We told you years ago that Chicago Cubs TV voice Len Kasper is atypical for the baseball broadcasting profession due to nearly impeccable musical taste and a stint in a band. Kasper further proves the point with his latest endeavor: Sonic45, a group that’s produced one single (“Pills”) and another, “I Feel Alive,” that we’re happy to premiere. (The singles are on Pravda Records, which will also digitally release Sonic45’s debut LP, Space And Time, hopefully before the end of 2020; Cheap Kiss is putting out the vinyl.)
Kasper writes Sonic45’s songs and plays bass; the rest of the band is guitarist/producer Liam Davis (Frisbie), drummer Gerald Dowd (Robbie Fulks, among others), guitarist Dag Juhlin (Sunshine Boys, Poi Dog Pondering) and vocalist Matt Spiegel (Tributosaurus). This isn’t some celebrity vanity project but rather a serious, legitimately good pursuit.
Sonic45’s genesis was sparked by Kasper contemplating life as he approached his 45th birthday. He’s on the eve of 50 now, and “I Feel Alive” could be considered a songwriting mission statement.
“At 45, you’re not necessarily old, but you sure as heck aren’t young anymore,” says Kasper. “‘I Feel Alive’ sums up the idea of what it means to be staring at your mortality while still feeling like you not only have something to offer artistically but that you can still get out of your comfort zone and reach people 20 years older and, hopefully, 20 years younger.”
Sonically (sorry), Kasper’s going for an ’80s/new-wave vibe akin to some of his favorites from that era.
“I wanted the songs to be groovy and danceable and shimmery and dark in all the right ways,” he says. “The Church is a big influence in that they were, and still are, a new-wave/post-punk band that stuck to a guitar-centric approach. I’m not averse to keyboards and synth, but I write everything from a guitar, bass and drums perspective. More early New Order than later, I suppose. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, but I do think there’s a timeless quality to this genre, and I don’t view our charge as some sort of kitschy, throwback thing. I want our sound to be fresh and viable forever, which the Church and the Cure and all those great ’80s bands pulled off.”