This was the first Shy Mirrors show. The way this worked was I had booked a little 4-show tour to coincide with a trip back to Chicago. I wanted to do Shy Mirrors live and the best place for me to do that was in and around Chicago. I was born in Joliet but I don’t think I had ever played a show there before. This was a fun way to kick it off. Also, we have a little tradition of putting together a Guided By Voices cover band and doing one-off shows (usually in garages for our friends) when the planets align. This was also one of those nights; The Jabberstrokers (formerly The Official Ironman Rally Band) were the headliner.

I asked Curt Swank to play drums and he did an amazing job. Because we’d only have a few days to practice together before the shows I wanted to remove as many variables as possible (bass, 2nd guitar) and decided to do these shows as a guitar/drums duo. I used an octave pedal lined out to a bass amp to fill out the sound.

3/31/12 @ Third City Sound – Joliet, Il
(video, audio, photos)

4/3/12 @ Mike n’ Molly’s – Champaign, IL

4/4/12 @ Township – Chicago, Il
(video, audio, photos)

4/5/12 @ Cactus Club – Milwaukee, WI

The complete Shy Mirrors discography is available for purchase on bandcamp.

Jersey Beat – Dec, 2011
“Sailed Blanks finds Shy Mirrors fully committed to a combination of muscle and pop sensibility.” “the band pushes its sonic boundaries, raging with authentic aggression. Shy Mirrors has snuck in a radiant release just under the wire of 2011.”

Big Takeover #69 – Nov, 2011
“Shy Mirrors hollers hot, quick-hitting, indie rock with heavier 1977-1981 punk guitars, like The Rich Kids on double the amphetamines covering Negative Trend. Give them two-minutes 11 times, and they’ll bang out a big blast of babyfaced energy with pop hooks like the breakout “Breakout,” or the Ramones-ish “Argon” (beat on this, brats!), that will blitzkrieg your bop in nothing flat.” – Jack Rabid

Wilfully Obscure – Nov, 2011
“Two minute songs, a total blast, and an out-an-out winner.” “Sailed Blanks is perhaps the finest LP of 2011’s late-breaking releases.”

Indie Rock Cafe – March, 2013
“His songs are frenzied, two-minute or less blitzkrieg romps of lo-fi garage rock, punk and pop hooks – a la Superchunk and the The Ramones – delivered with riveting, downstroke power chords, served with a double dose of distortion, and topped off with angst-driven, nasal-like vocals – all of which are aspects of Downey’s signature sound.”

Fabricoh Magazine – Feb, 2013
“Are you ever going to stop wearing Chuck Taylors? Are you ever going to stop eating mashed potatoes? No? Then Shy Mirrors is the band for you!”

Wilfully Obscure – Feb, 2013
“As if the fourteen dozen tracks here aren’t stupefyingly impressive in their own right, Negative’s sheer consistency is the icing on an already scalding hot cake.”

The Fire Note – Feb, 2013
“If you are looking for a bunch of gimmicks you have put on the wrong record as Shy Mirrors bring a very authentic fuzzed up noise rock that comes at you in various sounds and speeds while being comparable to pieces of well-loved bands that have come before them.”

I Buy WAY Too Many Records – Feb, 2013
“Channeling the energy of some of my favorite pop bands of the 90’s with amazingly catchy choruses, this is a band that should far exceed the popularity of this limited to 150 copies record.”

NME – January, 2014
“Fast, frantic and undeniably furious, Shy Mirrors offer a nostalgic kick that can’t be shaken off.” – June, 2013
“Part U.K. punk, part scuzzy ’90s indie rock and most of all, all-around awesomeness.” (25 Best New Cassettes of 2013 So Far)

Tiny Mix Tapes – July, 2015
Dodging the Column has the feeling of going back over an argument in your head, what you did say, what you wish you said, what you would say different in retrospect. It’s an endless parade of other theoretical arguments and how you would win them…” – July, 2015
“Downey creates tracks with a variety of shapes and influences. Songs like “Plastic Skull” ooze along with a power pop strut reminiscent of The Undertones and The Exploding Hearts.“ “The songs are fuzzy and warm, with a charming glow…”

Raven Sings the Blues – September, 2016 “Downey has found a similar muse in the short form pop-punk that drives Tony Molina to bash out jingle-sized nuggets of fuzz pop… ‘Cements’ doesn’t last long but it gets its claws in quick and feeds on a cocktail of nostalgia and a hunger for the hook.”

Austin Town Hall – August, 2016
“It’s almost like a pop version of Guided by Voices… only with larger hooks for listeners. …There’s not a song on this whole record that I didn’t enjoy, and with short tracks, it’s easy to fall in love, then press repeat to start enjoying yourself all over again.”

The Fire Note – July, 2016 “another blast of short lo-fi goodness and brings plenty of “hit replay” moments.”

Shy Mirrors
3/31/12 Third City Sound
Joliet, Il

Stream | Download this show

This isn’t the entire set, but the highlights:
Face Paint / Dry Cell / You Begged Me / Sky High / Boy Again / I See it Differently / Reactors

Engineered, mixed and recorded live by Bill Aldridge at Third City Sound, Joliet, IL March 31st, 2012.

Mike Downey – Guitar/Vocals
Curt Swank – Drums

The set is downloadable within the soundcloud player below if you want to take it home with you.

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