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, October 16

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Concert Fri Sep 28 2007

Voxtrot, for Free?

Austin indie-pop act Voxtrot are bringing their vintage, super-sunny guitar melodies to the Metro. OhMyRockness is offering a contest for free tickets to the show, head over here to take a shot at it. If not, here's the low-down on the show:

Voxtrot, The Little Ones, Sleeping States @ the Metro -- Thursday, 10/04, 9pm. All ages, $14.

Voxtrot - "The Start of Something" (Raised by Wolves, 2005)

Michael Schmitt

Benefit Fri Sep 28 2007

Lyric Opera Opening Night

Got an extra $400 lying around?

Tomorrow night, Lyric Opera of Chicago holds its opening night gala performance of “La traviata” starring superstar Renée Fleming followed by a gala at the Hilton. Participants will walk down a red carpet as they enter the Civic Opera House (sans any real celebrities, however – this is still Chicago, and not L.A., after all, and definitely for the better) and will then be greeted by heralding trumpets at the Hilton. Gala entertainment will be provided by the Stu Hirsh Orchestra, a wedding band, proving once and for all that not even opera fans can resist "Love Shack" or "YMCA."

David Polk

News Thu Sep 27 2007

We Roll Econo

Breakout southside hip-hop duo The Cool Kids have a new video out for their track "Black Mags." It's currently up on, and you help represent the the new Chi scene by voting to push the Kids up on the network's "Freshman 5" contest. Maybe I missed some stuff, but this may be the first appearance of a rap act proudly spotlighting shortie lo-buck rides since Another Bad Creation's "Playground."

In related news, Cool Kids associate Hollywood Holt became something of a international phenomenon a short while back when he dropped his video for "Throw a Kit." The clip was instantly relayed to moped-enthusiast websites and chatboards the world over, and -- for lack of any opposing candidates -- became something of a mopedder's hip-hop anthem. But word has it that Holt's moped was stolen a few days ago. Apparently the theft took place somewhere in the vicinity of Jackson and Western.

UPDATE: Reached for comment after presstime of the above, Mr. Holt reported: "Yeah. My cousin caught the dude. Thanx though man."

Graham Sanford

Concert Thu Sep 27 2007

The Beats, The Hits, The Blow


The Blow is from Portland, Oregon.
The Blow is the project of Khaela Maricich but used to include Jona Bechtolt.
Jona Bechtolt recently left the Blow to spend time working on YACHT.
The Blow’s most recent album is called Paper Television.
The songs on Paper Television are lovely, simple pop tunes about falling in love and wanting to fall in love, delivered with an aching tenderness and backed by beats, bleeps and bloops.
The beats, bleeps and bloops were created by Jona Bechtolt, so it will be curious to discover how the Blow looks and sounds live.
The Blow will be appearing live at the Empty Bottle this coming Monday, October 1st.
The show starts at 9pm.
Tickets are $12.
High Places open, followed by videohippos.
Nicholas thinks the Blow would appreciate the over-simplified structure of this post.
Nicholas really likes the Blow and thinks the Blow would really like him.
Nicholas really hopes the Blow plays “Fists Up” this Monday because that’s his favorite song, even though he recognizes that it’s ridiculous for a band to only play the songs that their fans want to hear.
Nicholas thinks that bands should play the songs they want to play, because it will be more fun for everybody.
Nicholas hopes you’ll come see the Blow this coming Monday, because it will be a lot of fun.
Nicholas really likes fun.

Nicholas Ward

Concert Thu Sep 27 2007

Bon Mots Restart Hype Machine


If you were into any facet of indie music in 2004, Le Main Drag by the Bon Mots was an album you most certainly heard or heard someone talking about.  The group's debut garnered more ink and college radio play then most band's could wish for in a decade.  Spin called the Bon Mots, "one of most promising new bands out there," and the Reader claimed that Le Main Drag was, "a lush, mature, and audacious mix of heady guitar fizz and old-fashioned pop songwriting."   From the Sun-Times to USA Today Le Main Drag got stellar marks.  Now after almost three years the Bon Mots return with their sophomore release, Forty Days and Forty Nights with the Bon Mots. The band has expanded their sound with more lush harmonies and deeper instrumentation. Take a listen to Emily's Birds and On Her Telephone on their Myspace page and you'll hear the Sixties style pop wadding in atmospheric haze.  And while Forty Days and Forty Nights has yet to go on sale you can get an advance copy Friday at the Hideout and see the Bon Mots and Welcome to Ashley for only $8.  Catch the band now (and get their album) that everyone will be buzzing about in a few months now.

Brent Kado

Feature Thu Sep 27 2007

Rococo Records: Every Day is Valentine's Day

Rococo Records is a mash-note to the vinyl lover in you. Their discography presents a range of records, often quite cute and appealing in appearance, yet full of coarse audio molestations — frightful noise to hateful metal, flustery pop to whiskey'd garage gospel. The music often belies the package's cuteness, yet sometimes swallows it down. For example, the KK Rampage 7-inch tempers its hate with hand-drawn hearts. The Panicsville/Prurient collaborative 8-inch record (not a typo, it's 8 inches around!) allows some sexually-charged gallows humor to seep onto its black-on-black chipboard artwork. Records that might hurt the ears of the more frail can also soothe the eyes with their appealing designs: witness the stolid typeface and deeply satisfying silver ink on navy blue paper cover for the My Cat Is an Alien LP There's a Flame...Sometimes, looking for all the world like a wholly esoteric, long-lost CIA document about extraterrestrial felines. This week, a Transmission biathalon! Two halves of a feature spotlight the all-vinyl, all variety Chicago label Rococo Records. First, my thoughts on four of their locally-flavored records, and then Rococo co-founder Nicole Blaje's thoughts on the whole shebang.

Continue reading this entry »

Chris Sienko

Concert Wed Sep 26 2007

The Queensmen take to The Note

I've seen The Queensmen at so many different, semi-strange venues (outside at a college, South Union Arts) that at this point the combination of the band's polished 60s mod-pop and a general feeling of adventure has taken on a Pavlovian quality in my mind -- so much so that every time I see someone in a sharp suit I gear up to down a beer and encounter oddness.

Which is why Friday's show at The Note promises to be an interesting one -- onstage at a proper venue with a stellar soundsystem, The Queensmen will have ample opportunity to bring some class to the preening hipster mob that's overrun Wicker Park. There's no studiously practiced irony here, no bandannas or skinny jeans, just angular, melodic guitar-pop performed by three guys in sharp suits. How can you refuse?

The Queensmen at The Note, Friday, Sept. 28, 930pm, 21+. With Deals Gone Bad.

Nilay Patel

Concert Wed Sep 26 2007

Lollapalooza 2008 Dates Set

Wasn't Lollapalooza not even two months ago? Well, yes, but that doesn't mean you can't plan for next year already. The festival will be held August 1-3, 2008 throughout Grant Park again. So let's start speculating about who'll headline!

James Ziegenfus

Concert Wed Sep 26 2007

The Punks Are Writing Love Songs

I just wrote up an elaborate post on the Lucksmiths. Unfortunately James beat me to the punch by 30 seconds. Anyway I deleted all that and I now second James' recommendation. In my deleted post I also mention Tullycraft's upcoming record. Here's a song from each.

Here's a cover of the 1968 hit "I Started A Joke" by The Bee Gees that can be found on the The Lucksmiths new 2cd set of b-sides and covers titled Spring A Leak:

[mp3] The Lucksmiths - "I Started A Joke"

And just for kicks here's the new single from Tullycraft off their forthcoming record Every Scene Needs A Center:

[mp3]: Tullycraft - "The Punks Are Writing Love Songs"

Craig Bonnell

Concert Wed Sep 26 2007

No Hiccups with the Lucksmiths

Australia's Lucksmiths have released 7 albums, 5 EPs, and 3 compilations, including 2007's Spring a Leak, since forming in 1993. Over the last 14 years, they have churned out often heartbreaking and yet smile-inducing pop songs filled with clever usage of the English language punctuated exquisitely by singer Tali White. (Although, most songs are written by guitarist Marty Donald.)

