Being a Chicago-based publication, it feels like our duty to promote local artists who deserve the press. Especially when, every once in awhile, a piece of art comes around that demands the attention of all music lovers.

Enter Woo Park, a Chicago-based jazz/jam band fusion who explain themselves as, “a psychedelic soul sextet and musical assault from all sides, who emerge triumphantly amidst a musical climate of uniformity.”

And their debut EP Smokes is the perfect testament to confirm that mantra.

When it comes to psychedelia of the modern era, it’s difficult to find bands that can follow in the footsteps of the greats: Pink Floyd, Yes, Grateful Dead, and dare we say The Beatles’ very heavy LSD period. Lucky for us, Woo Park brings the funk you didn’t know you were looking for.

In all honesty, with the current generation breeding the next wave of DJs, it’s refreshing to see this young group keeping guitars, drums, and keys alive. One listen through and you’ll know Smokes is the first footnote in a very fruitful musical career for Woo Park.

One reason to become a part of the band’s coveted fanbase, the Woo Croo, comes in the form of a collaboration with Chicago’s own hip-hop up-and-comer, Noname Gypsy. If you don’t know who Noname Gypsy is, I’d recommend you look her up too; since she already has a recent collaboration with Chance the Rapper on his highly regarded album, Acid Rap.

Woo Park’s own song with Noname Gypsy, “Future Plans Pt. III,” is the last track on the EP. Topping out at a minute and 30 seconds, this one verse freestyle is the perfect cap to a mystical journey of rhythms and swimming melodies.

The band even had a Kickstarter page which was used to raise funds to finish recording, mixing, and mastering the EP at Chicago’s very own Rax Trax Recording.

On the page explaining the album, the band states, “on this EP, we feature four songs we have lived with and developed since we began playing music together. Aside from our original compositions, we have included five improvised tracks that were born from the energy in the studio.”

If you’re too impatient to take 30 minutes to listen to the EP, I’d then recommend listening to “Boom Bap,” “Future Plans Pt. III,” and “Like Mine.” However, all 9 of the tracks deserve your undivided attention through this visceral, yet complex, expedition of the ears.

At the very least, do this ambitious group the honor of supporting local music and listening to Smokes here. Also, if you feel so inspired, you can purchase your very own MP3 from their Bandcamp page here.

And finally, if we’ve planted a seed in you and you want a more intimate Woo experience, you can catch them at their next scheduled show, which is on NYE in Chicago at the Portage Theater.