Soft Speaker

 Under duress from the USM (Unified Society of Milkmen), Joseph Daley, Blair Douglass, Paul Foreman and Nicholas Rocchio shut down their independent milk delivery service in 1929. A smattering of unsuccessful endeavors followed, until they discovered an undeniable chemistry blending finger-picked guitars with lutes and clarinets. Although initially less lucrative than the milk business, the quartet, who settled on the name Sanftsprecher (trans. “Soft Speaker”), were championed by Austria’s Chancellor Engelbert Dollfuss in 1932 and subsequently enjoyed a period of massive popularity in their newly-adopted home country. The band split following Dollfuss’s assassination in 1934. Their only official recording, the 78rpm single, I’ll Tend Your Garden, is highly sought after by record collectors. In 2008, enthusiasts of the band purchased sheet music for a number of unrecorded Sanftsprecher songs that were discovered in Rocchio’s safe deposit box in UniCredit Bankengruppe. Austria’s Tonk√ľnstler-Orchester Nieder√∂sterreich has been recording interpretations of these songs and releasing them for the public’s listening pleasure. Separately, a ramshackle group of Chicago-based musicians has taken it upon themselves to perform and record these songs in a strikingly rudimentary manner with crude electric instruments, much to the dismay of purist fans that prefer the orchestral versions.

Past Shows

  • Fri, Aug 8 - 9pm - $8
  • Thu, May 21 - 8pm - $12adv/$15door