Their latest release, Spring A Leak, is a collection of cover songs, compilation tracks, radio sessions, live cuts, alternate versions, and other rarities from their extensive past. The Lucksmiths open at 9PM for New Zealand's Brunettes and Los Angeles' Ferraby Lionheart at Schubas tonight.

James Ziegenfus

Wed Sep 26 2007


Craig Bonnell

Random Wed Sep 26 2007

"Please Allow Me To Introduce Myself..."


There’s an old anecdote about the Velvet Underground that I absolutely love. Attributed to Brian Eno, it goes that not many people bought their first record in 1967, but everybody that did started a band. A similar statement can probably be made about their artistic collaborator and producer, Andy Warhol. While both parties are now the celebrated mainstream torch-bearers of avant-garde art and rock’n’roll, it’s a testament to their challenging and sometimes obtuse material that their work initially resonated with certain kinds of people, those frustrated and dismayed by mainstream, consumer-driven artistic bile. There is a possibility, of course, that the influence of Warhol and the Velvet Underground also helped foster the perception of art and rock as culturally elitist, artistic fodder for those folks who are “hip” or “in the know”. This perception is unfair and unfortunate, as I’ve always felt art and rock to be hilarious, highly accessible and generally inclusive.

This Saturday, September 29th, in celebration of their 40th anniversary, the Museum of Contemporary Art launches the first major exhibition distilling the fusion of art and rock music over the last forty years, beginning with that first Warhol-Underground collaboration. Titled Sympathy for the Devil: Art and Rock Since 1967, the exhibit promises a full-on orgy of art, photographs, album covers, music videos, and mixed media, loosely arranged in six geographical sections: New York, Los Angeles/West Coast, Midwestern America, UK, Europe, and the Rest of the World. Personally, I’m most excited for paintings from the Destroy All Monsters collective, celebrating their cultural roots in Detroit, as well as Rita Ackerman’s new wall-to-ceiling mural set to adorn the MCA entrance wall. There’s a film from David Byrne, Funkadelic’s The Electric Spanking of War Babies album covers, a Daydream Nation video and a host of other gems and surprises hidden throughout three floors, all designed to unify the themes of irreverence and rebellion inherent in both art and rock’n’roll. I have a feeling this will go down as one of those once-in-a-lifetime, not-to-be-missed-for-any-reason, go-see-it-twice, this-is-why-rock’n’roll-matters exhibits.

Saturday kicks off the proceedings with a panel presentation, Exploring the Connection Between Art and Rock and Rock that features a discussion between artists and musicians Rita Ackerman, Christian Marclay and Peter Saville. That can be found in the MCA Theater at 1pm.

On October 2nd, at noon, get the inside scoop on the whole exhibit with MCA curator, Dominic Molon.

And, on Sunday, October 7th from 1pm to 6pm, the MCA teams up with Intonation to present a Chicago indie-rock extravaganza held on the plaza with local bands Califone, the 1900s, Flosstradamus with the Cool Kids, the Eternals, Headache City, and Poster Children.

All events are free. In fact, the first 40 days are also free, in honor of the MCA’s 40th Anniversary (so that's cool). Exhibit runs until January 8, 2008.

Nicholas Ward

Concert Tue Sep 25 2007

All the Ladies in the House ... An Estrojam Review

Silly me: I thought crotch-grabbing was a hip-hop move relegated only to the male contingent. I was proved wrong time and time again as the performers of Friday night's girl-centric Estrojam installment at the Abbey Pub grabbed said crotches, got sweaty and shirtless, and owned the stage as much any man.

Friday's set was mainly made up of hip-hop artists, topped with a swan song performance by legendary group ESG. While overall the night was full of energy emanating both from the audience as well as on stage, at times the microphones were plagued by squealy sound problems. Kicking things off was Chicago's own chemist-slash-rapper, Psalm One, who slyly beckoned the audience, "Come closer -- I'm gonna tell you secrets." The low, funky triplets of "Macaroni and Cheese" got the audience riled, while the hot-hipped "Beat the Drum" sealed the deal.

Psalm One's laid-back flow paved the way nicely for Bahamadia, whose tight set proved the Philly-based MC deserves a major comeback. Where her work in the '90s generally saw her as the kind of relaxed rhymer whose vocals made her an excellent guest on tracks by The Roots, Erykah Badu, Morcheeba, and Talib Kweli, this night saw a different side of Bahamadia. She delivered classics and newer tracks with a hard, rapid delivery, while her cohort, DJ Statik, kept up with her every step of the way. As he slowed down the pace, playing tracks by other classic b-girls like MC Lyte, Monie Love, and Rah Digga, Bahamadia just laughed: "Aw, man. This is senior hip-hop, right here."

By the time the dirrrty South's Yo Majesty hit the stage, the crowd's excitement was palpable: what to expect from one of the year's most buzzed-about hip-hop groups? Wild dance beats and wild dance parties were certainly on the roster, events that often culminate in at least one of the members -- who, to be honest, do not look unlike Lil' Wayne -- taking off her shirt. And while yes, this event did indeed take place, it's almost expected of them -- and should going to a Yo Majesty show become a Countdown to Breasts? Anyway, it only lasted about 10 minutes before the (wo-)Man came down on the shirtless hullaballoo. But you get the point: YM put on a super fun live show as-is, nipple or no.

The evening's star performers, ESG, earned their stripes during the '70s as their beat-heavy blend of funk, soul, and rock, which made them one of the most sampled bands to date. The night marked their last performance as a group, and the music geeks crawled out of the woodwork to witness it. Originally a quartet of sisters based out of the South Bronx, the latest incarnation includes original vocalist Renee Scroggins and what apparently is her daughter, Christelle, on guitar and percussion and niece, Nicole, on bass, while an unnamed fellow acted as drummer.

And you know what? The ESG groove is a good one. Their old hits are still fun and funky, and it's obvious that Renee was having a great time onstage. But it's also obvious the band is at its end, as the music was basically being held up by Renee's vocals and the Unknown Drummer's tight drum work. The rest was sort of a rudimentary mess, a weird funk circus, as Christelle got caught up in showboating. It certainly made for some interesting entertainment, but as she did a sexed-up tambourine act, one couldn't help but wonder if ESG should've simply stuck to what they've always done best: bring on the sweet, jam-worthy beats.

Kara Luger

Review Mon Sep 24 2007

"Hiphop is in the building."

At some point in our lives, we were the star of our own show. We've sung along to the radio, we've posed in front of the mirror in the bathroom. We've hummed along to our iPods, and we've air-guitared, danced, and gyrated through dance moves. We've done songs from memory and motions through repetition.

In a concert setting, we get to see how our musical idols do it. Do they do the same thing in the video? Do they change up notes, chords, delivery? They're performing in front of a mirror of sorts: hundreds of people who know their songs, their moves, but expect more.

On both Saturday and Sunday night, the legendary Roots crew provided sonic backing for amounted to a revival meeting of what's good about hiphop, past, and present. The recipe was quite simple: Recreate the beats and rhythms of yesteryear with a live band, turntables, and minimal technology. Mix in the well-worn lyrics of the 80s and 90s, delivered by four emcees at the top of their craft, and serve to an appreciative audience.

