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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Sunday, October 24

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Concert Wed Jan 31 2007

Surprise, It's An "Astounding Circus Punk Marching Band"

Per Crickets, it seems buzzworthy marching band punks Mucca Pazza will be performing new material at an impromptu gig at The Hideout tommorrow night, Thursday Februrary 1st, in what is being billed as a "secret show/open rehearsal." The show is not listed on The Hideout page, but we're trusting the Reader's inside tip. If you're not the trusting type, give The Hideout a call at 773.227.4433 and see what you can dig up. Otherwise, bring $8 at 10 PM to 1354 W Wabansia for a punk and horns extravaganza. Oh, and be sure to wear your "I'd Rather Be Trombonin'" tee.

Brandon Forbes

News Wed Jan 31 2007

Let Them Eat The Sea and Cake

For those of us who have been patiently waiting for the four giants of Chicago's independent music scene that compose The Sea and Cake to release another sonic gem, the wait is over. Or, at least according to a press release that went out today, it will be on May 8th. Thrill Jockey Records, who have released every one of The Sea and Cake's six LPs thus far, will again shoulder printing duties for forthcoming album Everybody. In fact, this will be the first The Sea and Cake release since 2003's post-rock pop collection One Bedroom. Another first finds Brian Paulson, who has worked with such acts as Slint and Wilco, taking his turn at production, a job reserved over the last six albums to drummer John McEntire, whom you might know from that other staple of Chicago post-rock, Tortoise. Everybody's tracklist is shaping up as follows:

1. Up on Crutches
2. Too Strong
3. Crossing Line
4. Middlenight
5. Coconut
6. Exact to Me
7. Lightning
8. Introducing
9. Left On

No doubt local dates will be forthcoming closer to the release date. Until then, brush off that copy of Oui and bask in the past indie glory of Prekop, Prewitt, Claridge and McEntire as a prelude to some brand new literate dream-pop.

Brandon Forbes

mp3 Wed Jan 31 2007

Bear Down, Chicago Bears Is Classic(al)

Chicagoans support their teams and the musical community isn't slacking by any means. Not only has the Lyric Opera got in the spirit, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has put their version of "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" up on their website. The song was recorded in 1986 and conducted by Sir Georg Solti to celebrate the Bears Super Bowl XX victory. The crowd chimes in to add lyrics to the song originally done by Jerry Downs. Nothing says Monsters of the Midway like some classical music.

[Mp3]: Chicago Symphony Orchestra "Bear Down, Chicago Bears"

Brent Kado

Concert Wed Jan 31 2007

Blinking Red Light

Chicagoland's only chiptune label, Give Daddy The Knife, is temporarily shutting down. The label is host to a slew of 8-bit loving artists like from as far away as Glasgow. Saskrotch, the labels' head, isn't going anywhere though - catch him and fellow GDTK survivors KKrusty and Sir Vixx at Hotti Biscotti February 10th, for free. Power Gloves optional.

Dan Morgridge

Random Wed Jan 31 2007

The Lyric Opera has Bears Fever

(Bryan Griffin sings the role of Ivan in Lyric's current production, Die Fledermaus.)

Nilay Patel

News Wed Jan 31 2007

The South Union Arts Will Rise Again!

After an early winter-induced hibernation, South Union Arts has recently emerged from its slumber. The all-ages DIY space, nuzzled on S. Union just south of Roosevelt, has recently announced a slew of show dates starting in March. The converted church, decked out with glass block & tile, a four foot neon hanging crucifix, and bench seating still in tact, has played host to all-ages shows and art exhibits as well as a frequently recurring DIY market throughout the last year.

Highlights for the 2007 season include performances by The One Am Radio, The Cassettes, By The End of Tonight, and Chicago's classical-rockers Cellmates along with a month-long poster exhibit featuring The Burlesque Design Group. For more information on one of Chicago’s most unique venues, visit or email

John Lombardo

Concert Wed Jan 31 2007

Nels Cline: Jazz Edition

Most people obviously know him from his recent work with Wilco, but Nels Cline has been on the map for a long, long time. Among the guitarist's many projects is backing up percussionist Scott Amendola in The Scott Amendola Band, which will be performing this Saturday at the Empty Bottle as part of the Empty Bottle Jazz Series. Hear some clips here. Feb. 3, 7pm at the Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western. $10 at the door, $8 advance.

Nilay Patel

Blog Wed Jan 31 2007

Hey, DJ

Local DJ's E6 and Matt Roan have setup a low key blog (warning: super confusing video) highlighting their respective underground finds. I've seen Matt Roan spin a couple times now and come away highly impressed - he works a solid blend of new/old school mashes, 80s dance, and mainstream hiphop into a pretty frenetic set. E6 will be spinning at SmartBar on February 25th, while Matt Roan continues his every-other-Saturday residency at Tuman's Alcohol Abuse Center this weekend.

