Gapers Block has ceased publication.

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.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Saturday, May 18

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


Artist Fri Mar 30 2007

Dear Twista,

K-Town native Twista has had many many great titles: World's Fastest Rapper, Platinum-selling Artist, Kanye West Collaborator - and now he gets to add Newspaper Columnist to the pile. Twista will be answering reader mail and questions in his own column with the Redeye. It will appear once a week as a promotional tool for his upcoming release Adrenaline Rush 2007. Hopefully they'll stay true to his speaking pace and print it without spaces.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Fri Mar 30 2007

Lightning Bolt! U of C! Coffee!!

Relive 2002 and all its Oops! (the tour)-infused glory by going to see Lightning Bolt this Saturday on the University of Chicago campus! It's all going down at the Cobb Coffee House (5811 S. Ellis Avenue), 8 p.m. Also appearing: Bug-Sized Mind and KK Rampage. Sponsored by WHPK. There's limited space (it is a coffee shop, after all, not the Fireside Bowl), so contact (773) 702-8289 or for information. Be ready to rock, but please don't overturn any foaming machines.

Chris Sienko

Blog Fri Mar 30 2007

The kids know what the deal is, they're getting farther out every day....

A lovely little blast from the past, courtesy of the Lovely Little Girl himself, Greg Jacobson (and YouTube) ... 11 (!!!) year-old footage from venerable Chicago public-access kids-and-hipsters dance show Chic-A-Go-Go, featuring "live" musical mayhem from the Scissor Girls (featuring Azita, now better known in her current singer-songwriter incarnation).

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Music & Film Fri Mar 30 2007


Busker is hosting a music/film combo presentation tonight at the Flowershop (2159 W. 21st Pl., Pilsen). The buzzwords here are some early moving-picture terms, "Media Obscura" (a variation on "Camera Obscura") and "Thaumatope" (check the gig poster for a visual remember these from childhood, I'm guessing). According to the Busker website, the event "will consists of live|realTime performances, and single channel screenings that will hopefully disrupt expectations of clarity that an otherwise proper camera obscura would give." I can't quite visualize what this means in my head, but considering that it's still a bit nippy outside, I think it might be in your best interest to spend one more Friday night indoors, checking out some intense visuals and music. Because you know that as soon as it climbs up over 75 degrees, you're going to be itching to be outside!

Performances and visuals by Mike Miles, jonsatrom, Alex Inglezian & Tim Shaw, and Noise Crush & The Fortieth Day (the latter featuring members of Bloodyminded doing their interpretation of early '80s industrial music via synth, guitar, bass, and drum machine). 8 p.m. Free and Open (I assume that means no admission and all-ages).

Chris Sienko

Concert Fri Mar 30 2007

We Know You Got Soul

Five more bands have been announced in the line-up for the Pitchfork Music Festival.

  • Much more than three feet of entertainment will be brought by Native Tongues founding members De La Soul.

  • Pavement powerhouse and Jick-leader Stephen Malkmus will be flying solo.

  • Summer festival stalwarts The New Pornographers will woo the crowd with material from an upcoming album.

  • Tyondai Braxton will return to the fest with his new super-group Battles. (who are in town tonight!)

  • Big-local-fish-who've-just-become-big-national-fish The Ponys will return to make sure we're following their energy saving tips.

In addition, Pitchfork has introduced a official festival podcast titled "Backline." The 'cast features festival-specific info as well as interviews with the likes of rapper Malice of Clipse, All Tomorrow's Parties founder Barry Hogan, and poster artist Jay Ryan. Episodes 1 and 2 are now available.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Fri Mar 30 2007

The Dawning of Willy Joy

I love those moments when you realize that something special is happening, that you've been lucky enough to stumble upon a rare talent just before it hits. I spend a lot of time searching for those moments, with dubious results. Oftentimes I just end up drunk, desperately trying drown with booze the plaintive wails of some trustafarian art student who has discovered that the true sound of his soul is best expressed by taking 18V of Makita's finest to a xylophone during some emo-ass guitar song with no dance break. It's a crappy price to pay, but someone's got to do it. And I don't mind drinking, so there you go.

Other times, purely by chance, I get lucky. New Year's Eve I was in the middle of a pretty rowdy dance floor when Willy Joy, the DJ, went for the gold and cued up "Dick in a Box." Then he took that extra step and played it again, back to back. That's special, right there. That shit was a moment.

And now, with the release of his 80's/hip-hop/electro-tastic mixtape, FLYBYNIGHT Vol. 1, and a solid gig schedule, including a residence at The Underground Lounge, it looks like the rest of you fools better get ready, cause Willy Joy's coming out huge this month. Catch him tomorrow at Tini Martini for Team Bang Gang, April 5th and 12th at Schubas for DJ's Upstairs, and April 26th for the aforementioned FLYBYNIGHT residence night at The Underground Lounge, this month with DJ Ayres from The Rub. I recommend half a bottle of tequila and the indelible image of JT with a box on his dick to get the full experience, but I'm jaded as all hell at this point. See you on the dance floor.

Team Bang Gang with Willy Joy, Saturday, March 31st at Tini Martini, 2169 N Milwaukee Ave. 9pm, 21+

Nilay Patel

Concert Thu Mar 29 2007

Prepare to be Boarded!!

This Saturday, The Pussy Pirates return to Chicago. They're an all-gurl quintet (four members from Ann Arbor, plus one Chicagoan) who can kick up a delightful racket like nobody's biz. Natch, indebtedness to Bikini Kill will come to mind for some. But they owe much more to the first-gen crop of post-punk outfits like the Slits, X-Ray Spex, and Lilliput. As such, the Pirates are joyously energetic, exciting, and whimsically fun (and funny) in a way that the aforementioned often were. If that weren't enough, they throw in a good portion of honking, wonky saxophone to give it all extra propulsion. They'll be playing at the non-profit art space Reversible Eye, and the occasion marks a release party for the band's first full-length, Eat My Brain, Call It Art. Also playing is Chicago's Mommy Can Wait, who sport a sound that harkens back to the West Coast punk of a couple of decades hence. The occasional hint of Wild Gift-era X pokes its head up from time to time, but I'm reminded of the more riotous tunes cranked out by the likes of East Bay ruffians Blatz and the Gr'ups. The guitars growl and buzz like a stripped-rotor garbage disposal, there's some additional keyboard work to give it all some giddy and dizzying bounce, and they're crafty with switching up the styles and tempos within the span of a two-plus minute song. Once again -- fun stuff! To vary the tempo a bit, Melting Moments and the moody Alabamian combo Western Civ are also slated to play. 1103 N. California Ave (just south of Division). Things start at 8 pm, and the cover is six bucks.

Graham Sanford

Album Thu Mar 29 2007

Brian Deck In The House - Debut Record From Boddicker

Besides being known as a great live music city, both with it's festivals and world class venues, Chicago is gaining recognition for it's incredible recording facilities and the people who staff them. If you've spent any time reading press releases searching for the next big thing in music (like I have), then you've probably stumbled upon the name Brian Deck. Brian Deck is one of three owners and a chief engineer/producer at Bucktown's Engine Music Studios. He's best known as an early producer for Modest Mouse, but has also worked with Califone and Iron & Wine. One of his upcoming projects is the debut record from a 20 year old prodigy from Mississippi known as Boddicker (aka Caleb Boddicker).

On Boddicker's upcoming debut record, Big Lionhearted and the Gallant Man, Brian Deck produced, played drums and percussion, and held court at the three week recording session for a CD that is neither here nor there. It meanders through genres but never stops long enough at any given one to become tiresome. You'll hear some freak folk, some Mercury Rev-like psychedelia, and even some of the lofi noisiness of Broken Social Scene. The song "When I Go Out" has all that and more, it's pretty challenging stuff. Big Lionhearted and the Gallant Man comes out April 24th on San Diego's Banter Records.

[mp3]: When I Go Out - Boddicker

Craig Bonnell

News Thu Mar 29 2007

Rock for Net Neutrality

On Tuesday, Ted Leo helped kick off the Future of Music Coalition's campaign for net neutrality. Some internet service providers want to institute a fee system to have some websites load faster than others, and FMC thinks this will play unfairly into the hands of indie musicians and labels who depend on the net to promote their music and sell directly to fans. The Rock The Net campaign already has the endorsement of local-ish band OK GO, while Chicago labels Touch And Go, Carrot Top, Bloodshot and Lilypad Records have also signed on for the cause. Fans can also show support by signing the petition here.

JP Pfafflin

Concert Thu Mar 29 2007

Wham City Rockers

Hide your daughters (and sons and breakables), Baltimore is invading the Windy City! The Baltimore-based collective Wham City has taken its acts on the road for a round robin mega tour that lands on Saturday at the Shape Shoppe. Founding member and relentless party starter Dan Deacon will be joined by mulitimedia terrorists Video Hippos, Blood Baby, Butt Stomach, Santa Dads and locals Mah Jong, Fake Lake, and Scalpels. If you were around for last Summer's Mauled By Tigers Fest show at the Shape Shoppe, you know this is a show not to be missed!

Shape Shoppe: 2255 S. Michigan Ave. #4W. Show starts at 9:00pm. $5 donation. Click Here For more information.

John Lombardo

News Thu Mar 29 2007

Not interviews, but innerviews

Chicago's own in-depth interview monthly music magazine, Chicago Innerview, put the questions to a couple of Chicago label bands in their April issue, which is online now. Ted Leo, whose Living with the Living is out now on Touch & Go, and hard to pin down Trans Am, whose latest bedazzler Sex Change is out on longtime label Thirll Jockey, both get the "innerview" treatment. Other bands hitting Chicago in April that are covered include The Decemberists, Snow Patrol, RJD2, and Blonde Redhead. Pick up hard copies of the magazine for free at fine distribution points throughout Chicago.

Brandon Forbes

Feature Thu Mar 29 2007

Arbouretum: A Long Journey from Baltimore to Chicago

The band Arbouretum (yes, spelled like that) hails from Baltimore, MD, and has been out on the road on one of its most extensive tours of the U.S. for many weeks now. By an odd twist of fate, one of the members of Gapers Block: Transmission happened to be in the right place at the right time to see this band form and grow up in Charm City several years ago. Now they're a Thrill Jockey artist, playing Chicago for the third time since the fall, and another staffer can't wait to hear them one more time in one of the intimate venues that Chicago so readily provides. There's something magnetic, amorphous and wonderful about this band that's quite hard to define, but we'll do our best to try.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Mar 28 2007

Apocalyptic sonic destruction, this Saturday

Then, suddenly, there they are. Three of the four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride down from the harsh Canadian tundra, one armed with a violin, another brandishing leather gloves and a microphone, the third bringing up the rear, his arsenal of synths scorching the earth behind them. They've already laid a week-long trail of destruction before they make their rendezvous in the Windy City. Here, they pick up their fourth ally, a man armed with a cluster of microphones and a leather-clad posse behind him. The four meet, nod a greeting to one another, and look in your direction. One of them gestures for you to come near.

The question is, are you going to come out to Pilsen on Saturday (The Flowershop, 2159 W. 21st Place [on Leavitt], 9 p.m., $6 - sponsored by Busker) and take what's coming to you? Or are you going to hide from this righteous demise, claiming you've 'got a lot of TiVo to catch up on'?

