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, March 2

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Concert Tue Aug 21 2007

Beijing Blanket Bingo

What's all this about "cultural imperialism," eh? Okay, granted -- there's been no shortage of exoticist fetishization afoot in the ping-ponging of intercultural exchange over the years. But fortunately for all involved, the global village does provide for two-way traffic. Case in point: the Chinese surf-rock combo Red Chamber. When they first started up in the 1960s, the music they played was most likely not what Chairman Mao had in mind for toeing the "party" line of the Cultural Revolution. Hail, hail decadent and politically-incorrect Western influences! And "Bali Hai" while you're at it.

Red Chamber (not to be confused with these gals) reportedly went on a long hiatus sometime in the 1970s, eventually resurfacing over two decades later to give the whole thing another go. The recent CD Red Chamber Brings You The Mao Sound, released on the locally-based Far East Audio label, gives a good taste of the band's repertoire. The disc features one track from a vintage bootleg cassette by the band, another from a live performance from a festival in Penang circa 1971, and five others recorded during a more recent set cranked out in the studios of WZRD in 2005.

While a few tunes sport occasional, fleeting moments where the musical traditions of the band's homeland sneak in, there's largely no sense of wonky east-west mutational "fusion" to be found. It's an elegantly rocking affair, one that recalls The Ventures at their best. And when they swerve slightly off-path, the rewards are plentiful. "Edo Lullaby" features some expansive guitarwork that's distinctly psychedelic in its spaciousness. And dig the Link Wray-styled bluesy strut undergirding the otherwise brisk "Flushing Face, Smiling Heart (Slow Soul)."

Or just go see Red Chamber for yourself when they will be playing at The Hideout this Thursday evening. Chicago lounge-folk-popsters Can.Ky.Ree open. 9pm show. Tickets $7 in advance, $8 the day of. 1354 W. Wabansia.

[mp3]: Red Chamber - "Flushing Face, Smiling Heart (Slow Soul)"
[mp3]: Red Chamber - "Apricot"

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


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

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

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

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