Nilay Patel

Music & Film Wed Jan 31 2007


On April 10, Philadelphia's Joshua Marcus will be releasing his sophomore release on Chicago's own Contraphonic Records (Lesser Birds Of Paradise, The Thin Man). On Make/Believe his simple, plaintive songs are accompanied only by plucked banjo and standup bass leaving plenty of room in the mix for Joshua's quavering vocals. On "Coal or Smoke" pay particular attention to the heavenly female harmony vocals. Preorder Make/Believe here.

[mp3]: Joshua Marcus "Coal or Smoke"

Craig Bonnell

Concert Wed Jan 31 2007

Pop Your Stasis

Thanks to increasing popularity, the weekly DJs Upstairs affair at Schubas ups the ampage this month. Formerly backed with support from Threadless, it looks like The Onion has now signed on to bolster the party. February finds remixer and masher-upper Popstatic taking command of the helm, spinning crowd-pleasing mixes that make hip shaking priority one.

Later this month, the occasion will have Popstatic facing off with other local DJs Mother Hubbard (of the Life During Wartime crew) and Matt Roan. The music gears up at 10pm each Thursday night. And hey hey hey hey, it's free -- which makes for a solid pocket of kicking your weekend off an evening earlier. Go check him out this Thursday, and keep your eye on our Slowdown listings for weekly updates.

Graham Sanford

Concert Tue Jan 30 2007

All Hail

Who can take the sunshine, sprinkle it with dew? Well, normally props would be to the Candy Man, but with High Priest’s DJing and rapping skills, he comes awfully close. High Priest first caught listeners’ collective ear when he performed with the indie hip hop quartet Anti-pop Consortium.

Fast forward to the present, and the man is now celebrating the release of his own upcoming solo album (due February 6 on Sound Ink), Born Identity. The CD features the same slow, funky beats and intelligent lyrics that first drew folks to the Consortium, and features the likes of L.I.F.E. Long, Tunde Adebimpe from TV on the Radio, and Hisham Bharoocha (ex-Black Dice). This Thursday, Feb. 1, High Priest will be spinning and performing at the Funky Buddha Lounge with guests Eliot Lipp, Vyle, and Mano.

Kara Luger

Concert Tue Jan 30 2007

To the Beat Kitchen We Go...

Jennifer O'Connor has some well-intended preconceptions to overcome. Time Out hailed her as "Another Liz Phair or Elliott Smith waiting to happen," a reference that's almost foreboding; not only is she not entrenched in Smith's weepiness, and, well, death, but she shows no inclination toward Phair's own decline into disappointing pop.

Something earthier is afoot on her album Over the Mountain, Across the Valley and Back to the Stars, and this organic approach anchors the album. Sure, she's working a relatively solo career, but other players show up to flesh out the CD: Yo La Tengo's James McNew and Sparklehorse's Kendall Meade, among others. The effect is a soothing, yet engaging, album. Tracks like "Century Estates" and "Sister" are tempered by O'Connor's quiet, husky voice, while "Complicated Rhyme" brandishes up-tempo Latin rhythms. See for yourself when she plays with Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Koufax, and Pablo on Friday, Feb. 2 at the Beat Kitchen.

Kara Luger

Concert Tue Jan 30 2007

The Dead Reckoners

The artist owned label/cooperative Dead Reckoning Records is one of the great artistic and critical successes in independent roots music. While primarily a vehicle for Kieran Kane and Kevin Welch, the label has also released music by Tammy Rodgers, David Olney and Harry Stinson.

Together Kieran Kane, Kevin Welch and Fats Kaplin are known as the Dead Reckoners. They'll be appearing in the Chicago area this week. This show will be more along the lines of a songwriters-in-the-round with each artist playing his songs and with plenty of storytelling in between. A must see for any neophyte songwriter. The show is this Friday, Feb. 2 at Fitzgerald's in Berwyn. Here's a sampling of what you might see, Kevin Welch's "Anna Lise Please":

Craig Bonnell

News Mon Jan 29 2007


As the Chicago Reader music blog reports, the latest viral video to hit YouTube is the anti-gay sing-a-long, "The Bible Says" (it's since been yanked from the video clip site). After being forwarded all over the Internet with the preface of "No, seriously, this dude is for real," it looks like, thankfully, for the time being the song may be a hoax: The LGBT-activist blog Good As You uncovered similarities between "Bible Says" singer Donnie Davies and Bobby Conn's Glass Gypsies drummer Colby Starck. Over at Radar Online, Starck is denying he is Davies (other online sleuths say this is the guy), but the Internet exposé seems to come with pretty good timing, considering Conn's King for a Day drops next month (see below).

JP Pfafflin

Music & Film Fri Jan 26 2007

Bobby Conn is King for a Day

Bobby Conn is producing a music video rock opera, called King for a Day. The full film, directed by Usama Alshaibi, will be released by Thrilljockey on February 20, but a preview is available now in the form of a single and video on YouTube.

