The slogan on a Troubled Hubble T-shirt reads: "Everything's going to be fine." They have songs called "I Love My Canoe" and "You Stay Here, I'll Go Get Help." Goddamn it, these guys are adorable. But don't mistake their goofy titles, amorous leanings, and appearance for just another whiny emo cash machine. These four friends from suburban Illinois serve up a heapin' helping of driving guitar rock 'n' roll. In fact, it's so driving it might send you careening over a cliff. And if their latest album, Penturbia, doesn't put a smile on your face, there's no blood running through your veins.
"We all met when the roads between our houses started getting developed," explains singer-guitarist Chris Otepka. "There are only 600 people in Elburn, which is a suburb of Aurora, which is a suburb of Chicago, hence, the term 'penturbia,' which means the fifth level of urban development. We started playing together in 1998 when I had a solo project gigging around Chicago. I recruited Nate [Landrum, drums] and Josh [Miller, guitar] to make it more rockin'. Then Andrew [Landrum, bass] joined, and we had so much fun we kept going."
Their first full-length CD, Broken Airplanes, overflowed with pretty guitar work and Landrum's energetic snare-versus-cymbal rivalry, which spilled into their latest release, an album rife with the quirky wit of the Dead Milkmen and the youthful, anthemic rock of Modest Mouse. As for the underlying outdoorsy theme on the album, Otepka laughs. "I guess that's just a subliminal influence of our surroundings," he says. "We don't like to get into people's bullshit. We're all just friendly guys."