My advice: say your last goodbyes to your family, stand tall, and say hello to your demise, courtesy Burning Star Core, Prurient, Carlos Giffoni, and Bloodyminded.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Radio Wed Mar 28 2007

Ted Leo & RX on All Things Considered Tonight

If you're tuning into Chicago Public Radio, or maybe even streaming it here from the archives, you'll want to keep your ears tuned for the NPR All Things Considered piece on our recently reviewed Touch & Go Records artists Ted Leo & the Pharmacists. They'll be focusing on the band's politically charged rock.

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Mar 28 2007

Your So-Called Formulaic Life

Meiotic and HEFTY Records present the latest installment of their Your Formula Life at Sonotheque tomorrow night. Entitled "Standing On the Shoulders of Giants," this round presents an open showcase of local and regional talent, featuring DJ sets from artists who have helped build and shape the electronic music scene in Chicago and beyond. Headlining on the bill is Detroit deejay Clark Warner. As a promoter, radio host, and the manager of Richie Hawtin's (a.k.a. Plastikman) MINUS label, Warner's played a big role in contributing to the Motor City techno scene in recent years. Also up for the evening is John Hughes, founder and owner of Chicago's own HEFTY Records, and better known to some by his recording moniker Slicker, who'll also be deejaying. Local recording artist Magas and Audiophile will also be spinning sets. Expect an evening filled with "future roots music," offering a solid selection of minimal techno, broken beats, and various groove-worthy electronica. The whole thing gears up at 9pm at 1444 W. Chicago. Cover charge is $5.

[mp3]: Clark Warner - "MOCAD, Detroit, 2006" mix set
[mp3]: John Hughes - "Papercutz, Vol. 1" mix set

Graham Sanford

News Wed Mar 28 2007

Charges Dropped Against Former Mest Singer

You might have read that the former lead singer of Chicago punk band Mest Anthony Lovato was arrested in connection to a fatal stabbing over the weekend in LA. The district attorney has announced today, however, that there wasn't enough evidence to charge Lovato, and he's been released.

Anne Holub

Concert Tue Mar 27 2007

My Pretty Ponys

Local rockers The Ponys are all grown up and have gone to greener, major-label pastures. After releasing two CDs on indie label In the Red, the group recently released Turn the Lights Out on Matador. What's the new fanciness sound like? Well Sally, lemme clue you in: take equal parts garage rock and psychadelic spaciness, add some tasty guitar riffage, and you just might have a clue.

An even better idea would be to try them out for yourself at their CD release on Saturday, March 31. The gig is at the Logan Square Auditorium, and aiding and abetting the Ponys will be Black Lips and Mannequin Men.

Kara Luger

Concert Tue Mar 27 2007

Mighty Incisors

Chapel Hill, NC's David Karsten Daniels is the product of a bundle of musical experience. From an academic music degree in Texas to bedroom 4-track experiments in France to participation in the buzzworthy Bu Hanan collective in North Carolina, Daniels has traversed a wide musical path both geographically and sonically. February saw the release of Sharp Teeth on Fat Cat records and the variety and cogency of song composition on the record overflows with both musical rigor and pop flair. Featuring a wide range of musicians, Sharp Teeth moves from freak folk to distorted fuzz-out to New Orleans dirge to haunting piano with equal ease, creating a song sequence ripe with lyrical profundity and rock n’roll sensibility, and featuring some quite visceral cover art (see above). Equal parts Wilco, Neil Young, and Mogwai, Sharp Teeth is without doubt one of the most engaging records of the year so far. Check out the haunting "Jesus and the Devil" here.

David will be bringing his version of contemplative folk to freak-out rock to the Empty Bottle this Thursday evening, opening for Arbouretum. The show is at 9:30 and the cost is $8.

Brandon Forbes

Concert Tue Mar 27 2007

Dude looks like a Ladyhawk


The last time Ladyhawk came through town, they tore it up for a small group of dedicated fans at Beat Kitchen. Lead singer Duffy Driediger lived up to his rad name and belted out some power rock vocals, while his fellow bearded canucks took their style of Neil Young meets Black Mountain rock to task. Sad you missed it? You should be, but they're offering you redemption tonight at Abbey Pub. A bigger venue this time no doubt means even bigger rock, and, since the Hawk have a new LP due out this summer, some new tunes will be in order. And we'll no doubt be treated to the fantastic pieces off of last year's self-titled LP, including the dynamite song "The Dugout," one of my favorites from last year. Minus Story and Pistols at Dawn open and the show begins at 9 PM. 10 bones for quality rock.

[mp3] Ladyhawk - The Dugout
[mp3] Ladyhawk - War

PS - If you miss tonight's show (for shame), put May 12th at the Abbey in your day-planner, as Ladyhawk will be back, this time with Tapes n'Tapes in tow.

Brandon Forbes

Concert Tue Mar 27 2007

Concert News

• A second Police date at Wrigley Field has been announced: Sting, etc. will perform again on July 6. Greg Kot reports that tickets for the July 5th show are being offered by ticket brokers for as much as $3400.

• Tickets go on sale this Saturday for Eric Clapton's Crossroads Guitar Festival, which will play Toyota Park (the Fire's stadium) July 28. (Oddly, the official site doesn't list any info about this year's concert, but the Wikipedia entry does.)

• Punk legend Exene Cervenka will play The Hideout April 7 with her band The Original Sinners. Knuckeldrager (sic). Tickets are only $12, and since there are only 150 of them, you'd better act quick.

• Warning: Do not go anywhere near the Congress Theater on April 28. Insane Clown Posse will be performing, which means the quotient of 16-year-old, spikey-haired hoodlums hopped up on Faygo will be too high for normal humans to bear.

That other gig may have been a fake, but Weird Al Yankovic is really coming this time! He'll be at the Star Plaza down in Merrillville, Indiana on June 30; tickets are on sale now.

Andrew Huff

Venue Mon Mar 26 2007

Experimental Music Spot Closes

It's hard to keep an indie business running these days. Sadly another really good place has ran its short-lived course. Muse Cafe was a nice spot for culture and music in the surprisingly barren corner of Ogden, Chicago and Milwaukee. Progressive jazz, poetry and delicious eats made Muse a spot for the city to be proud of. According to their MySpace blog, many of the projects at Muse (The Electro-Acoustic Workshop, The Jazztronik Experiment) will continue at other locations. Remember to do your best to support local business because they need all our support in offering an alternative to the big guys. Thanks to Muse Cafe for giving us that option for the past year and a half.

Brent Kado

Concert Mon Mar 26 2007

Neko Case Closing For Sonny Smith Wednesday at Park West ;)


Neko Case is coming to town. Seen that...done that, right? Well she's always pretty spectacular live. For this show she has a Californian singer-songwriter named Sonny Smith opening up, he's reason enough to head out to Park West this Wednesday. It seems his record label, Belle Sound, was started solely to get Sonny Smith's new cd Fruitvale out to a larger market. The label is somehow related to the great Chuck Prophet (I think he "owns" it since the label's previous releases were Green On Red collectibles). Chuck Prophet:

"The characters in Sonny's songs are so real, don't be surprised if they crawl out of your speakers and bum your last smoke off you. I wouldn't wish running a label on my worst enemy. Sonny is so good I had no choice."

Sonny's previous albums have been concept records (a series of one act plays, another about broken love). The new one is also a loose concept record with all the songs based on the Fruitvale neighborhood found within the city of Oakland. "Curtis On The Corner" is a microcosom of the entire album writ small. In just one song you get plenty of imagery about the neighborhood of Fruitvale ("2 bird cages on a windowsill", "a singing butcher at the grocery store", "a pitbull singing to a police siren", and "a dead bottle-rocket on my front porch"). And you also get a sense of the folk troubodour sound found throughout, as if a kind of roughed-up Paul Simon (circa "Me and Julio Down By The Schoolyard") married a woozy and now strangely urban Townes Van Zandt. Guests on the record include Leroy Bach (Wilco), Dave Hilliard (David Byrne), Mathew Luz (Azita) and three of the most fabulous Chicago female singers ever - Nora O'Connor, Edith Frost and Kelly Hogan.

On Wednesday the 28th Sonny Smith opens up for Neko Case at Park West get there early and no talking during the opener!

[mp3]: Curtis On The Corner - Sonny Smith

[mp3]: Hold On, Hold On - Neko Case

Craig Bonnell

News Mon Mar 26 2007


Still haven't had enough of SXSW? Really, not enough? Ok, then, you'll be interested to know that NPR has a variety of streaming audio from several live sessions recorded at SXSW. Chicago indie poster boy Andrew Bird gets a session and the ever-popular Ponys offer up a few songs as well. Both are produced by KEXP, so the host to artist interviews are nice. For a general list of all performances, check the NPR SXSW page or visit largehearted boy's link list.

Brandon Forbes

Tape Findings Mon Mar 26 2007

Mike's audio letter

This is a fantastic guest submission from Phillip. He recorded this audio letter in the early 80's when he was a young kid in Chicago just enjoying some Atari and fooling around with the tape recorder. He thinks it is most likely from 1982 when the Atari game Planet Patrol was released.

The letter was made with the intent of sending to a friend who was on vacation in Washington, so it would arrive delivered and waiting for him in his mailbox when he returned to Illinois. Good thing he never sent it.

[MP3]: Mike's audio letter (14:47)

RJ Porter

Review Mon Mar 26 2007

Review: Walter Meego & Tigercity @ Darkroom

Presented as a small showcase for two unsigned bands that've been on radars lately, Chicago's Walter Meego and New York's Tigercity played Darkroom on Saturday to an excited crowd.

To counterpoint Dan M's take on Tigercity last week: From singer Bill Gillim's vocal style (a poor man's Bryan Ferry or Brandon Flowers, at times) to their slick ragtag look (exquisite popped collars, Michael Irvinesque tie knots) to the same beats underlying every song that dragged on just a bit too long, Tigercity came off as a Killers tribute band. In a live setting, the glossy sound that they yearn for was underwhelming as they trodded out riffs and bridges that all sounded vaguely familiar. ("Haven't I heard this before?" was a common saying during their 40-minute set.) Credit is due for taking advantage of a look and sound that's been popular, but substance still trumps style and Tigercity's faults lie in not making something original out of all that they borrow.

On the other hand, Walter Meego continues to develop and hone their sound as they prepare for the release of their first LP due later this year. Playing songs from the forthcoming album and last year's singles, the band put some spins on old arrangements and kept the crowd energized throughout the night.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Mon Mar 26 2007

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Seattle's champions of doom and swoon, The Dead Science seem to have found a new way to slow down the coming of the seasons. The tragically clean-cut slow-core trio who recently backed up and collaborated with Chicago's Casiotone for the Painfully Alone throughout Europe, return tonight with long-time friends The Parethetical Girls and Magical, Beautiful.

[mp3]: Drrty Magneto - From Frost Giant (Absolutely Kosher)
[mp3]: Ossuray - from Bird Bones In the Bughouse (Absolutely Kosher)

The Abbey Pub hosts tonight's 18 & over show. Doors at 8:00 pm, show starts at 9:00. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. 773-478-4408 for more info.

