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Del Rey

Del Rey is:

Eben English
Chris Cowgill
Damien Burke
Michael Johnson

del rey was born in 1997 in the attic of a three-flat in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village. Drawing on diverse backgrounds of Oberlin art-rock, Peoria punk, Scottish pipe drumming, and backwoods-Maine hallucinogenica (a highly combustible mixture of narcotics and electronics), musicians Damien Burke, Chris Cowgill, Eben English, and Michael Johnson forged a swirling din of pounding, hypnotic rhythms, dusky-yet-heroic harmony, and snaking, angular melodies. That is, until they were booted from the apartment by ungrateful neighbors. Fortunately, more friendly confines were soon found, and the rock has since continued unabated.

In ’99, the band released a four-song EP, dlry, on their own Dirigible Recordings imprint, which displayed a newborn taking its first breaths, determined to create its own distinct identity. A debut LP, Speak It Not Aloud (My Pal God, 2001), found them molding a vocabulary of sonic lyricism and rhythmic textuality into concise, coherent compositions. On the subsequent Darkness & Distance LP (My Pal God, 2003), this lexicon coalesced into densely plotted tales of dynamic tension & release, where breakbeat armadas battled with ethereal volume swells, and shimmering keyboards mingled juices with crushing walls of guitar. And they lived happily ever after.

In September 2006, Del Rey returned with A Pyramid for the Living, featuring their most epic and aggressive storytelling to date. The album is a cosmic opus that reveals a stronger, wiser group maneuvering at will through its own unique soundscape. Building on the post-rock and electronic roots from which the band’s sound springs, here the sonic palette also contains hints of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and Afro-Cuban textures. Added to their already impressive arsenal of furious double-drumming, stinging guitar work, and mesmerizing electronics, these elements are deftly woven into songs that take on a life of their own.

Del Rey continues to perform in Chicago and across the nation. Live, the music is infused with a feverish urgency, each song played like it could be their last. The signature of the group’s shows is the symbiotic intricacy of their twin-drumkit attack, which manages to be punishing yet graceful at the same time.


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