Continue reading this entry »

Troy Hunter

Concert Mon Sep 24 2007

Roots Riddim Meets The Avant-Garde Uptown

Back in 2000, the Israeli-born, NYC-based composer and producer Raz Mesinai was asked to provide a soundtrack for the film Hellraiser 6. Rising to the task at hand, a majority of the score Mesinai handed in was ultimately rejected by the filmmakers; reportedly because the music -- filled with screeching atonal orchestrations, found sound, and drifting voices -- proved too unsettling and creepy and severe for the film in question.

Mesinai first emerged on the scene in the mid '90s as one half of the "illbient" duo Sub Dub. Over the intervening years, he's worked across the spectrum of the New York experimental music community, most often releasing material under the moniker Badawi. While he's never entirely shed his affinity for deep bass and heavy reverb, he's been additionally putting his skills as a percussionist to work, crafting evocative soundscapes that are densely woven with Mahgrebi and Middle-Eastern rhythms. Recent projects have found him branching out into more unstructured musical territory and working more frequently with prepared piano and electronics. Mesinai eventually, and perhaps inevitably, ended up recording for John Zorn's Tzadik imprint; releasing three albums under his own name through the label's Composers and Radical Jewish Culture series.

Badawi is playing Wednesday night at the Empty Bottle as part of The Wire magazine's Adventures in Modern Music festival. He'll be performing third on a bill that also features White Magic, Holy Fuck, and Graveyards. 1035 N. Western. Admission is $15, and the show gets underway at 9 PM.

[mp3]: Sub Dub – "Dawa Zangpo" (1995)
[mp3]: Badawi – "I Said Oblivion" (2004)
[video]: Raz Mesinai interview (2006)

Graham Sanford

Artist Mon Sep 24 2007

These Kids Can Gaze

Anon, Good Nurse

Too many high school bands are punk-pop, teeny-bopper-pleasing pretty-boys. Perhaps I'm opinionated, but the fact remains that teenage bands lack the variety found in older acts. So, a band like Anon, Good Nurse is a special find. Why? Anon, Good Nurse is a young local band with serious shoegaze chops.

Yes, that's right: a (mainly) teenage shoegaze group. If your mouth isn't watering as much as mine, something is seriously wrong with you. Despite some sketchy recording, their MySpace page provides two explosive instrumental tracks that ring with the same sort of musical climaxes as Explosions in the Sky, but with guitar influences closer to Sonic Youth at times (more on them later).

Running truly DIY out of their MySpace page, Anon have already played with notables Sunny Day in Glasgow, Knife, Caspian, and are scheduled to play with Tulsa...just to name a few. Additionally, the band just announced the completion of their debut record, which should be released and available at their shows through Mouthstatic Records (and in Japan through Friend of Mine Records) in November.

Continue reading this entry »

Michael Schmitt

Artist Mon Sep 24 2007

Wilco in Your Pocket

For the price of a concert ticket, the whole band could be yours.

Andrew Huff

Review Mon Sep 24 2007

Review: Jose Gonzalez -- In Our Nature

in-our-nature.jpgIt's strange to think that the most exposure most people have had to José González is as the soundtrack to a European Sony commercial, but for a while his cover of The Knife's "Heartbearts" seemed destined to doom him to the same minor relevance as Trio.

Of course, VW also famously used Nick Drake, so maybe that's the most appropriate place to start thinking about González' second record, In Our Nature, because it's hard to avoid the Drake comparison. González has mastered his version of the acoustic singer / songwriter act, and he's not shy about doing his best trick over and over again -- In Our Nature is ten cuts of reverb-drenched multitracked vocals over nimble acoustic guitar, with the occasional bits-and-pieces percussion deployed to make things seem even more gentle than before.

In fact, the addition of percussion (and some other textural instrumentation) and a slight bump in tempo is all that really separates In Our Nature from González' previous effort, Veneer. Played back to back, one flows into the other with remarkable ease, and it's almost as though the albums were meant to be played this way, slowly building to a climatic cover of Massive Attack's "Teardrop" before easing back down into the sparseness of "The Nest" and then finally closing with the soaring "Cycling Trivialities," which is a musical wonder in desperate need of a new title and lyrics.

Recorded entirely on tape (and without any concern for the attendant noise issues -- check out that insane motor whine from 5:44 on in "Cycling Trivialities") In Our Nature is a throwback album from a throwback performer. While it's hard to remember a time when bands didn't always have laptops, Gonzålez isn't at all shy about being just a guy with a guitar and a knack for acoustic arrangement. Hopefully that'll lead to something more meaningful than a commercial for a TV set one of these days.

In Our Nature goes on sale tomorrow, 9/25, and González will be playing at Park West as part of his North American tour on October 4 -- tickets are $18.

Nilay Patel

Concert Mon Sep 24 2007

Metric meets again

The satellite bands of Broken Social Scene have always made for a complex family tree, but some branches have been making even further splits. Emily Haines has been going it alone for a bit. Jason hopped behind the production board a bit for the Lovely Feathers. Josh and Joules got antsy and began trying to Bang Lime to pass the time. But after careful reconsideration, both are setting aside their dalliances and reforming their own musical Voltron: Metric is back. They're playing the Metro tomorrow night, and they'll be joined by chiptune specialists Crystal Castles (they're more than a Klaxons remix, people!) and the ungoogle-able, New Yorkier of the two bands recently known as The Virgins. The show starts at 7:30, but remember — that's less than a megasecond in metric time.

Really Quick Contest!
We'll give a copy of the recently re-issued (and quite popular) Metric CD Grow Up and Blow Away to the first reader to email us at inbox (at) with the subject line "I Love the Metric System!". Good Luck! Update! We have a winner! Congrats to Melissa!

Dan Morgridge

News Mon Sep 24 2007

Vivaldi meets global warming?

Tickets to the Chicago Humanities Festival are on sale to the public starting today (members of the CHF were able to start buying two weeks ago) and the program includes a few musical events that relate -- or kind of relate -- to the grand theme of global climate change.

Continue reading this entry »

David Polk

Benefit Sun Sep 23 2007

Yes, Peace Fest Happening

According to an email from organizer Michael Patrick, the “Power to the Peaceful” festival will be happening in Chicago. “It most certainly is happening. . . most of our press has been very underground. Kind of artist for artist sake kind of thing,” said Patrick. This grass-roots, separate and smaller version of the original San Francisco Festival will happen next weekend, September 28 and 29. Proceeds will go to Amnesty International.

Continue reading this entry »

David Polk

Concert Fri Sep 21 2007

Eilen Jewell Band Kicks Off Oktoberfest

I'm going to throw my hat into the ring with a concert suggestion of my own for this weekend, in particular for tonight. Somehow (at least from my perspective) the village of Oak Park has done Oktoberfest right this year. For what is really just a small town celebration the village has brought in some pretty talented artists. Gone from years past are the local yokel celtic band, the paint-by-numbers cover groups and the local-boy-nearly-done-good indie rock. Instead, in it's place are bands like The Waco Brothers, Anna Fermin's Trigger Gospel and The Infamous Stringdusters.

I'll be out in attendance tonight at 6:30pm to see The Eilen Jewell Band (it'll be the second time she's played Oak Park this week, the first in my living room last Sunday). If you've got any interest in western swing infused folk along the lines of Gillian Welch or Lucinda Williams than you should hop on board the el and head West tonight (get off at the Oak Park St. stop).

Eilen's new record Letters From Sinners and Strangers has gotten rave 4 star reviews from The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Irish Times, as well as being featured on NPR's World Cafe. "Boundary County" is from her 2005 debut record of the same name.

[mp3]: Eilen Jewell - "Boundary County"

Craig Bonnell

Concert Fri Sep 21 2007

Yes, I Think I Shall


May Or May Not is adorable. This past Monday, they festooned the back room of Schubas with light blue balloons and a variety of fake end-of-high-school awards (Most Outrageous, Cutest Couple, etc.). On stage, they looked like the strange amalgamation of the spunky yet whip-smart cheerleader, the geeky chess team captain, the bookish literary buff and the too-cool-for-school stoner. Everything about them screamed cute.

