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After two EPs and an experimental improvised instrumental release, Chicago’s KAVA spent the past year touring, playing local (often fully-improvised) gigs, writing songs and working on their live show. This culminated in the recording of their first full length studio album, Shikaakwa, on March 30 at In Vault Labs in Chicago.

KAVA is a psychedelic rock trio comprised of Chicago music veterans Ryan, Marshall and Wilson met while forming AfroZep, an actively touring hybrid of Led Zeppelin songs with African instrumentation and, after realizing that they had a similar musical vision, formed KAVA a year and a half later.

  • Marshall Greenhouse(drums/electronics/percussion)
  • Wilson (guitar), and
  • Ryan Behling (vocals/bass).

The trio went into the studio with a 45 minute set of music ready to play in its entirety. The band played the set three times live in the studio (no overdubs) and they were done tracking that night. With the help of Rollin Weary behind the board mixing and mastering (the following day), Shikaakwa is a perfect representation of how KAVA sounds live, complete with trippy effects in the drums and guitars layered live by Greenhouse and Wilson and thes soaring vocals sang live (whilst tracking bass simultaneously) by Behling.

The album is also a good mix of sonic textures flowing seamlessly between the rock of “Keep it Alive”, the psychedelia of “Oil Skull” and “While You Were We Decided Not To” and the thoughtful whisper of “Milo vs. Milos”. Shikaakwa is at the same time an exciting rock album and a loyal representation of the scope and the raw talent of this band.

“Shikaakwa is a stoner-rock masterpiece.” – Rollin Weary, IV Labs