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Wednesday, August 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 78.0° F  Partly Cloudy
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Bear Claw wallop listeners with two powerful bass guitars
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The band never run out of ideas.
The band never run out of ideas.

Bear Claw make pulverizing post-rock with the power it takes to snap a double-neck bass in half. That's because they have two bass guitarists in addition to a drummer. The band call Chicago home, but Midwest shows like a May 9 gig at Mickey's Tavern could become scarcer now that bassist Rob Raspolich is relocating to New York.

Isthmus asked drummer Scott Picco what lies ahead.

Isthmus: What's something unique Bear Claw have been able to do with the bass-bass-drum setup?
Picco: I wouldn't say it sounds like two basses per se. It's more like a low, powerful guitar mixed with a traditional, chunky rock bass. It allows it to be so the two basses aren't stepping on each other. With a lot of guitar bands, it hits you in the ears; Bear Claw hits you in the chest.

We keep trying to expand [the sound]. We've been a band for almost 11 years now, and we're not running out of ideas yet.

It still manages to be really melodic.
We didn't want to be just like "chugga-chugga-chugga." We definitely didn't want to be thick and sludgy, which is very easy to do. We've seen other bands do two basses. We're not the first. But I feel we struck a nice balance of pulling off the power aspect when we need to but also being able to be melodic.

Rob is moving to New York in June. What does that mean for the band?
We already kind of went through this once before. For my day job, I was in Germany for a year and a half.... It'll put a kink in touring. The biggest thing is that we try to practice once a week. We're going to have to scale back on that.

The reason Bear Claw has lasted 11 years is that we all have day jobs; this is definitely a hobby. But it's a serious hobby. We have about 75% of the fourth record done, and we definitely still want to finish that. Hopefully we'll be getting into the studio no later than this time next year.

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