The humble little Beat Kitchen has surpassed all of its' rivals with an unequaled one-two punch this weekend of Page France on Friday and Get Him Eat Him on Saturday. There's no way to tie these two disparate bands in a nice little bow for you, other than saying they both favor the sly, coying, and ever so frantic indie rock that get's the big music blog sites all a twitter. It's eminently likeable, catchy rock bordering on pop that's as smart as the Decemberists, while not hung-up on finding antiquated words to impress music critics with. Both band have new records out; Page France's ...And The Family Telephone was released in May by Suicide Squeeze Records and Get Him Eat Him's new one, Arms Down, is just out on Absolutely Kosher (they also have a limited edition purple vinyl 7" out on Catbird Records)
The Ramones earned their place in music history and Marky Ramone was there for much of the band's hall of fame career. Recently the band's drummer has been involved in many projects including producing a DVD about the Ramones, a satellite radio show, a spoken word tour and gigs with many punk superstars. You can throw DJing into the mix as well. Catch him this Saturday at Debonair Social Club with Jordan Z and Mat Devine of Kill Hannah. RSVP for free entry.
If you've been following your Transmission feature stories, you'll no doubt remember Lampo. For those that need a brush-up, Lampo is the Ukranian Village-based venue which has spent its first 10 years of existence bringing 100 concerts of extraordinary experimental musicians from all over the world to the area, generally for exclusive performances of new works, often for their first performance in our fair city.
After 100 shows, the Lampo planned to move to a new location in time for its fall season. Unfortunately, funds are proving to be tight. That's why they are currently on the hunt for 100 people who would be willing to donate $9.99 to help them to continue bringing artists like Zbigniew Karkowski, Eliane Radigue, Lasse Marhaug, and Leif Elggren to Chicago. The money will be spent upgrading the sound system (when you're hosting a sonically demanding artist like Maryanne Amacher, you better make sure your speakers are fully functioning), paying the rent on the new space, and, most important for anyone who has sat through one of these hour long-plus performances, NEW CHAIRS. Not to mention bringing internationally-acclaimed artists in from every country in the world and making sure they're adequately compensated for their efforts.
Click the Lampo membership page for more information on how you can help. Other payment levels (which include important swag like free tickets and t-shirts) are also available.
According to Wikipedia, a "Fugue State" is something like amnesia, but it's not somehow, because...uh...oh blah blah, woof woof, the entry is written in doctor-ese, and I didn't get what they were talking about, so instead of sticking with it, I went into the other room for a root beer.
Anyway, it's kind of like amnesia. But not.
What it's also kind of like is a two-night music festival going down at the Empty Bottle (1035 N. Western) - starting TONIGHT (Friday)!! Yes, it put such a fog on my brain, I FORGOT to write about it until just now! Oh no...the FUGUE STATE!
Anyway, Fugue State the festival is spearheaded by local experimental music label Rebis Records, hosted graciously by The Empty Bottle, and billed as "a celebration of the drone in all its many manifestations, as interpreted by many of Chicago's finest musicians." It's seriously a killer lineup too - if your head is the type of head that gets all melty and shimmery in the presence of a great drone, be it generated by electronic device or rock and roll implement (i.e. guitar), you probably already know names like Haptic, Goldblood, DRMWPN (Dreamweapon), Number None, The Fortieth Day, and Estombello. Heck, you may even know names like Good Stuff House (OMG, Zelienople + the guy from Souled American!!!), Matt Clark, David Daniell, and The Zoo Wheel as well! I don't. But that's why I'm going...to find out.
Full info on the festival, including band bios, can be found at the Rebis Records Fugue State festival page. Shows start at 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday night. Admission for one night is $12, two nights is $20.
Religion, Rap music and politics is a combination that shouldn't be lumped together. But recently a church on the South side of Chicago purchase of billboard space calling some contemporary rapper's music trash seems to have broached the subject. While the move has been met with praise, it is in fact moralistic grandstanding and false artistic interpretation. And while the moral and artistic shortcomings of the church's ploy could be deconstructed in detail, we find a historic angle that deserves commentary as well. Music, more specifically black forms of he auditory art, have oft been criticized by the holier-than-thou types for it's ability to turn the good to evil or the passive to aggressive. Blues music found detractors in both white and black judgment as it rose to popularity and was being co-opted into Rock and Roll. Blues in its earlier forms had been called the devil's music and was cited as a cause for violence, inappropriate race mixing and sexual freedom. Similarly, years later Disco (which was basically co-opted Funk) was lambasted by conservative types for many of the same negatives supposedly found in Blues, with drug use also included. Today Rap has found itself facing similar detractors
Ok. We're taking about Chicago, right? So in that context does the name Michael McDermott really need any introduction? Since a lot of the kids haven't heard about Paul McCartney's other band, I suppose he does. Thumbnail sketch then. Michael had a huge hit with the song "A Wall I Must Climb" from his 1991 debut 620 W. Surf. While I never connected with that over produced AOR-ready song, the title track was very poetic and appealing (especially for someone who lived right down the street from the actual 620 W. Surf). His debut was hailed as the record of the year and Michael himself as the coming of the new messiah, but since no one can live up to that subsequent records failed to deliver the same knockout punch.
Now a decade or two later Michael McDermott is back with a new album, Noise From Words, on the hip label One Little Indian. On first listen the new single "No Words" is more of along the lines of "A Wall I Must Climb" but I'll reserve judgment and give Michael a pass until I can hear the whole record. Buy it here now. Catch Michael McDermott at Martyr's on June 29.
Back when I was an art-school undergrad, our department was paid a visit by artist Roger Brown. The son of a local grocer from Opelika, Alabama, Brown was a hometown boy made good who'd gone off to attend the School of the Art Institute and become a Windy City cultural fixture via his affiliation with the whole Chicago Imagist movement. He'd brought some slides of his recent paintings, and among them was a work that depicted a cameo portrait of Kenny Rogers hovering over a pastoral expanse of the Great American Heartland. Asked why he'd put a likeness of the country vocalist in the painting, Brown replied, "Because I always thought Kenny Rogers looked a lot like God."
Well folks, if you were planning to hit the Chicago Country Music Festival in Grant Park this Saturday, then you'll have the chance to see a stage full of deific doppelgängers. Not only will The Man himself be performing, but the Festival's reportedly hosting a Kenny Rogers Look-alike Contest! And, for shizzle—this has the makings of a big event, as it appears that impersonating Kenny Rogers is something of a cottage industry throughout the country (see here, here, and here). Indeed, it seems that even Kenny himself has had to put some effort into looking like Kenny in recent years. So here's your chance to see the man who was once voted Favorite Singer of All Time in a joint USA Today/People magazine poll without having to make the haul to Branson. It all gets underway at 3pm at the Petrillo Music Shell, Saturday.
Just like Andre Breton, who famously declared, "Beauty will be convulsive, or will not be at all," Andy Ortmann doesn't make records just so you can go and mindlessly enjoy them. His label is called Nihilist Records, after all, not "Let's Have a Friendly Chat over Cupcakes Records."