John Lombardo

Concert Fri Mar 23 2007

Odd (But Excellent) Lineup Tonight at Lakeshore Theater - Tom Brosseau and Amiina

The Chicago Tribune (reg. required) got it right today with it's preview of Tom Brosseau at the Lakeshore Theater. But no matter how well they described his music I don't think they can get at the core of his sound. But they get pretty close with "Brousseau is a picture of romantic modesty and ageless simplicity, telling stories, plucking an acoustic guitar and warbling in a distinctive honeysuckle timbre..."

Here's "Here Comes The Flood" off of his latest disc Grand Forks. Tom plays tonight with the Icelandic string quartet (and former Sigur Ros collaborators) Amiina at Lakeshore Theater, for more info call 773-472-3492 or visit their site here.

[mp3]: Here Comes The Water - Tom Brosseau

[mp3]: Hemipode - Amiina

Craig Bonnell

Review Fri Mar 23 2007

Tigercity, The Jai-Alai Savant, The Silent Years - In Concert

"Get on in my Rub-A-Dub."
So exclaimed Ralph Darden of The Jai-Alai Savant last night, and the crowd complied. A small Thursday night crowd trickled in as The Silent Years worked their way through some whistling, multi-instrumental Andrew-Bird-esque inoffensive pop. By the time Jai-Alai took the stage, the crowd finally began to outnumber the sports fans crowded about the TVs in Schubas bar. With some great crowd-stirring speeches and pseudo-skankin' numbers like "Scarlett Johansson" inspiring painfully earnest dancing (which is a good thing), the stage was set for the New Yorkers to keep the energy up.
Tigercity came out falsettos blazing, playing disco-slick pop that only further incited the dancers. Bill and Joel hit some pretty harmonies together, indeed worthy of Bee-Gees comparisons (also, in a good way). Despite a few points where they struggled to find pitch or spilled whiskey on their nice suit vests, Tigercity capped off an excellent evening with excellent bill-mates - not too shabby for a Thursday, boys.

(If you missed out, there's still another chance to catch the T-city boys: Saturday night at Darkroom they'll be playing with local loves Walter Meego. Check Slowdown for all the details!)

Dan Morgridge

Music & Film Thu Mar 22 2007

Karaoke + Corn + Metal + Derby. Oh My!

Oh man. Clear your calendars, kids, because this is like a Trifecta of Awesome. In fact, it's an event so Awesome, it needs both capitalization and bullet points:

  • Rory Lake's Karaoke Dreams

  • Special guests Cealed Kasket, a band whose specialty seems to be in metal, metal, and spelling their name incorrectly in a way that oozes "rawk."

  • The Windy City Rollers, derby girls who just want to ensure a good time by kicking your sweet buns with their dj, karaoke, and arm wrestling prowess.

It all takes place at Otto's (118 E. Lincoln Hwy.) in corn-tastic Dekalb, IL, on Friday, March 30.

Kara Luger

News Thu Mar 22 2007

Pony Up!

Chicago's own The Ponys, whose latest Turn the Lights Out receives record review treatment in the current Transmission Feature, stopped by the Southside's Daytrotter studio earlier this week for one of Daytrotter's essential live sessions. Four tracks off of Turn the Lights Out get fresh treatment here, along with commentary from frontman Jered Gummere. And be on the look out at the end of the month for local Kinsella brother Mike, who plays solo under the moniker Owen, to stop by Sean Moeller's studio to play tracks off his excellent Polyvinyl release At Home, which came out earlier this year.

Brandon Forbes

Album Thu Mar 22 2007

120 Days'...120 Days

The great things about rock-tronica bands from Norway is that they're f-ing Rock-tronica bands from Norway. They've got guitar drones, keyboard drones, Casio beeps, Kraftwerk and Neu! homages and some seriously heavy headbobbing potential. This is the kind of music that makes you into a spectacle on the train. You're that guy, getting a little bit too excited with the hair tosses in the Red Line vestibule. But you know what? It's alright.

120 Days' self-titled album has been around for a bit now, and if you're lucky, you've picked it up, and not just for the sexy sexy retro '80s hairstyles of the four band members Jonas Dahl, Arne Kvalvik, Kjetil Ovesen and Ådne Meisfjord. The songs are sieved out of cold, dark, long Oslo nights — ones we could probably relate to pretty easily here in dreary Chicago — but don't despair! You can sing along (yup, in English, thanks Norway for making it easy on us) "keep on smiling" in the song of the same title while you do that cute kick-step dance Molly Ringwald perfected in The Breakfast Club (at least, that's my first pick). Or you can get your serious dance on during the seriously adrenaline-raising 8-minute track "C-Musik" with lines that make you think you're going to need some days in rehab later just for getting that high. In "Sleepwalking": "I can dance this night away / Take me somewhere else and make me feel ok." Indeed.

This is music just perfect for raising yourself out of the dead of winter. It's officially spring — put on some shoes, put this on the 'pod and get out the door.

You can pick 120 Days up all around town at your LRS of choice, or from VICE Records.

Anne Holub

Feature Thu Mar 22 2007

There Goes the Neighborhood: 5 Chicago Bands' Latest

This week's album releases calendar marks a special date for Chicagoans — on March 20th, Chi-town saw the release of five albums from either native sons and daughters of the Windy City, or artists whose labels had the good sense to set up shop here. From Andrew Bird's alternative to AAA to the Zincs' zeroed-in zeitgeist of wistful British pop revival, this group of Chicagoans, honorary or otherwise, showcase a diverse city as their backdrop. As such, while reviewing each album we'll also find their appropriate Chicagoland equivalent and explain what they have in common.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Mar 21 2007

Nihil Ad Silvum Raglani (don't look it up, it's not Latin)

Andy Ortmann's premier southside avant-noise-house-party venue Nihilist (2255 S. Michigan) is having a big ol' throwdown this Friday (9 p.m. March 23, $5 at door), featuring some rare-as-hens-teeth performances from a few choice out of towners and a few seldom-seen locals.

St. Louis' Joe Raglani runs the Pegasus Farms label, and concocts exquisite spiral skylines (via modular analogue synths) for you to ruminate upon. Champaign, Indiana's Nick Henry unleashes a hail of gold-leaf snowflakes as Silvum; unending walks through crunching snow, dead leaves or dry grass, toward a horizon that keeps receding. Glass Bath, a local duo of Andy Ortmann (Panicsville, Nihilst Records) and Nicole Chambers (NC, Ides Recordings), puncture the silence with flints of sharpened sillica; and starting the whole thing will be dark-wave synth heroes Eavil. Pay the nice man at the door, and thank him on your way out, if you can still form complete sentences after your night-long brain scrambling.

Chris Sienko

Random Wed Mar 21 2007

Those Spiffy I-GO Cars Will Soon Come With Their Own Music

The I-GO cars that are parked strategically around town will soon have another accessory - compilation CDs of songs by Chicago musicians. Now through March 28, artists are invited to upload up to 2 songs (each 3MB or less) for submission on I-GO Audio Emissions. Voting will run from April 1 through 15. Just like any online voting adventure, expect some horrible band to corral all of their friends to vote a million times. So do your part to vote for songs that are actually good and that you wouldn't mind hearing were you to use an I-GO vehicle.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Wed Mar 21 2007

Tender Knobs and Buttons

Thought versus emotion. Indigo over red. Cool colors recede while warm colors advance. Get the balance right. That's color theory 101 -- a basic rule of visual push and pull. In musical terms, it's that same sense of balance that Berlin-based deejay and producer Ellen Allien possesses in spades, what sets her music -- and that of the artists she releases on her BPitch Control label -- apart in a scene awash with boilerplate dance music. Five years after her debut, 2006 saw the release of of her collaborative effort with labelmate Apparat. Entitled Orchestra of Bubbles, the album is a full and moodily rich affair, the result of a creative symbiosis that found both artists bringing out the best in each other. On her own, Allien's a rhymthic polymath, drawing freely from a satchel full of tricks that spans electronica subgenres. Techno and electro are key components, but she can just as easily go leftfield as get all lushly pop on your ass. Most strikingly, she has a strong ear for cushioning and counterpointing the more abstract and clinical aspects of a track with subtely oh-so human touches. Her music is often sexy, but only obliquely so. Its emotiveness and eroticism, like her sense of melody, is implied rather than directly engaged. Its warmth is like the wisp of a lover's breath on your neck. You might savor the sensation by itself, or you might decide to cozy closer to its source. The next move, dancing or otherwise, is yours.

Allien will be in Chicago this Friday night, putting down a headlining DJ set at Smart Bar. The tour is scheduled to coincide with her audio guide to Berlin (and accompanying DVD) that will be released next month in conjunction with Time Out magazine. Up first for the evening is the San Francisco-based "micro-house" artist known as Safety Scissors, whose prior releases on the Plug Research and ~Scape labels saw him crafting vaguely pop-ish songs stretched over twitchy, hiccuping beats and glitchy laptop scribble. The evening gets under way at 10 PM. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 the night of.

[Video]: Ellen Allien - "Trashscapes"
[mp3]: Ellen Allien & Apparat - "Do Not Break"

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Wed Mar 21 2007

A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request - New bio of Steve Goodman

The degree to which people try to keep Steve Goodman's name in the spotlight is a clear testament to his success as one of the greatest songwriters of his generation, and his reputation as one of the all time great Chicago personalites. Steve may be known to some as the consumate cubs fan, or perhaps as the author of the song "City of New Orleans" or maybe as that Chicago singer who died before his time.

A new biography called Facing The Music is coming out soon that will place his deeds in context. Comprised of literally a thousand different sources and hundreds of interviews this seems like it will be the comprehensive bio of Steve Goodman's life and times. You can preorder the book here, along with the book you'll get a companion CD of 18 tracks written and performed by other artists in tribute to Steve. With opening day right around the corner I can't think of a better song to share with you than Steve's slightly novelty tune "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request." It's poignant that within days of Steve's death from his battle with Leukemia the Cubs played their first playoff game since 1945, and that his ode to a dying cubs fan would in effect turn into his autobiographical swan song. Steve Goodman's ashes are buried under home plate at Wrigley Field.

Craig Bonnell

News Wed Mar 21 2007

9 FM: Returning CDs for Make Benefit Glorious RIAA

In light of the recent decision by the US Copyright Royalty Board to substantially increase royalties paid by internet radio stations, which will most likely put an end to many online stations, Chicago's 9 FM has drummed up a plan to, you know, help the industry that is supposedly struggling so much to stay in the black. And that plan's simply to return the hundreds (thousands?) of promotional CDs given to radio listeners.

As 9 FM's Director of Programming, Matt DuBiel, puts it, "In the face of the RIAA's struggles, it just doesn't seem fair for us to be giving away free CDs to music fans who are fully capable of paying for the music themselves. That's why we're inviting everyone who has won a CD from 9-FM or any other radio station in Chicago this year, to return it to us and we'll exchange it for a 9-FM T-shirt and give the CDs back to the RIAA. Perhaps with all of those CDs back, the RIAA will have enough money so radio stations like 9-FM and other independent music sites can continue to affordably stream online."

