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. 


Thursday, May 19

Gapers Block

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

« Hot Jams Becoming Pink Machine All Your Bass Are Belong To Us »

Concert Thu Nov 01 2007

Clap Your Hands Say Welcome


It seems that every passing year of indie rock brings with it at least one completely out-of-left-field self-release success story. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah cooled off 2005, Tapes ‘n Tapes rocked 2006, and 2007 now belongs to Pale Young Gentlemen (sorry, Radiohead, does not actually count).

Hailing from Madison, Wisconsin, Pale Young Gentlemen play the kind of classically-inspired pop rock that is becoming almost commonplace in today’s musical landscape. Orchestral arrangements abound in many an indie rock outfit so the kind of music they’re playing—pop melodies mixed with swirling strings and bouncy, cabaret-inspired piano—isn’t exactly new, but there’s something fresh about the whole affair. First, the obligatory cellist (Liz Weamer) is actually an integral part of the music, not shoved into the background like in most pop bands; her work is a focal point of the melodies, rather than relegated to a fill-in-the-holes kind of status. Additionally, the focus is on the arrangements, with songs as compositions, complete movements and carefully constructed choruses, more overtly classical than their contemporaries.

But what really sets the Pale Young Gentlemen apart is their flair for the dramatic. I imagine at some point these cats probably took a few theatre classes, as their presentational style would make Kurt Weill, Jacques Brel and the Tom Waits of Black Rider proud. “Saturday Night” swings with a bawdy melody, while “Clap Your Hands” shakes and shimmies just enough to make any young man or woman do an awkward, half-drunken turn around the barroom. “Fraulein” dances a rock’n’roll waltz about unrequited love that avoids lapsing into over-the-top quirkiness. The tracks are carefully measured but still remain loose and while lead singer Michael Reisenauer occasionally approaches Chris Martin territory that misstep can certainly be forgiven, because there’s something really exciting about these new musical voices. The drool that critics have laid at the doorstep of Pale Young Gentlemen’s eponymous debut is justly deserved and it’ll be exciting to witness how they handle their newfound success, both personally and artistically.

For now, you can catch the Pale Young Gentlemen as they step away from their humble home to the north for a show this Monday, at the Hideout, opening for the Panda Band.

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

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

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

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


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

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

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

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

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

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15