(Chicago, Illinois) Tautologic is in its third decade (plus or minus a hiatus or two) of making “perfectly normal music for slightly odd people.

Wheels Fall Off is the first Tautologic album to feature a line-up of the band still intact at the time of its release - Ethan Sellers (keys/vocals/production), Patrick Buzby (drums), Nathan Britsch (bass), Chris Greene (saxes), Emily Albright (violin, vocals), and Jay Montana (guitar). “New guy” Montana has - at the time of the album’s completion - been with the band for 10 years, making this the longest-lived line-up in Tautologic history.

Tautologic had some help from special guests - Tom Culver (cello), Johnny Showtime Janowiak (trombone), John Moore, Jr. (trumpet), and Sellers’ own children. Sellers kept the guest list limited, otherwise - preferring to celebrate the band’s talents and stage-honed interplay.

Photo by Ryan Griffin Stegink

Tautologic completed most of Wheels Fall Off even before releasing its 2018 album Re:Psychle. Determined to capture their live chemistry, Tautologic recorded roughly half of the album at a single live full-band session with Rick Barnes at Chicago's Rax Trax Recording in late 2013. Sellers recorded overdubs at his home studio, culminating in a COVID-19-inspired recording binge in the spring and early summer of 2020. An Illinois Arts Council grant generously defrayed the cost of Barnes mixing the album and provided a more urgent timeline to complete the album.

The music for Wheels Fall Off is an organic mash-up and a study in contrasts. Sellers’ composed pieces leave openings for in-studio improvisation. Male and female vocalists trade leads and harmonize. Short vocal-centered songs co-exist with long instrumental epics. Prog-rock and fusion workouts share space with Afro-Caribbean, zydeco, funk, blues, and samba grooves. There are organic whole-band recordings, and layers of one-man-choir vocals, one-woman string sections, guitar armies, horn sections, synthesizer mini-odysseys, and post-production audio mangling.

Many of Sellers’ lyrics on Wheels Fall Off use everyday details to flesh out wry personal observations. Other songs - like the title track and “That’s What I Hear” - resonate uncannily with current world events, although they date 5-6 (or more) years before the pandemic, civil unrest, and election of 2020. Perhaps history itself is Tautologic.

Check out the full album here: Wheels Fall Off

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