It's Thursday, so the TX staff will once again be rolling into the Five Star to listen to New Wave while the adorably annoyed staff serves us well liquor and watches us drop bleary-eyed game on strangers. Last week involved cupcakes, a birthday girl, and Guitar Hero, not to mention the charming asshole who tried to pick up my girlfriend by telling her how much his watch cost. (Answer: his dignity.) We'll be there again tonight, along with DJ Brad Owen and his uncanny ability to take hits from the 80s (yeah yeah) and make it sound so crazy (yeah yeah). Five Star is at 1424 W. Chicago, just west of Chicago and Ashland, see you there after about 930. Also make sure to join our Facebook group -- how else are you all going to keep the flirt alive between Thursdays? Pics from last week after the jump.
According to TimeOutChi and a few other sources, the South Loop nightclub and music venue HotHouse issued a press release this week that confirms the uncertainty of its future. Due to an ongoing lease dispute, the club's schedule will be suspended as the owners look for a new location. For those who've paid attention, HotHouse has encountered its share of problems throughout its history, perhaps none so public as the recent shake-up on its board of directors. Over the years, the place has served as one of the city's most indispensable venues for world music, poetry slams and spoken-word events, local hip-hop, jazz, and plenty of top-shelf DJ appearances. No word yet as to where it plans settle next.
Ramona Cordova is big in France (and Italy, Greece and much of Western Europe). I'm not sure why Europeans fell so hard for his strange blend of Walt Disney meets Antony and the Johnsons. His debut record, "The Boy Who Floated Freely", is a concept album of 11 songs about a boy who washes up on an island of gypsies and magical fairies. But it works...seriously!
Ramona Cordova plays Chicago tonight at 8pm at South Union Arts. Below is an mp3 from his debut courtesy of Les In Rocks (France's "Rolling Stone").
Hey music-lovers! What's not to love about a free EP and free tickets to a show? (Nothin', that's right.) Just be the first to email us at inbox (at) gapersblock.com with the subject line "My IQ is Hot" and you'll get the Hot IQs' latest release (read what we have to say about them a little bit below or right here), as well as a free chance to see them at the Kinetic Playground Thursday night. It's just that easy! [Update:] We have a winner! Congrats to Kristen!
Between them, they have more than a century of musicmaking. While their exposure on stations such as WXRT certainly has exposed them to an audience that wouldn't ordinarily look for them outside a Baptist choir stand, much less in one, the roots of The Blind Boys of Alabama and Chicago's own Mavis Staples (whose latest album was reviewed earlier) are in the gospel tradition, and they settled into it last night and got comfy in it.
With an enthusiastic audience on hand, the Blind Boys swung their way through their Grammy-winning efforts, highlighted by a rollicking, extended effort which entailed vocalist Jimmy Carter shrugging off his guide and going up and down the aisles on the main floor. "If you want to clap, stand up, tap your foot, go right ahead," we were extolled, and the crowd responded by doing all of the above.
Mavis, by contrast, took the crowd to church in another way. By simply talking with the audience, she masterfully slowed the vibe down and delivered with a few secular songs mixed in with the church exhortations. "I'll Take You There" sounded at home with "Jesus Is On The Main Line," and so forth. Her voice, from its bottom up, was clear and controlled as she controlled the mood of the room, never getting ahead of the vibe of the audience, who, while poised to take it back to church, was just as happy to sing along to pretty much everything she sang.
All in all, an awesome concert by people who've been doing this kind of thing for a while, evoke emotion from the audience, and have the skill in singing to have the room up on their feet after the final note. A masterful concert by two giants of gospel.
Tortoise pops its head out of its collective shell to make an in-town appearance at the Metro this weekend. Granted, it's been three years since they released an album of new material, but expecting a regular schedule from an entity that never fully behaved like a "band" in any conventional, rock-wise sense would be like asking Jackson Pollock to color between the lines. And it isn't like the band's their activities have been slack in the interim. Recent efforts have seen them all busy with their various side projects, be it the recent effort from The Sea & Cake, Doug McCombs continuing work under his Brokeback pseudonym, or guitarist Jeff Parker being the indefatigable and multi-skilled musician about town. Not to mention that this past week saw the release of the Bumps LP--a one-off project by drummers John McEntire, John Herndon, and Dan Bitney.
Despite all of the tangential bustle, Tortoise has reportedly been working on new material, and recently contributing some music for an upcoming documentary on Robert Moog. They're making a quick excursion of touring through major cities across North America. Sunday night will find them making a quick stopover at home base to play the Metro. Touring with the band and featured on the opening bill is Joan of Arc offshoot Make Believe. Somewhat newsworthily, the occasion marks one of Tim Kinsella's final performances with the group (in case you missed it, story here). So catch that while you can. First up on the billing is David Daniell. 3730 N. Clark. Tickets are $19. Doors open at 7pm, show starts at 8. 18 & over.
Wishing you had the kind of book smarts that drive the _____ (plural gender) wild?
Look no further, friend. Featuring intelligent lyrics and poppy, angular hooks (not to mention cuter-than-hell musicians -- check out the gum-snapping drummer, Elaine), the Hot IQs can meet your every rock 'n roll need. The Denver-based trio are swinging through Chicago in support of their new EP, Dangling Modifier, and will be playing at the Kinetic Playground on Thursday, June 28.
What, not hot enough for you? How 'bout I toss in the equally hot Unicycle Loves You, a local group who just signed with Chicago-based label Highwheel Records (whose roster includes Arks, Walking Bicycles, and Bang! Bang!). DJ Brian J will also be spinning, whose attractiveness I can only assume is on par with the others.
I found this tape labeled "The Mav Quoth" and thought it might be interesting. What I discovered was a really weird spoken word/ poetry thing. It sounds like this guy does not like kids, marriage, or Ukrainians.
This year's Pitchfork music festival is nearly sold out! If you want to get in on the mid-July music weekend, you'd better act fast. Pitchfork Media announced this week that 2-day weekend passes are gone gone gone. Friday's already sold out, so you'd better get going if you want to hear the likes of The New Pornographers, Yoko Ono, De La Soul, Stephen Malkmus, Clipse or Iron & Wine (plus oodles more) this summer. It's $25 per day (which is less than you dropped at the bar the other night, so what's your excuse now?).
If you're not hearing anything on your favorite Internet radio station today, it might be a silence you'll have to get used to -- Today, online stations like Accuradio and Pandora, along with terrestrial, taste-making stations like XPN and WOXY, have stopped streaming in protest of a royalty rate hike for online radio stations that's set for July 15. Some stations say that the 17 months of back royalties that need to be payed up next month could put them out of business, therefore making today's planned silence a permanent vacation. For more about how the rate hike could affect Internet radio, and how you can still contact your representative in support, read up in May's Transmission feature.
Don't waste your cash on flyers to promo a show, just make some and put them up. It's good advice and it seems Them Roaring Twenties have started in the right direction. The venue is thier loft above Lava Lounge and the Twenties make music you'll wanna check tonight. A mix of sporadic-experimental jazz tinged liberally with soft-rock, it's nice music to build up the night with. They'll be joined by Algernon Cadwallader. (West Philly band that sounds like a guitar-driven Ween) Show starts early at 8, so you can catch this and then head out for more madness
Fitzgerald's 4th of July weekend long party is a Chicago (Berwyn!?) institution. The lineup is fairly consistent year to year and that's probably because tastes don't change at quite the same pace in roots music as they do in indie rock. Artists are able to age gracefully and actually become more productive, nuanced and successful as they age. American Music Fest mainstays like Marcia Ball, Terrence Simian, and Beausoleil are back once again, but there are also a nice group of newcomers on the lineup including Hayes Carll, Elana James and The Holmes Brothers.