You can download the mp3 here.

Andrew Huff

Concert Wed Jan 24 2007

Kuff 'Em If They Can't Take a Joke...

How obnoxious do you have to be to get banned from the pages of Vice magazine? To their credit, the Philly hip-hop crew Plastic Little recently became the first to earn that distinction when they placed a series of prankish ads for their debut full-length LP She’s Mature. The first advert, which detailed a hipster’s homoerotic fantasies involving Jay-Z, largely passed without comment. But when a follow-up featured a passing dis of hip-hop clothing line Triple5Soul; the mag’s editors -- fearing a loss in revenue from a staple sponsor -- pulled the band’s card post-haste. And if you’ve heard anything by Plastic Little, none of this would seem the least bit surprising. They're raw and rambunctious, ironic and "potty-mouthed," and they know how to bring that bump that gets a crowd dancing, laughing, and chanting along. After all, they openly brag, they’re only in the rap game for the free drinks.

Despite the underground buzz kicked up by their 2005 EP, Thug Paradise, limited touring has kept Plastic Little a strictly East Coast party phenomenon over the past several years. The new album may very well help them stack a little pocket change, partially thanks to support from higher-profile associates like SpankRock, Diplo, CX Kidtronix, and King Honey. They’ll be making their Chicago debut at the Empty Bottle this Friday night, club-bangin’ with a set that’ll get the crowd “bouncing like bullets off the Popemobile.” What's more, in recent weeks the show roster's piled up as a must-catch billing of local comers like includes Kid Sister, "hoodtronic" beatslinger Vyle, and the Gutter Butter DJs. Kid Sister’s scheduled to headline, making this a hips-grinding, jawn-hollering evening from start to finish. Show starts at 10pm, tickets are $8 at the door.

[mp3]: Plastic Little "Crambodia (featuring Ghostface Killah & SpankRock)"
[mp3]: Plastic Little "Hi Bitches"

UPDATE: Gawker (thanks for the link, guys) heard back from Vice, who say the ad actually did run. Anyone have proof?

Graham Sanford

Benefit Wed Jan 24 2007

Benefit for Robbins Family

Even though he's made his name in the Washington D.C. area, J. Robbins (Government Issue, Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels) has friends all over. And when it was learned that his son, Cal, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy, those friends came together to do something for the Robbins family. In Chicago, on Cal's 1st birthday, January 27, Eleventh Dream Day, Chin Up Chin Up, Bobby Conn, The Life and Times, Red Eyed Legends, and a special guest that's perhaps a Chicago band with an equine name (or so a little bird told me) will play for Cal's benefit at the Empty Bottle. Admission is $15 and all proceeds will go toward the Robbins family. If J. Robbins' music has ever affected you, please consider attending or donating.

James Ziegenfus

Music & Film Tue Jan 23 2007

Get Tanked

There are 100 things you should know about Tankboy. For instance, he’s 6’2”, which “makes it easy for [him] to watch bands from anywhere within a club,” and he also got kicked a couple of feet through the air by a cow. Sounds like a done deal to me. The rampant blogger and local DJ will be up to his usual shenanigans at his monthly “Drop, Rock, and Roll” set at The Continental (2801 W. Chicago Ave.), designed to keep dancers knee-deep in rock, indie and soul.

This month, Tankboy will also be working the new Lily Allen into the mix, to celebrate the stateside release of her album Alright, Then. Free copies of the brit-pop-meets-The-Streets CD will be up for grabs, as well as ticket to her show, and some other goodies. Also keep an eye out for giveaways tied to the release of Damon Albarm’s (Blur, Gorillaz) new group, The Good, the Bad & the Queen. It all takes place on Saturday, Jan. 27. It runs from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., so I suggest you stretch out first. Call 773/ 292-1200 for more info.

Kara Luger

Music & Film Tue Jan 23 2007

Touch and Go Launches 25th Anniversary Video Series

Still a little bummed that you missed out on all the fun at the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary at the Hideout last year? Or perhaps you just want to relive the glory. Don't fret, because you're in luck. The folks at Touch and Go will be hosting a video series commemorating the festivities. Every Monday a new video clip will be posted, featuring live performance and interview footage from a different act, beginning with yesterday's introductory segment.

Chris Baran

Radio Tue Jan 23 2007

Sound Opinions Celebrates an Anniversary with a Love Theme

It's been a year since Sound Opinions left their old radio home for WBEZ. And despite some perhaps questionable decisions about the actual music programming on the station, the world's only rock'n'roll talk show is doing well and will celebrate its first anniversary at Chicago Public Radio with a taping open to the public. Donna and Robbie Fulks will be featured during the show, which is doubling as their Valentine's Day episode. Audience members will have the opportunity to contribute some of their favorite love songs.

The taping will be at the Claudia Cassidy Theater in the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Randolph, at 7pm on Thursday, January 25. Seating is limited. The show will be broadcast on February 9 at 8pm on WBEZ.

