Kangaroo Court brings psych-punk rock to CU


Photo Courtesy of Hayley Anderson

Kangaroo Court opens for Post Animal at Canopy Club Nov. 12. The band is currently working on an album that is planned to come out early next year.

By Sydney Wood, Assistant buzz Editor

As Champaign-Urbana’s music scene continues to recover from the pandemic, one of its newest garage-punk bands is taking the community by storm. 

Formed in late September, Kangaroo Court has already made an impact on the community, recently opening for Post Animal at The Canopy Club mid-November. 

Jake Luce – founder, vocalist and guitarist of Kangaroo Court – described the band’s sound as a mix of heavy psych-rock and high-energy garage punk. He said the band also derives inspiration from slow bedroom-pop tunes, and its subtle bass drops are dubstep-inspired.

Luce said the band embodies a garage band vibe, with stripped-back sounds and gritty, surf rock-inspired guitar tones that are packed with overdrive distortion. And its sound is inspired by artists like Black Sabbath, Tame Impala, The Strokes and King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard. 

Kangaroo Court is composed of Luce, lead guitarist Garrett Frank, drummer Cody Spiezil and bassist Noah Tennison. The band began playing shows in early October. 

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Luce said the band came together organically, clicking right away. He mentioned they have natural chemistry, saying, “I just feel like I’ve known these guys for much longer than I have.” 

All members are current or former students at the University.

“Each of us kind of brings something different musically as well,” Luce said. “It’s like with our personalities. We kind of each bring what’s needed to the table, so it’s been working out great.”

Kangaroo Court has rehearsal around three or four times a week. At shows, they plays almost exclusively original songs – there’s about eight of them, so far – along with a cover of “Fell In Love With a Girl” by The White Stripes. 

“I think everybody’s kind of been craving just getting hit in the face with live music after the pandemic,” Luce said. “So that’s what we aim to do.”

Luce said he hopes the band’s music makes people want to restart the tune and listen to it over and over again.

“If I can get people hooked on the sound and get it stuck in their heads, that’s enough,” he said.

The band has played a handful of house shows, usually in Urbana. Luce said Kangaroo Court has played with bands like Soft and Dumb, Ocean Child and Decapitation In The Food Court, saying, “We just really love playing with all of them and just love being a part of the scene in general.” 

“It’s just been awesome,” he said. “I think people have been really eager to get back to live music now after the pandemic and everything. So, it just seems like there’s a huge crowd of people at every show that’s just super willing to start a mosh pit dance around.”

Kangaroo Court is in the process of recording its first single, which will soon be released on all streaming platforms. Luce said the band currently has an album in the works, and he’s hoping it will be released in February. 

Though the band has been together for only a few months, Luce said its stage presence is incomparable and that Kangaroo Court brings some loud punk-rock energy to the community that Champaign-Urbana currently lacks. 

“We just get everybody in the crowd moving around our sets,” he said. “Everybody in the band is just having a blast playing that, so I think people really feel that when they watch us.”

In 10 years, Luce hopes Kangaroo Court will still be active. He said his dream festivals to play at would be Desert Daze in Perris, California or any show at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, Colorado.

“I hope we’re still able to be playing shows and going on tour and things like that,” Luce said. “I think everybody in the band has full intention of just sticking with it and really putting everything we have into this project and just seeing where it can take us.”

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