So, if you're lucky enough to be the right-numbered caller and win a free CD from any Chicago radio station, do your part to give something back to the industry that's done so much to win your love over the last few years and return it to 9 FM for some swag.

James Ziegenfus

News Tue Mar 20 2007

A Little Lolla News to Tide You Over...

So you're bummed that Peter Bjorn & John's May 8 Empty Bottle show (with Fujiya & Miyagi, no less) sold out in, oh, about a day? Well, fret not because they'll be back for Lollapalooza. Also appearing at the festival that first weekend of August will be LCD Soundsystem. And, of course, there're dozens of other rumors floating around that will hopefully be confirmed when the initial lineup is unveiled in April.

James Ziegenfus

Concert Mon Mar 19 2007

Big River Singing Through a Bellowing Sky

Formed and largely led by former Boredoms and Free Kitten drummer Yoshimi P-We, OOIOO has always been a venture with no fixed musical address. But as evidenced by their recent LP Taiga, released some months ago via Thrill Jockey, they're still ever restless to strike out into more brambly terrain after a decade of experimentation. It's easily OOIOO's strongest effort to date, joyous and fierce and beautiful in its execution, one that yields unnoticed surprises upon repeated listenings. Although Taiga loosely contains much of the post-punk hodge-podgery of the group's prior efforts, it also finds them furrowing into heavily percussive, neo-tribalistic clatter, featuring plenty of pounding drums, marimbas and gamelan clanging. They switch quickly and broadly between styles throughout, occasionally breaking into zags of galloping West African funk. And through it all, Yoshimi and friends howl and hector in a mixture of cheerleading and monkeychanting, as if they're summoning or scattering the ghosts of the animistic realm. But occasionally they slow things down, grow contemplative, and settle into an interplay of elements that leaves plenty of space for the listener to crawl inside.

They're playing at the Empty Bottle this Wednesday evening. OOIOO don't hit these shores very often, so this will be a rare chance to catch them live. And in keeping with the tempo of the recent material, they're reportedly bringing an extra along drummer for the tour. Opening for the band is Lichens, the solo project of Robert Lowe, bassist for 90 Day Men and peripheral member of TV On The Radio. Under his Lichens moniker, Lowe specializes in compositions built from hauntingly atmospheric drones and loops, over which he improvises with guitar and wordless vocals. Granted, comparable waters have been charted by a number of "avant folk" artists in recent years, but Lowe's journeys always seem to begin where others' leave off. You couldn't ask for a more complimentary billing. 1035 N. Western. The show starts at 9:30 PM, admission is $12.

[video]: OOIOO - "UMO"
[video]: OOIOO - "Grow Sound Tree"

Graham Sanford

Music & Film Mon Mar 19 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven Final Entry (Reviews/mp3's of The Black Hollies, Vietnam, and The Black Angels)


Here's the last post from Catfish Haven on their adventures at SXSW. The last day they were involved in the two most infamous events at this year's fest — the collapse of the balcony at the Vice party and the police closure of the IHeartComix party. These guys sure have a nose for trouble.

"I awoke Saturday morning feeling possibly the most hung-over I've felt ever. Catfish Haven drinking usually occurs in the evening but a day of free alcohol at SXSW means you can drink from noon to 4am and we did. In the drunkenness of Friday night we had lost two members of the Catfish Haven SXSW 2007 army – our 2nd guitarist Mike Lust and Timeout Chicago writer Leah (who had jumped in the van with us at the last minute the day we left Chicago and soon became one of our band of merry pranksters). I contacted Lust first and luckily he answered his cell. He had ended up partying Hot Tub style at a random Austin Texas Apartment with Chicago band Sybris. George and I went on the mission to retrieve him from the Wendy's and while we were waiting for him had to give in and eat a large Wendy's meal 'cause at this point we felt like we might die if we didn't eat. Leah's cell phone was dead but we sent her a myspace message. We know she's resourceful so we assumed she was fine and later when she finally called me we found out she was actually doing great and was at the Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Austin. She had crashed on the floor of documentary filmmaker Ron Mann who's most know for making the movie "GRASS" a film about marijuana that the catfish crew had coincidentally just watched at like 3 in the morning in Fayetteville, Arkansas earlier in the week during our tour down to Texas. George and Ryan met Ron on wed when we first arrived in Austin and he was a cool guy and gave them a private lecture about his film so we knew Leah was alright and we planned to meet up with her later.

This whole week we've been staying with our friend Caroline's house and she and her friends were throwing a SXSW backyard BBQ party with a bunch of bands including Saturday Looks Good To Me, Mittens on Strings, and us to name a few. Hung-over and hazy we rocked the backyard around 3pm and by the time we left to head to 6th street around 5pm the keg was dry, the food was eaten and the neighbors were sending noise complaints which are all the general after effects of a BBQ done right!

[mp3]: The Girl's Distracted - SLGTM
[mp3]: The Most Complete Skeleton Ever Found - Mittens On Strings

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Blog Mon Mar 19 2007

Is That Freedom Rock?

Tribune music critic Greg Kot joins the blogging world with Turn it Up. So far, it's notes from the underground SXSW and a piece on Jon Brion — and not a hyperlink to be found — but here's hoping he stretches out as he gets used to the medium. I mean come on, Greg, it's not that different from the Sound Opinions forum.

Andrew Huff

Concert Sun Mar 18 2007

Free Show AND Cheap Beer?

Free Monday night shows at the Empty Bottle are about as close to Chicago musical perfection as you can get. Great bands on the rise, low cost beer and of course no cover.  Monday they have two of the cities best kept secrets - LMNOP and Charlie Deets. Throw in electro-magic from Datarock and you've got some musical mastery slated for what you thought was going to be a boring beginning of week. Show starts at 9 p.m.

Brent Kado

Concert Sun Mar 18 2007

Preview: Kurt Elling @ Park West

Some people don't like the soul patch. Some don't like his vocalese - the adding of words to instrumental jazz classics. Some haven't liked him since his anointing by mainstream jazz media as The Next Great Thing some years ago.

As many reasons to not like him, there are quite a few reasons to enjoy ChicagoanKurt Elling's music, and, if anything, he's navigated the waters of critical dissection of his style and what his international fanbase has come to expect over twelve years and six albums to date.

After leaving the Blue Note Records label last year, he signed a deal with Concord Records and is beginning to tour in support of his new album, nightmoves, to be released the first week of April.

He visits the Park West tonight with the backing of the Laurence Hobgood Trio. As an added bonus, they will be selling advance copies of the new album at the show.

[Real Audio] - Nightmoves - snippet from the album

Troy Hunter

Review Sun Mar 18 2007

I shall...PROCEED...and continue...

First off, who would have thought a hip-hop show could actually start EARLY?

Energized by a crowd that needed no warmup, Lupe Fiasco and the Roots rocked the Chicago Theatre last night for a four hour show. The capacity crowd was in full throat most of the evening, ignoring their assigned seats except for placing jackets and coats and sitting during the brief intermission.

Continue reading this entry »

Troy Hunter

Music & Film Sat Mar 17 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven (Booze, Badasses, and Blogs)


Catfish Haven is running neck and neck with Office for heaviest partying band from Chicago at this years SXSW. They also happen to have seen some amazing music and a couple of celebrities to boot. Here's their most recent tour diary entry:


"Thursday night we played our official SXSW showcase, it was the Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar party at Mohawks on Red River. We partied all night with some of our favorite SC/Jag bands like Ladyhawk, David Vandervelde, Okkervill River, and I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness. Luckly our show at noon on Friday was at the same venue so we were able to leave our equipment there overnight (and luckly when we showed back up about 5 hours after leaving it was all still there!)

[mp3]: War - Ladyhawk
[mp3]: Jacket - David Vandervelde
[mp3]: Black - Okkervil River
[mp3]: According To Plan - I Love You But I've Chosen Darkness

So on Friday somehow the 9 of us all made it to the venue with just enough time to soundcheck and play. The show was hosted by some of our favorite blogs we met over the last year like My Old Kentucky Blog, and Gorrila Vs Bear, and our friends Thunder Birds Are Now! played right after us so we had a great time seeing everyone again.

The fire marshalls have been coming down hard on the clubs out here during SXSW and we left our equipment next to the stage (blocking a fire exit) while we did a quick video interview for Indie911. After the interview we found out a fire marshall had shown up and wanted us to move our equipment immediately. He said there wasn't enough time to pull the van up so instead we all got our workout for the day carrying our amps and drums up one of Austins many hills.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Artist Sat Mar 17 2007

With A Face Like That

The Birdman is everywhere. No, not Larry Legend or the Cash Money Hip Hop Mogul. It's Andrew Bird, and his amiable mug appears on both Time Out Chicago and New City's cover this week. Bird's current media deluge comes at the forefront of his soon to be released album Armchair Apocrypha. It's not just hype though, the eclectic artist has been laying a solid foundation of musical mastery and personal style that predicated his ability to be a media darling. And now all that groundwork is displaying itself on Chicago's alternative press. But maybe you want to hear something from Mr. Bird and not just look at his introspective guise. NPR has a stream up from his SXSW WXPN Showcase performance in which you can hear 20 minutes of Bird's genre fusing elegance. Now you have some fresh music of Bird's to listen to as you read over the many recent articles devoted to him.

Brent Kado

Music & Film Sat Mar 17 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Office's Day Three


Here's another entry from Office. It seems as though the chaos, sleeplessness and partying are starting to get to them. Hopefully they'll make it back to Chicago in one piece.

"Sleeping here is almost impossible. Between nerves, adrenaline and alcohol, it's almost impossible to get a good night's sleep. I woke up early yesterday for more lousy breakfast and decent coffee and checked the listings for shows, still reeking of the chlorine of the hot tub from the night before.

Last year I had a full itinerary of shows and parties that I wanted to go to, but this year I and the band have taken the drifter's approach. We readied ourselves for our evening show leisurely, watching basketball and applying mascara. The breakfast sat in our stomachs like lead. The weather isn't as good as was advertised last week, but hey–beats Chicago, right?

The traffic in the downtown area was bloody murder, and it took us a half an hour to get down 4th on our way to the Fader/Levi's Fort. But by the grace of a cute, young Japanese couple, we found parking directly in front of the space. Subs were ingested as our eyes were covered in shades.

Badly Drawn Boy was lilting through an acoustic set as we arrived. The Fort is a huge labrinthine party space. It's probably the best party down here and it goes all day every day. That's a lot of SoCo and lime. The stage manager was hilarious and incredibly with it. Everything was highly organized and coordinated, which can be somewhat of a rarity in these situations. Another (forgettable) band played before us as we goofed around in the backstage tent, taking photos and cracking our usual crude jokes. The sun cracked through the crowds as we took the stage and looked out to a full, expansive outdoor patio. The floating saddle on my guitar popped out from under my strings during the third song, but somehow I managed to repair it on the fly.

A giant Meatwad balloon was inflated on top of the building as we played. Amy Winehouse paid us some nice compliments as we came off stage and then proceeded to belt out a sweet set of her own. Some Chicago b-boys were breakin' in the back during the djs, and it turned into Alissa and I jumping along with them chanting "Chi-town" and "Office in the house" in front of myriad video cameras. One for the grandkids!

