In Rotation: Kids These Days’ ‘Hard Times’


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A series in Sunday Calendar about what Times writers & contributors are listening to right now...

The youth today, they grow up so fast and so cynical. On this self-released, five-track EP, Kids These Days are bummed about love, stressed about the economy and suffering from a Midwest case of seasonal depression. The days just “drag on” for this college-aged seven-piece from Chicago, or, to be more precise, “Haterville, Illinois,” as the act declares on the title track.


Yet this glimpse into what Kids These Days can do offers plenty of cause for optimism. At its core, the band falls somewhere between a jazz outfit and a blues combo, but the emphasis on rapping and nightclub vamping keeps the group’s intentions a mystery, and the songs surprisingly fluid.

“Walking Down the Line” is a femme-fatale scorcher from singer Macie Stewart, “My Days” is laid-back, acoustic wistfulness and “Darling” is a mix of I-love-you/I-don’t-love-you posturing from singer Liam Cunningham and rapper Vic Mensa, complete with a reference to the Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose. The melancholic title track, however, with its bluesy guitar licks, police-siren horns and give-and-take trio of vocalists, shows that the kids may have already matured beyond their name.

Kids These Days
“Hard Times”


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— Todd Martens