premiere // “Nonplussed” - Clearance

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Today we’re stoked to bring you the latest track from Clearance - a Chicago-based foursome who is releasing their debut - Rapid Rewards on Sept. 25th through Tall Pat/Unsatisfied Records. Below you can vibe out to their new single “Nonplussed” and read up on the band and a little more about the single via band member Mike Bellis.

The Grey Estates: Since this is your debut, we have to ask the boring question of how Clearance was born. 

Mike Bellis: Clearance got started when Arthur (who plays drums) and I started putting some songs together with the idea of trying to make a record ourselves, from scratch. We had played a bit at school together, mostly playing old punk songs at house parties around Ann Arbor for people to dance to, and when we both moved back to Chicago it seemed like making a record would be a fun thing to try and do. So we recorded a couple of 7”s in a friend’s basement studio, made the art, got them pressed, and tried to get the word out about them. We were surprised that people were actually interested!

TGE: How does it feel to be releasing a debut album and what’s been like the most surreal moment or exciting part of the journey? 

M: After those first couple records, we started to play out a bit more and kind of slowly turned into more of a live band. My friends Greg and Kevin joined on bass and guitar, really making the band more into what it is now. We played a lot of shows in 2014 to sort of get our chops up and gel together a bit more as a group, and then we went off and made Rapid Rewards toward the end of the year. It’s got a lot more of a live feel, because we wanted it to sound a bit more like what our shows were becoming. The most exciting part for me has probably been seeing the band come into its own as a group, where if someone tries something new or strange mid-song or if we stretch a certain part a bit longer, the rest of us can follow without getting lost. Not that we were playing anything too strange to begin with.  

TGE: Can you explain a little bit about “Nonplussed” and how that track kind of fits in with the rest of the album? 

M: It’s a little bit more up-tempo compared to some of the other songs, and has a kind of bratty, nah-nah-nah-nah melody running through it at some parts. It’s maybe a little bratty lyrically, too, coming from the perspective of just being unimpressed by someone who loves to talk about themselves or puff themselves up in conversation. It’s sort of rolling my eyes at the casual or not-so-casual one-upmanship you encounter in everyday life, with the knowledge that it’s generally the people who aren’t going out of their way to announce themselves to you that are actually getting interesting things done.

And finally non-serious questions

TGE: What would Clearance’s dream pizza include?

M: Gainful employment. Maybe a Raincoats record.

TGE: Describe Rapid Rewards using four emojis

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TGE: What is the dream Clearance merch item?

M: Frequent-flyer miles with every LP

Rapid Rewards is out 9/25 through Tall Pat/Unsatisfied Records.