[mp3]: Rehab (Hot Chip remix) - Amy Winehouse

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Review Fri Mar 16 2007

Show Review: Walter Meego, Of Montreal @ Metro, Thurs. March 15

Yet another wave of spring giddiness swept through Chicago last night and this time it wasn't about the weather. For a packed, sold out Metro, Athens GA's very own Of Montreal did what they do best: partied like it was 1969. But before the rowdy mass of Kevin Barnes-lovers could get their fix, local boys Walter Meego spun a few. Turntablist/laptopper Colin Yarck served the house some fresh beats while Justin Sconza meshed his guitar and synth play with emotive rave-up vocals and guitarist Andrew Bernhardt overlaid it all with squalling feedback. It was loud and intense and the audience response was as you'd think it would be for a dance-rock opener: dancing, screaming, and mingling. Dancefloor hit "Hollywood" and the more laidback "Through a Keyhole" highlighted the brief, but thumping, set.

After a long stage set-up, show poet laureate Thax Douglas came out on stage, accompanied by an Of Montreal rodie dressed in a black and gold Darth Vader suit, and read his "Of Montreal #3" which mentioned both paramecium cilia and dancefloor bimbos. Quite the perfect intro for Kevin Barnes. As expected, the whole crew's decour was a costume shop owner's wet dream: silk Japanese wear, over-sized Sgt. Pepper's-ish military dresses, and Rockette ruffled skirts were the norm, to say the least. Barnes himself went through three wardrobe changes throughout the set, consistently removing layers until his final getup was some kind of Baroque onesie. Musically, the set opened poorly as low sound quality made opener "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" underwhelming to say the least. But things had a lot of time to get better as, including the encore, the entire show covered roughly 20 songs spanning the entire Of Montreal oeuvre, which is a lot of space for a band that's been putting out records for 10 years. Favorite moments included: Barnes mounting a decorative ladder to take on the guise of a giant crooner for "Gronlandic Edit," a Norwegian flag prop malfunction as keyboardist Dottie Alexander tried to pass it off to the crowd during a pro-Scandanavian tune, the surpising crowd sing-a-long to "Bunny Ain't no Kind of Rider," and the shocked then delighted face of bassist Matt Dawson as he realized the projectiles from the audience that almost hit him at one point in the show were, in fact, two bras. This last moment, coupled with the man and woman-handling Barnes got every time he neared the edge of the stage, definitely drove home the point that Of Montreal are at a point where they seemingly can't miss. Even the ridiculously long and self-involved drone dance of "The Past is a Grotesque Animal" kept the crowd's attention and participation. After 10 years, it seems Barnes and his Sgt. Peppers ensemble have finally reached the status of rock gods.

Brandon Forbes

Concert Fri Mar 16 2007

All Pitchfork's Parties

This year's Pitchfork Music Festival is shaping up to be great, thanks in part to the just-announced headliner: Sonic Youth, who will be performing their seminal Daydream Nation in its entirety as part of All Tomorrow's Parties "Don't Look Back" series. [via]

So here's the announced line-up so far:

Friday, July 13
Pitchfork Music Festival
& All Tomorrow's Parties Present: Don't Look Back

Sonic Youth

Saturday, July 14
Cat Power
Iron & Wine
Girl Talk
Grizzly Bear
Professor Murder

Sunday, July 15
Of Montreal
Jamie Lidell
Ken Vandermark's Powerhouse Sound

Discounted three-day passes have already sold out, but you can single-day, two-day and full-price three-day passes on Ticketweb. Get yours here.

Andrew Huff

Music & Film Fri Mar 16 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Day Two With Office (Music From Midnight Movies and Robbers On High Street)


Here's more from our resourceful band Office; they party, get free stuff and hang in hot tubs down in Austin at SXSW so you don't have to! Office play next today at 5:15 at the Fader Party at The Fort.

(Hot tub party with Office and Robbers On High Street)

"Yesterday was a banger, from start to finish. Scott and I woke up early and ate the mediocre, overpriced breakfast at the hotel, rounded up the troops and headed to our afternoon show at the Nylon/Diesel house. The house is in the middle of a residential neighborhood outside of the main festival area and was a classy little joint with a large live room and several loungy nooks.

We played to a virtually empty room (only Nylon folks and our posse were there), but it was nice to warm up in front of our friends and prepare for our big label showcase coming up later that night. After our performance we were whisked into a dressing area where they hooked us up with free jeans and did an interview for Nylon TV (Nylon Mag's webcast). The swag train led us to free sneakers and Bloody Marys after we left the day's first party and before we loaded in to the Ritz.

All of our Scratchie/New Line buddies were already there as we schlepped in our gear. There were some rousing acapella renditions of mid-90s favorites (think Candlebox and Collective Soul) as we awaited our soundcheck. After everything was deemed aurally satisfactory, we headed to 1887, a café in the swank Driscoll Hotel. We dined boisterously in the 19th Century French-bistro style dining room, riffing on Alanis Morisette's take on irony, baby names and joke immunity (Erica's new nickname is Joe Community, for her penchant for making gay jokes and liking the ladies).

We retired to our manager's room upstairs to watch The Office (isn't it ironic?), take disco naps and put our faces and wigs on. Once outfitted, I took to 6th St. to soak up the ambience and get psyched for our first really big show down here. Jesus freaks preached from their soapboxes as kids with every type of terrible haircut pranced along the main drag. I shopped for a porkpie hat and came up empty.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Concert Fri Mar 16 2007

Loney is Not Lonely Misspelled

If you missed the eccentric piano pop of Frida Hyvonen and the avant-somber marches of Under Byen at the Abbey Pub earlier this week, fear not: your quota of Scandanavian pop for the week can still be met! Sweden's Loney, Dear, masterminded by pop savant Nils-Emil Svanangen, is gracing Schubas' stage Sunday evening. With Loney, Noir, the group's first stateside LP out on Sub Pop, Emil combines warm tones, jazzy instrumentation, and a troubadour vocal delivery that at times recalls fellow European crooners Sondre Lerche, Travis’ Francis Healey, and occasionally even Sigur Ros’ Jon Thor Birgisson, to create a genre-hopping sound in the best sense of the term. The mixed medium effect is devastatingly good - quirky folk slides into jazzy horns and back out again, while layered harmonies emote in perfect time. Seeing this kind of songwriting played out live, especially within the confines of Schubas' intimacy, should be dynamite. But no worries: if you've got plans this Sunday, Loney, Dear will be back to Chicago sooner than you think opening for slowcore giants Low at the Metro on Friday, April 13.

[mp3] I Am John

Brandon Forbes

Review Fri Mar 16 2007

TVOTR: Wooly and Wonderful

[Posting for Kara, who's computer's a bit lo-fi today]
TV on the Radio's March 13 show at the Metro was a Distortion Lover's Delight, with both opener and headliner featuring heavy, thorax-vibrating bass and plenty of arty-pop weirdness.

Opening band Subtle was anything but. The Oakland, Calif.-based band's set was largely a frenzied, theatrical free-for-all of dance beats and heavily orchestrated rhythms. MC Doseone, the rapping frontman, made for an interesting mix of Thomas Dolby-meets-Mike Patton-meets-Elton John, though he often got mired in his own props. C'mon — how many skulls can a man reasonably use during one set?

After a lengthy set-up, TV on the Radio's entrance was marked by guitarist/singer Kyp Malone's awe-inspiring afro/facial hair combo (facefro?). Cue crowd going wild, and the band immediately kicked off their set. Songs from their new album, Return to Cookie Mountain, held up onstage as well as they do on the record — an impressive feat, considering their penchant for the odd, often hypnotically discordant harmonies by Malone and singer Tunde Adebimpe. Adebimpe, who was all hips and flailing arms, whipped the crowd into a dance-a-thon with what amounts to TVOTR's most radio-friendly hit, "Wolf Like Me." Equally effective was their ability to rework songs from their older albums, creating something unrecognizable until the lyrics began. "Satellite" became a punk tune, while "The Wrong Way" dug in its rockabilly heels. Members of Subtle and the stage crew joined TVOTR for their encore numbers to great effect, lending both a lusher percussive element and a certain wildness onstage.

Anne Holub

News Fri Mar 16 2007

1900s Get Spun

We're not sure if being named the Spin Band of the Day reaps many positive results beyond exposure to thousands of yuppies who might visit the band's Myspace page or maybe buy a song from their latest album off I-Tunes. Yesterday local psych-folk heros The 1900's were bestowed the honor by the magazine as they finished up their shows at SXSW in Austin. It's a nice nod for this rising band, but beyond the mainstream recognition, the article is a standard bio read. But you shouldn't expect much from a magazine that currently has Fall Out Boy on the cover.

Brent Kado

Music & Film Thu Mar 15 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Catfish Haven (including music by Langhorne Slim, Thunderbirds Are Now!, Rahim, and The M's)


There's a good chance that'd you'll find Catfish Haven on any decent list of new, buzz-worthy bands from Chicago. There's also a good chance that they'd be the only trio on that list that specializes in a soulful brand of lively, old-school rock 'n' roll. The band's name comes from the trailor park where lead singer George Hunter grew up. The great American trailer park is a pretty representative symbol of the band's earnest, blue-collar sound.


So needless to say we're psyched that the band will contribute to our SXSW Tour Diary series over the next couple of days. Their four official SXSW showcases are the cream of the crop; on Wednesday they played the Chicago Metro Party with the Smoking Popes; on the 15th they play the RXRW Party; on the 16th they play at arguably the hottest party all week, being put on by Gorilla vs. Bear, at Mohawk; they'll end their stay in Austin with a bbq on the 17th playing with Saturday Looks Good To Me.
Random SXSW photo:


"We arrived in Austin around 4am on Wednesday morning. Tired but excited we all stumbled into the house we're crashing at for the week and each picked out our sleeping spots on the floor. We started our day fighting the lines at the SXSW convention center picking up our wristbands and then racing to our first show of the week at Emo's for the Chicago Metro Party. We arrive in time to see our friends in the Chicago band The M's and after we were done with our set we got to chill out, drink free beer, and watch The Smoking Popes. We all grew up going to see the Smoking Popes when we were teenagers so it was awesome to be able to share the stage with them.

After the day parties end there's kind of a gap in time before the official SXSW showcases start. We were able to fill that gap however with the help of a limousine service that was giving free ride escorted some members of Catfish Haven and some members of our Chicago allies Sybris to a Camel Cigarette sponsored party where we chowed down on free food drank more
free beer and even got free Cigarettes! SXSW has tons of free stuff up for grabs if you know where to look.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Concert Thu Mar 15 2007

Who Says That Drum Machines Got No Soul?

When it comes to getting old school, some lessons are strictly fundamental. Foundational building blocks is what I'm talking about. Case in point: The L.A.-based producer Egyptian Lover, who was a pioneering figure of the early West Coast hip-hop scene. Back in the mid-80s, he laid down such tracks as "Egypt, Egypt," "Freak-a-holic," and "What Is a DJ If He Can't Scratch?" which became archetypal classics of the electro-funk canon, ranking right alongside cuts by the likes of Kraftwerk, Soulsonic Force and Newcleus. Chances are you know the sound very well -- that pop-locking bump that's all saturated with synthetic bells, 808 kicks, vocoderized imperatives, and plenty of clappity-clap punctuation. And back in the day, Egyptian Lover's first several joints were as integral to breakdancing battles as super-wide laces and Puma sweats.