But by saddling them with the “cute” moniker, I mean not to suggest that this band frequented style over substance. While May Or May Not act has mastered their kaleidoscopic look, all of that would mean absolutely nothing if the songs didn’t deliver. But fortunately, they did. With their influences on full display (Beach Boys, Brian Eno, New Pornographers, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah), these young Chicago locals bounced happily through a collection of nostalgia-inflected psychedelic pop jams, backed with just the right amount of guitar fuzz and pounding drums. The music was infectious and delightful, and more than a few tunes reminded me of lazy summer afternoons spent driving around the suburbs in my dad’s turquoise Escort. It’s familiar and time-honored without being tired. In fact, the warm melodies kept me off-guard and pleasantly surprised.

They’re not yet punching a hole through the greater sonic landscape, but May Or May Not employ enough hand claps, crescendos, and sing-a-long choruses to suggest that greener pastures await. For now, join me this Monday, September 24th at Schubas for the conclusion of their month-long residency and the release of their latest album, A Kaleidoscope of Egos. Atlantic Divide plays first, followed by Charlemagne, playing in support of new album, We Can Build an Island. Show starts at 9pm.

Nicholas Ward

Concert Thu Sep 20 2007

Freaky Friday

Hey look, if you're looking to get out there this Friday night and do some dancing and cut loose, you really have no excuse, because there's plenty going on. Too much, perhaps -- but you definitely have options. First, there's Bonde Do Rolê at the Empty Bottle. Then there's the (quite frankly amazing) billing of Friday's installment of Estrojam, which features ESG, Yo! Majesty, Bahamadia, and Psalm One.

And on the less high-profile tip, The Liars Club is hosting an in-town appearance by Passions, who recently signed to the trés-chaud Parisian label Kitsuné, and is affiliated with the Trouble & Bass network in NYC. (In fact, Passions is really the more dancefloor-friendly/less "dark" alter ego of T&B instigator Mathhead.) So: Take your pick, aim for the most attractive venue, and get your circulation primed and pumped before the autumn chill comes creeping in.

[video]: Bonde Do Rolê - "Office Boy" (live)
[mp3]: Passions - Kitsuné promo mix

Graham Sanford

Radio Thu Sep 20 2007

Radio Free Chicago

If you were at Delilah’s last night for the Future of Music Coalition’s “Rock The Music Party,” you might not have recognized Jon Langford’s guest harmonica player – but that was FCC Commissioner Jonathan Adelstein, who has been known to sit in with the North Mississippi Allstars. But now it’s time to get down to business: In about an hour, Adelstein and his fellow FCC commissioners will begin listening to testimony on media ownership over at Rainbow PUSH HQ. It’s the fifth of six national sessions the FCC is holding on the subject, and the opinions could decide who – or rather, what businesses – may be heard on your radio dial in the future. You can tune into the testimonials here.

JP Pfafflin

Feature Thu Sep 20 2007

OFFICE: Making (Beautiful) Pop Music

In case you were wondering, that buzz in your ears is music industry folks all across the country talking about a dear little Chicago band named OFFICE. From stages at Lollapalooza down to SXSW and from coast to coast, the OFFICE has been making ears quite happy. The band (and yes, all caps is the preferred form there) first came together in 2005, but their dreamy, life-inspired pop music was churning through the mind of songwriter Scott Masson for years before then. The five-piece's lineup, as we know them now, includes lead singer/guitarist Masson alongside bassist Alissa Hacker, drummer Erica Corniel, keyboard/hand percussionist Jessica Gonyea and guitarist Tom Smith — and oh, what lovely pop they make together.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

News Wed Sep 19 2007

Peace Fest Coming to Chicago?

An occasional browse of the musicians' section on the Chicago Craigslist can sometimes prove to be a useful endeavor.

Yesterday, for example, one post called for volunteers to perform at an after party of a Chicago version of the Power to the Peaceful Festival, a San Francisco-based all-purpose peacenik music festival that just completed its 9th run a couple of weeks ago in Golden Gate Park.

The what??? If there is such a festival, they forgot to tell anyone, because other than an afterthought-looking MySpace page, little information exists for this event on the web, organizers could not be reached for comment (yet), and the supposed venues haven't publicized anything.

Continue reading this entry »

David Polk

Artist Wed Sep 19 2007

School of Language Enrolls at Thrill Jockey Records


Thrill Jockey Records, the local label that recently brought you such works as ADULT.'s Why Bother? and Everybody by The Sea and Cake, recently announced signing School of Language. Why should you care? Because David Brewis, previously of Field Music, is heading School of Language.

Back in April, just after the release of their critically acclaimed Tones of Town, the Sunderland chamber-pop act Field Music announced that they weren’t breaking up…but kind of putting the collective music-making on hold. Instead of a band, Field Music is until further notice a support group of sorts for the three "core members." The first work to come from this new arrangement is Ships (working title) from songwriter David Brewis under the moniker School of Language. The album is nearing completion, and will be released next year.

Continue reading this entry »

Michael Schmitt

Review Wed Sep 19 2007

Review: Simian Mobile Disco @ Empty Bottle, 9/18

First of all, Transmission would like to extend a big thank you to Flavorpill, Empty Bottle, and the acts last night for putting on a show that was over in just under three hours and before midnight on a weeknight. Of course, the flipside to that was short sets that left the audience wanting more. A case in point would be Simian Mobile Disco's 45-minute set that was heavy on groove and blinding colorful strobe lights.

Unfortunately, the headliner's brief set came up short on songs from their Attack Decay Sustain Release LP. Instead the setlist was comprised of older (and maybe some newer) music. Singles "It's the Beat" and "Hustler" drove the night into high gear as the Empty Bottle split into two parts - gawkers and dancers. When the crowd's enthusiasm calmed, James Ford, whose resume also includes production for Arctic Monkeys, Klaxons and Mystery Jets, yelled out and demanded applause to recharge the room.

Perhaps most notable about Simian Mobile Disco's stage setup was that their gear was on a round table that Ford and his cohort, James Shaw, rotated around, which gave the audience a clear view of what they were doing to create the music. At a time when electronic music acts tend to rely on obscurity and privacy live (see: Daft Punk, Chemical Brothers, et al), it was refreshing to see a group making their music out in the open rather than behind a screen. Hopefully, the next time Simian Mobile Disco comes around will be in a venue big enough so that it doesn't seem like the performance takes place inside a supernova. (Seriously, it was really bright.)

James Ziegenfus

News Wed Sep 19 2007

Moved to Antarctica...left no forwarding address.

Transmission mourns the death of Lydia Tomkiw, former vocalist for the Hyde Park duo Algebra Suicide. In the late '80s and early '90s, numerous Algebra Suicide tracks (especially the enduring classic "Little Dead Bodies") made it to mixtapes everywhere. Tomkiw's spoken/recited poetry over Don Hedeker's (later of the Polkaholics) guitar and drumbox recreated that realm of cool first initiated on record by Patti Smith ("Piss Factory" 7") and seldom seen in such pure form since. The group was short-lived, putting out only a few full-lengths and 7"s - arguably, their best work can be found on the out-of-print (but worth searching out) LP/CD titled The Secret Like Crazy (RRR/Dom Records).

* Fond words from longtime Tomkiw friend Sharon Mesmer;
* WFMU Blog;
* Great article about Lydia's early life and the origins of the band, including her upbringing in Humbolt Park.

Also, the band's Myspace page has a few more songs for you to listen to.

