Local indie rockers Doleful Lions have long been overlooked, but they’ve never lost their spark | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Local indie rockers Doleful Lions have long been overlooked, but they’ve never lost their spark 

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click to enlarge Doleful Lions

Doleful Lions

Courtesy the Artist

Chicagoan Jonathan Scott founded his indie-rock band Doleful Lions in 1996, and though they’ve been active ever since (albeit with a revolving-door lineup), they’ve mostly gone overlooked. That could be in part because Scott has avoided aggressively promoting his group, but I still wonder why more people haven’t found and fallen for Doleful Lions. Their effervescent power-pop melodies, topped with Scott’s unsettlingly sweet and appealingly out-of-focus vocals, should’ve at least made the band a sleeper success. They had a great start, quickly signing to downstate Illinois indie label Parasol, which released their first seven albums between 1998 and 2008, and since then Scott has remained prolific—for seven years or so he’s averaged almost two Doleful Lions full-lengths per year, which he records himself and releases either through his own Crowned and Conquering Child imprint or with somebody else’s microlabel. Maybe if Doleful Lions had ever gone dormant, indie-rock obsessives might’ve had the chance to miss Scott and “rediscover” his work. I’m glad he never put the project to bed, though, because he’s consistently made music that gets stuck in my head for weeks. His two 2019 albums, Hidden Thunderdomes and Doleful Lions (the latter on Chicago’s Tastee Records), contain plenty of charming, bucolic songs that might even stay in my rotation when Scott inevitably releases even more equally excellent material.   v

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