He now wears jeans and sweaters instead of operating room scrubs, but there is still a sense of surgeon-like precision in each of the Chicago group's songs. The new wave tracks sound a bit like the music of their influences, like Smashing Pumpkins, but are sprinkled with delicate synths.
California Wives' debut, Art History, was released in late 2012, but the band doesn't seem tired of performing songs from that album, probably because of the twists the band throws in when the songs are performed live. The rendition of "Heavy" that California Wives brought to KDHX was just that, heavy, and reminiscent of 90s garage rock. In other performances, they might play it with a bit more pop flavor, or more wistfully.
That sort of variation seems to have been present for Kramer his whole life. He grew up playing classical piano, went to medical school and now is the frontman for a rock band that is quickly making a name for itself in Chicago and beyond.
All photos by Nate Burrell