James Ziegenfus

Album Sun Jan 21 2007

Wincing the Night Away

The title of the new Shins album, Wincing the Night Away (Sub Pop Records)—to release on January 23, 2007—is a reference to lead singer James Mercer's "crippling insomnia." Nothing could better describe who the Shins are in 2007. They’ve spent two years struggling over this album—supposedly Mercer's insomnia stems from his drive for perfection and insecurity, which keeps him up late at night, agonizing over his work.

Continue reading this entry »

Marla Seidell

Concert Sat Jan 20 2007

Sing the Greys

Scotland's Frightened Rabbit end their bio stating "Let's keep pop music alive by getting it out of that dress and into a sweater," and it couldn't make more sense. Their brand of lo-fi indie rock is comforting and warm like that favorite sweater sitting in your drawer, and their sincerity and humility is a refreshing breath of fresh air in a contemporary musical landscape dotted with forced irony and pretentious posturing.

On their 2006 debut release Frightened Rabbit...Sing the Greys (Hits the Fan Records), brothers Scott and Grant Hutchinson conjure up an eclectic mix of sputtering percussion, chiming guitars, wheezing accordion, taut bass lines, and percolating synths, that provide the backbone for reflections on dysfunction, the doldrums, and relationships stuck in limbo. It's an aptly titled record, but don't be fooled. There is a joy, earnestness, and urgency to be found that belies much of the subject matter, as songs rush to their climax in a blur, with soaring melodies and insistent hooks rising up through the din.

Tuesday's show at the Empty Bottle is a rare treat, as it is one of only seven dates on their brief US tour, and the band's only appearance outside of the East Coast. With Fake Fictions. 9:30 pm. $8.

Chris Baran

Concert Fri Jan 19 2007

Summer Concert Season is Shaping Up

Innerview/Ghost Media and Greg Kot are reporting that the Pitchfork Music Festival will take place July 14-15. Coupled with the already-announced Wicker Park Summer Fest and Lollapalooza the following two weekends, the Summer of '07 is looking like another marathon for concertgoers. Does that mean Intonation will be the weekend before after the 4th? Stay tuned...

Andrew Huff

Concert Fri Jan 19 2007

Celebrating Lima in Chicago

Did you know Chicago had a local Afro-Peruvian Folk band? Me neither until a short while ago. Trio Perú (featuring former members of Los Chalanes) has a Friday night residency at Taste of Perú on N. Clark and will be playing at El Arpa, 3446 W. Peterson, on Saturday in celebration of the 472nd anniversary of the founding of Lima. The band features two guitars and a cajón, which is a staple of Peruvian and Cuban music. It's basically just a box used for percussion, but looks and sounds way more interesting than that. (Trust me.) Admission is $10 and the performance starts at 8 p.m.

James Ziegenfus

Random Fri Jan 19 2007

Friday Quick Licks

• Low Rent Music posted its "Best of 2006" feature, with 28 submissions from around the country and the world.

Glorious Noise has a list of the 20 best legal mp3s of 2006 (plus two from their own label), still available for download.

• "Pure Hype," WHPK's weekly live rock radio show, will feature a performance by Kaspar Hauser tonight from 9 to 10:30pm. Next Friday is Cococoma. UPDATE: Whoops, shift those dates forward a week. Kaspar Hauser is on the 26th, while tonight members of K. K. Rampage will visit the studio and play some unreleased recordings. (Thanks, John!)

Acme Art Works, 1741 N. Western, is running a Jazz Mondays series. Jan. 22 is the John Goldman Quartet, Jan. 29 will be the Jangeun Bae Trio or Quartet, and Feb. 5 will be the Jim Gailloreto Jazz String Quintet. $5 or pay what you can.

Michael STU, regular pianist at the Red Head Piano Bar, is releasing a CD, and the bar is throwing him a party on Sunday, Jan. 28. More details here.

• Hey, did you notice we've got an RSS feed? Get your Transmission fix, including the weekly feature, in the privacy of your own feedreader.

Andrew Huff

Concert Thu Jan 18 2007

Haziest Shade of Winter

Musically, you might peg the Minneapolis-based artist Fog (a.k.a. Andrew Broder) as adrift in his own eccentric orbit, one that falls somewhere between the post-mod folk-pop of Beck and the Anticon camp of “outsider” hip-hop. His self-produced 2002 debut was an enigmatic affair, featuring a varied batch of tunes hung on Broder’s sampler-constructed noise collages and scribbly turntable noodlings. Lyrically, the album seemed a product of seasonal affective disorder -- a sketchily-told chronicle of reclusion and emotional turmoil during the darkest, bleakest depths of a Minnesota wintertime. “Is it depression or disease?” he mused in the opening verse of his debut single “Pneumonia,” concluding on the chorus that his life was “Hard to fix because / It took me so goddamn long / To figure out that I broke down.”

