Posted on April 15th, 2024

Two years after the release of their exhilarating debut EP, Chicago noisemakers Babe Report announce their debut album, Did You Get Better, set for release on May 31 with Exploding In Sound. Consisting of ten new songs, all wrapped in under half an hour, it's an immediate and breathless arrival from the newly emerging project comprised of former FCKR JR members Ben Grigg (Geronimo!, Whelpwisher) and Emily Bernstein alongside drummer Peter Reale (Yeesh) and bassist Mech.

Alongside the announcement, Babe Report unveiled the lead single "Turtle of Reaper," which premiered today as a first listen via FLOOD. The album's opening track bursts forth in a flurry of noise and energy for a thrilling two-minute jaunt of scorched vocals and frenetic drums. On the track's origin, Babe Report's Grigg elaborates: "This is an indictment of what often feels like fear-mongering in click-bait media. I mention the Nadig News in particular since they religiously publish crime reports. I honestly find reading those fascinating, but it feels like a way to keep people on edge and xenophobic. I’m sure that’s not Nadig’s intention (I actually have heard Brian Nadig is cool and I respect that a family-run print newspaper can exist in 2024), but it comes off that way sometimes. Especially since it is often printed alongside a column by mega-wang Russ Stewart. Anyway, the chorus is a call back to 12/31/99, when all the news told people to turn off their computers before Y2K, or else!"

Where the band initially existed as a lockdown-inspired duo, Babe Report became a fully-fledged four-piece on the aforementioned The Future of Teeth EP, with Ben Grigg and Emily Bernstein expanding their line-up to include Peter Reale on drums and Mech on bass. Such reinforcements grow exponentially here, and they come to define Did You Get Better. Both a bigger and more accomplished version of the band than we’ve heard to date, the album boasts a woozy concoction of 90s-drenched guitars and melodic grooves.

Recorded over just one weekend in November 2023, using several one-of-a-kind prototype mics at Radon Ranch - Ben and Emily’s humble basement studio - the songs here are both gripping in their immediacy and wholly intoxicating. Embracing disorder throughout, Babe Report funnel their influences into something both boisterous and exuberant; a thunderstorm trapped inside a bottle.

A tumultuous tale, the album is part snapshot of the band’s singular and curious perspectives but also of their surroundings in Jefferson Park, an area that is rife with inspiration. “We practice on Wednesdays when the hyper-local Nadig Newspaper is delivered. We invariably spend the first few minutes of practice reviewing the weekly, idiotic antics of our Alderman,” the band says, while also citing “women driving cars with manual transmissions, the cult of fame and personality, and dreams of throwing your severed body parts into the ocean” as part of the album’s idiosyncratic nature.

However it finds you or you find it, Did You Get Better finds a way to take the reigns, plowing headfirst into its journey and rarely looking back for approval, to even worry if anyone else is joining for the ride. Through its intense rushing and the occasional moments of cessation, it showcases a band in a bold and brilliant new chapter, highlighting the power of growth and collaboration in a way that feels considerably and endearingly forthright.

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