Featured Local Artist: Oscar Bait

- Featured Local Artist

Our Featured Local Artist for January is Oscar Bait, a four-piece Chicago band that mixes elements of hardcore, pop-punk, and emo into their sound. The band primarily focuses on volleying melancholic melodies toward the listener at the speed of light, with vocalist Jim Coleman Howes delivering seriocomic musings in his characteristically burly, gritty style. The result is something as energetic and addictive as it is contemplative.

Formed in Chicago at the tail end of 2015, the band consists of Howes on lead vocals, guitarist Zach Porach, bassist Nic Campa, and drummer Brandon Runyon. They released a demo in early 2016, Shut Up Dude I’m A Pro, and by December of that year, Oscar Bait had already begun to develop into something tighter, smarter, and more agile, and they released their debut full-length, Become Good.

Between November 2017 and August 2018, Oscar Bait produced two more sublime EPs, Pro Skater 2 and Third Strike, both of which served to expand upon their chimeric mixture of hardcore, emo, and pop-punk.

In the summer of 2021, Oscar Bait released their third EP, Everything Louder Than Everything Else, and it was apparent just how tight they’d become as a unit; lockstep rhythms married to joyously unpredictable song structures, and tracks like the stellar opener “This Is Water” demonstrated that this was both the band’s most aggressive and most melodic material yet.

In June of 2023, the band put out their fourth EP, It’s Not Your Fault. Gritty guitar breaks, high-octane vocals, and waxed layers make this five-song EP a breath of fresh air. Lead singer Jim Coleman Howes says, “The EP is a series of short stories about how grim it feels to get what you want.”

You can find Oscar Bait on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Bandcamp, and listen to them on Spotify.

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