To say that Fog outings have since grown more structured and listener-friendly is to speak in pretty relative terms. His newer songs have become considerably more, well, song-ish -- richer in terms of invitingly nuanced narratives, and fleshed-out with more conventional musical arrangements. That aside, his music retains a loosely-grounded experimental edge. You can catch Broder and his band at The Abbey this Saturday night. By way of a comparable billing, Chicago’s Brenmar Someday will also be on the supporting bill, performing his own compositions of breakbeats and found sounds that -- in both sound and spirit -- harken back to the home-spun, ramshackle charm of Broder’s earlier work. The show starts at 10pm; and tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door.

Graham Sanford

Feature Thu Jan 18 2007

Jazz to Hear from Atavistic's Unheard Music Series

Chicago's Atavistic label and producer John Corbett continue mining the seemingly endless treasure trove of obscure European jazz and improv recordings with four new releases in their on-going Unheard Music Series.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Contest Wed Jan 17 2007

Really Quick Contest! Free Show (plus) Plus Device

As Graham tells you below, Friday night's show at Sonotheque is sure to bring the groove to your booty with a hot dj lineup including Daedalus, Atomly and Plus Device. If you want to get your dance on for free than just write us at inbox (at) with the subject line "I've Got Rhythm" and you and a guest will get to go for absolutely zero dollars. Runners up will get a free copy of Plus Device's debut album courtesy of Chicago's own Hefty Records. [Update!] We've given them all away! Congrats to the winners!

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Jan 17 2007

Where Rhythms Converge

This Friday night’s line-up at Sonotheque offers a diverse bill, with Los Angeles-based artist Daedelus topping the roster. Daedelus has released a score of LPs on several labels over the past few years, each of which has cemented his status as one of the most original voices in electronic music. He specializes in eccentric and moody beatscapes -- often constructed via samples from old film music, children’s records, and the like -- that have a dreamy, sometimes storybook-ish, and quite often beautiful quality to them. Also on the bill is Atomly, who lately seems to be ditching his spazzy breakcore output in favor of laying down some chilled, minimal techno. For this evening’s event, Daedelus will be spinning a DJ set, as will Derek Plaslaiko. Plus Device is also set to perform. 1444 W. Chicago. Admission is $10. Things kick off at 9pm.

[mp3]: Daedelus "Lights Out"
[mp3]: Atomly "This Is Real"
[mp3]: Plus Device "Ultra Seductive"

Graham Sanford

Television Wed Jan 17 2007

Get a Preview of My Kind of Tunes

My Kind of Tunes: A Celebration of Great Chicago Songwriters will showcase some of the people responsible for writing the music that has garnered Chicago's strong musical reputation since the 1920s. The performance is Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center. Thursday's "Chicago Tonight" on WTTW will broadcast interviews with Saturday's performers, Audrey Morris, Tom Michael, and Beckie Menzie.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Tue Jan 16 2007

C'mon baby...

The Reverend Peyton once told me a funny little story about last year’s Big Damn Band appearance on the NPR radio program “Michael Feldman’s Whad’ya Know.” Apparently, Peyton freaked out the radio personality with his necklace of teeth. Granted, they’re the Rev’s own teeth -- strung up very tastefully -- but nonetheless, Mr. Feldman politely backed away.

Stretching this metaphor to the hilt, it’s safe to say the Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band’s live shows have bite. The Rev hoots and hollers as he deftly plucks sweet dirty blues, while the dazzling duo of his wife, Washboard Breezy and brother Jaime, keep the joint a-jumpin’. If you don’t believe me, you’re a sucker. See what all the fuss is about when the Big Damn Band plays at the Beat Kitchen this Friday, Jan. 19.

But wait! There’s more! The whole point of the shindig is to celebrate the release of local pop tarts The Saps’ second album, C’mon Already – Start a Fire.

The Saps stars Dan Lastick and Dan Menoni on guitars/vocals and bassist Tony Sackett.They lost a previous drummer, Brett Whitacre (36 Invisibles, Galactic Inmate, Warm Ones) to the Legendary Shack-Shakers, but filled the slot with his brother, Ryan. C’mon Already finds The Saps leaving their sneer behind for a smirk, with hop-happy rock riffs and alt-country leanings galore. Hear it for yourself at the show.

Kara Luger

Radio Tue Jan 16 2007

Covering the Airwaves

WBEZ's "Eight Forty-Eight" news magazine is launching a weekly segment called "UnderCover," running every Thursday starting this week. It'll feature a local band or artist performing a cover song outside their typical genre. Sounds like it could be pretty good, especially based on the initial line-up.