Check out the video for "Little Dead Bodies," a track grown all the more poignant for the author's passing, here: (sorry, YouTube claims that embedding was "disabed by request")

Chris Sienko

Concert Wed Sep 19 2007

Nashville's Giant Bear Live @ Red Line Tap


Americana/roots rock/alt country (or whatever it's called this week) can easily veer into a rut deeper than delta mud. Take your generally average indie washouts, add a used steel guitar and some twang, and you have an operable, but uninspiring band. A quick listen to Giant Bear’s self-titled debut album quickly separates this kernel of wheat from the usual chaff. Their sound veers from something like a less edgy Steve Earle to Cowboy Junkies poetics, Allman-esque southern drivers to a funk based Country take on “Head Like a Hole.” This band is as improbably effective as the Decemberists but with a working-man’s blue collar rather than puffy Victorian shirts.

After touring hard behind their first album, Giant Bear hits the road again, working out new material for an upcoming release that has supposedly garnered some label interest. It’s hard to fault their concept or execution, and reviews of their live shows drip with superlatives, so their show Friday 9/21 at the Red Line Tap in Rogers Park should be a good one. After all, isn’t high concept more fun with one foot in the gutter?

[mp3] "Nashville" - Giant Bear

Giant Bear plays 10pm, Friday, 9/21 at the Red Line Tap, $5
They will also perform on WLUW's "Full on Friday" radio show at 3pm, 9/21

Dan Snedigar

Concert Wed Sep 19 2007

Red Gone Wild? Tonight's Da Night.

One of the genre’s underrated lyricists, Redman’s subject matter is largely
weed and how badly you suck compared to him. He has yet to enjoy huge commercial success, but his live shows are long, bass-filled affairs. By no means can you call him socially conscious, he nevertheless fills in a void in hip-hop where it’s still cool to rhyme well, do dumb things, and be backed with enough thump to make both weed-addled and sober asses move.

What Redman has that a lot of mainstream artists today don't have (for commercial purposes, anyway) is a sense of humor. It's hard to laugh in a genre where most of the CD racks contain images of black dudes daring you to buy the album or they'll fuck you up, but Red's sense of humor has prevailed long after his peers went into the business of scaring white hipsters into giving them money to hear about how hard they are.

Redman brings his Red Gone Wild tour party to the Abbey Pub today. Show's at 9, tickets are $25 at the door or online, and the contact high should get you around 9:07, accompanied by bouncing. Numerous local acts open, so Red won't make it to stage before 11 or so, but a good time should be had.

-"Tonight's The Night" (1992)

Troy Hunter

Concert Tue Sep 18 2007

Rachel Ries' New Record and CD Release Show

Rachel Ries (myspace) is a classically trained South Dakotan farm girl who now resides in Chicago. On her last record For You Only she used the folk medium to tell her stories of desire, lost love and displacement. On the new record, Without A Bird, it sounds like Rachel has almost come to terms with life in Chicago, while still retaining a certain homesickness for the plains of her youth. There are more tales of relationships that don't come to fruition, missed opportunities and a lot of comings and goings (leaving Chicago, visits from an ex, unable to leave bad relationships).

All the sounds (guitar, piano, cello) and styles (swing, jazz, and country) that were found on For You Only are back and have been built upon on Without a Bird. The result is an unclassifiable sound that won't fit tidily into any one genre. Although it does sidestep noirish jazz, soul barring folk and boozy blues. What to some in the industry would be a music marketing nightmare, is instead a joy to behold for the adventurous listener unconcerned with the indie rock trends of the moment.

Rachel has signed up some of Chicago's best musicians to appear on record and at her live shows. Her cd release party this Sunday, Sept. 23 at The Hideout is a must see. Here's a song from Without A Bird that you'll be able to pick up this Sunday night when you go to the show! "Fine, I'm Fine" is a song that aches with self-doubt ("I've got so much to learn, if I'm in this for good"), gives a shout-out to Andrew Bird ("just put on that Bird song, you know how he sings") and questions life in Chicago ("because I could pick a small town on the prairie instead, stop telling lies and be early to bed") all in a smidge over 3 minutes. It's a good example of the songs found on Without A Bird. Buy the new record (and there really is a record - 180 grams and all) throught Rachel's MySpace page here.

[mp3]: Rachel Ries - "Fine, I'm Fine"

Craig Bonnell

Concert Tue Sep 18 2007

The Heaven Seventies


Indie rock is dead.  Not independent rock - that will live on forever in some form, depending on one's definition of independent.(and rock)   Indie rock the genre though is at the morgue, about to be embalmed, then buried next to disco, ska and nu metal.  No one knows for sure when it died. Indie rocks death might have something to do (fittingly enough) with The Killers or easy to get Mp3 downloads.  Maybe all the people who listened to those bloggers that claimed that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah (or the Arctic Monkeys, Jet, etc.) were the second coming, realized they'd been duped and are now lashing out against indie rock.  But what are they listening to today?  What's the next wave? 

Introduce yourself to The Heaven Seventies.  This local band, who've just released their second single, Devotion, plan on going about the whole rock business format a bit differently. And they might be onto something in music's next phase were Youtube and Myspace present the hit makers. The Heaven Seventies (or H70s) are like many Chicago bands - members have been in many other groups, they come from various musical and entertainment backgrounds (member Nilay Patel even does some writing for this very site) and thier sound in unique but warmly familiar.  But they are unlike many other bands in that they feel the "write-record-release-tour" cycle is tired and in today's technologically driven age, somewhat unnecessary.  The H70s not only mix together the stylings of many popular genres, they also look to connect with fans in fresh ways.  The band is young.  Their single release show this Thursday will only be their fourth.  But the band's sound is mature. This is no small part to the effort they put into the whole song creation process. They understand that quality is a process that can't be skimped on. Crafting sounds that are danceable with pop sensibilities, H70s are bound to get you moving, smiling and maybe even signing along.

The Heaven Seventies play an 18+ show this Thursday at the Subterranean with My Were They and Technicolour Stallion.

Brent Kado

Radio Mon Sep 17 2007

Only You Can Prevent Radio Stagnation

This Thursday, for a change of pace, Chicagoans will get a rare chance to hassle the FCC. Officially starting at 4PM (with hopeful speakers lining up for the sign-up sheet as early as noon), The Rainbow-PUSH Coalition will host an FCC hearing "to fully involve the public in the process of the 2006 Quadrennial Broadcast Media Ownership Review". Many of the speakers will be panels of specially chosen representatives of various media faces, both commercial and independent. There will also be the aforementioned sign-up sheet for those Chicagoans who would like to voice their own opinions. The Chicago Independent Radio Project (CHIRP) will be sending several representatives to the hearing in the hopes of convincing the FCC to revisit (and re-assign) misused "translator" station licenses that offer no local broadcasting. To show your support, voice your dissent, or just learn first-hand about the politics of modern radio, the hearing will last from 4PM until 11PM (or later).

Dan Morgridge

Concert Mon Sep 17 2007

Roll Over

The Summer Salts are traditionalists, rocking with nothing but three band members and a dream. Oh, and a hefty indie-pop sensibility. The Chicago trio (Travis Wiggins, Michael Rice, and Eoin Burke) want to share the love with you, gentle listener, at their show this Saturday, Sept. 22 at the Underground Lounge.

Kara Luger

Album Mon Sep 17 2007

Knocked Down, But He Gets Up Again


I can't resist. Really. I have to poke a little bit of fun at Danbert Nobacon, founding member of UK anarchist outfit Chumbawumba, they of the mid-90s smash hit "Tubthumper". Let's be honest: "Tubthumper" is one of those infuriatingly catchy tunes that sticks in your craw until you want to jam a fork in your eye.

