Mike Golden & Friends have been slowly building themselves into one of the premier acts to catch in the increasingly crowded Chicago music scene and yesterday they dropped their latest release, Utopia to continue that climb. Teased over the last few weeks with the behind the scenes video for the single “Mary Jane” featuring Vic Mensa and Donnie Trumpet, Utopia is a truly transcendental project for the group, who bring together a myriad of influences and sounds to create the soulful, highly instrumental sound that sees the band float between rock, blues and post-punk sensibilities behind the strong-voiced Mike Golden at the helm.
Utopia demonstrates a certain growth that comes naturally for a band in their 20s, a slightly more mature, developed songwriting and computed worldview that bleeds through in the music. On “Best Part”, Golden glosses over aiming for the sweetest time in a relationship, aka the best part, singing, “I just wanna make it to the best part,”. On the album’s title track, he explains, “When you wake depends on when you take a hold of it,” As the rap scene in Chicago seems to take over how people view the city, acts like MG&F demonstrate the true range of music coming out of The Second City. A sold out show last Friday at the House of Blues in Chicago was a fitting celebration of the group’s latest release since 2011’s well-received Groceries and served as a proper introduction for a project that we should see pop up quite a bit throughout this year.