Jan. 18: Occidental Brothers Dance Band International, performing “Bizarre Love Triangle” by New Order

Jan. 25: Don Stiernberg, performing “Something in the Way She Moves” by James Taylor

Feb. 1: Detholz!, performing “Electric Avenue” by Eddy Grant

Feb. 8 The Zincs, performing “Silver” by Echo & the Bunnymen

Feb. 15: Las Guitarras de Espana, performing "Killing Me Softly with His Song" by Roberta Flack, remake by The Fugees

Feb. 22: Puerto Muerto, performing "Be My Husband" by Nina Simone

Mar. 1: The Hoyle Brothers, performing "Go Home Girl" by Arthur Alexander

Mar. 8: Bobby Conn, performing TBA

Andrew Huff

News Mon Jan 15 2007

Sorry, Kids. "Weird Al" Just Ain't Coming

A man, claiming to represent pop satirist and polka-lover "Weird Al" Yankovic, recently conned local clubs FitzGerald's and Goose Island Brewery out of thousands of dollars in booking fees before moving on to scam other clubs in Geneva, IL, Georgia and Texas. The artist is currently not on tour. [Thanks, Matt.]

Anne Holub

Blog Mon Jan 15 2007

Join the Fun!

We're looking for a little help here at Gapers Block, Transmission included. Check out the details over in Detour and let us hear from you!

Bonus: along with our spiffy redesigned page, we've added a new way for you to get involved in Transmission with our Flickr group. Join up and post your pics of Chicago musical happenings.

Anne Holub

Tape Findings Mon Jan 15 2007

Chicago Polka Radio

This tape is of late 70's or early 80's polka radio in Chicago. I love the DJ hamming it up, giving shout outs, and his intro to a song by Tony Rodemaker "the Rocker" from Kettle Merain. The commercial for Al's Superette is fantastic as well.

I guess back in the day Chicago was pretty well known for their Polka radio. There was even a polka shock jock. You can read more about him here.

[MP3]: Chicago Polka Radio (3:17)

RJ Porter

Concert Mon Jan 15 2007

Yes Yes Ya'll...

In what promises to be a pan-generational wall-to-wall boom-bap fest, Reverse Promotions presents its fourth annual Sangageddon event at Smart Bar this Thursday night. Electro-funk godfather Afrika Bambaataa’s set may be the big-name draw for the occasion -- seeing how his legacy is so old-school that it’s practically pre-school and is Hall of Fame fodder to boot. But aficionados will most likely turn out to check the appearance by cut’n’paste mixer Steinski. While Steinski’s claim to fame largely rests on his “Lessons” mixes from the early 1980s, he sporadically resurfaces with a new mix or DJ appearance that proves he’s kept up his game over the years. With recent guest spots on the London mix show Solid Steel, he’s delivered mixes that are eclectic, very danceable, and often hilariously clever (for example, dropping Alec Baldwin’s venomous rant from Glengarry Glen Ross over the beat of Three Times Dope’s “Greatest Man Alive”). Also scheduled is a performance by quirkily inventive L.A. electronic musician Daedelus. Local DJs Intel, Skor, and Galapagos4 affiliate Maker will be rounding out the evening’s bill. Admission is $15 and the doors open at 10pm. If you have to work the next day, plan accordingly -- because this party, as the hours for the event suggest, just might last all the way 'til 4am.

Graham Sanford

Review Sat Jan 13 2007

Mission Accomplished

[Reader Larry Lamovec sent in this review of the Mission of Burma show at the Double Door last night. Thanks, Larry!]

"The old men can rock. This was true at the Mission of Burma show—and I'm not just talking about the band. The crowd at Double Door Friday night for the sold out show was bigger, older, and somewhat fatter than probably any show a righteous Wicker Park rocker is used to at the venue. But the crowd of old men and women, along some young men and women, loved what they heard. There was even a man present who was birthed around WWII time, with a long white beard and shiny scalp, pumping his head while the anthem Revolver filled the room. And that was quite refreshing.

"Mission of Burma members are older than Guns 'n' Roses but younger than the Rolling Stones, yet they laid down the rock harder, heavier, and much better than either band does presently, and more than most bands do anywhere.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Contest Fri Jan 12 2007

Ride a Tin Horse to Lowen & Navarro

Lowen & Navarro are playing tomorrow night at the Park West, and friends of GB Tin Horse are opening for them. The show is nearly sold out, but Tin Horse has your hook-up: enter their raffle by 3pm today and you could win a pair.

Andrew Huff

Concert Thu Jan 11 2007

The Ponys: More than One Trick

All you ever wanted as a kid was a pony, right? Well, that and a jet pack.

Wish no more, honey, because the holidays are hitting late this year. That’s right, Mommy and Daddy got you The Ponys, who will be playing Schubas on Friday, January 12.

A bit of backstory: The Ponys formed in early 2001 in the Windy City, when singer/guitarist Jered Gummere joined forces with (ex-Guilty Pleasures), bassist Melissa Elias and drummer Nathan Jerde (ex-Mushuganas). After releasing a couple of well-received singles, and the subsequent full-length albums Laced with Romance and the almighty Albini-produced Celebration Castle, The Ponys experienced a bit of a staff turnover, which resulted in guitarist Brian Chase joining the band.

