At the crossroads of underground and over the top, zoned in and plugged out, raw and riotous, lives Chicago’s My Gold Mask. The dark pop band’s exotic gypsy spells and murderous garage rock ballads have built a unique wall of sound that some have likened to a metallic symphony—pretty impressive when you consider My Gold Mask has, until recently, been a duo. Lead vocalist and percussionist Gretta Rochelle first met guitarist Jack Armondo at a rooftop party; their first words to each other were about music, and ever since the conversation has stayed there, resulting in two well-received EPs in 2010: A Thousand Voices and A Million Miles (From Where We Were Last) as well a self-titled debut LP and the band’s latest, 2013’s Leave Me Midnight, all of which has Pitchfork calling them “a band to watch.”
Part of My Gold Mask’s success is that they have always been a band of versatility. When they needed percussion, Rochelle taught herself how to play; when they wanted to fill out the textured nuances of their sound, they commissioned drummer James Andrew (now a fully-fledged member of the band); and wanting to explore further musical territory, they’ve started experimenting with electronic flourishes that will turn listeners on their feet, ready for the warehouse dance party. “We like to explore those darker feelings that sometimes get left behind in pop music,” says Rochelle, and the band has successfully found that balance by working on heavy-handed remixes with the likes of The Hood Internet and Crystal Castles’ engineer Alex Zelenka, who re-rendered the band’s biggest single to date, “Violet Eyes.” The song also caught the attention of fashion designer Phillip Lim who used My Gold Mask’s music in his 2010 Fashion Week shows and hosted the band for an in-store performance, which led Vogue to name it one of the “Ten Best Music Shows of Fashion’s Night Out.”
This summer, My Gold Mask returns to the forefront with the band’s first national headlining tour, having already shared the stage with acts from Twin Shadow and Wavves to The New Pornographers, Japandroids and Blonde Redhead. For a band that started with a nylon string guitar, simple drums and the frontwoman of A Thousand Voices (“Gretta could have been a voiceover talent,” admits Armondo) to a now fully-realized trio with new demos already in the works for this year, My Gold Mask is edging for the spotlight they’ve been waiting for. “Where we are now is the sum total of all of our experiences together; all the writing, playing, honing of our craft came through on this album,” says Armondo of Leave Me Midnight. But perhaps music magazine Pretty Much Amazing summed it up best in their review, saying the band “infuses some heart into the mundane and makes it beautiful."