One of the biggest draws this year may well be the southern soul cooking of Wishbone Restaurant ( a new addition to the Fitzgerald's complex and the fest in particular). If the weather cooperates this is a can't miss weekend of music. Festivities begin Friday, June 29 and go though Tuesday, July 3 (closed Monday). Tickets are $25 at the door and kids are welcome (only $5). More info here. Here's an an assortment of mp3's from artists appearing at this years fest.
The Moonstation House Band album has a soft sound reminiscent of Electric Warrior. Surely not coincidentally, David Vandervelde has often been compared to Marc Bolan for his distinct fluttery vocals and guitar-playing. (However, Vandervelde is far too shy to garner comparisons to Bolan's brashness.) And so with that in mind, it was a small shock at Darkroom on Saturday when Vandervelde sounded more southern rock than anything resembling early glam-rock. Although, it should be noted that Vandervelde has mentioned in interviews that he prefers to not mirror the album's arrangements live. As three-minute songs stretched into jams lasting over eight, it was clear that the David Vanderveldes in the studio and in front of a crowd are two different performers. Strings, synthesizers, organs, and anything else on The Moonstation House Band not percussion, guitar, or bass were dropped. The airy riffs on "Jacket" were chunky and the breezy "Feet of a Liar" became harsh. Fortunately, this isn't some fad that Vandervelde (along with Richie Kirkpatrick and Derek James) hasn't thought out. The songs still worked, just not in the same way that they do on the album. In the end, though, the variation's just another example of the talent that Vandervelde has in store for listeners.
In a strange, un-forseen turn of events, Tim Kinsella has announced that he is quitting his most recent, well-loved, full-time band Make Believe.
You can read Kinsella's full explanation here, as it appears on the band's official website. It's difficult to discern why this decision has been delivered now, with the new record fully-written, but it seems like "Being a sort of bizzaro David Lee Roth or whatever is kind of fun and fulfilling in some sort of way, but not something I have it in me to prioritize enough to commit the time to..." kinda sums it up.
The band's two remaining shows with Tortoise (the last at Metro on 7/1) will be Kinsella's last.
What's better than a tour of one of the most important historical aspects of Chicago, like our long tradition of putting out amazing blues artists? Well, how about one that's free, downloadable to your mp3 player and narrated by Buddy Guy. The City of Chicago has done just that with a new self-guided blues tour that leads you all around Chicago's blues landmarks from Maxwell Street to Chess Records to the former home of Muddy Waters. While you're walking, you'll hear interviews with legends like Koko Taylor and Buddy Guy and hear profiles on musicians such as Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, just to name a few. Best of all, the tour will take you under an hour. Perfect for lunchtime, or when you just want to get a little bit of Chicago history under your feet and between your ears.
A new show space is opening its doors in the loft that previously housed Open End Gallery. Continuing on where its predecessor left off, AV-aerie has begun scheduling performances to rival the amazing shows that Open End hosted in the past (Deerhoof, the Mountain Goats, etc). AV-aerie has announced a special performance by LA's long-running spazz unit The Mae Shi on August 8th, as well as Portland's Deer or the Doe and Junkface on Sept 10th.
Stay tuned for more exciting performance news. For more info on AV-aerie, check out: www.av-aerie.org.
Not enough bands have full fledged fight songs. What is a fight song anyway? I guess it's a song where the band is self referential to the extreme, even going as far as singing in the third person about the band. Hallelujah The Hills from Boston have the latest, greatest example of a band fight song.
The band is newly signed to Misra/Absolutely Kosher and is tearing up the blog world with their debut Collective Psychosis Begone. Catch their frantic, skattershot punk (mixed with strings and horns) June 25 at The Note opening up for Southerly.
I say this with all love and admiration, but damn if lead singer of Apostle of Hustle Andrew Whiteman doesn't look like some cross between a flamingo and a Fraggle on stage. Maybe it's his mop of curly hair and the way he hops around the stage with his guitar for each song, or maybe it's just because he seems to honestly enjoy what he's doing so much as to seem other-worldly, but damn, he's entrancing. I first saw Whiteman playing with fellow Canadians Broken Social Scene at last summer's Lollapalooza, where he would crouch down between every song or two and take long swigs from a bottle of red wine. Later, he used the bottle as a slide on his guitar. (Yup, I fell a little bit in love with him that day.) In his current side project, Apostle of Hustle, Whiteman is still fun to watch, though he was sipping from a small glass of dark liquor last night, not the vino.
It seems that when the music press talks about Chicago labels they tend only to focus on the same handful: Touch and Go, Alligator, Delmark, Thrill Jockey, etc. etc. But there are many labels in Chicago that are flourishing today, releasing all kinds of music that you may have never heard about. Gapers Block: Transmission sits down with two of them today.
We had the pleasure of hearing sally's latest album, long live the new flesh, before it was even mastered. It is an intense, emotive album that pushes the experimental envelope just enough without alienating. Now the album is officially on the street and tonight sally (with fellow Paribus Record mates LMNOP and upstart MeanOhio) heads to the Empty Bottle for a record release show. sally live is a striking experience with their soul-gripping sound more prominent in person. Show time is 9:30 and the cost is a reasonable 7 bucks.
Thursday again, and you know what that means: drinks, New Wave, and TX editors mounting a stripper pole against everyone's best judgment. Summer arrived in full force last week with an almost alarming display of skin, including the antics of a couple, shall we say, "busted looking Eurotrash hookers," but that didn't stop anyone from having a Time. $3 drafts will do that for a crowd. The TX crew --including Dear Leader Anne Holub -- will be back at the Five Star in full force tonight, stop in and say hi! The Five Star is located at 1424 W. Chicago, just east of Chicago and Ashland. Pics from last week after the jump -- and join our Facebook group here.
This Friday night at South Union Arts, you can get quite a lot done with the musical stylings of the night's fine performers. Armed with a new name and coming off an opening spot for Loney, Dear at Schubas, Picture Books (nee Erik Harms & The Trophy Wives) will top the bill. Fable & The World Flat are importing some lo-fi smoothness from Milwaukee into the affair. Spiller Whale will perform their first hometown appearance (and presumably make sure everyone has a whale of a good time, a-ho ho ho ho)!
Ahem. Show starts at 8PM.
Let's talk about some prototypical "booty bass" stuff, if not about the key ingredients of almost everything that's now considered funky. By that I mean that special punch of the drum and wobble of bass that dutifully informs you that your ass is meant for greater things than just sittin' on. If any city can claim proprietorship over funk, it's New Orleans. That beat was very much there in the Crescent City's insular r&b scene throughout the 1950s and '60s, rooted in early jazz and blues and then reanimated years later via the sampler in hip-hop. And if you've been down there and you went to the right (meaning: local, non-touristy) places where the younger brass bands play, then you know it continues to thrive and evolve and move people to this day.
