MONAKR (the K is supposed to be backwards) is a Chicago “deep pop” band consisting of members of Hey Champ and Gemini Club, along with vocalist Matthew Santos.  They have an expansive, dare I say “epic” sound, and a lot of flair for dramatic, catchy melodies. I’m reminded of Peter Gabriel and Sting, updated for 2015.

"Diamond" is their debut single, about the passing of a band member’s uncle. It features bright, pulsing synths and strings and Santos’ vocals are powerful and honest. It has an anthem quality to it while still remaining intimate and meaningful. 



"Calling Out" is my favorite of the two tracks on their Soundcloud page. It’s a calm, quiet track and Santos murmurs sweetly until the chorus absolutely explodes into scintillating beauty and the almost tribal drums resonated deeply. Again, the music is very anthemic but there’s still a lot of raw emotion being channeled to us. 



MONAKR recently played their debut show at the iconic Schubas Tavern in Chicago and the buzz hasn’t stopped since. They have a winning combination of arena pop and soul-bearing intimacy. There will surely be an album forthcoming, and I personally can’t wait to see what MONAKR has to share with us. Curator Golden Wolf does it again with this wonderful find.