But I'll hereafter put all snarky jokes aside. Danbert Nobacon's got a new solo record, his first in twenty years, and he is (unsurprisingly) one angry man. Library Book of the World, out now on Bloodshot Records, is a time traveler's opera (his words) that casts Nobacon as a riotous folk singer/pirate of the high seas, bringing manufactured dissent to a world gone drunk and strange and adrift in uncharted waters. As backed by the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, songs like "Last Drop in the Glass" feature a snarling Nobacon lamenting Nature's illness and the world a changed landscape. It would be fairly inaccessible, were it not for some general hilarity ("Wasps in November" incorporates well-timed verbal buzzing) and good-natured country that rumbles pleasantly over catchy couplets. Nobacon may not celebrate his legacy as a tupthumping chumbawumber, but he knows how to pen a tune, and sometimes that's the best way to provide a platform for personal politics and civil disobedience. What else is this "poor planet supposed to do"?

Danbert Nobacon drops anchor locally on September 28th at the Old Town School of Folk Music in support of punk-rock stalwarts, the Mekons.

Nicholas Ward

Benefit Fri Sep 14 2007

Discover Your Inner Folkster

This Saturday at 11AM, tickets go on sale for the Old Town School of Folk Music’s 50th anniversary “Really Big Show” at the Auditorium Theatre on December 1st at 7PM.

10 years ago, for its 40th anniversary concert, folk superstars like Emmylou Harris, Jackson Browne and Arlo Guthrie performed at the Medinah Temple. This year, the lineup is a more diverse, including not only traditional folk musicians such as guitarist David Bromberg, but also sounds from the Sones de México Ensemble and a work by the Luna Negra Dance Theatre. Banjo virtuoso Bela Fleck, harmonica master Corky Siegel and a slew of other folkies will also be there along with Wilco band leader Jeff Tweedy (Tweedy?! Well, as bluesman Big Bill Broonzy, who performed at the school’s opening night in 1957, once said, “all music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song”).

Continue reading this entry »

David Polk

Concert Thu Sep 13 2007

Dancing Primates on Wheels

Bananas, glow-sticks, and airborne poo. These are a few of things you might expect when a simian mobile disco comes to town.

But in fact, Simian Mobile Disco is a two-man crew from the UK who've become one of the foremost artists in the recent "nu-rave"/"new Big Beat" craze. Like their associates Justice, the guys in SMD have a prior (though short-lived) background in the indie-rock scene, and have transplanted that sensibility into making hook-heavy nu-rave techno with a lot of crossover appeal. They've recently done remix work for the likes of Björk, The Presets, and the Klaxons; and anticipation has been riding high for the release of their Attack Decay Sustain Release LP, which dropped in the U.S. just this past week.

Simian Mobile Disco is slated to headline for the Flavorpill Third Anniversary bash at the Empty Bottle next Tuesday. That however is an RSVP-only event; so if you haven't tried to make your reservation yet, don't bother -- because it's been "at capacity" for a couple of days now. But reportedly the duo is also scheduled to appear at the Funky Buddha Lounge later the same evening, spinning a guest DJ set for the Estrojam kickoff party. And yeah, I said reportedly -- because corroborating info is pretty sketchy. So keep your ear to the ground if you're looking to attend.

[video]: Simian Mobile Disco – "It's The Beat"

Graham Sanford

Concert Thu Sep 13 2007

Matt The Electrician

An unsung artist is playing an under appreciated venue in an all but forgotten part of town this weekend. So if you root for underdogs, Matt The Electrician's show this Saturday night at Fitzgeralds in Berwyn may be the show to take in this weekend. Matt The Electrician is a singer-songwriter from Austin whose humble beginnings (as an electrician) and his present life as a devoted family man inspire his songs of everyday life.

His new record One Thing Right was self-released this summer. Matt is a fixture in Austin often holding down residencies in a number of clubs and selling out those off-night weekly shows regularly. PopMatters said this about his live show:

"One of Matt's greatest achievements as an artist is his ability to consistently use humor as an emotional device without sacrificing the songs' craftsmanship. Matt is inarguably hilarious, but it's a sense of humor that, unlike many other snarky songwriters, doesn't evaporate upon repeated listens. It was one of the best live shows I've ever seen."

I've fallen hard for his song "Happy Ending" which is about keeping a bit of hope in the face of death.

[mp3] Matt the Electrician - "Happy Ending"

Craig Bonnell

Concert Thu Sep 13 2007

Felis Urbanius

Even though Tigercity are based out of Brooklyn, that doesn't mean that they play punk-funk or any variety of electro-/blog-house fare. Instead, what they play is deeply stylized pop, the sort that some are inclined to call "loungey," perhaps for the way their music brings to mind the sleek, contempo- designerly look that so many nightspots have gone for of late -- all padded leatherette seats, gleaming contours, underlit glass surfaces, and the like.

As demonstrated on their new Pretend Not To Love EP, Tigercity aim for a nuanced and cosmopolitan style of pop that's oh-so attentive to sophisticated musical hooks and mannerisms, glossed with ocassional and mild touches of uptown funkiness. They also sound like they've taken more than a few pages from the songbook of late-period Roxy Music, opting to engage the latter's capital-r romanticism while skipping Bryan Ferry's world-wearied Casanova-isms in favor of heat-of-the-moment unguardedness. Or, as another source has it: "Tigercity play Brooklynized disco-pop by way of the Bee Gees and Prince."

Tigercity's Pretend Not To Love is available via iTunes. The band will be playing at Schuba's next Friday evening, September 21. Stylofone and LMNOP open. 3159 N. Southport Ave. Admission is $10, and the show starts at 10pm.

Graham Sanford

Feature Thu Sep 13 2007

Our Favorite Record Stores, Vol. 6

We love record stores (in case you hadn't noticed), and we especially love folks taking the plunge, and bringing their passion for vinyl to the people. New record stores, like the year-old KStarke on the Humboldt/Wicker line, is Transmission's destination this week for the sixth installment of our regular trip into brick-and-mortar purveyors of music.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Sep 12 2007

None shall pass.

Aesop Rock makes hiphop records in an indie rock type of way. The lyrics are esoteric, the beats are supremely crafted, and he really should appeal to people who want lyrics and interesting soundscapes but want to avoid looking like they like rap too much for appearances sake.

He'll be appaearing at the Metro this Thursday with backing from Rob Sonic and DJ Big Wiz, who helped him out on his latest effort, None Shall Pass. Tickets are $17.50 for this all ages show. 6:30 is the start time.

-Video for "None Shall Pass", featuring art from Jeremy Fish

Troy Hunter

Concert Wed Sep 12 2007

White Stripes Cancel Tour

Not exactly Chicago news, but I know a lot of people who were pumped about seeing the White Stripes at the Aragon in October, but it looks like they're going to be disappointed -- citing Meg White's "anxiety issues," the band has canceled their entire US tour. Bummer. Ticketholders should call the Aragon at (773) 561-9500 to get their scrilla back.

Nilay Patel

Concert Wed Sep 12 2007

Amp Throws, Whammie Sleeves, and Knit Hats for Your High Hat

The Renegade Craft Fair is once again teaming up with some aural accompaniment to ensure the head-banging-est half-stitch hocking you've ever hoped to witness: Meet the Do-Division Street Fest. Topping the bill on Saturday is Steve Albini's favorite band, Urge Overkill. Then on Sunday night, see David Lowery perform with his college-radio favorite-but-still-second-most-familiar band Camper Van Beethoven. (Request "Low" at your own risk).
Throw in a DJ stage with elder statesmen of the boards Danny the Wildchild, Frankie Vega, and Johnny Fiasco, and you'll be glad you bought that new, clean (and likely adorable) t-shirt by the end of the night. Event starts at noon; a full music schedule can be found here.