The native N.O. version of it is unmistakable, as are the moves that go with it. When it starts up, you can pick out the born-and-bred locals by how they automatically respond to the rhythm—instinctively sinking into a stance that involves a certain splay of the feet and crook of the knees, followed by a distinctly indigenous sway and bounce of the hips that intensifies as the band works its way into full swing mode. And while it may be something of an epiphany to some that a tuba (a tuba!) could get a roomful of rumps to shaking, anyone who's experienced any of this first-hand can verify it as fact. That's one of the reasons that the guys in the Rebirth Brass Band call their tuba player Philip Frazier "The Staple."
The last show I saw at the Vic was the strange pairing of indie buzz magnet Patrick Wolf and queen diva of the moment Amy Winehouse. Although I missed his set, the sheer amount of people entering as late as I was that night (albeit unplanned on my part) seemed to show a general disinterest in their off-kilter choice of opener. Tonight, with last year's soft psychadelia explorers Grizzly Bear opening for this year's "Most Likely to Be Co-Opted By Your Mom" artist Feist, I worried for a repeat.
As a pleasant surprise, the crowd seemed to know and enjoy the G-Bear, follwing them through stand-out track "Knife", sea shanty cover "Deep Blue Sea", and their heavily blogged Crystals cover "He Hit Me (It Felt Like A Kiss)". The band was well-received, and set the energy level nicely for Feist to hop on and ride.
Although a huge gap of time in between the bands killed that momentum pretty stone dead, the eventual appearance of the skinny Canadian girl raised a ruckus and fixed all shuffle-foots in attentive poses. Leslie sang wonderfully and had a top-notch group of multi-instrumentalists keeping her extra golden. Most fun though, was Feist's audience banter and interaction - a short checklist of her sense of humor:
~ Beginning the night by only singing her banter
~ Turning the audience into a three-part harmony note
~ Making loops of herself imitating birds
- Reading someone's graduate paper on hair follicles on stage
~ Busting out a tap-dancer in lieu of Gonzales on piano for her solo guitar bit.
Amidst all the showmanship, Feist seemed to be honestly touched by the fans, which is nice to see half-way through the tour. Whether it was for GB drummer's hometown show or just sheer love, both performers gave big ups to "Cheeee-cago!"
A big evening at Darkroom is shaping up for this Friday. It's the big DJ LA* Jesus Benefit Birthday Bash, and plenty of participants have piled on to celebrate and make the thing happen for a worthy cause. DJ LA* Jesus been an amusing fixture on the local club scene these past few years, and not unlike his namesake, has landed his own devout following around town. He's slung a good many crafty bootleg remixes (Missy E's "Pass The Dutchie" atop New Order's "Blue Monday," anyone?), and has recently done some legit remix work for The Flaming Lips and Apostle of Hustle. And this Friday is His his birthday, and a big to-do is in order. Entertainment-wise, DJ LA* Jesus himself will be spinning, as will Bald Eagle of the Life During Wartime crew, and deejay Lipschitz. But wait, it ain't over! The evening will also feature an appearance by dance-popsters Walter Meego, who will reportedly contribute to the DJing and perform a live set, as well.
As for the Benefit portion of the evening is concerned, proceeds will go to Rock For Kids, the Chicago non-profit organization that helps provide music education and lessons to homeless and underprivileged children. A lot of folks have signed on to provide incentives, and there will reportedly be giveaways that might allow you to chance to get free stuff from Threadless, studio time at Rax Trax studios, a free haircut from Ben Mollin, and tickets to upcoming shows around town (word has it that the Metro will be holding a raffle for tix to see Clap Your Hand Say Yeah and Cold War Kids). 2210 W. Chicago. It all gets underway at 9pm. $6 at the door or you can buy advanced tickets from the club.
Once again, Chicago Public Radio is asking listeners to share their choices for the best music the area has to offer this summer. It's just a matter of clicking over and filling out their online form, letting them know who you're looking forward to hearing this summer in Chicagoland. Then, if they like what you have to say, you'll get a note back from the station along with a special hotline where you can call in and record a message telling them all about your picks. At the site, you can read the submissions, or Chicago Public Radio show Eight Forty-Eight might even air your message if you make the grade.
(And yeah, the station's doing that fund drive thing again right now. Maybe throw them some bones if you can? That would be real nice.)
After a too-long absence, the SF-by-way-of-Columbus femme fatales of noise/drone, 16 Bitch Pile-Up, return to Chicago for a night of bass guitars played with knives, long mic cords, chains on concrete, and, er, yoga moves. Show goes down at Enemy (1550 N. Milwaukee, 3rd floor) on Wednesday June 20th. $5 donation, BYOB.
Shannon Walter and Sarah Cathers of 16 Bitch Pile-Up. Photo by Bill T. Miller. More live images of 16 Bitch Pile-Up can by found Here.
So there's a great show tonight at Schubas. It must have been one of those rare times for a booker when all the stars align and you're able to bring in three very complimentary artists. Opening up is Romantica (or more accurately leader Ben Kyle), followed by Ezra Furman and then capped off by Ben Weaver.
Ben Kyle (leader of Romantica) is originally from Ireland, but now lives in Minneapolis. It seems odd to hear such stereotypically American sounding music from Ben Kyle. But his version of Americana is definitely informed by his Irish roots as drinking at the pub, "girls from Donegal way" and many references to God/Jesus can be found in his songs. America (2024 Records) is the new record from Romantica.
I've mentioned Ezra and his band The Harpoons in this space before (here) so I'm not going to get into it again now. However, tonight's show will be a solo affair for Ezra and it will probably bring out his quirkier side and a bunch of fun songs (a la Jonathan Richman).
Ben Weaver is the headliner and one of the most acclaimed solo artists in the midwest. His self-released records (he runs his label out of a Minneapolis casket company warehouse) have been garnering critical acclaim for years. His latest, Paper Sky, ups the ante with production by Brian Deck and a fuller, more complex sound. He'll be solo at this show; so just him, an acoustic guitar, and his songs.
As Andrew mentioned over in Merge, yesterday marked the official end of an era in beloved music publication: Punk Planet is no more. Their current issue (No. 80) will be the magazine's last with interviews with the G7 Welcoming Committee, Andre Schiffrin, and The Steinways. In their 13th year, the magazine lost the struggle over issues with a bankrupt distributor (issues that are also plaguing other indie publications like McSweeney's who also are sending up the warning flags). As PP puts it in their farewell note, "Benefit shows are no longer enough to make up for bad distribution deals, disappearing advertisers, and a decreasing audience of subscribers." The website will remain up and active, as will the Punk Planet books division, and we can all help to support them (*cough* buy something! *cough*) so that some day, some way, they can return to us.
drizadjective1: the state of being intoxicated by substances of illegal or legal nature 2: feeling elated to the point of frenzy and/or public urination. see also drizholler
In what was one of the most ambitious billings of the Empty Bottle's event series hosted by the Hyde Park Art Center, the Philadelphia rap crew Plastic Little played inside of the Speaker Project this past Friday evening. Sadly, audience turnout was somewhat on the lighter side. Something about venturing down to the Southside proved too much of a hike or a challenge for too many folks. Possible deterrent number two: The event was at an Art Center instead of a club, meaning that no drinks were being served. Sorry, folks — it's a BYOB affair. So the early part of the evening involved the ebb and flow of attendees arriving and then re-arriving with six packs in tow, scattering out into the neighborhood in search of a package store, their paths crossing as they wandered the surrounding blocks, sometimes packing in groups in the course of the quest. Juan Chávez, the artist responsible for the Speaker Project, was there with some gear to record the evening's events and a smile that didn't leave his face for the rest of the night.