The archeology, however, doesn't end there. While recent interest in all things booty-bass and ghettotech related has sent hipsters scrambling to seek out those essential Egyptian Lover tracks, few seem to know that he's continued recording and producing throughout the years, most recently popping his head up with the 2006 LP Platinum Pyramids. The fact that his current material sounds just as fresh as ever says something about the cyclical nature of retro-chicness -- that (maybe) if you stand in place long enough, things are bound to come around full circle.

Continue reading this entry »

Graham Sanford

Artist Thu Mar 15 2007

The Prides of March

If you're having a baby this week, break out the Baby Mozart tapes: mid-March is apparently a good week to be born a Chicago musical genius. On Tuesday, velvet-tongued rap standard-bearer Common turned 35. (That means it's been 13 years since he lost his Sense — ba dump ching!)

A little higher up the legend status ladder is the inestimable Quincy Jones, born in the Windy City 74 years ago as of yesterday. Aside from producing the albums that made Michael Jackson a musical legend, he also organized "We Are The World" — one of the greatest charitable moments in music, if perhaps not the best-aging collaboration.

And last, but barely least, Grand Poobah Pumpkin Billy Corgan will turn the big 4-0 this Saturday — in honor of his forthcoming new release, let's dye the Chicago River green like a ripening pumpkin in his honor!

Dan Morgridge

Music & Film Thu Mar 15 2007

SXSW Tour Diary - Office


A couple of the higher-ups at Gapers Block have been down in Austin, Texas at SXSW all week chillin' and minglin'. Unfortunately for me, the grunts don't get to tag along. You're not going either, bummer. Well, we can still experience the festival almost firsthand through the wonders of the internet.


One of Chicago's finest (and most buzzed about) bands has agreed to record their thoughts, misadventures, and musical accomplishments for Transmission. Office will be our unofficial roving correspondents over the next couple of days. They get things started with these thoughts on the start of a crazy week.

"Our trip began Monday night after a beautiful day in Chicago. I was picked up around 9 o'clock after sitting on my lanai, and we loaded in to our big, red rental van. After some serious van tetris, our gear, beer, clothes, cooler and selves were able to fit inside. Erica took the first driving shift while I navigated, as Scott and Jeremy (our tech-extraordinaire) sat behind Jessica and Alissa in the second row.

Many songs were magically transmitted from electronic device to fm radio over the course of the 1,100-some-miles. Rest stops filled with American Indian knick-knacks, jerky and claw games punctuated our naps, some of us only waking to eat from the cooler of snacks.

My shift was a good chunk of Texas in the morning. Winding roads and big rigs. Jessica was my DJ/Navigatrix taking me from ambient electronic undulations to power pop. She was the lynchpin driver, pulling into a Motel 6 that was decided upon primarily for it's proximity to Denny's. We ate profusely from the well of French Slams and grey Tilapia and retreated to our adjoining boy/girl rooms in the back of the motel.

The free case of 312 from the Hideout show became crucial around 6pm, where we indulged in the original YouTube, America's Funniest Home Videos, and yes — a large cheese pizza rimmed with cheesy pustules.

Continue reading this entry »

Craig Bonnell

Feature Thu Mar 15 2007

The Life and Times of DJ Major Taylor

Is it a bird? A plane? No folks, it's one of Chicago's most charismatic DJs — DJ Major Taylor, the comic book inspired alter ego of Ralph Darden. Regular dude by day, DJ by night, the 33-year-old, Philly-bred DJ/musician moved to Chicago three years ago and has since firmly put down roots, best known for hosting infamously wild parties (where guests are granted free admission in exchange for arriving sans clothing [underwear only]) and for the faithful following he draws to his Friday night dance parties at the Ukrainian Village dive bar, Tuman's.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

News Wed Mar 14 2007

Label Lounge

Looks like Chicago's best indie labels will be becoming even cosier with the confines of the Subterranean. Tonight at the Subterranean Lounge the second of a possibly endless series of Chicago record label DJ showcases, entitled lovingly "Shut Up and Listen!", will start at 9 PM. Basically every Wednesday from now until at least mid-May, a new Chicago label will DJ in the Lounge until 2 AM. The residency series kicked off last Wednesday with Southern Records, and the second installment is tonight, starring leftist punks Underground Communique Records. Expect lots of free giveaways and some sneak peeks of forthcoming records at every DJ night. Check the schedule and links below to figure out which DJ sets will tickle your fancy most, and definitely note that the Touch and Go night will feature local legend Steve Albini flippin' the wax...or pressing play on the CD player.

Shut Up and Listen! Schedule for Subterranean Lounge
3/14 Underground Communique Records
3/21 Victory Records
3/28 Flameshovel Records
4/4 Minty Fresh Records [live performance by Astrid Swan]
4/11 Seventh Rule Records
4/18 Touch & Go / Electrical Audio [DJ Steve Albini]
4/25 Thick Records
5/2 Brilliante Records
5/9 Bloodshot Records

Brandon Forbes

Concert Tue Mar 13 2007

Hey, look who's coming back... not so exclusively this time.

So you missed out on Morrissey at the Aragon last year because all of those pesky out-of-towners snapped up tickets first? Well, the joke's on them for flying hundreds or thousands of miles to see a man who just a few months later embarks on a US tour. He'll perform at Auditorium Theatre on May 15. While he's lost a step or two over the last twenty-some years (Holy moly, almost eligible for the joke that's the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame), he's just as charismatic as ever - only with a slightly larger admission price.

James Ziegenfus

Benefit Tue Mar 13 2007

Catlick Hot Licks

Along with the Shellac/Dianogah/Sound On Sound benefit at Subteranean on April 27th, Catlick Records is releasing a 2XCD benefit compilation entitled For Callum to help raise money for Callum Robbins' care fund. The CD features rare and unreleased tracks by Maritime, The Eternals, Mission of Burma, David Grubs, Life and Times, as well as rare demo of Jawbreaker's I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both.

The 2XCD is available now via Catilick Records for only $15.

1. All the Way Rider - Luxembourg
2. Arcwelder - The Hope (demo)
3. Careers In Modeling - Acorn
4. Chad - English Girl
5. Channels - Cast Away
6. E. Fowlkes Sextet - Rory Corrigan
7. Engine 88 - Get Off
8. Engine Down - Your Suit
9. Eternals - Rawar Style
10. Gordonovich - Au Revoir (Char's Garden)
11. David Grubbs - A Dream to Help Me Sleep
12. Halloween, Alaska - Halloween (remix)
13. The Icy Shores - Backseat
14. Imaginary Johnny - Little Dimes
15. Jawbreaker - I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both (demo)
16. Kingfield - Penny
17. Bryan Knisley - Madeline
18. Joe Lally - Mistaken Identity
19. Life and Times - Catching Crumbs
20. Maritime - Tearing up the Oxygen
21. Medications - Domestic Animals
22. Bill Mike - Secure
23. The Million - Waterfront (demo)
24. Mission of Burma - N.S.U.
25. Travis Morrison - Represent
26. Drew O’Doherty - You’ll Believe A Man Can Fly
27. The Oranges Band - Operator
28. Pilot to Gunner - All the Lights
29. Roh Delikat - Ant Overthrow
30. Self-Evident - World As a Verb
31. The Spectaculars - Dopasetic
32. Story of the Sea - West Bank

For more information about Type 1 SMA and Callum Robbins, please visit

John Lombardo

Concert Tue Mar 13 2007

Of Mice and Mayors

Today (Tuesday), long-running south-side experimental music venue Nihilst (2225 S. Michigan, 4E. - show 9 p.m. $4 donation) will present a concert of crazed rock, jazz-noise, noise, and even a tribute to a legendary Chicago power-electronics unit.

The White Mice are a spazz-tastic free jazz/noise chaos unit from colorful Providence, RI, with a recording on Load Records, and they will headline. Also on the bill are Mayor Daley (no relation, we think), Golden Birthday, and the debut performance of Permanent Midnight, who bills themselves as a Bloodyminded tribute act! Take a trip down the red line, past downtown, and make sure not to miss this!

Chris Sienko

Artist Mon Mar 12 2007

I Guess This Makes It Official...

The April issue of URB will feature the magazine's annual picks for anticipated blow-ups of hotness for this coming year. And -- padow! --judging from who made the cover of the thing, it looks like what a fair number of us have suspected for some time is now nationally confirmed. Kid Sister and Flosstradamus, ya'll. Hopefully this means there's still time to catch 'em at some of the smaller local venues in the near future.

Graham Sanford

Concert Mon Mar 12 2007

Birthday Party!

You know, I was just telling Gladys the other day, I says to her, Gladys, You just wait. Someday that little club of yours will grow up, and you'll look back and wonder where all the time went. I mean, look at the Metro. To think, it was a summer day in June of 1982 when the Metro started toddling across the music scene, all on its own. Now, 25 years later, it's grown into a nice venue in its own right.

You know, if you want to celebrate the 25th anniversary with the Metro, I'm going to let you in on a little sumpin'-sumpin': they'll be celebrating with a big ol' party at the Hideout's annual block party, of all places! Goodness sakes alive! That's right, this year the party is September 7-9. Sure, it's a little early to announce it, but you know what I always tell Gladys: the early bird catches the worm! Or in this case, concert tickets! More details will be announced later, keep checking those durned websites for more information.

Kara Luger

Review Mon Mar 12 2007

Review: Jon Brion @ Steppenwolf, 3/9 & the Hideout, 3/11

Do you have any idea how lucky we are to live in Chicago and have had the chance to see Jon Brion thrice in less than nine months? After years of being tied to a weekly residency in Los Angeles, he's now graced our city with three excellent performances that have astounded crowds. Known more for his work with others than his own, he's had an opportunity to show our city what all the fuss is about. Whether at Steppenwolf or the Hideout, Jon Brion is simply an extraordinary live performer. Read below for reviews of his two shows this past weekend.

Continue reading this entry »

James Ziegenfus

Review Sun Mar 11 2007

I don't care how you get there...

What has the band Tears for Fears done for you? Besides coloring your 80s existence, they also discovered a talented singer named Oleta Adams. After taking flight on Tears for Fears' second album, The Seeds of Love, Oleta released her critically acclaimed debut, Circle of One in 1990. Casual music fans remember her single, "Get Here," which propelled the album to gold status. After that initial success, her next albums couldn't keep her in the limelight, and she has branched out in recent years to gospel and Christmas efforts.

On Saturday night, with local radio luminary Richard Steele in the audience, Oleta gave an appreciative capacity crowd her best. Accompanied by her husband playing drums and a young bass player, Oleta sang and played the upright piano and keyboard. With a voice range that eclipses quite a few of today's popular singers, she blazed through two sets, with the second being noticeably more energetic. Not coincidentally, she chose to take it back to basics, as she showcased her gospel chops with a blazing rendition of "Sing My Song," an ode to her minister father, which melted perfectly into the church standard "Since I Laid My Burden Down."