Dan Morgridge

Concert Tue Sep 11 2007

Let's Get Fidgetal, part II

Maybe it's all part of an international conspiracy to bassquake the planet, but it looks like this weekend is about as solid as it gets for visiting top-tier talent from across the pond. There's not one, but two such events in the offing; and that may mean a choice is in order. So if you don't feel like shelling out the skrilla for the Diplo & Switch show this Saturday, and would maybe prefer to go to a similar outing where an actual dancefloor is involved, then you should head to Smart Bar on Friday, where Berlin-by-way-of-London DJ Jesse Rose will be making a guest appearance.

As a deejay and producer, Rose is one of a small cadre of new-school trackmasters who's come to the fore of the UK dance music scene. Along with fellow travelers Graeme Sinden and Joshua Harvey, his tracks have perhaps most exemplified the burgeoning "Fidget House" sound that's been brewing on the other side of the Atlantic of late. Of course, the "Fidget" label is a bit dodgey, but this is neither the time nor place to split nomenclatural hairs. Just let it be said that Jesse Rose and his musical co-conspirators have been responsible for crafting some of the most exciting dance tracks of the past year or so.

What makes it all so fun is that Rose & co. are not averse to playing cheeky and loose with House music pro formas. They know how to keep the music dancefloor functional while throwing in all sorts of curveballs -- like punctuating a track with touches of electronic scribble, or aggressively pushing the high-hats to the foreground for the sake of sheer perversity. Better yet is their habit of threading tracks with massive, grime-y bass tones -- low-end wallops that bounce and wobble all over the beat like a big cartoon hippo. (To hear this aesthetic taken to its extreme, check Sinden & The Count of Monte Cristal's recent remix of Pharoahe Monche's "Body Baby.") The end effect is sometimes so ridiculously dope that it's almost comical; as likely to incite laughter as dancing, if not both at the same time.

Jesse Rose will be playing a headlining set at Smart Bar this Friday evening. Hiroki opens. Tickets and admission are $10 before midnight, $12 after. Doors open at 10. 3730 N. Clark.

Graham Sanford

Concert Mon Sep 10 2007

Ramp Chicago Electronic Music Industry Night at Sonotheque

Continuing on in their series of second Tuesday industry nights at Sonotheque, the good folks behind Ramp Chicago will once again be setting up shop tomorrow night for a little electronically musical mingling. Guest performers Miles Tillman and Mystery Palace will be providing the beats -- Mystery Palace features Ryan Olcott, who earned a super-rare 10.0 from the 'fork with his former band, 12 Rods -- and house DJs Liz Revision and Emulsion should keep things interesting in the meantime. $5 gets you in the door -- what you do after that is up to you. 9PM at Sonotheque, 1444 W. Chicago.

Nilay Patel

Concert Sun Sep 09 2007

Juke Crewin' Uptown

“I have this horrible feeling," Flosstradamus's Josh Young recently admitted to Fader, "[That] we might get hated on super hard.” Young was referring to Flosstradmus's role in helping spread the juke sound to "outsider"/non-Southside audiences. And yeah, given how territorial folks get about such things, that could conceivably happen. But whatever the case, it looks like the popularity of jukin' might be destined to break out -- be it on a crosstown or nation-wide level. Case in point: Check Sasha Frere-Jones's three-paragraph writeup of "Watch My Feet," the breakout track by southside Chi hip-hop artist Dude 'N' Nem that appears in the front pages of the latest New Yorker.

"Watch My Feet" has not only become the definitive juke tune of the season; but might be the track that puts the southside juke music scene (and the footwork that goes with it) on the map. And small wonder, because it's a helluva summer party joint -- deftly anchored with a steady, slow-rolling bass thump that keeps the whole thing on cruise control while the beats and verses flip into triple-speed juke mode. And the accompanying video (see above) complements the cut perfectly.

You can check out Dude 'N' Nem this Wednesday night, as they'll be kicking it with -- surprise, surprise -- Flosstradamus at Subterranean. Willy Joy opens. 2120 W. North Ave. Doors open at 9:30, show starts at 10. Admission is $5.

Graham Sanford

Artist Fri Sep 07 2007

Music as a Business

Crain's Small Business' Entrepreneurs in Action video series this week features Chicago jazz and classical arranger Cliff Colnot. Worth checking out.

Andrew Huff

Concert Fri Sep 07 2007

How Much Art Can You Take?

Notoriously nude Minneapolis punks, Dillinger Four have announced a special in-store performance at Reckless Records' Wicker Park store. The pop-heavy punk veterans have augmented their September 15th date at The Note with a free, all ages performance down the street starting at 7:00pm.

Reckless Records - 1532 N Milwaukee. 773-235-3727.

John Lombardo

Album Thu Sep 06 2007

Album Review: Push by Colette

DJ Colette’s new album, Push is highly versatile—good for headphones and the dance floor alike. Particularly dance inspiring is "Funny feat. Black Spade" and "Think You Want It." This is from the same woman who helped found the SuperJane collective, a group of female DJs devoted to helping women succeed in the music business. Colette was also one of the first DJs to lay her own vocals on the tracks she mixed. Uncompromising and undaunted, Colette brings the same experimental approach to Push, on which she pushes the boundaries of house music to reverberate with her own passionate style.

Like her previous album, (Hypnotized, 2005), Push explores the ups and downs of relationships and love. The album’s first track, “About Us,” details a relationship that has seen better days. She reintroduces the track at No. 11, this time mixed up by Chuck Love into a more danceable, and thus catchier tune. “Feelin’ Hypnotized” wound up on the The Devil Wears Prada soundtrack, and in similar fashion, “About Us (Chuck Love rework)” borders on pop and could easily be adapted in the mainstream market. That’s part of Colette’s strength—bringing house to the masses.

The most striking difference between the two albums is that the artist has moved from electronica (Hypnotized) to dance (Push). With its hypnotic beats and slickly arranged keyboards, Hypnotized got you listening. Push, on the other hand, gets straight down to business—sophisticated grooves and hooks push you out on the dance floor.

The first half of the album is mellow, earthy, and sensual, Colette’s finely tuned mezzo-soprano voice a complementary instrument to the blend of laidback and uplifting deep house. In the second half the artist kicks it up a notch by falling deeper into dance music. Each track blends seamlessly into the next, resulting in a lush compilation of tracks that makes for enjoyable listening, from start to finish.

Colette performs at Metro and Smartbar on Saturday. Tickets for both venues are $21. $10 for Smartbar only. Show starts at 10pm.

Marla Seidell

Concert Thu Sep 06 2007

Let's Get Fidgetal

While it may be a matter of recent dispute about just how much Diplo had to do with shaping M.I.A.'s 2005 debut Arular, one thing is for certain: he's done plenty else in the past few years. He pioneered the reigning school of this-under-that remixing via his work in Hollertronix, he likewise helped popularize the whole Brazilian baile/carioca/favela-funk craze by bringing it to American audiences, and -- as demonstrated by his Mad Decent Radio podcasts -- he possesses a staggering, globe-spanning knowledge of party music.

Enter London deejay Switch, aka Solid Groove. Switch was not only in Jamaica recording with Diplo just a few weeks ago, but it's no contest that he did play a major role in co-producing M.I.A.'s new album. His own track "A Bit Patchy" has been the most unavoidable club cut of the past year, and he's quickly become a much sought-after producer/remixer on the dance music scene. Switch has also been credited for trailblazing a whole new subgenre in dance music -- fidget house, or just plain fidget to many. So what's fidget, exactly? Truth be told, there's no clear consensus on the matter, because Switch invented the label up as a joke; and, having now seen it stick, somewhat regrets doing so. Whatever the case, lots of people are claiming it as some "next level" ish, and that the best tracks coming out of the UK this past year have all come from Switch and his fidgety fellow-travelers. (About whom, more in a later post.)