The home listener can easily recreate this event by standing in the rain with their iPod at maximum volume and the EQ set to "Treble Booster." Perfectionists are encouraged to first pay $5 for a confusingly bullshit taco.
With the advent of digital files, p2p and a one world economy I find it strange that there are still different release dates for the same record in different countries. Case in point is last years electro pop record by Firefox AK. The band had a high profile release in Sweden called Madame, Madame. Now it seems Minty Fresh will be releasing the record in September in the states. Don't get me wrong this is a great development and I hope it's a success for Minty Fresh (then they can sign other Razzia Record's artists like Hello Saferide and Maia Hirasawa).
Video for "Madame, Madame"
Bonus Mp3's from Razzia Record's recording artist Hello Saferide
Does it strike anyone else as odd that certain animals are considered "in"? The last few years have seen the influx of all things unicorns, ligers, and owls; lordy, don't even get me started on wolves. I'm waiting for spiny echidnas to be the next hot beast.
That being said, Brooklyn-based Panthers are riding a similar wave of mammalian coolness, not only for their air-brushed t-shirt potential, but for their sheer rockability. Having toured with explosive live acts such as The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Erase Errata, Liars, and The Rapture, Panthers have learned a thing or two about getting a crowd going. Their latest album, The Trick, finds the band taking a turn from their formerly D.C. punk influence, and heading in a more indie and good ol'-fashioned rawk direction. Not bad.
Check out the growly quintet at the Empty Bottle on Friday, June 15. They're playing with Big Business and Raise the Red Lantern, and the show will only set you back 8 bones.
East Coast (as well as points further inland) is representin' at Enemy this Friday (8:30 p.m.; 1550 N. Milwaukee Ave, 3rd Floor; $5 donation). It's a grab-bag of musical styles, all of them shrouded in great mystery.
They used to call him Burn Ward, but now they don't at his request. Benny Nelson (of Boston, MA) operated under this nom de noise for three years before jettisoning it and its tough-guy associations to perform under his own initials, BRN. I haven't heard this new incarnation, but I do know that in his past life, Benny could shear a sheep with his high-ends alone, and as a member of the long-running power electronics ensemble Fire in the Head, you can bet that his gift to you shall not be perfumed or demure.
New Jersey-ite 2673 is know to many by his dizzying array of split releases with other artists, ranging from Jessica Rylan to Chicago's own Kevin Drumm. He runs this Bone Tooth Horn tape label, and seems to get expoenentially better with each recorded outing.
A Jenny Haniver is a dried-up cuttlefish or stingray that's carved by sailors, varnished, and sold as a gross little figurine to tourists. You learn something new every day, huh? Another thing that is a Jenny Haniver is New Jersey experimental legend-in-the-making King Darves. This is the kind of guy that's got folks disclaimering with things like "I normally HATE this kind of stuff, but THIS guy is GOOD." So, if you hate this kind of stuff, c'mon down anyway, because THIS guy is GOOD!
Then there's Adam Strohm. His output may be slim (does he even have a record out yet?), and his appearances infrequent, but this Chicagoan will wow you with his delicate but full-frequency audio drama. Come see what the fuss is all about.
After a stellar line-up of boogaloo bands last year, Silver Wrapper is presenting another all-star cast to the teen blocks of Damen for donation prices. The confirmed acts for the 2007 Wicker Park Fest include glitch-hop mastermind Prefuse 73, experimental alt-jazzers Benevento/Russo Duo, Modest Mouse buddies Dirty Dozen Brass Band (whose name says it all) and an unscheduled but planned set from Man Man, whose sound was once aptly described as "a pirate ship filled with puppets". The suggested donation is five dollars, but you can be a total jerk and see all these great bands (and many more) for free, because that's how nice this event is. It all goes down on July 30th and 31st.
First, they didn't come back for the Touch and Go 25th Anniversary. Then, you got bummed out that their All Tomorrow's Parties/Pitchfork Music Festival performance is now completely sold out. But Slint fans, have hope! They've just announced a show at the Abbey Pub on July 14th, one eve immediately following their Friday performance of Spiderland. You could be a two-day roadie for the band, and tell your kids how you followed them around on tour in your younger days! Or you could just hear "Good Morning Captain" two nights in a row. Either way, tickets go on sale this Saturday.
It's Thursday once again and you know what that means -- TX will be at the Five Star for another night of drinks, music, and poor decisionmaking. Last week's one month-iversary was a lot of fun -- or at least it looks that way from the photos. At this point we've handed out so many stickers and taken so many pictures that we've started popping up in other people's Facebook albums, so it's hard to tell exactly what was happening when. I think that means we're doing well, right? (Speaking of which, join our Facebook group here.) Come out tonight and see for yourselves -- we'll be there from 9ish onwards, along with DJ Brad Owen, most of your favorite tunes, and the devastating whiskey specials. Five Star is at 1424 W. Chicago, just east of Chicago and Ashland, see you there! Photos from last week after the jump.
As spring temps rise, you might be wandering the streets in search of your new summer anthem. Here at Transmission, we hope to help you get those tunes between your ears as we steer you into yet another pair of our favorite local record shops. This week, we head out near Midway to the Record Dugout on W. 63rd Street and just down Broadway to Boystown and Borderline Music.
So, it seems to be set. Due to drop July 31st, Common drops "Finding Forever," his seventh album in fifteen years. (Man, I feel old.) Some of the album's tracks can be sampled at his site. Production handled by will.i.am and Kanye West.
Plastic Little emcees PackofRats and Mr. Bombadillo
You'd expect that the Philly "party rap" crew Plastic Little might not have the clearest memory of their first Chicago show, which went off at the Empty Bottle this past January. When the band took the stage after a heat-bringing set from Kid Sister, they were bandying about a liter bottle of Maker's Mark that was already two-thirds dead. But throwed or not, they delivered an unfalteringly high-energy show—with emcess PackofRats, Mr. Bombadillo, and Jon Thousand all over the stage for the entirety of their set, kicking hilarious rhymes over club-banging cuts that kept the crowd moving. And yeah...they remember the night quite well, actually.
Talking to Plastic Little emcee Kurt Hunte (aka Mr. Bombadillo), he tells me it was one of their favorite shows on the tour. "Easily I'd say we met with the best crowd, the best response, that we've experienced outside of Philly and Pennsylvania." The tour was the group's first time making a nationwide juant, getting out of the East Coast scene that'd been their circuit for the past several years. They'll be returning to Chicago this Friday evening, having been booked by the Bottle to play inside Juan Chávez's Speaker Project at the Hyde Park Art Center.
