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.
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Sunday, May 19

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« Wrestle With God Ethnomusicologists from the Armchair »

Concert Wed May 14 2008

Prairie Spies @ the Empty Bottle

Prairie Spies.jpg

Late last year, I got unexpectedly punched in the mouth by a little EP called Bridget Quits, a five-song rock’n’roll assault from local band the Sharks, that sounded like Weezer and Pavement had sex and this was their five-headed monster. Rather than sounding completely derivative, though, the Sharks offered a fresh take on time-honored material, a loose, chaotic, boozy assemblage tackling the truly important subjects (drugs and girls). A few months later, after the lawyers got to them and they holed up tearfully in their parents’ basement (okay, I made that last part up), the Sharks are now the Prairie Spies and they’re set to drop their very first full length, available from newish local label Comptroller Records.

Surplus Enjoyment picks up right where the previous record left off. Despite the name change, not a damn thing about band’s aesthetic has been altered, and that’s just fine by me. They play fierce and fun goodness that is simultaneously raw and overtly poppy, and songs like “Unresolved Anatomy” and “Who’s Been Gettin’ High” delight with pleasing hilarity. It’s “Iowa”, though, that takes the treasured prize, a balance of fuzzed-out guitars and kitschy keyboards with shout-along vocals that soar snarl howl and lyrics that tend toward dryly ironic with just a dose of savagery. This ode to our neighbors to the West finds the Spies at their very best, not reaching but playing comfortably to their strengths and loving every second of it. While a few tracks falter (most notably, their Clash rip-off, “Vigilante”), Surplus Enjoyment is by and large a terrific and accomplished record, and will receive consistent summer rotation in the library of at least one fan (though I suspect there’s more than just me out in the wilderness).

The Prairie Spies take the stage at the on Friday for a kickin’ record release party. Opening are dreamy boy-girl combo (and Comptrollin’ label mates), the Spectacles, and Cincinnati band Bad Veins. The Killer Whales headline. Show start at 10pm.

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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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