Both Switch and Diplo will be spinning sets at Metro next Saturday night, September 15. Considering that Diplo's taking the headlining slot, the place is undoubtedly going to be packed. Also up on the bill is deejay and Smart Bar impresario James Amato, who's recently pitched his own tent in Camp Fidget by establishing the Potty Mouth Music label/network for new-school house DJs. It all goes off next Saturday night at Metro and 11pm. Tickets are $20.

Graham Sanford

Feature Thu Sep 06 2007

11th Annual Hideout Block Party: Preview

Heading into this weekend's 2-day long Hideout Block Party you may be still wondering if it's worth it to leave the couch and head into the fresh air and sunshine for some musical types. Well, get off your duff! This year's fest proves once again that the Hideout is one of the best venues in Chicago, and they really know how to curate a couple of days of beautiful music. There are punk bands, marching bands, indie bands and country bands to tell you about, and Gapers Block: Transmission's happy to give you a wee bit of insight into the weekend's lineup.

Continue reading this entry »

Anne Holub

mp3 Wed Sep 05 2007

Chicago Leaked - New Songs From Head Of Femur And The 1900s

It seems the music industry has sprung a leak. It was only last year that labels and bands were worrying about early leaks of their copywritten works. Now pr companies, labels and management can't get the leaks out early enough. In fact, what once was illicit is now tacitly condoned or even encouraged by the recording industry. Two Chicago area band are part of this week's leaky sieve. Songs from the new records by The 1900s and Head Of Femur have been officially leaked (an oxymoron) by the band's publicist. Both bands have been receiving a good bit of national press so it will be interesting to see if this online promotional campaign has much effect when the records are released in early October.

[mp3]: The 1900s - "When I Say Go"
[mp3]: The 1900s - "Georgia"

[mp3]: Head Of Femur - "Leader And The Falcon"

Craig Bonnell

Album Wed Sep 05 2007

Who's Got a Guilty Pleasure?

You know you do it. When no one else is in the car, you make absolutely no move to switch the radio station when Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" comes on. Maybe you're nostalgic for those middle school dances, or maybe you're just a sucker for a song you know all the lyrics to, but don't feel so guilty — even the most indie of indie musicians share in your dirty little secrets.


The latest release from Engine Room Recordings is Guilt by Association — a compilation of 15 tracks of pop, rock, and one-hit wonders, all remade by artists that love them, and aren't afraid to share. There's Will Oldham and Bonnie 'Prince' Billy performing Mariah Carey's "Can't Take That Away", Petra Haden crooning an a cappella version of "Don't Stop Believin'" by Journey (complete with a sung guitar solo), Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson's sweet, trembling acoustic take on Oasis' "Don't Look Back in Anger" and The Mooney Suzuki tackling "Just Like Jesse James" made famous by the incomparable Cher. Most of the artists tend to go for the "let's slow this down a little" approach, so it can take a little while to recognize the song merely from the strum of the guitar and the whisper-soft vocals. Some songs, twisted and churned through the dark soul of indie rock, come out sounding like something you'd mosh to — like Superchunk's take on "Say My Name" by Destiny's Child. But mostly, these songs are sweet, slow indie nostalgia for nights where you heard them blasted out of the bar jukebox at 2am (oh, you know it wasn't an accident that you chose "Burning for You" by Blue Oyster Cult, fess it).

Petra Haden's cover of Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" [mp3]

A full list of guilty artists and their pleasures is online, but a free listening party for the album is happening tonight at 8pm at Alive One at 2683 N. Halsted. There'll be drink specials and special giveaways.

Anne Holub

Benefit Wed Sep 05 2007

The New (and Rescheduled) Rock for Kids Music Mixer

Done in by rain and wind and falling debris a few weeks ago, the Rock for Kids Music Mixer will really (for real) happen this Thursday night, 9/6, at Smartbar. Come out and bid on sweet and unique mixes by Chicago's music community including Time Out: Chicago, Pitchfork Media, Bloodshot Records, the Empty Bottle, and even little ol' us, Gapers Block: Transmission (see everyone who's contributed a mix here). You can get yourself a one-of-a-kind set of new tunes, and help out Chicago's homeless and underprivileged youth at the same time. The bidding gets going at 6pm and runs until 9pm at Smartbar, 3730 N. Clark. There's a $5 suggested donation at the door.

Anne Holub

Concert Wed Sep 05 2007

Cute Name, Serious Sound


Coupleskate is a band only Chicago could produce. A throw back of sorts to 90's alternative groups compiled of all females, Coupleskate brings a slightly low rock vibe, but aren't afriad to hammer in a little distortion to keep listeners on their toes. Together for almost five years the band has went through multiple lineup changes with a spring addition of a new bassist. But thier cohesiveness is not in question musically. The band's gruff yet heartfelt style mixes together nicely. Openers include Kaspar Hauser and Belfrie. Wednesday at the Sub't.

Brent Kado

Concert Tue Sep 04 2007

The Sounds of Signage

Signing Choir is the solo effort of Joey King, bassist for the Chicago glam-/psych-pop outfit The M's. The Choir's self-titled debut, to be released this week on Brilliante, is the culmination of of five year's worth of sideline songwriting and recording. Left to his preferences and devices, King cozies into low-fidelity space quite comfortably and furnishes it well; exploiting the four-track, bedroom recording aesthetic to maximum effect. Throughout there's plenty of fuzzy and bottom-heavy riffs, amplifier hum, and the grain of the voice cloaked in varied degrees of distortion.

Despite these deliberate rough edges, King proves himself an astute craftsmen when it comes to tailoring his songs with subtle, contrasting sonic details. He gravitates toward a post-mod mish-mash of pop stylings, and the Signing Choir sound is more pointedly "rockish" (in an early-90s college-radio way) than the Anglophilic hookiness of The M's usual material. He cranks things into bouncy mode on "Comb Your Hair" and "The Beths," and King proves himself consistently pop-savvy in the offing. But in its later stretch, the album settles into more shadowy terrain that's reminiscent of the shoe-gazing languidity of Dinosaur Jr. -- moody and ruminative, it's the sound of thoughts and feeling turning themselves over to see how their undersides fare against the light of day.

Brilliante Records and Schubas will be host a record release party for the Signing Choir CD this Saturday night, with Signing Choir -- featuring King with friends and The M's guitarist Robert Hicks -- headlining. Rock Plaza Central and Casey Dienel are on the opening bill, and DJ LA*Jesus will be spinning some tunes between sets. 3159 N. Southport. 10pm, admission is $8.

Graham Sanford

Concert Mon Sep 03 2007

Sutras Along The Hudson

Over past decade, the Manhattan-based pianist, composer, and improvisor Vijay Iyer has risen through the ranks of the experimental fringe of the NYC music scene and has worked with a staggering number of artists in the jazz and electronic music scenes. A supremely gifted and versatle player, he served as a long-term member of Greg Tate's revolving-door ensemble Burnt Sugar Arkestra Chamber, gigged with a host of avant-jazz titans like Roscoe Mitchell and Wadada Leo Smith, and created the ambitious multimedia performances In What Language? and Still Life With Commentator with his frequent partner in collaboration, spoken-word/post-hiphop maverick Mike Ladd.

Amidst all this activity, he's also released numerous albums on the Savoy label and either leads or serves as a sidemen in about a half-dozen ensembles and collaborative projects, and has most recently gotten his propers by topping Downbeat magazine's critics polls for the past two years. One of his latest projects is Tirtha, an Indo-fusion trio that includes guitarist Prasanna and tablaist Nitin Mitta. The trio will be giving a performance in the Preston Bradley Hall of the Chicago Cultural Center this Thursday evening. Admission is free, and the performance begins at 7pm. 78 E. Washington.

Graham Sanford

GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


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

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

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

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

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
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