Seattle's Spanish for 100 has undergone a rather significant transformation recently, shifting from their Americana influences to more of an edgy indie-rock sensibility. Their upcoming album, Say What You Want To Say, follows 2006's Metric by mere months and yet sounds like a band well on their way through a new mission. But it's not like they've abandoned what's made their name in the Pacific Northwest as much as they've honed in on a sound that is more in line with the direction of the band. Illinois native Aaron Starkey's intricate shoegaze-influenced guitaring and Corey Passons soaring vocals highlight Say What You Want To Say in a way that Spanish for 100 hasn't before recognized. With the help of Johnny Sangster, who's concentrated on producing Seattle-area bands like Mudhoney and the Briefs, and Phil Ek, whose mixing can be heard on records by Pretty Girls Make Graves and the Shins, Spanish for 100 seems to be putting all their chips in on this hand. See if their bet pays off at the Empty Bottle tomorrow evening. They are sandwiched between two Chicago bands - Frisbie and Sleep with the Fishes. The show begins at 9:30 and it's only $7.
Sunday was by far the strongest day of this year's festival, featuring a wide variety of styles and some of the biggest draws. Since most of those draws were aging veterans, when I looked up at circling birds I often was relieved to see that they were only seagulls and not vultures. It was a day to enjoy the gritty showmanship of old-school acts, at the same time musing about how their shoes will be filled.
For many DJs, the business of spinning and mixing mostly involves playing what folks know and want to hear, what'll keep the joint moving. But for a few brilliant pioneers, the venture can also involve taking the dancefloor on a far-flung rhythmic journey, one that cuts across a plethora of musical style and genres, crossing a broad spectrum of musical history without once losing the beat. Such is the case with the veteran UK crews of Coldcut and DJ Food, both of whom have been operating out of London for over 15 years.
Originally, DJ Food started out as a revolving-door collaborative effort between Matt Black and Jonathan More of Coldcut, with the assistance of deejays Strictly Kev and PC. Their early reputation rested on their getting the downtempo/trip-hop scene rolling with their set of Jazz Brakes releases back in the early 1990s. Shortly thereafter, Kev and PC took over the DJ Food project, and quickly made a name for themselves as world-renowned champions of eclectic, genre-spanning beat science mixology via their broadcasts on the Solid Steel radio program on KISS FM (currently on the BBC) in London.
By this point you should know damn well that you should be spending your Thursdays with TX but in case you were looking for something a little more mellow, popular Wicker Park outdoor spot Pontiac Cafe will be hosting free music every Thursday night until August 16th. The schedule is pretty loaded with Chicago locals, and ranges from hip-hop to laptop-shoegaze to your standard singer-songwriter acoustic noodling. Apparently you'll also be able to pick up a free compilation CD of the acts at each show as well -- not bad, not bad at all. Shows start at 9 each week, and the Pontiac is located at 1571 N. Damen, just a hair off the Damen / North / Milwaukee intersection. But you totally knew that already, you sly little hipster minx.
June 14th - O'Neill and Wean w/ Helicopters
June 21st - HOTEL45 (with Dan Darrah) w/ Dave Tamkin and Jessica Sonner
June 28th - Burn Rome Burn, David Golan, and Chris Buehrle
July 5th - Weber Band w/ Brilliants and Jay O'Malley
July 12 - Santa and Helicopters
July 19 - Burn Rome Burn and Leave
July 26 - Bumpus With Chris Buehrle
August 2 - Al Weber with Dave Tamkin
August 9 - Leave
August 16 - Air This Side of Caution w/ Soulfix
Tuesday night, the Elastic Arts Foundation (2830 N. Milwaukee, one block NW of Milwaukee/Kimball, above Friendship Chinese Restaurant) once again unleash a barrage of wild sound for your wild summer soul. An emphasis this time on "rock" instruments played for instensity and tension, sturm und drang, firepower and forward momentum. That kinda thing.
- Mouthus (Ecstatic Peace! recording artists, and NYC's reigning kings of the free-form power-duo format for some time now - fresh off an ass-blasting appearance at the No Fun Festival)
- Cousins of Reggae (more power-duo insanity from Montreal, featured on a split 12" with the Mouth-boys above)
- The Fortieth Day + Noisecrush (Chicago's Mark Solotroff and Isidro Reyes of BLOODYMINDED go all TG on your ass + video accompaniment!)
- Locrian (Chicago duo spinning webs of guitar shimmer, build and release, build and release)
- Druids of Huge (newest noise nomads on the Chicago tundra - the fresh thundering drone from up the way)
South Union Arts usually books some fairly extreme artists. Don't get me wrong their booking policy is one of the most exciting in the city, but I wonder how much of it is a joy to listen to. On Wednesday, June 13, South Union Arts welcomes the well-traveled, americana music of James Apollo. And while he won't stretch the limits of experimental music, I'm sure his rustic songs will delight those in attendance.
James Apollo's new record is called Hide Your Heart In A Hive. Besides mining the bluesy sounds of his birth state of Arkansas, James brings a bit of the carny hawker or snake oil salesman to the Waitesque song "Bad Old Buzzard." The record as a whole is like a musical tour of the americana genre with hints of blues, folk, early jazz, jug music and on and on. Catch him live on the 13th at South Union Arts at 7pm on a bill with Mossyrock, Elizabeth Blair and Tusker.
This week sees a pair of events celebrating the release of the new album from two Chicago jazz titans, tenor saxophonist Fred Anderson and percussionist Hamid Drake. Entitled From The River To The Ocean, the album was recorded by John McEntire at Soma Studios and it's a full-ensemble affair that features outstanding accompaniment from multi-instrumentalist Harrison Bankhead of 8 Bold Souls affiliation, bassist Joshua Abrams, and AACM guitarist Jeff Parker (of Tortoise, Chicago Underground Quartet, et al.) who steps in for three of the album's five tracks. Tuesday night, the full ensemble will be playing at an RSVP event at the headquarters of Stop Smiling magazine. The performance will be hosted by local author, curator, and musician John Corbett, who'll be conducting a public q&a with the band throughout the set. And on Wednesday night, the band will playing a regular evening set at Anderson's Velvet Lounge.
Saturday was in general the weakest day of a very strong festival lineup, but the lineup included some veteran performers who seemed to me to illustrate some contentious issues in blues music today. I caught Jimmy "Duck" Holmes at the Mississippi Juke Joint Stage (sadly I arrived too late to catch Alvin Youngblood Hart, one of my favorite young artists). He’s an idiosyncratic player from the so-called “Bentonia school", so named because Skip James, its pre-eminent stylist, was from that town. Whether Bentonia really fostered a distinct style is a bone of contention among musicologists, but it’s really only important to them anyway. The crowd here yelped and howled its approval for Holmes’ dronerrific single-key tunings, with songs that seemed mostly improvised lyrically. To my ears, it sounded a bit same-y after a while, but his reading of “Mystery Train” was a quite interesting deviation from the Junior Parker arrangement, given a more mournful quality while retaining the train rhythm context. Holmes is a perfect artist for a festival – he represents a living artifact, and presents a style that is slowly disappearing, true “folk” blues, not structured by commercial recording demands or radio airplay considerations. He’s not an artist for blues rookies, though – he’s more what I would call an acquired taste, which requires close listening for subtle variations in tone and rhythm, much more of a troubadour than a guitarist, and at times it’s hypnotic. He’s played each day of the fest, and will play one more time on Sunday.
