New Music

Kmieciak Loosens the Handcuffs

New Music: Within Shadows by Jeffrey Kmieciak

Jeffrey Kmieciak may be best known as the straight-up rock guitarist for Chicago band The Handcuffs and badass bassist for punk band Nude Model, but he is so much more. A visit to his Bandcamp page uncovers 25 years of Kmieciak’s original music. His past bands and projects include Tenki, Ceiling Stars, Ghost Horses, The Warmbloods, Drifts, The Demilos, and The Meme. 

Within Shadows is a menagerie of sounds which may feel right at home on a Twin Peaks soundtrack, but more darkly introspective than creepy. The exquisite “Murmuring” highlights Kmieciak’s beautiful musicianship and vocals. It is clear he can hold his own as a leading man. In it, he sings, “There’s a quiet desolation in the foraged fields / Symptomatic of the pressure from desperate truths / Tangled in the thresher, a murmur in the breeze.” Add songwriting strengths to that résumé.

The wonderful synthy-ness of “Stained Glass” pushes the envelope of Kmieciak’s imagination. One part eighties vibe, two parts futuristic enigma. The following track on the record, “Mesmerized,” could be categorized in the same vein. “Brighter Days” closes out the album with a wall of sound and Kmeiciak’s echoing voice, “Surviving through these darker days / Insight into lighter ways,” possibly signaling a path for us humans to evolve into better people in a better place.

Kmieciak recently spoke with No Earplugs about his musical heroes, all the instruments, and future music.

You’ve been killing it with the Handcuffs. How long have you been their guitarist? I’ve been a member of The Handcuffs for six-and-a-half years now. Having played in numerous Chicago bands over the years, I feel I’ve really found a home in this band like none other.

“Murmuring” by Jeffrey Kmieciak

How would you label the music on Within Shadows, if that is possible? Introspective new wave goth psyche?

Did you play all instruments on the album? Yes, I played all of the instruments on the album. 

Throughout your life as a musician, what artists have been most inspiring to you? So many to list, but here are a few: David Bowie, Scott Walker, Brian Eno, Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Callahan, Nick Drake, My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, Vic Chesnutt, Guided By Voices, Nick Cave, Can, Neutral Milk Hotel.

Kmieciak went on to mention, “I’m writing and recording new material all of the time. My next album will probably be a bit heavier and more experimental.” His latest single after Within Shadows fits that description. “We Could Be Accused of Arson,” pumps up the drums and exposes his heavier, grungier guitar sounds.

Check out Kmieciak’s quality input with The Handcuffs, Nude Model, and all his solo work. Listen, buy, and spread the love.


Categories: New Music

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