With that out of the way, here’s why you should be excited about seeing them play: the pretty Ponys have a brand-spankin’ new album, Turn the Lights Out, which will show up on shelves in March. I won’t spill too much now, but suffice to say the CD is very guitar-heavy in a deliciously post-punk/1970s prog rock fashion, and will rock your proverbial socks off. Check out the show to have a pre-listen. Indie-rocker Benjy Ferree has the honor of opening the show, unfortunately minus the jet pack.

Kara Luger

Feature Thu Jan 11 2007

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's: On a Freezing Chicago Street

Margot and the Nuclear So and So's came together as a band in 2004. The setting where this story takes place is the gray landscape of early winter in the midwestern city of Indianapolis. Coalescing around the vocal talent and superb songwriting abilities of Richard Edwards, then just 21, the band eventually took on eight members, including a cellist, a trumpet player, a pianist, and a percussionist (adding to the band's extensive use of vocals and their music's often rough edges honed by the electric guitar). Yes, MNSS is an indie pop band—with startling honest lyrics and a stunningly beautiful musical arrangement that sets them apart from the crowd.

Continue reading this entry »

Naz Hamid

Blog Thu Jan 11 2007

Big Rock Candy Drinking Songs

Brian, a Chicagoan who runs the music blog Big Rock Candy Mountain, has just recently undertaken a huge project: making a list of the Greatest Drinking Songs Of All Time, as submitted by you the Represent, Chicago! Check out the details here and get him your votes by March 17th. He'll reward us all by posting the top 50 (or 100, or whatever it takes) when he gathers them up. [Update!] He's also looking for a few more judges. Details here.

Anne Holub

Random Thu Jan 11 2007

Go to Class

So, you want to get into the music industry, but don't know where to start? Or maybe you're just interested in learning more about music production software but don't have the cash? Music Industry Workshops has your hook-up: they're offering free classes on ProTools, setting up a home studio, and MIDI sampling and sequencing. Just the sort of thing to give you a little push in the right direction. [via]

Andrew Huff

Concert Wed Jan 10 2007

Mannequins Vs. Tigers!

New York City may have many nicknames -- The Big Apple, Gotham City, Land of a Thousand Smells –- but “Tiger City” is not among them. Still, the Brooklyn-based young upstarts from Tiger City went ahead and named their band just that, convention be damned! The group’s MySpace page features a photo of the quartet playing arcade games, and well, they sound just like that -- extremely ‘80s synth pop-driven, and highly danceable.

Tiger City will be opening for a Friday, Jan. 12 show at the Darkroom , starring local scuzz-punk/garage group Mannequin Men, whose recent release Showbiz Witch, was deemed by as one of their editors' top picks of 2006. Pretty fancy.

DJ Mother Hubbard and DJ Dufour Play round out the bill. The cover is only $5, and the show kicks off at 9 p.m. Call 773/276.1411 for more info.

Kara Luger

Television Wed Jan 10 2007

Rhymefest on Chicago Tonight...tonight

As a part of their live music Wednesday segment, the WTTW show "Chicago Tonight" will feature innovative South Side rapper Rhymefest tonight during its 7pm broadcast. I reviewed Rhymefest's 2006 album Blue Collar a while back, and it's still one of my favorites from last year. Check it out, and tune in later tonight.

Anne Holub

Concert Tue Jan 09 2007

Anthems From the Blast Furnace

In terms of far-reaching indie rock influence, Mission of Burma’s legacy ranks right up there with that of British post-punk titans like Wire, The Fall, and Gang of Four. Briefly active in the early eighties, the band supernova’d under the fatigue of restless musical exploration and prolonged high-decibel amplitude. Had they toughed it out a few more years, they might’ve watched audiences finally catch up with them and see some return on their efforts.

The band’s two albums since reuniting in 2002 -- ONoffON and The Obliterati -- pick up where MoB left off in many respects. And, as before, their recorded output still pales in comparison to the sonic magnitude of their live performances. Reportedly, neither age, a 19-year hiatus, nor guitarist Roger Miller’s longstanding case of tinnitus has made them any less the juggernaught that they once were. They’ll be playing at the Double Door this Friday night. Chicago’s own Pinebender, who heave their share of comparable riffage, are slated to open. 1572 N. Milwaukee. Tickets are $22.50 in advance, $23 at the door. Show starts at 9pm.

[mp3]: Mission of Burma – “Academy Fight Song” (1980)
[mp3]: Mission of Burma – “The Set-Up” (2002)

Graham Sanford

Venue Mon Jan 08 2007

Return of All Ages

The Reader's Miles Raymer reports that The Subterranean is now booking all-ages shows, helping to fill the void left by the ending of shows at the Fireside Bowl and the demise of the Bottom Lounge. Other venues mentioned included South Union Arts, Beat Kitchen and Schubas. Glad to see some serious efforts to give kids a place to see live music!