XRT host and blues fest emcee Tom Marker made a joke during Friday night's festivities that only in the blues can you be over 50 and still be considered part of the young generation of artists. It's an interesting paradigm, and not altogether untrue. Despite the passing of most of the "first generation" blues stars, blues has been and continues to be a genre whose fans are developed over long periods of time, longer than the entire career of most rock artists. In blues parlance, to make it you have to "pay your dues", gain respect, and eventually you can join the ranks of the artists with broad fan base. This is true enough that it's become cliche, but it also has advantages -- no popular blues artist will ever be "hot" in the way that, say, the Fray are right now, but on the other hand, there's an opportunity for fans to develop a long-term relationship with any blues artist's work, and fandom in the blues features more loyalty than anywhere this side of Cubdom.
Last night and last Friday night, two veritable giants of the jazz world visited Symphony Center as part of the CSO's '06-'07 jazz season. Neither legend disappointed, and closed the season on a high note.
Dave Brubeck and his Quintet was last week's top billers, and the house was sold out. McCoy Tyner, last night's attraction, didn't get nearly as many butts in seats, but swung hard anyway. Tyner's performance ended the CSO's season, which will introduce its awesome '07-'08 session with Herbie Hancock, who will open Jazzfest.
Yep. The weather's nice and folks are fully getting out in it, the festival season's in full swing, and there's no shortage of things to do around town this weekend. And here's another one: This weekend sees a special appearance of the original lineup of the Life During Wartime DJs at the Hideout's Saturday night dance party. LDW mainstays Bald Eagle and Mother Hubbard welcome the return of alumus J2K, who had to duck out last summer when his other DJ crew Flosstradamus began to blow up on a national level. Also on the bill for the evening's entertainment: An appearance from People Noise, a Louisville, KY outfit that features former members of VHS or Beta. That's Saturday, 1354 W. Wabansia. 9pm-3am. Admission is $8 ($5 after 11:30).
Ezra Furman and The Harpoons have just released the first song from their Minty Fresh debut as well as announcing their national summer tour. The tour starts out in Chicago with a solo show at Schubas on June 19 (playing with Ben Weaver and Romantica), and then the band will join Ezra for the remainder of the dates. Ezra's debut with Minty Fresh, Bang Down the Doors, was produced by none other than Brian Deck and will no doubt be the jittery, indiefolk soundtrack to this summer's fun.
The Fiery Furnaces grew up as natives of Chicago suburb Oak Park, and now they're finally returning home - they've just signed to Thrill Jockey! According to the label, the sibilant siblings have just wrapped up recordings for Bitter City, which will be released on October 23rd. Feel free to give them a hearty slap on the back when they hit town for a show on June 22nd at the Empty Bottle.
Into the rumor mill again we go, this time following the lead of Greg Kot, who's got it in his Trib blog that Live Nation is apparently exploring the idea of selling off some of its underperforming venues, including the Tinley Park venue currently known as the First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre. Disparaged by The Dead for poor sound quality back in 1990 and losing ticket sales due to the unwillingness of patrons to fight traffic to get out there, it may be hard to unload this stone.
Right. Let's face it: Some things just don't cross the pond, don't transplant to these shores. Some things are just too, uh, British. Case in point: grime and dubstep never really caught on here outside of a fringe listenership. And nobody here knows quite to make of all that "chav" and "tikkiny" slang biz. Which explains why Lady Sovereign has yet to really catch on with American audiences. Jay-Z thought he had a hot item on his hands when he signed her to Def Jam a couple of years back (after her first EP appeared on the Chicago-based Chocolate Industries label). And Def Jam's tried to throw some industry push behind her. First there was the guest appearance from Missy Elliot on the remix of "Love Me or Hate Me," and the new single "Those Were The Days" sports some mainstream hip-hop production that's clearly geared for the U.S. radio market. And now, as you probably heard, she's been touring with Gwen Stefani--meaning that she'll be appearing with Stefani at First Midwest Bank Ampitheater in Tinley Park on Friday evening.
Lady Sov will, apparently, also be appearing at The Underground in Chicago proper later in the evening, kicking out a short set at an RSVP aftershow engagement. Some buzz has culminated around the online video diary she's been keeping as she tours the States. And given the exhaustion she's reportedly been suffering on tour and the drama that transpired during her recent appearance in NYC, it may all be a wait-and-see affair. If you feel like taking your chances to see if she makes it or not, you can RSVP here. 56 E. Illinois. 10pm until whenever.
[mp3]: Lady Sovereign – "Hoodie" (SpankRock remix)
On Tuesday, Touch and Go Records officially launched its digital store, which offers DRM-free MP3s as both full albums and single tracks. It's also the only place where you can purchase the digital version Shellac's latest (and its return after a seven-year sabbatical), Excellent Italian Greyhound. T&G promises more digital-store exclusives in the future -- but in the meantime, I'll be DLing all the Killdozer my little heart desires.
Depending on whom you listen to, eyewitness accounts of live shows by the NYC outfit Gang Gang Dance alternately describe the band as playing either dance-punk, free jazz, freak folk, neo-psych something-or-other, or straight-up noise. Admittedly, the band has done its share of murking up the waters, seeing how each of their releases sounds considerably different from each other. Their 2004 eponymous LP, for instance, might be described as: Yoko Ono sings Uzbek torch songs with Sun Ra's Arkestra and rhythmic assistance from Einstürzende Neubauten. The audio-companion EP to their newly-released Retina Riddim DVD is little more than a tight, noisy, rhythmically-edited sound collage that keyboardist Brian DeGraw put together via a sequencer. Between those two efforts falls their superb 2005 album God's Money, on which the band offered their most accessible and song-oriented material to date—with singer Liz Bougatsos's multi-tracked vocals spinning dervish-like circles around the band as they furrowed into an eclectic, urban neo-tribalist groove. Pan-cultural influences abounded throughout, revealing traces of Algerian raï, Indonesian pop, gamelan-like lullabies, equatorial rhythms, and other such far-flung elements. The results were often hypnotic and bewilderingly beautiful, like the collision (or convergence, morelike) of transglobal radio signals, all of them intermeshing to form something newly, wholly other.
Gang Gang Dance is reportedly finishing up work on a fourth LP, and they're scheduled to play the Empty Bottle this Saturday. They're no easier to pin down from the company they keep, having previously toured with everyone from TV On The Radio to SpankRock. On their current sojourn, they're due to soon link up with Ariel Pink and Architecture In Helsinki somewhere en route. Saturday's performance at the Bottle, however, is geared for those with more heavily experimental tastes. On the opening bill is OCRILIM, the latest avant-metal project from Orthrelm guitarist Mick Barr, who recently released an album on John Zorn's Tzadik imprint. Local ambient-sludge noizeniks Teith get things started. 1035 N. Western. 10pm, $10.
[mp3]: Gang Gang Dance - "Glory In Itself/Egyptian" [mp3]: Gang Gang Dance - "Egowar" [video]: Gang Gang Dance - "Retina Riddim" (excerpt)
One of the downsides of having the largest free blues fest in the world is that there's hardly enough time to enjoy it all, and as frequently as not, scheduling conflicts force you choose among several great acts. This year's fest continues the trend in recent years to balance emerging local acts and regional stars at the afternoon stages, reserving the evening's main stage at the Petrillo Band Shell for national and top-tier home-grown talent. If you treat the festival as a musical adventure, and prepare like you're going on a 4-day camping trip, you can pack in a lot of music. Even if you work downtown, you can get in some serious bluesing at lunch and after work.