If a great talent doesn't sell, is their talent any less? Oleta Adams proves that, even with sparse commercial production (six albums in 16 years), truly great talent doesn't abandon the artist; it's just harder to find those with talent.

Troy Hunter

Blog Sun Mar 11 2007

Chicago Blogwatch

With so many mp3 blogs in existence and new ones popping up every day it's hard to figure out how and why the mainstream press selects one to be crowned king for a day. But that's just what the Wall Street Journal did for Audiversity the other day. It must be combination of luck, timing and talent that gets a particular blog noticed. I don't know about the first two, but Audiversity certainly has that last category covered.

Audioversity is the project of two Music Directors and a record store clerk. The local connection is Michael Ardaiolo, WLUW's music director and host of the WLUW radio show Audiversity: The Radio Show! The Wall Street Journal article (subscription needed) got it wrong when they said Audiversity features rare music. In fact, they cover pretty run of the mill new releases, but the extent, thoroughness and quality of the coverage is what sets them apart. I think in this new media age the term "content is king" will once again rule and sites like Audiversity that showcase excellent writing will somehow rise to the top.

Craig Bonnell

Random Sat Mar 10 2007

The End Is Near (and a year old)

If you think going out on Sunday night is a bad idea, then The End at Smartbar is not for you. Help celebrate their one year anniversary with James Lauer, Paul in Chicago and many other DJs. Funky Couture sponsors this weekly event. There are few week ending (or is it beginning?) events that match The End. There's no cover for this industry night bash and Heineken is on special. Winter is over, it's time to party like it.

Brent Kado

Concert Fri Mar 09 2007

Times New Viking and Clockclean er @ Permanent Records

Here’s a band you should get to know: Columbus, Ohio’s Times New Viking, a lo-fi punk trio whose debut LP, Dig Yourself, on the revived Siltbreeze label branded the band underground darlings and garnered the attention of Matador Records, who will release the band’s next album later this year. Inevitably drawing comparisons to Guided By Voices (cos they’re lo-fi and from Ohio, right?), TNV are a blissful racket—boy-girl vocals, fuzzy guitars, and noisy, sweet keyboards, which are all part of its high-energy live shows. The band is currently touring on its brand-new album, Present The Paisley Reich.

Banned from venues in their hometown, Philadephia’s brutal noise-rockers Clockclean er headline tonight's show. And while their controversial antics seem to take center stage, how could you not love a band that takes a sonic bow to Big Black, and is lyrically just as depraved? After all, they did open an album with: “I saw your girlfriend leaving the abortion clinic yesterday with another man.” RIYL: The Jesus Lizard, dead baby jokes.

[MP3] Times New Viking, “We Got Rocket”
[MP3] Clockclean er, “Hands Are For Holding”

Times New Viking and Clockclean er play TONITE at Permanent Records, 1914 W. Chicago Ave., at 9 pm. There is a suggested donation of $5.

JP Pfafflin

Concert Fri Mar 09 2007

The Many Moods (and members) of Wolf Eyes @ Enemy

Those of you who make a point of never missing a live show by underground titans Wolf Eyes will be interested to know that tonight, Enemy (1550 N. Milwaukee Ave (3rd Floor), Chicago) will be acting like the venue equivalent of a cyclotron, breaking the trio down into its component elements, each member coming to the show with their own solo or duo project.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Venue Thu Mar 08 2007

Red Hot & Afro-Blue

If lively dancing is what you're looking for on a weekend, then this Saturday is a good time to hit Darkroom in Ukranian Village. The second Saturdays of each month are when the club hosts "Sunny Side Up," an event that always draws an enthusiastic crowd of party people. As the floor gets jumping, you might see couples getting busy with some advanced Latin steps, or maybe a gaggle of Brazilian youngsters flexing with Capoeira-type moves. But don't let any of that intimidate you, because it's a loose and mixed affair -- a come-one, come-all night where the dancefloor stays packed and bustling with folks who are there to move and have a good time. DJ 4BZ spins a solid selection of jazzy downtempo, trip-hop, afrobeat, and funky, breakbeat-heavy fare that puts the groove in solid rump-shaking mode. The other resident deejay on hand is Mwelwa, who specializes in a blend of Latin, Caribbean, and African dance-pop flavors that always keeps the crowd going until closing time. This Saturday night's "Sunny Side Up" will also feature a special performance by Ghanian guitarist Dan Boadi and his Ghanatta Internationale. 2210 West Chicago Ave. The party runs from 10pm-3am, and admission is only five bucks.

Graham Sanford

News Thu Mar 08 2007

Pitchfork Adds Another Day, Announces Some Performers

Greg Kot reports that this year's Pitchfork Music Festival is adding Friday to its weekend and it'll feature acts performing albums in their entirety. (Hmm... maybe they loved GvsB's Venus Luxure as much as everyone else at last year's Touch & Go Anniversary.) Also, Cat Power, Clipse, Girl Talk, Grizzly Bear, Iron & Wine, Jamie Lidell, Of Montreal, Powerhouse Sound, and Professor Murder are slated to appear Saturday and Sunday. Tickets go on sale next week at varying prices.

James Ziegenfus

News Thu Mar 08 2007

Lollapalooza Pre-Sale Leaves Out Many

Was there much more frustrating this morning than the ineptitude of servers hosting Lollapalooza's 2007 pre-sale? There seemed to be mounting evidence that there was no real queue and the only way to get through was to attack Front Gate Tickets with hit-upon-hit. According to the festival's website, the 3000 $60 3-day tickets (no shipping or service charges) sold out in twelve minutes. Regular tickets for a whopping $120+ will go on sale April 3.

James Ziegenfus

Feature Thu Mar 08 2007

Our Favorite Record Stores, Vol. 4

Here's a couple of record shops to add to your list of great places to visit for a wide variety of musical tastes. The first, George's Music Room, not only has been operating for nearly 40 years, but has a second location in Midway Airport that you may have missed each time you're looking to kill some time before a flight. The second shop, Permanent Records, isn't even a year old yet, but already has a ton of fans and some great plans in the works for some stellar community involvement. Read on, learn, and head on out there!

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Mar 07 2007

The Swoon and Sigh

According to, an "ambulette" is defined as the following: "A specially equipped motor vehicle for transporting convalescing or handicapped people."

I'm taking a wild swing here, but I'm guessing the Chicago/Richmond, Va.-based band isn't trying to sell themselves to the senior citizenry. Again, that's just an assumption.

Ambulette features singer/guitarist Maura Davis (ex-Denali, Bella Lea), a gal whose vocals range from the classic breathy swoon to a poppier version of Polly Jean Harvey. Joining her are Chicagoans guitarist Matt Clark, bassist Stephen Howard, and drummer Ryan Rapsys (ex-Pinebender, Euphone, and Joan of Arc).

Their EP, The Lottery, is a thing of indie-pop beauty, and it'll be interesting to see what a full-length release would promise. Go check them out as they play on Saturday, March 10 at Schubas, as they play with The New Trust and the Wiitala Brothers.

Kara Luger

Review Wed Mar 07 2007

Show Review: El Perro Del Mar @ Lakeshore Theater, Tue. March 6

Scandanavia has been making the indie music scene all hot and bothered for the last couple of years. Under Byen, The Concretes, Jens Lekman, Peter Bjorn and John, Love is All, and The Sounds are just a few from that seemingly never-ending list of blog-buzzed bands originating from around the Baltic. Last year, Sarah Assbring (real last name) rocketed up that list with a bang as her first stateside LP, the self-titled El Perro Del Mar, brought her soft pop adoration. What with this stage name translating into "the sea dog" and her sound combining the best of '50s radio and '60's doo-wap, I have always imagined her as a fan of traditional dance number "Salty Dog," not just because Cat Power's cover paved the way for indie buzz but also because of its throwback sensibility - it's just a classic number that seems to fit a deserving chanteuse. I had noticed her small US tour would include Chicago and so I set up shop at Lakeshore Theater last night to see how the American '50s would sound through the experience of a 21st-century Swede.

Continue reading this entry »

Brandon Forbes

Concert Wed Mar 07 2007

Fashion Rock? Fashion Rock.

Greetings from the beach in Dubai, my pretties. I can't say I've missed you. It's just too...warm here.

But while I'm wandering around the desert in utter disbelief that there exists any place on earth that requires a 3:1 ratio of Hugo Boss stores to people, you can avail yourselves of an equally angular fashion experience by attending the release party for the new Welcome to Cambridge EP, Sex and Exes, at Subterranean tomorrow night.

I'd post more details but MySpace is filtered here for "being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates." No kidding. On the other hand, Sheik Maktoum has made the tremendous decision to entirely staff his city with stacked eastern European blondes, so it's not like people here are missing out on the essential MySpace experience.

Anyway, Welcome to Cambridge. Right. The sort of dudes that will not only steal your girlfriend, but then steal her Rock and Republics and not feel bad about it. Drink a Miller Lite for me. I'll think of you while I'm blazing down the indoor ski hill.

Welcome to Cambridge at Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave. $7, 8:30PM, 18+.

Nilay Patel

Concert Tue Mar 06 2007

Of Pilgrims and Beehives: Joe Colley and Jason Lescalleet at Odum

Lampo, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing high-profile experimental musicians and installation artists to Chicago for performance, have once again outdone themselves. The people that brought Achim Wollscheid to Chicago so he could cook potato pancakes for a small army of happy, hungry hipsters; who let Maryanne Amacher turn a concrete bunker of a venue into a place where ears could be filled with three-dimensional audio hallucinations; and who recently brought the monarch of a hypothetical empire (Leif Elggren) to his adoring constituents in the Windy City, now welcome two of the premier alchemists of music made primarily with equipment not even a junkshop would take in trade.

Friday and Saturday (9 p.m. both nights), dim the lights and chill the reel-to-reel, becuase Joe Colley and Jason Lescalleet are coming to teach Chicago a new way to boogie (while sitting stock-still in a chair, head down, eyes closed, lost in the moment). On Friday night, the artists will each perform solo sets, while Saturday's show will feature a collaborative duo performance. Tickets for each night is $12, but if you buy Friday's ticket for $12 and wish to return on Saturday, you get in free. Hotcha!

The event takes place at Odum (2116 W. Chicago Avenue, Chicago). for more information.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Concert Tue Mar 06 2007

Not-So-Secret Anymore Hideout Show

It's been swirling in the rumor mill for weeks now, but only yesterday was it confirmed that the vaguely billed "A Special Presentation of the Intonation Festival" at Hideout on Sunday is, in fact, Jon Brion following up Friday's sold out Steppenwolf show with a more intimate performance. Even though tickets are sold out, a few spots will be available at the door on Sunday beginning at 8 p.m. As any diligent Hideout attendee should know, get there early to get inside.

James Ziegenfus

Interview Mon Mar 05 2007

Bjork with a Pitchfork

Holy crap! Pitchfork scored an interview with Bjork about her new album, Volta, which will be released in May. And contrary to her charicaturized personna, she's completely coherent!

