Berserk Records showcases local indie rock talent at Young Camelot


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Bands Elephant Gun and Sheep Numbers attended Berserk Records March 7 album release party to celebrate two new compilation albums and two full album releases.

By Emili Holmes Contributor

Rock albums on custom cassettes were not the only things dropping at Berserk Records’ March 7 album release party at Young Camelot, 2126 N. Talman Ave. 

Bands and fans danced until 3 a.m., celebrating the record company’s two new compilations and two full album releases from rock bands Elephant Gun and Sheep Numbers.

Berserk Records—a collective of indie-rock musicians—releases new compilations celebrating the differences between musicians and other people.

Bryant Mehrabi, Berserk’s main coordinator, said he printed test presses—limited edition 12-inch vinyl records of the new compilation album So Fly—that highlight Chicago-only artists with female leads, which were not part of the all-male first record release, Yell!, dropped in January 2013. Mehrabi said he worked on an album compilation during the winter called Homo for the Holidays, which focused on LGBTQ issues and was released on Dec. 15, 2014. Later that month, he also released the new compilation Hooliganism Vol. 2, featuring Meat Wave and other punk bands. His goals for the company include 12-inch split limited press vinyls, each featuring two to four bands.

Mehrabi said the 3-year-old company is going to continue releasing music in a physical format for the next few years. 

“It’s never been our objective to make a ton of money,” Mehrabi said. “If we can make enough money to fund the next release, then great.” 

Mehrabi attributes his inspiration to Tinuviel Sampson, of the Kill Rock Stars record label, and said Sampson helped encouraged the formation of Mehrabi’s Villa Villakula record company.

Zach LaBomascus, a member of the folk-rock band Elephant Gun, said the new album Castle Boots took two years due to the recording requirements for aural quality.

“Trumpet, saxophone or violin, we try to do that somewhere with a wood floor,” said Jim Drake, guitarist and vocalist for Elephant Gun. 

Drake said he spends his time working on harmonies.

The Elephant Gun members, some who have been in the band for eight years, admit to letting Mehrabi take control when it comes to packaging the cassettes. This was a relief for them because they did not have to agree on the design.

Jared Olson, another Elephant Gun member, said the band is influenced by the band Drive-By Truckers but also draws from metal, punk, indie-pop and indie-folk. 

Sheep Numbers celebrated its new album Future in Reverse, which took four years to produce. 

“[We are] the sort of band you could take home to mother and eat crumpets with,” said frontman and vocalist Michael Martello.

He said he recently compiled, remixed and overdubbed old tracks he had been working on after leaving his previous bands or side projects.

The Howl, a band featured on So Fly, is known throughout the Columbia community for its spirit and lyrics. Tye Hoag, a cinema art + science major, and Joe DeLuca, senior art + design major and creator of Life Sux LOL design company, attended to support the band. 

The Howl, whose new “Sputter” video shows the band playing in a van while driving around Chicago, aims to elicit a universal feeling among listeners. 

“Even if you listen to a completely instrumental song you feel something,” vocalist Sam Porter said.