Hot damn, it's already been a month. Last week's TX Thursday was about as wild as they get -- 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett showed up and eventually confided in me that he found Indian women attractive, several miscreants removed their clothing, and some dude offered me a press pass to Lollapalooza. Crazy -- but not enough. We're aiming to top all that tonight for our one month-iversary. DJ Brad Owen will be there as usual, spinning punk and New Wave hits, as well as other indie faves, and the Five Star is a bastion of cheap booze -- $2 drafts and $2 shots usually cause plenty of trouble. The Five Star is located at 1424 W. Chicago, just east of Ashland -- we'll be there after 9, come out and say hi! Pics from last week after the jump.
Chances are good that you know Carlos Santana's "Smooth," which means you've heard at least one classic shingaling groove. Which may beg the question: What's a shingaling? It's partner to the boogaloo, but…hmmm. Okay, tell you what. Let's skip the musicology breakdown and I'll simply tell you this: It was all part of a much-forgotten chapter in the evolution of Latino music, one very specific to these shores, and is hands-down some of the most deeply soulful and vibrantly joyous music ever recorded. It was a style of music that exploded out of the Spanish Harlem scene of the 1960s, combining Latin jazz and Afro-Cuban rhythms with r&b and rock, and which quickly became the sound of young Nuyorica. The recordings in question are, sadly, hard to come by, since the movement itself quickly faded into obscurity, having disappeared through the cracks somewhere between the more enduring popularity of mambo and salsa. But before fading it inspired later crossover Latino funkateers like Santana, WAR, and El Chicano to step up and go for theirs in the years that followed.
This Friday at Sonotheque, DJs Supreme Court and Joe Bryl (of African Hi-Fi association) present "We Got...Latin Soul!" The duo will be digging back to pull from their crates and serve up an evening's worth of the guacha guaro, spinning their selection of solid retro barrio groove from the likes of Pete Rodriguez, Eddie Palmieri, Ray Barretto, Mongo Santamaria, Joe Cuba, Willie Colon, and Latin soul brother number one Joe Bataan. 9pm-2am. 1444 W. Chicago. Cover is only $5.
[mp3]: Pete Rodriguez - "Oh! That's Nice" [mp3]: Joe Bataan - "What Good Is A Castle?"
Those looking to get a better bargain on earnest pop would do well to make it down to South Union Arts tomorrow night, as locals The Passerines (pictured) and The Queensmen will be joined by Austin's The Golden Bear for a night of free merrymaking. The Passerines, led by former mmHg bass player Gabe McElwain and poptart Emily Cooper, are playing their last few shows before allowing themselves to be torn asunder by the evil temptations of San Francisco, while both The Queensmen and The Golden Bear play overdriven 60's pop -- The Golden Bear in particular smacks of nothing moreso than a less-sarcastic Quasi, while The Queensmen ply their carefree melodic wares with style and aplomb. Show starts at 8, South Union Arts is located at 1352 S. Union. No word on age restrictions (doubtful at SUA), but patrons wearing Mod attire will receive admiring looks from all in attendance.
UPDATE: Apparently donations are gratefully accepted at SUA, for those who cannot fathom not paying for such invigorating entertainment.
Steve Poltz is not a blog darling, he doesn't have a new record out, he's not part of a buzz-worthy tour package and frankly he's not getting any younger. But even with all these strikes against him he's headlining (and the only act performing) at Schubas on June 9.
How do people even know who Steve Poltz is you ask? Well it just so happens he co-wrote one of the most popular songs of all time (Jewel's "You Were Meant For Me"). And his band, The Rugburns, had a nice cult following back in the 90's. His solo work has won accolades from some of the biggest/best publications and artists (including Neil Young). At the moment he's working solo, mostly playing smaller clubs and house concerts. On June 9th you can see him at Schubas (which is a lot like a house concert except with cocktail waitresses and hand stamps). Steve's pretty free and easy with his mp3's, so I'll share a couple of my favorite Poltz songs with you.
If you missed Prefuse 73 at Sonotheque the other night, then this one'll help you split the difference. The Empty Bottle's free Monday night event serves up a full spectrum of beats for urban music heads tonight—from block-rocking to head-nodding to shoe-gazing. First up is local emcee/DJ/producer Vyle, who's been getting a considerable amount of attention nationally for his "hoodtronic" style of leftfield track production. He's sharing the bill with Hefty and Eastern Development recording artist Eliot Lipp. Headlining is Lymbyc Systym, the sibling pair of Mike and Jared Bell, who—like Eliot Lipp—share an affinity for vintage keyboards and breakbeats. Their recent album Love Your Abuser offers a array of rich, downtempo beat compositions that provide the ideal soundtrack for dreamy, rainy-day meditations. Which, given the forecast for the week to come, just might be in order. 1035 N. Western. 9:30 pm. And it's free.
[mp3]: Vyle - "Strobemouth" (Drop The Lime remix) [mp3]: Eliot Lipp - "Eyesore" [mp3]: The Lymbyc Systym - "Carved By Glaciers"
A brand new 25-track Kanye West mixtape entitled "Can't Tell Me Nothing (The Official Mixtape)" hit the Internet in the last week. Get the details and download it via illRoots. Make sure you check out the song "Us Placers," which features fellow Chicagoan Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams under the moniker "CRS."
Rumors abound in Trib theater critic Chris Jones' latest blog entry about the possible future of the shuttered gem on the far north side, the Uptown Theatre. Jam Productions has apparently been sniffing around, with the potential to buy the venue, if only to protect its interests in the Broadway and Lawrence Ave. area where it already owns the Riv and the Aragon. Even if they do buy the place, however, don't hold your breath that they'll be able or willing to pony up the nearly $100 million it'll take to get the Uptown back into shape. Sigh...the wait continues.
The smoky confines of underground (read: 2nd & 3rd floor) indie haven The Subterranean hosts a magical double shot of Merge Records this weekend. Tonight, Raleigh power couple The Rosebuds bring the New Wave as they tour in support of recent release Night of the Furies. Where earlier Rosebuds records focused on dynamic guitar pop a la The Kinks or The Romantics, Night showcases the keyboards over the guitars and place plastic ivory-tapper Kelly Crisp's vocals in more of the spotlight. The results are compelling: the synth-wave of "Get Up Get Out" beckons the stay-at-home crowd out into a city's summer night, the dark "When the Lights Went Out" haunts with a dirty bass line and Crisp's grim vocals, and "I Better Run" channels '80s dub with dark keyboard washes to tell a sinister stroy of an extended family out to get an inheritance. It may sound ridiculous, but it works wonderfully. Get show info here.
Saturday night at The Subterranean, Merge artists The Clientele will no doubt make the journey from London to Chicago worth your while. With last month's God Save the Clientele, Alasdair Maclean takes the best of The Monkees, mixes in some intense strings, and pulls off a pop concoction that could be the best easy listen of the summer. It's already gleaned a Best New Music from Pitchfork, so the hipsters will certainly be there in force. But don't let scensters discourage you - the music is so pretty, it's worth braving the tight pants crowd for a chance to listen to the soaring melodies of "Here Comes the Phantom," the swelling strings of "Bookshop Cassonova," or the dripping reverb of "Nothing But Sunshine." Go depressed, leave encouraged and probably determined to get tighter pants. Get some show specifics here.