"I just wanted to get rhythmic again. Medulla was my way of pulling out of that, refusing to be categorized as 'Oh what rhythm is she going to do next?' Just feeling the pressure of all these young drum programmers or producers or whatever you call them contacting me, like, who was going to be the flavor of the month. It had become this kind of fashion statement, it just wasn't right.

"I mean, I do love one-upmanship sometimes, like when you see kids breakdancing and who can do the best tricks. It's common, it's in our nature as animals, like the birds of paradise who've got the best feathers and that sort of stuff. But it's fun when it's impulsive and it's about fun. When it becomes clever, when it becomes more of a left-brain, who can mathematically out-do the other, it's not so fun anymore. And maybe I just sort of pulled out and did a whole vocal album."

Andrew Huff

Concert Mon Mar 05 2007

The Poetics of Abandonment

How to make socially-cognizant hip-hop that isn't corny or didactic. Or, better yet, how to bring "the fire this time" when you're already living among the ashes. Such conundrums aren't lost on experimental hip-hop duo Dälek, who hail from the waste-lain interzone that is Newark, Newjerz. On 2004's Absence, emcee Dälek spat narratives of desolation, anger, and psychic violence in a taut, School of Rakim delivery while producer Oktopus cloaked the verses in suffocating washes of guitar noise that sounded like My Bloody Valentine in maximum sandblast mode.

Their new release, Abandoned Language, finds them cooling their jets just a bit. Having weathered a sonic Armaggedon of their own making, the duo now sounds as if they're standing amidst the rubble, surveying the aftermath as toxic clouds receed toward the horizon. Cacophony gives way to a brooding rumble, residual tremors threaded on the most tenuous of musical nuances. Not to say it isn't less dischordant and the beats are any less heavy, but it does allow both the listener and Dälek's rhymes a little room to breathe. A lot of room, at times. Case in point: The title track, which sprawls out over the course of ten-plus minutes, its tonal swells and surges unfurling like a glacial and panoramic symphony.

They're playing at Subterranean tomorrow night. Destructo Swarmbots and local post-rock outfit The Timeout Drawer are scheduled to open. The show starts at 9:00 PM. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door. 18 and up show. 2011 W. North Ave.

[mp3]: Dälek - "Paragraphs Relentless"

Graham Sanford

Review Mon Mar 05 2007

Show Review: The Narrator @ The Hideout, Sat. March 3rd

Growing pains don't just refer to the shenanigans of Kirk Cameron and Alan Thicke in the mid-'80s or about that time you woke up at age 9 with terrible affliction in your legs. Though both of these may be relevant, more likely the term describes the struggles to move through life events that's part and parcel of this oh so modern age. Chicago's very own The Narrator are weathering through some growing pains of their own: guitarist & vocalist Jesse Woghin, co-founder of Flameshovel Records, now plays bass for Chin Up Chin Up as well as his Narrator duties, and current drummer Kevin Vlack is brand new, filling in for former drummer Nate Heneghan who left the band last year. Saturday night's show at The Hideout also marked just the second time the band had performed live in almost six months so I was interested to see how these growing pains would transfer to the stage.

Continue reading this entry »

Brandon Forbes

mp3 Mon Mar 05 2007

A Tracklist is Born

In a little over 2 months, fans of Wilco (and really, isn't that all of us?) will have a new aural gift for unwrapping on our collective record players. Sky Blue Sky will hit the shelves on May 16th via Nonesuch Records and include the following tracklist:

01 Either Way
02 You Are My Face
03 Impossible Germany
04 Sky Blue Sky
05 Side With the Seeds
06 Shake It Off
07 Please Be Patient With Me
08 Hate It Here
09 Leave Me (Like You Found Me)
10 Walken
11 What Light
12 On and On and On

As a gift, or teaser might be more appropriate, Wilco's website is offering a free mp3 of penultimate track "What Light." Surprisingly, the track has none of the following: 4 minute guitar noodling, bizarre keyboard sounds, or off-kilter syncopation. In lieu of such avant-posturing found on the last two Wilco records, "What Light" actually sounds like something off of AM or Being There - bright acoustic strumming, slide lead, and Uncle Tupelo-era lead vocals from Tweedy. Is a step backward the way forward? Who knows, but it sounds damn good.

[mp3] What Light (it's zipped)

Brandon Forbes

Concert Mon Mar 05 2007

Shellac for the Attack

Emerging out of a winter-long studio hibernation, Shellac has just announced a special one-off show at the Congrees Theatre on April 15th. What's the occasion you ask? The reclusive rock heavyweights will be performing with the Stooges! Yes, those Stooges as in Iggy and the...

The Stooges, who have been holed up at Electrical Audio recording their first new album in over 30 years will be celebrating the release of their new Albini-produced effort, The Weirdness, while Shellac will preview songs from their long-awaited fourth full-length, Excellent Italian Greyhound!

John Lombardo

Concert Sat Mar 03 2007

Smoke Signals

Quick: Smoke or fire? Which do you choose?

Give up? Well, lucky ducky, you get to have both when Richmond, Va., quartet Smoke or Fire play loveable hole Ronny’s (2103 N. California) on Friday, March 9. They’re touring in promotion of their sophomore album, This Sinking Ship, which, well, sounds like a Fat Wreck Chords album: heavy riffs, tight ‘n speedy drumming, and shouty-yet-harmonious vocals. Mind you, it’s not meant to be entirely disparaging—unlike many bands who have similar styles, the boys of Smoke or Fire actually have their shit fairly together.

This Sinking Shipfeatures a new drummer, Dave Atchinson (from crust-punk group From Ashes Rise) and more lyrics about drunken nights, constant touring, and broken relationships. “Irish Handcuffs” slows it down just a hair from half-time drumbeats, while recounting their glory days and rueing the inevitable aging process (“Young livers dying slowly through reckless days we’ve come to accept…/To tell the truth this shit is starting to make me sick”). “Shine,” with it’s nicely explored intro, seems to be the prerequisite song about How Politics Sucks, while “Folding the Pages” is knee-deep in urban dystopia. It’s all well and good, and fairly catchy.

Opening is local heroes (and equally Fat Wreck-produced) The Lawrence Arms.

Kara Luger

Artist Sat Mar 03 2007

Ears Ring

Ten years ago, Princeton Scheide Professor of Music History and Gregorian chant expert Peter Jeffrey went to a rock concert for the first time in his life to watch/pick up his son. Eight years ago today, he went to court to sue the Smashing Pumpkins, Fountains of Wayne, the Frogs, the New Haven Coliseum, Virgin Records, and earplug manufacturer Siebe North for 150,000 dollars, claiming the single performance, even as heard through the protection of the earplugs, had caused irreparable damage. His lawyer stated Mr. Jeffrey "has chronic tinnitus and also suffers from sleep deprivation". At one point he even appeared on the Today Show - you think he was trying to make a point about that loud rock music?

Continue reading this entry »

Dan Morgridge

Artist Fri Mar 02 2007

And still more yet to do...

Ye, Common, and Twista are flag-bearers for Chicago hip-hop, and Rhymefest wants to join that rarefied air. He's battled Eminem, he's won a Grammy, and he's preparing his second LP effort. His new album, El Che is said to feature Kanye, DJ Premier, and Ghostface. He sits for an audio interview and speaks on touring, the new album, and battle rhyming, among other things.

Troy Hunter

Concert Fri Mar 02 2007

A Meaningful Concert

The story of the band Silkworm is one of accomplishment and tragedy. When drummer Michael Dahquist was struck and killed in his car by a mentally disturbed girl trying to committ suicide, the bands nearly 15 year run with Dahquist in the lineup had suddenly ended and so had Silkworm. Now almost two years later, the power of Silkworm lives on. Saturday night The Empty Bottle will host Molto Amore: A Salut! To Silkworm with bands like Century Rocket Building, Joe Sepi, Push-Pull (many who have collaborated on a Silkworm tribute CD) and others. There will be a screening of the trailer for the soon-to-be-released documentary about the band Couldn't You Wait. All proceeds will go to charity.

Brent Kado

mp3 Fri Mar 02 2007

Great Double Bill March 9 w/The Kamikaze Hearts and The Gunshy

The Kamikaze Hearts are one of the few great young alt-country acts with a chance to crossover, had the country's radio landscape not shifted so drastically over the last decade or so they would at least have had a shot at being a household name. The band is from Buffalo, but is becoming a Chicago favorite as they visit Chicago for the third time in the past year. They'll be playing The Hideout on Friday, March 9 on a double bill with The Gunshy.

Here's two songs from their 2006 release, Oneida Road, set to be released in the UK on One Little Indian on March 19:

[mp3]:Top Of Your Head
[mp3]:No One Called You A Failure

The Gunshy has just relocated to Chicago, so they are officially the Chicago band on the bill. The Gunshy is basically Matt Arbogast. His voice is a spent, worn out thing; like Tom Waits on a good day. Musically he's all over the map, but If I had to categorize his sound I'd call it gothic, folk-punk. Get to Martyr's early on March 9th to see this one of a kind artist.

Here's the title track from his new record on Latest Flame Records.


Craig Bonnell

Feature Thu Mar 01 2007

Ghost Kings Alive and Kicking in Chicago

When asked to describe his music, David "Chainsaw" Dupont offers an old Southern saying to explain the inexplicable. "We just shimmy up the tree a little without going too much out on a limb — you can't pinpoint the feelings," he says over the phone, right before he's about to perform with his band at Lee's Unleaded Blues nightclub, 7401 S. South Chicago. The 50-year-old lifelong bluesman tells me that Lee's is a "the real thing — one of the best juke joints in Chicago." In his opinion, most of what claims to be blues in Chicago is really not. "Most guys cover blues songs," he notes. "Very few people are doing original work." Doing original work is Dupont's specialty.

Continue reading this entry »

Andrew Huff

Concert Thu Mar 01 2007

Lolla Announces 2007 Headliner

Sweet, it's gonna be like 7th grade all over again: Dero reports today that this year's Lollapalooza headliner will be "godfathers of grunge," Pearl Jam. The band last headlined the music festival, due to take place this year in Grant Park on Aug 3-5, in 1992. Personally, these fingers are crossed for an SST-era reunion of Soundgarden.

JP Pfafflin

Music & Film Thu Mar 01 2007

Get Off/On the Internet!

Video Artist and founding member of Le Tigre, Sadie Benning, will be in Chicago on Wednesday, as part of the Art Institute's Visiting Artist Lecture Series. The experimental filmmaker and musician responsible for developing the video/slide show element of Le Tigre's roadshow will speak about her recent video installation and try to tackle elements of gender roles/norms in emerging technology.

Tickets are $5 ($3 students, seniors, and SAIC alumni). More info can be found here.

John Lombardo

Concert Thu Mar 01 2007

Walking with Steve

Trusty surgical masks in place, Liverpoolians Clinic descend on the North Michigan Avenue Apple Store this coming Monday, March 5th. Not only will they no doubt be playing some tracks off of their recent Visitations LP, they will be playing these tracks for FREE. The show's at 7, but I would get there much earlier if I were you as this is their only Chicago stop announced so far on the Visitations tour. For a taste of the true grandeur of the Satanic Majesties-era Stones sound Clinic are reivigorating in Visitations, you can stream a few tracks here.

Brandon Forbes

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15