a floating on air to majestically soaring. 'Crack Goes the Lake' showcases The Race's most math-rock tendencies. It plods, simmers, chills, and riffs through with robotic precission. 'Wandering Eye' meanders with the rare appearance of an acoustic guitar plucking its way through a repetitious progression that feels lazy and mildly whimsical. The Race are a rock band, but they employ some trademarks of dance music. It's not a dance record per se, but they do utilize frequent repetition of lines over pulsing beats, and instrumentation that grows and embellishes the further it progresses within each track. This makes even the simplest moments on Ice Station interesting and moving."

Kalamazoo Gazette
"WIDR's Top 5 - The Race's newest release Ice Station is a journey into Russia, which inspired the album. The album is brooding, beautiful, and awe-inspiring. The sophistication and detached feel of the record take the listener into the deepest corners of the imagination, and the earnest and reflective lyrics could seem as though you're right there with the artist as they were written." - Jessica Kizer

Treble Zine
"Ice Station, at its most profound, is a meditation on Serbia, Russian literature and the cold expanses of the taigas and tundra of Northern Russia. On the surface, Ice Station is an expansive rock record of the highest degree. It soars with emotional vocals, drips with epic guitar majesty and manages to remain both compelling and cool at the same time. In other words, it's a record that both you and your girlfriend can enjoy. If you are like me, you were disappointed with recent albums by Snow Patrol, Coldplay and the Shins. Where these bands fell short, The Race bounds forward."

CMJ New Music Monthly
"The result is somewhere along the lines of British electro-clash, kind of like Bowie and Underworld mixed together, although they hail from the Midwest."

Chicago Reader
"The new Race sounds like the Postal Service gone goth: the default mood for Klein's songs seems to be a romantic kind of bummed out, an elegant mix of longing and loneliness."

Six Degrees
4 out of 5 "The sound is so atmospheric it practically blends into the air around you. The songs drone and lull with electric soundscapes and soft guitar riffs creating perfect background music for work or those moments before drifting off to sleep."

8 out of 10 "The Race are also very good at using space on their album. They have a big sound at times, but they never lose that sparse feeling that gives the album an overall lost and lonely feeling. Klein has great control of his airy vocals and even when they fade into the background, it only takes a second for them to reappear and wrap around you. The title Ice Station might leave you feeling all cold and shivery, but after a listen, it's easy to imagine these guys melting the frozen heart of Siberia itself."

Tiny Mix Tapes
3.5 out of 5 "Klein's voice is in fine form throughout the course of the 11 tracks, with nary a hint of the whine that crept in from time to time on earlier releases. In addition, the backing vocals are stronger than before and add a haunting quality to several of the songs. The most emblematic of these, and the ones that stick in my head the most perversely, are the back-to-back 'Odessa' and 'Evil Love.' These more somber songs use the interweaving of voices to great effect, turning a potentially slow spot in the album into one of its most captivating. Surely a record meant for repeated listening, Ice Station's already impressive luster should only improve over time."

CMJ Weekly
"The markedly more focused If You Can finds them ditching the math, striking a balance somewhere between Pinback and Kid A, and gaining a firmer grasp on mood, arrangements, singing, playing... well, pretty much damn near everything. Those still sweating The Dismemberment Plan or Pinback blowing it on their last EP can breathe a sigh of relief."

"This Chicago based quartet takes the unhurried road to pop heaven, conjuring sleepy harmonies couched in minimalist arrangements of legato keyboard and guitar motifs.... The title cut portrays the darker side of domestic life with brittle piano lines and baritone harmonies fading into tempered guitar feed-back. Orchestral, detached, and decidedly somnambulant, slow and steady wins the race on this solid outing." - Tom Semioli

8 out of 10 "Minimal yet lush, If You Can is a perfect balance of satiny smooth atmosphere and raw emotion.... If You Can is melancholic tranquilizing music, and despite its sedative properties, by the time you reach the end of this half-hour long CD, you can't help craving more."

CMJ New Music Monthly
"Each track is brimming with intertwined, meandering guitars, tasteful blends of electronic and live drumming, and subtle production flourishes not usually found on such an indie release (see chopped-up, disorienting cymbals of "Miles Inside Your Shoes" for a taste). The songs tend to stand or fall on the relative strength of Craig Klein's vocals, which vacillate between solid, emotive croons and wavering, emo-tive moans."

Chicago Reader
"This local band is building a healthy buzz on the strength of its second album, The Perfect Gift (Flameshovel), which wears its introversion like a badge of defiance."

All Music Guide
"It's nice to see a band like the Race taking the 'Chicago sound' beyond trademark Tortoise rhythms and utilizing some no wave breakdowns and Joan of Arc skitter. The Perfect Gift takes these things and adds subtle bedroom electronics that are a definite product of the post-Kid A world." - Daphne G. A. Carr

Venus Zine
"Can songs that scarcely exceed three minutes and often barely clock in over two be considered epic? The Race makes epic possible in pop-song minutes by slipping clever intricacies into every moment. An extremely accomplished record, The Perfect Gift is the type where, on each listen, you discover yet another layer."

Skyscraper Magazine
"While I'm sure there are plenty of other domestic indie bands I could compare them to, what they brought to mind most to me was the late Eighties, early Nineties work on the Flying Nun label. In fact, it would have surprised me less to turn the disc over and seen 'Recorded in Wellington, March 1988' than to see that it was recorded recently in Chicago. I mean that as the highest compliment, that they could easily fit alongside The Gordons and The Verlaines, because what those bands did with the basics of punk psychedelic and folk music couldn't have happened anywhere else."

Lost At Sea
"On The Perfect Gift, The Race serve up a smooth swig of quiet, seductive, and potent intoxication... This is a quality record, and it’s a shame that their previously recorded effort Chicago Ruins Everything never really saw the light of day, sentenced to exile in obscurity at the hands of a defunct and dysfunctional Swey Record Company. But the Race push on with a new album and a new label, and they clearly have a good idea of what they want to do and the execution of follow-through. With a calming sound and the writing to back it up, I look forward to more perfect gifts from The Race."

"The Perfect Gift remains soft and meaningful expressed through smooth vocals (but sometimes painstaking), clear guitar melodies, and progressive drums. Considering the technical music they play, we can’t ignore the fact that this album is all heart and emotion.... The record is so poetic and beautiful that it is hard to stop listening... After you get a grip on the beauty of The Race, every little element of every single song seem to jump at you as something astonishing. It's sometimes the way the drums seem to progress against the guitars, and other times it’s the way the vocals stand out to the unpredictable, effortless, and calming. But either way The Race has a quality to their music that I have never heard before."

City (Rochester, NY)
"The Race sounds like the music you hear while sleeping with a concussion; comforting and at the same time confusing. The band's song structures are snowflake-fragile but they amply support the weight each added dynamic brings to each new measure. The band is sleepy and dreamy, yet odd and progressive enough to keep you awake throughout their vague mystery."

Right Click on Image and Select "Save image as..." to download 300dpi photos
Copyright 2007 Flameshovel Records

Ice Station CD
Released 05.15.07

news |  roster |  catalog |  tours |  store |  links |  mailing list |  contact
Copyright © 2004, Flameshovel Records