Andrew Huff

Concert Sun Jan 07 2007

Falling in Love All Over Again

Chicago has a certain love affair with French Kicks. The Brooklyn-based quartet tour through the area often, and each time our city’s little heart goes pitter-pat (though not Pit Er Pat. That’s an entirely different, although equally awesome local band). French Kicks' post-punk sensibility, combined with a bit of throwback synth happiness, makes for tasty treats such as their albums Trial of the Century and 2006’s Two Thousand.

Take in an eyeful of the Kicks when they play at Schubas on Weds., January 10 with the indie, atmospheric, Champaign rockers Headlights, local indie/old tymers Skybox, and Eagle Seagull. Local hip hop turntablist/mishmashers Flosstradamus will be playing upstairs, more than likely beckoning listeners to “throw their hands in the air” as the kids are wont to do nowadays.

Kara Luger

News Fri Jan 05 2007

Legends in Motion

Three venerable Chicago music venues in just about a year are filling out change of address forms, including Buddy Guy's Legends which is getting the boot from Columbia College which owns its space. Prospective new spaces on the club's radar are the old E2 nightclub space and other locations on West Maxwell Street. Look for more details as the club's lease comes to an end in May.

Anne Holub

Television Thu Jan 04 2007

Makes me wish I got "Noggin"

Maybe watching kids shows can be something to add to your musical to-do list, especially in the case of Highland Park-born "Jack's Big Music Show," which runs on the Noggin channel. Jack, a music-loving puppet who entertains his pals at a rocking clubhouse, has already lined up a envious amount of A-list music and entertainment stars including Jon Stewart, Cheryl Hines, kids-music sensation Laurie Berkner and Chicago musicians Andrew Bird, Anne Harris and Justin Roberts. Spiffy Pictures, which created the show, also says that the Groundhog Day episode with Stewart will feature the debut of a video collaboration between the Flaming Lips' Steven Drozd and former "Blues Clues" host Steve Burns. Dang.

Anne Holub

Feature Thu Jan 04 2007

Swansong Echoes & Unsung Heroes: Digging Between the Roots with Steve Krakow

"This is a real 'pay your dues' kind of town," Steve Krakow tells me. We're in his darkened Ukrainian Village apartment, the divebombing guitars and skyward-straining vocals of Stray's "Jericho" tumbling from the speakers of his vintage stereo. "You gotta pay some dues here. Or at least that's what some people'll tell you. That you've got to cut your teeth doing things for a while before you get your props—before you get paid, get recognition or credit that's due."

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Radio Wed Jan 03 2007

A Musical Resolution & The End of Jazz

Eight Forty-Eight interviewed musician and teacher Michael Droste this morning about his just-completed One Song Every Day project , which began as a New Year's resolution in 2006. Listen to the interview here (mp3).

Later in the show, Chicago Public Radio's decision to kill its nighttime jazz programming was defended by music critic John McDonough (mp3), who pointed out that many of the most vocal opponents of the decision don't actually listen to jazz on the radio.

If you do listen to jazz on the radio, your last chance to do so at 91.5 on your FM dial is tomorrow (Thursday) night beginning at 8pm, when Dan Bender, Richard Steele and Sarah Toulouse will host the final eight hours of jazz programming as a team.

UPDATE: Here's Peter Margasak's take on the McDonough piece.

Andrew Huff

News Wed Jan 03 2007

On the Brink of Losing Another Chicago Jazz Venue

Chicago's Jazz Showcase, where legends like McCoy Tyner and Charlie Parker played, is no more. After a final night of performances on New Year's Eve, the venerable venue has lost its lease and shut its doors. Despite an upbeat message on its website, there are, apparently no set moving plans. Unlike another legendary Chicago jazz club, the Velvet Lounge, which was able to move to a new location earlier this year after it lost its long-time address, the Jazz Showcase has not been able to pull together resources enough to make the move into new digs...yet. For now, memorabilia is being stored in the owner's son's basement, and in the hearts and ears of all who heard the hot licks wherever the Showcase hung its hat over the past 60 years.

Anne Holub

Concert Tue Jan 02 2007

Feel Your Heart Go Pit Er Pat

Chicago natives Pit Er Pat have never been interested in producing "easy" music. Though their second and latest album, Pyramids, was recorded in a swift 11 days, the trio managed to concoct something both sonically spare and rhythmically complex. Catch the shoegazing-meets-tribal-thumping live as they work their magic at Schubas on Monday, January 8th. Make Believe and Bronze open the show.

Kara Luger

News Tue Jan 02 2007

The Bunny and the Bottle

Playboy has named "America's 10 Best Rock Clubs," its list of venues that are booking the best in up-and-coming acts. Making the cut is one of Chicago's own, The Empty Bottle (and, yes, it's Safe For Work).

JP Pfafflin

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

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